Why Your Prayers for Conversion Matter

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"Why your prayers for conversion matter" by Christy Wilkens (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: James Coleman (2018), Unsplash.com. CCo/PD

The day I married my husband was one of the happiest days of my life. While true, that’s an unremarkable statement, one we’ve all probably uttered at one time or another. But for me there was a shadow behind it: the day I married my husband was the day I accepted that I would never walk into a Catholic church again.

He was raised without faith. I was a fallen-away Catholic. We lived together before marriage, bought a house and a dog before marriage. We were immersed in liberal, secular graduate education, in an ocean of moral relativism, on the fast track to all kinds of worldly success. And I knew, truly, that there was no way this man, the love of my life, would ever darken the doors of a church.

And knowing that, I chose to be with him instead of God. God, as you have probably guessed, laughed. As the prophet Jeremiah so beautifully put it, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

My grandmother was a devout, lifelong, faithful Catholic, who sat stoically through our ridiculous parody of a sacramental wedding. She was originally from Mexico, and I grew up proud of my Mexican heritage. Even during the ten years I spent wandering apart from the church, she continued to talk to me about faith, to tell me she was praying for me, to speak a blessing over me every time we parted.

During our honeymoon — not coincidentally, in Mexico — we took a bus tour of the Aztec temples around Mexico City. At the end of the tour, the guide essentially kidnapped our bus and took us to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of the Americas.

At this point, Todd and I were both totally ignorant of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We didn’t know who she was, didn’t know anything about the apparition. The Basilica built in her honor is on Tepeyac Hill, the site where she appeared to St Juan Diego. Without the faintest understanding of the significance of where we were, within days of our essentially pagan wedding, Todd and I stood directly underneath the miraculous tilma of Juan Diego, which Our Lady used to convert thousands of Native American Indians to the One True Faith.

Under her mantle, before the idea of church even crossed our minds, our conversion to the faith began too.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see how my grandmother’s tireless prayers and the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe were instrumental in my eventual reversion, and my husband’s conversion. There is no one who has fallen so far that God cannot reach down to them, despite what I believed on my own wedding day. The intercessory prayers of others and the power of the Blessed Mother are some of the most powerful instruments he has to do this.

I’m reminded of another couple I know, who prayed a Rosary every single day for thirty years for the conversion of the woman’s sister and brother-in-law. Guess who triumphed?

We all know someone in our lives who has left the Church, or who we think would never consider entering it — even those who view Catholicism with ignorance, derision, or outright hostility. Remember this: Nothing is impossible for God. You may think your prayers and your actions don’t matter, but I assure you, they do. My grandmother’s prayers mattered. That bus driver’s action mattered.

Whose conversion do you need to pray and work for today?


Copyright 2019 Christy Wilkens

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About Author

Christy Wilkens is a full-time mother and part-time armchair philosopher who lives in Austin, TX, but wishes she lived in Lourdes. She is a wife and mom to six kids, all of whom are special (but some are specialer than others). She writes about special needs, faith, doubt, suffering, and good reads. Find out more about her at FaithfulNotSuccessful.com.

12 Comments

  1. Pearl Evans on

    Thank ypu for shating your conversion experience. I

    Today, I pray to be a hands on grandmother. I prsy to have a relationship with my granddaughter. I pray to teach my grandson for wisdom to rolemodel healthy behavior and kindness.

    I pray for my son to surrender his anger. I pray for my son to grow as a human and a father. I pray for my son life. God bless my son and guide him through his emotional storm.

  2. Thank you so much! You are a very talented writer. this was just what I needed to hear as my 3 older children in their 20’s have fallen away from the Faith. Keep the articles/blogs coming!

    God Bless your day 🙂

  3. Hello, Christy. I grew up a faithful Catholic, who was privleged to have parents (one of whom was a Methodist who converted to the faith when I was in my teen years) who took me to Mass each Sunday and on holydays. My Dad worked hard as an accountant and my Mom worked hard as a homemaker and sacrificed to send my brother, sister and me to Catholic schools through high school. I then attended a Catholic college. However, due to depression because of being gay, for some years although I continued to believe in the moral teachings of the Church and was active in the pro-life movement, I became an agnostic. I doubted God-s existence, as I questioned why He would make me suffer from years of taunts and humiliation because of my sexual orientation. I similarly questioned why God if He existed allowed so many people to suffer from physical disabilities and mental illnesses. After years of loneliness as a celibate man (I’m now 57) I gave into temptation and sex with men. However, I regretted my acts. I then received forgiveness and consolation through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. About 25 years ago, I did tell my family, friends and co-workers that I was,gay. As difficult as it was, I was generally met with support and love. I now go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation each month, and try my best to love God and other people. I hope that you will pray for my sister, her husband, my two nieces (their daughters) and my brother. They rarely attend Mass, and seemed to have abandoned the faith, despite all of them having gone to Catholic schools for twelve years. They are all good people whom I love. In fact, my one niece (my sister’s youngest daughter) joined the Peace Corps, and since April of this year has been serving a family of a single mother with four children in Zambia. I believe that her having been raised Catholic and having had the privelege to receive a Catholic education may very well have inspired her to serve people in need through the Peace Corp. Sadly, with the exception of my dear Mom and me (my Dad passed away in 1994) none of my family members attend Mass. Though a decidedly imperfect Catholic, I try my best to be a good “role model” to my fam ily and other people of what a good Catholic and follower of Jesus entails. Your article was i thoughtful and inspiring. I’m glad that you “reverted” to our faith, and that your husband decided to follow Christ in the Church. Please pray for my family and me. Incidentally, my sister-in-law, her daughter (my niece) and her son (my nephew) are all Presbyterians. My dear sister-in-law is a devout Presbyterian who regularly attends their worship services. My niece and nephew attend services, but I’m unsure of how frequently they do so. Let’s please pray for the return of Catholics to the faith, and for Christian unity. God bless you Christy, your husband and your children. I have recently began to enjoy reading tye excellent articles on this website. I learned about Catholic Mom by reading an article in Our Sunday Visitor newsweekly in an article about mothers. Take care, and all tye best with your thoughtful writing! Respectfully, Tim Donovan

  4. Tim, you and your family will definitely be in my prayers! Life is never uncomplicated, but God does love a surprise ending. Your fidelity and love for Christ is inspiring, and I wish you the best. Thanks for reading!

  5. For the conversion of all the lukewarm and fallen away Catholics in our families and in the work place. And for the conversion of all sinners around the world.

  6. I have so many people I pray for conversions that a page may not be enough. Please pray especially for my parents, who are elderly. Also for my niece, nephew, and their father; for all my relatives and friends; especially for a coworker friend of mine named Logan.

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