My wife and I prayed for her father for 25 years. Eventually he came to faith. He died in his 90s, and you’d think he’d been a Christian all his life. But he was a pretty hard-bitten atheist. It took us 25 years of praying and witnessing. We always hoped it would be something instant and easy. It wasn’t.
I have a little silver donkey to remind me of Balaam’s ass, the patron saint of apologists. At our best we are humble, hopefully serviceable to the Lord, and sometimes a little ridiculous. Much as we think of our great arguments and our great approaches, they simply don’t work. We’ve got to go back and try again and pray and love. It’s not an easy thing.