16 Years Praying for My Atheist Father

16 Years Praying for My Atheist Father
16 Years Praying for My Atheist Father

What are you praying for? Have you prayed hundreds or thousands of times for something?

I travelled a 16 year journey praying for my father to believe in God. And I prayed over 5,000 times.

You see, when my twin sister and I were little, our father disappeared from our life. My mom and stepfather took us to church, but we didn’t understand much about God or prayer.

Along about fourth grade, my dad reappeared and wanted to be a part of my life again. I’ll never forget what he told me at nine-years-old, “People think there’s a God, but there’s not.”

Not understanding it at the time, I knew later my dad was an atheist.

This confused my young heart, wondering, Is God real and does He love me? 

16 Year Journey: Praying When Faith Wanes

Then something wonderful happened. At sixteen, both me and my sister prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Savior at a church revival. Sixteen turned out to be sweet after all.

That night as I crawled into bed, I decided to pray daily for my father to believe in God and accept Christ. Even though I was a young Christian, I missed very few days praying for my dad.

Soon I went off to college and continued to pray and asked others to pray.

But, I admit my faith waned many times. My dad seemed hard-hearted and unreachable. So when I was a young woman a mentor encouraged me to insert my father’s name into Scripture about salvation and pray it out loud.

John 3:16, For God so loved Gene, that he gave his only Son, that if Gene believes in him, he will not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 10:13, If Gene calls on the name of the Lord, he will be saved.

Power Praying Scripture

And there were other Bible verses; I looked up as many as I could find and faithfully prayed them over my father.

16 Years Praying for My Atheist Father

I still practice this idea by inserting my loved ones names in Bible verses for specific needs, salvation and others. Even scriptures with my name inserted in them about God’s love or His faithfulness often bring me comfort.

Back to my father. Fast forward a few years. We were having a birthday party for my paternal grandmother at her nursing home. Dad approached me teary-eyed, “Karen, did you hear the news? I accepted Christ as my Savior.”

My heart hardly believed it! I was thirty-two. A sixteen-year prayer finally answered. Sixteen long and often impatient years grew my faith in God and my firm belief in prayer. My dad passed away years ago. But I’m thankful he’s with Jesus.

When We Underestimate What Praying Accomplishes

Still, many times we underestimate the power of prayer to change situations and people…to change us.

Because we move the spiritual world when we praise the Lord, recognize who God is, petition the Almighty, intercede for others, and speak God’s Word in prayer.

But sometimes our own thoughts, the enemy or other people trick our heart into thinking God is holding out on us. Maybe a prayer went unanswered in how we wanted the situation to turn out. Perhaps we feel God didn’t come through for us in what we wanted to happen. Or, we’ve prayed for something so long, it seems impossible.

Yet, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. And the power of prayer and what it accomplishes is seen in James 5:14-16, pray for the sick and for each other, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (verse 16, ESV).

This passage is one of my favorites:

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV, emphasis added).

Never Giving Up on Prayers Prayed

What are you praying for? Maybe you’ve prayed hundreds or thousands of prayers for someone’s salvation, healing, to forgive, and other steadfast prayers.

16 Years Praying for My Atheist Father

Remember, we pray to a God who is able to do immeasurably and abundantly more than we ever imagine in our human minds and limitations. Like a daughter’s prayer for her atheist dad’s salvation, prayed for sixteen years, and over 5,000 times.

I’m a testament to faithful prayer. Never, ever give up on prayer. 

Featured images courtesy of Adobe Express.

Also see Prayers to Unleash Supernatural Power.

Karen Friday

Whether the spoken or written word, Karen thrives in moving an audience to experience laughter, tears, surprise, and deep reflection. She not only possesses an affection for words (just ask her family), but she also cherishes God’s Word. Karen is an award-winning writer who has published both devotions and articles with a mission to know Jesus more and make Him known. She contributes to several national sites while she works on her first non-fiction book. In the blogging world, she is referred to as “Girl Friday” where she shares a central message: you are never far from hope. And she considers her life as a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader a sacred calling. Karen and her husband Mike reside in East Tennessee and have two grown children and two grandchildren. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. Connect with her blog community, Hope is Among Us.

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