Yahweh says to this people,
“Even so they have loved to wander.
They have not restrained their feet.
Therefore Yahweh does not accept them.
Now he will remember their iniquity,
and punish them for their sins.”
Yahweh said to me, “Don’t pray for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and meal offering, I will not accept them; but I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”
This passage shows us that sometimes it is actually wrong to pray for someone’s good. We also read that God makes it very clear first, but it’s important to know that the Bible teaches this. There are many, especially in my current culture, who believe that God doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Many go as far as to say that eventually everyone will be accepted by God, no matter how they try (or don’t try) to reach Him. This passage from the Bible and others like it, make it quite clear that there is a limit. Eventually, God’s grace is taken away from those who refuse to repent and turn to God.
Jeremiah was directly told by God to not pray for the good of His people. God was going to punish them and praying against God’s will would be a waste of Jeremiah’s time. I think that it’s important that we read God’s word to find out if some of the things we are praying are futile too. God may use His word to help us to understand that what we are desiring is outside of His will. As I’ve mentioned before, we should take all of our concerns to God, even the ones that are futile. Notice that in the passage before this one, Jeremiah was asking God to not leave Israel because of the famine. God then made it clear that Jeremiah should stop praying for the good of Israel. I believe that if we are honest before God, He will make it clear when it is time to stop praying for something. Until then, it’s more important to never give up! That’s something that Jesus said. Let’s read that again:
He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray, and not give up, saying, “There was a judge in a certain city who didn’t fear God, and didn’t respect man. A widow was in that city, and she often came to him, saying, ‘Defend me from my adversary!’ He wouldn’t for a while, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God, nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will defend her, or else she will wear me out by her continual coming.’”
So, it safe to say that we should always pray and not give up until Jesus tells us otherwise.