There is hope for lost loved ones when we understand God’s great mercy. Like most everyone in these last days, I have unsaved loved ones, friends, and acquaintances whom I pray for daily. Still, they remain hostile to the God and dead in their sins. They are blind to the bleak future ahead of them that we see all too clearly. For so many of them, I have been praying for so long. It was starting to feel like nothing was happening or would ever happen to change their stony hearts. Then one day I read the story of King Manasseh of Judah. I realized that all my loved ones needed was a “Manasseh moment,” and God’s great mercy would handle the rest.
King Manasseh’s Idolatry
King Manasseh of Judah was a wicked, idolatrous man. We find him in 2 Kings 21:1-18 and 2 Chronicles 33:1-19. He was the son of Hezekiah, one of the very few kings in the Old Testament who “did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” Manasseh knew better. Hezekiah was obedient to God. He tore down the high places where people sacrificed animals and even people to demon gods, but Manasseh built them up again. Instead of worshiping God, Manasseh erected altars for Baal and Ashtorah and served them. He put statues/carved images of them inside the temple Solomon had built to honor God. He even sacrificed his own son as a burnt offering to Molech, another demonic idol.
According to Jewish history, he also had the prophet Isaiah cut in two because he didn’t like what he prophesied from the Lord (as alluded to in Matthew 24:51). He also practiced witchcraft, consulted mediums to talk to the dead, and encouraged his people to do likewise. Manasseh “shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another.” God warned Manasseh and the people through His prophets, as He always does, but they didn’t listen. “So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria. They took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon” (2 Chronicles 33:11).
He Repents In Times of Trial
“Bad king gets justice” might have been the moral of the story here, but God wasn’t finished with Manasseh just yet. This next part is what gives me such great hope for those I know and love. See, when Manasseh was in distress, when he had nothing left but leg irons and a hunk of floor in Babylon, he remembered God. He cried out to Him for favor, and humbled himself before the Lord. The Bible doesn’t record what was said in that prayer, saying only that it was “written in the book of the kings of Israel.” But, you can find it in the Apocrypha of the King James Bible or online with a quick search.
Scholars may debate the authenticity and quibble about phrases that are more metaphor than literally biblical, but it’s worth looking into if you have the time. Here are the phrases that speak to me. “But you offer me, the sinner, the chance to change my heart and life… In me you’ll show how kind You are. Although I’m not worthy, You’ll save me according to Your great mercy.” God offers chances, and He saves, not because we are worthy, but because He is merciful. That is why there is hope for our lost loved ones too.
God Restores His Life
God did save Manasseh, both his soul and his life. He gave him back his kingdom, and “Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.” No empty confession, Manasseh’s words of humble repentance and submission to God went straight to his heart. His first order of business when he was back as king was taking down all the demonic altars and high places in Judah. He restored worship of God alone and told Judah to serve God. Unfortunately, Judah had some bad habits by then. The city would be judged again, but Manasseh himself had truly turned to God.
The final words of that apocryphal “Prayer of Manasseh” are these. “I will praise You continuously all the days of my life, because all of heaven’s forces praise You, and the glory is Yours forever and always. Amen.” His life had been changed forever. In a moment of affliction, he humbled himself before God, and God heard him and received him to Himself.
God Can Restore Our Lost Loved Ones Too
Only God knows if Judah’s sins of idolatry came anywhere close to that of the current day United States. What we do know is that God’s watchmen have been warning us for quite some time. Judgement is on its way. There will be a time of hardship. Starbucks may be closed, Netflix and Facebook may be offline, and food and water may become as valuable as gold. Our loved ones will be in distress. Now is the time to talk to your people about the Lord’s great compassion. Pray for them to have a “Manasseh moment,” a moment in time when they cry out to the Lord and humble themselves in genuine repentance to the Lord. The Bible shows us clearly that there is hope for lost loved ones. He hears and saves – not for them or even for us, but – because of His great kindness and mercy.
Interested in more articles about prayer? Check out Make God’s Will My Will: A New Way to Pray. It’s a “God wink” story that teaches a new way to pray to get what you want. Or try 9 Reasons God Doesn’t Hear Our Prayers. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email in-box. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud. I also have a playlist of hymns from my church.