Praying for the lost.
“It seems that God is limited by our prayer life. He can do nothing for humanity unless someone asks him to do it.” ~ John Wesley
One of our first steps in reaching those that don’t know Christ is through prayer. Without prayer, we will not see the will of God manifested on the earth, which is that souls are saved. Opening our eyes and prayer go hand and hand. When we open our eyes we are moved to pray and when we pray our eyes are opened and we develop a heart for people!
Key Principles to remember when praying for the lost. (unbeliever):
~ State of a lost person. (unbeliever) (Ephesians 4:17-18 NKJV)
~ Objective: For men and women to come to salvation and the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4 NKJV)
~ Open Doors: We can pray for God to open doors for the gospel to go forth in the lives of unbelievers and for laborers to be sent to them to bring them the truth. (Colossians 4:2-4 NKJV)
~ Open Hearts: Our prayers should be directed at taking our authority and removing the obstacles to an unbeliever receiving the Gospel. We want their hearts to be softened and open so the word of God could be received, take root in their lives and they can go on to bear fruit. (Acts 16:14 NKJV, 2 Corinthians 3:14-16 NKJV)
Foundational principles in praying for the lost.
1. It’s God’s will and desire for all men to come into a relationship with him. (1 Timothy 2:1-4 NKJV)
Some key principles found in 1 Timothy 2:1-4:
A. Prayer is one of our first steps and should be a priority.
B. God desires for us to pray for all men, which includes unbelievers.
C. We should be praying for our leaders.
D. Prayers for unbelievers are good and acceptable to God.
Acceptable (apodektos) pleasing and welcome, agreeable & accepted
E. Our prayers will help bring people to salvation and the knowledge of the truth.
2. When we pray according to God’s will, he answers us. (1 John 5:14-15 NKJV)
~ God will answer our prayers when it comes to praying for the lost, but there is still a possibility that they don’t respond to Him and reject the Gospel because they do have a free will.
3. In prayer love and compassion must be our foundation and motivation. (1 Corinthians 14:1 AMP)
4. Prayer prepares our hearts to change our world. (Psalm 5:3 AMPC, Jude 20 AMPC)
5. There is tremendous power available in prayer. (James 5:16 NKJV)
6. When we pray we must not doubt, but believe. (James 1:6 NKJV)
7. In prayer the Holy Spirit will teach us, guide us, and pray through us. (John 14:26 NKJV, John 16:13 (NKJV, Romans 8:26)
Scriptural ways to pray for the lost.
1. We must understand that it’s God’s will for all men to be saved. (1 Timothy 2:3-4 NKJV, 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV)
2. We need to be persistent and unmoved by what we see. (Luke 18:1 NKJV, 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV)
3. Pray for conviction to come upon the unbeliever. (Acts 2:36-37 NKJV, John 16:8 NKJV)
4. Take authority over the lies of the enemy, so light can shine in their hearts. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV, Ephesians 6:12 NKJV, Matthew 28:18 NKJV)
5. Prayer for protection in their lives. (Hebrews 1:14 NKJV)
6. Prayer for laborers to be put in their path. (Matthew 9:37-38 NKJV)
7. Go before the Lord in intercession. (Ezekiel 22:30 NKJV)
~ Intercession (enteuxis) Seeking the presence and hearing of God on the behalf of others. A meeting with, a conversation, a petition.
8. Pray for a hunger for the Lord to develop and a dissatisfaction for the things of the world. (Psalm 34:8 NKJV)
9. Pray in the Spirit. (Romans 8:26 NKJV)
10. Pray that they would encounter the transforming power of God’s Love. (Psalm 107:8- 9 NIV, Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV)
Praying for ourselves and other believers.
1. That our Love would abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. (Philippians 1:9-11 NKJV)
2. That we would fearlessly and boldly make known the mystery of the Gospel. (Ephesians 6:19-20 NKJV, Acts 4:29 NKJV)
3. We would bear fruit in every good work. (Colossians 1:10 NKJV)
4. Pray for God to open doors for us to share the gospel and that we share it clearly. (Colossians 4:2-4 NKJV)
5. His purposes will be fulfilled in our lives and he would be glorified.
(2 Thessalonians 1:11- 12 NKJV)
Potential obstacles to an unbeliever coming to Christ.
1. Satan, the god of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:3-5 NKJV, John 10:10)
2. The person allowing the word to be stolen or nullified through no roots or cares and desires of world. (Mark 4:13-20 NKJV)
~The seed of the word itself is never the problem, because it is incorruptible and will do its job. Although it can be stolen, endure only for a season, or be choked out.
3. A person willfully rejecting the gospel. (Hosea 4:6 NKJV, Luke 20:17 NKJV)
4. The word not going forth or lack of prayer. (Romans 10:14-15 NKJV)