Brock was in trouble, so Dennis felt moved to pray.
The two had become friends when they attended a Christian high school, and both went on to the University of Alabama. But there their paths diverged. Dennis continued to follow Jesus; Brock pursued the lifestyle of partying.
Dennis prayed for Brock every day. “I loved him a lot,“ he explains. “The path he was going down was dark and depressing.”
For the sake of maintaining the relationship, Dennis sometimes hung out with Brock and his friends as they prepared to hit the bars—by drinking. But he never drank with them.
Being alongside but not participating, Dennis saw the deception they had fallen into.
He recalls, “The guys would have this big buildup—how they were going to go to a bar and have a great time. Then they’d get there and be disappointed.
Dennis prayed that Brock would find what he was searching for in Christ. That he would come to know Gods love and salvation. He asked God to “remove from [Brock] a heart of stone and give [him] a heart of flesh. Then [he] will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 11:19-20). But Brock continued to pursue his destructive lifestyle.
How Prayer Works
After Dennis graduated, the two would watch sports or work out together. Dennis moved to Tennessee for a time and only saw Brock on holidays. Brock continued partying and following his own plans for finding happiness. But Dennis kept praying to God to soften Brock’s heart.
A few years later his ministry with international students brought him back to Birmingham. He saw or texted Brock occasionally. But he saw no impact from his prayers.
Brock held him at arm’s length, not willing to engage in anything beyond surface-level conversation. Brock had no interest in talking about Jesus. But Dennis kept asking God to work in his life.
Then one day he got a phone call from Brock. This was unusual—the two had always texted.
“I’ve got something to tell you—do you have a minute?” Brock said. “I became a Christian today! I just gave my life to Jesus. Would you consider discipling me?”
Dennis’s eyes filled with tears. He had prayed for Brock consistently for 10 years, asking God to change Brock’s heart. And now Brock had surrendered his life to the Lord!
What changed? Brock recalls how God had brought a Christian woman into his life who had a “profound impact” on him while they dated. And finally, the appeal of his lifestyle grew thin.
He had just returned from a weekend in Chicago with his partying friends. He sat in his apartment, reflecting deeply on his life. “I realized it was futile, empty. It wasn’t what I wanted,” he says. “I came to the end of myself.” He decided to ask God for forgiveness and into his life. He wanted to follow Jesus and he knew who to ask for help—Dennis.
What God Does Through Prayer
Brock and Dennis began meeting, going over what it looks like to live the Christian life. As they studied the Word of God together, Dennis saw God “peeling back the layers” left over from Brock’s old lifestyle and disposing of those things, one by one.
Today, more than six years later, he says Brock is “a completely different person.” God transformed Brock from the inside out. Instead of looking for the next party he is pursuing things that last.
“His continual growth and trust in the Lord through ups and downs has been remarkable to see,” Dennis says. “He loves Jesus and is striving to grow and glorify God in every area of his life.”
Brock now leads a Bible study and recently invited a coworker to attend. He helps out in Dennis’s ministry to international students. It blows him away that Dennis prayed for him faithfully for so many years. Does that encourage him to be persistent in praying for others?
Is there someone who doesn’t know Jesus whom God has especially laid on your heart? Ask God to lead you in how to pray consistently and persistently for them.
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