When I was a pre-teen, my parents would receive mail from Publishers Clearing House (PCH) Sweepstakes. I easily recognized the envelope each time it arrived for I had seen the commercials. I knew from those 30-second TV spots that one or more lucky winners would have employees from PCH appear at their front door with a bunch of balloons, a ton of confetti, rolling video cameras, and a humongous check that represented the enormous prize winnings.
I prayed and prayed and prayed God would let my mom or dad be the next lucky winner. All my folks had to do was fill out the forms in the envelope, put all the right stickers in all the right places, mail it in before the deadline, and then let God guide the hand of the person who would choose my parents' envelope from the millions sent in.
(Some thirty to forty years later, I'm still waiting for God to say "yes" to that prayer. 😉)
While God chose not to answer my childhood prayers for riches and glory, the envelopes and dreams Publishers Clearing House drew out from the American public illustrate the first thing we are going to see in our new blog-only series entitled Praying for the Spiritually Disconnected – draw & seek.
Publishers Clearing House needed attention and magazine subscriptions in order to fund their sweepstakes. So they sent envelopes with tantalizing financial winnings to draw people to them, hoping they would subscribe to magazines in the process.
Jesus said in the first half of John 6:44
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him."John 6:44 (ESV - emphasis added)
God loves you so much He didn't wait for you to clean up your act a bit before He sent Jesus to die as payment for the penalty of death. If you follow Jesus, He drew you to Himself. You did not earn your place in God's family. You didn't impress Him with incredible talent or intelligence. He simply wooed you.
At the same time, as God was drawing your heart toward Him, He placed within you a desire to seek Him. Just as my parents had to "seek" the sweepstakes prize by sending in the forms, God created a longing in you for Him.
In his speech on Mars Hill in the ancient city of Athens, the Apostle Paul tried to help the Greeks understand who the one true God was by saying that God created humans in His image...
"...that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us."Acts 17:27 (ESV)
If you are a Christ-follower, understanding this truth can help guide your prayers for the people around you who are spiritually disconnected from God. You can pray John 6:44 for your friends, asking Him to draw them to Himself, and then follow that up by using Acts 17:27 to ask for the Holy Spirit to create a curiosity within them, that they might seek God.
And if you ever have the joy of seeing one of your friends, family members, or anyone you care about put their faith in Jesus, you'll feel like you've won the sweepstakes!
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