If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
The Bible says that unbelievers have a veil over their eyes and they cannot see the light of the gospel because their minds are blinded. Where the gospel of Christ is concerned, Satan has the ability to dull the thinking of unbelievers. Before I became a Christian I could hear the gospel and it seemed so confusing to me. The message went right over my head. But, after I gave my heart to Jesus I was able to understand what was being said. I know now that it was because the veil from my eyes was removed.
People who do not yet know Jesus do not realize that they have a need for Him. There needs to be an enlightenment first before they'll ask Him to be their Savior. The Bible says,
...asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called—His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance. (Ephesians 1:17-18 NLT).
If Christians, who are already God's children, need to be enlightened to grow in Christ, how much more must it happen for the unbeliever?
The veil that hinders unbelievers from believing is a stronghold. A stronghold is simply a place where from which to hold something strongly. Satan has a strength that holds unbelievers in his prison. The good news is that Jesus came to set captives free! Jesus said in the book of Luke about Himself...
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free..." (Luke 4:18 NLT).
Clearly, this is the work of God. But, as Christians, what is our responsibility? We need to pray for the veil to be removed and the strongholds to be destroyed. I envision a stronghold as a brick wall. When a building is being torn down, a huge crane hits the wall with it's cement ball, crashing the building to the ground, one blow at a time. Just like that cement ball, our prayers help our loved ones be loosed from Satan's grasp. Sooner or later these strongholds will crash to the ground.
As we passionately pray for our loved one to come from the darkness into light, it may take a long time like knocking down a building with a cement ball, or it may happen quickly like knocking down a building with dynamite. Either way, we need to persevere and not give up hope. Praying for our lost loved ones will reap a harvest one day because of our intercession. Prayer is the weapon we use to fight against these strongholds. Let's not grow weary, but fight these battles one prayer at a time.
Lord, teach me to pray for those I love who do not yet know You. Deepen my burden to pray diligently for them. Help me to be faithful in prayer. In Jesus' name. Amen.
To learn more about praying for unbelievers, read Dutch Sheet's insightful book, How to Pray for Lost Loved Ones.
May 16, 2008