For years, I’ve prayed for the conversion of loved ones—people I desperately want to know the love of Jesus.
I’ve offered novenas and masses, asked the intercession of both powerhouse and obscure Saints. I’ve prayed spontaneously and with that inaudible groaning only the Spirit understands. I pray so much because I care so deeply; the more I personally get to know God’s great love, the more I grasp what heart-wrenching poverty it is to live without it. Especially for eternity. I feel the urgency of forever, the weighty value of each soul like never before.
As of yet, I’ve seen little fruit in those for whom I pray most.
I’ve concocted perfect conversations in my head or hung my hopes on certain events, thinking “maybe this will be a catalyst for conversion!” But real life is messy, conversations are hard, and there’s always the reality that God loves us so much that He gives us free will—even to reject Him. Often it just feels futile. But I keep praying that somehow, in some way—even if I never see it this side of Heaven—the prayers will make a difference.
Saint Paul clearly felt this same desire keenly. His last words to his beloved friends and spiritual children are charged with urgency, sensing one final chance to impart wisdom and knowledge to encourage eternal life in Christ.
Yet Saint Paul’s words also exhibit a trust and confidence in God that my prayers often lack. They echo the same trust and confidence Jesus exhibits as He prays for “the ones His Father has given” to Him. (See John 17:9.)
These words remind me that I am simply the instrument, not the Savior. And they pull me back to the truth that God has been whispering again and again: nothing is wasted.
No prayer is futile. He hears it all.
We only need to stay our course, as Saint Paul says, and remember that even when we perceive inaction due to spiritual blindness, He is continually working all things together for the good of souls.
Did you know what Our Lord revealed to Saint Faustina as a prayer for the conversion of friends or family?
Megan Hjelmstad is a wife and mom 24/7 and an Army Reservist in her “spare” time. She is the Stories Manager for the Blessed is She Instagram account. She’s a bibliophile, tea drinker, sleep lover, and avid admirer of Colorado’s great outdoors. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book, Rise Up. When the writing bug hits, you can find out more about her here.