I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil. (John 17:15)
Some time ago, I attended a production at a Christian theatre in Tennessee with the youth group from my church. The theatre does a number of different productions throughout the year and in keeping with the season. One of the plays focused on young people, how Satan gets in and temps and twists us, making a choice and standing for Jesus! The one thing (aside from the obvious moral of the story) that stuck out was that the characters prayed for their friends to find the Lord.
My friends are very important to me. I pray for them daily! Sometimes there are circumstances that I can do nothing about, and in that situation, I ask God to find their hearts, to touch their lives, to help find their way to him, and to keep them safe from harm.
We all have circumstances in our lives that "cloud our view". We seek the wisdom of the Lord to guide us through whatever situation we are in. Remembering how much my friends mean to me, I know that they mean much more to God! That is why I "lift my friends" up to God in prayer! Sometimes it is the only thing I can do for them.
We are told to pray for others, commanded to by Jesus. We walk away and want certain people out of our lives because they do not possess the qualities of a "Christian", but do we remember to pray for them to find him? We don't have to "rescue" them from the world, in most cases we could not. The changes that take place in our lives when we have a relationship with Jesus come only through that relationship - no one but the Lord could have rescued me (which, he did). The expression that a "leopard cannot change his spots" is true; but the God of heaven and earth can!
Today I have two requests for you. First, I challenge you to pray for a friend or family member that doesn't know the Lord - lift them up by name to Jesus and ask that he come into their heart and take hold of their soul. Second, I will ask that you pray for one of mine, because "I've done all that I know to do"...