Sometimes, when you hear a new song, there’s one single line that just gets stuck in your head. For me, “Prayer for the Hui” has one of those lines. Of course, there are clearly God-glorifying, gospel-centered words throughout the song, laying before God our prayer that He would work throughout the world bringing people into His Kingdom. But there was this one line that resonated with me in a profound way and had a huge impact on my thoughts and prayers, because it was so applicable to my own life and my own struggles with sharing the gospel with those I know personally.
And I know they hold dear to their prophet’s ways,
But history past cannot change Your promise.
This sentence almost perfectly expresses how I feel sometimes when thinking about having gospel-oriented conversations with friends. I so easily fall into the excuses of “they’ve gone so long without believing, is me speaking now really going to change anything?” or “I know they have heard of Jesus, and they definitely are not interested, so me speaking is pointless.” These lyrics, though, reminded me in a powerful way that those are terrible excuses! Yes, the people who I know may “hold dear to their prophet’s ways”, whether their idolatrous prophet is Muhammad or Buddha or success or money or self-worth. Yes, it may seem like they will cling to that idol forever. Yes, they may have heard the gospel before and been uninterested or even openly hostile.
But that can’t stop God! He can change the hardest of hearts. He can work gloriously in the messiest of situations. He can move at the most unexpected times. And we see that over and over throughout Scripture. He has given us so many promises that we should cling to, and that should give us confidence as we speak the gospel into people’s lives. Here’s just two of them:
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robe, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! (Revelation 7:9-10)
People from all nations, tribes, and languages will hear the gospel, respond by the Holy Spirit, and join in the multitude that proclaims before the throne of God the Father that Jesus Christ is our only salvation. One day, by God’s grace and in God’s timing, but through our going, unreached people groups will no longer be unreached.
He [God] chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:4-6)
God’s elect, those who will stand before him in that scene in Revelation 7, were chosen before the foundation of the world. His ways are beyond our comprehension, and His timing is perfect. Just because something looks one way in our human perception does not mean that God cannot change a person’s heart. God may use us at any time to speak the words that, combined with the movement of the Holy Spirit will result in someone placing their faith in Jesus Christ. We are totally and completely reliant on God to change people’s hearts, and he will do that, so that he would be praised for his glorious grace. But that will happen only as we speak the gospel (Romans 10:14-15)! So we pray, we speak, we give, and we go; and we wait expectantly for God to work.
“Father, let the news of Christ be known
In every town, in every home,
Let the nations be glad, let the whole earth sing
For Christ the risen King”
Link to “Prayer for the Hui” on iTunes.