I’ve always known the power of prayer is real, but it was not something I believed in for myself. Thankfully, I had a mom who was always on her knees, warring in prayer, contending for me and my siblings. Her prayers have made a difference in all our lives.

Although I grew up in a Christian home, I didn’t have a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus, for many years. I’ve since learned that God never forces someone into a relationship with Him. He patiently waits for us to realize our need for Him. Revelation 3:20 says that Jesus stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. But He never forces that door open.

Without God in my life, I headed down a path of destruction. In fact, the choices I made got me expelled from college. As time went by, I slipped deeper into darkness. I was blinded by my desire to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I thought that was freedom.

And then I attended the wedding of a friend who had been expelled from college with me. While I was there, God opened my eyes to the bondage I’d been living in. He showed me I had a choice: I could continue down the dark path I was on, clinging to the old ways that the enemy made readily available, or I could choose the path of life that comes from learning and accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

Fortunately, God touched my heart, and I chose Him. For the first time, I felt the grip of darkness and addiction loosen from my throat, and I felt the genuine embrace of my heavenly Father’s arm around my shoulders. Suddenly all the things about Christ I had heard growing up became real to me, and I found true freedom. I woke the next day a new person, and I have not been the same since.

That was a couple of years ago now. I’ve learned so much about the Lord since then, especially about the power of prayer. Looking back, I’m sure my mom knew the depths of darkness I was living in, but she never condemned me. Instead, she consistently prayed for me, trusting that God would open my heart to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Prayer was her weapon of love, and it was aimed straight at me. I picture my mom as a sniper: she had me in the crosshairs of her prayers. And in the end, her persistent prayers took down my hard heart.

Prayer is indeed a powerful weapon. Today, I find myself praying for others to experience the love of Jesus as I have. I’ve realized through my story that I don’t need to shove my faith or my prayers in their face to win them to Christ or change their behavior. That would only increase the gap between them and God and them and me.

Instead, I put them in the crosshairs of my spiritual scope. I pray for them to know God’s love. I ask the Lord to help them hear His voice and follow His ways.

And now, I pray for you. I pray that God will draw you to Himself and that your eyes will be opened to His love and the gift of eternal life He offers through His Son, Jesus. I pray that God will set you free—just like He did me—from rebellion and addiction, so you can experience the joy of living in a relationship with Him.

Or maybe you’re like my mom. You’ve been waiting and praying for a loved one to come to know the Lord, for a situation to change. Don’t be discouraged. Keep praying. Be consistent and tenacious with your prayers. As a believer, you are outfitted with the spiritual scope of prayer. And you can trust that God’s weapon of prayer never misses its target. You may not see immediate results, but you can trust that God’s timing will be perfect.