How to pray for the lost

There are many of us who have friends, families and relatives who have not yet repented and received Jesus as Lord. One of the most important keys to bring sinners to salvation is prayer. Therefore in this study we will look at some important keys on how to effectively pray for the lost.

The following truths are very important if we are to pray for the lost:

Firstly, it is God the Father who draws people to Christ. Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”  We cannot in our own strength influence others for Christ. Many are under such attack of the devil and the influence of sin, that without our prayers, many will be lost and go to hell.  That is why we can through our prayers, we release God’s grace to help them to receive Jesus.

Secondly, we have an open invitation from God to pray for the salvation of souls. In Hebrews 4:16 we read, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  We can ask Him to show mercy to those for whom we are praying, no matter how sinful they are, God’s mercy is greater than their sins.

Not only will they find mercy, but they will also find grace to help them to receive Jesus. One of the definitions of grace is, a divine influence on the heart. As we pray God’s grace is released on their hearts to enable them to say yes to Jesus. However, God has given them a free will, and they still have the freedom to say “yes or no” to Jesus.

Thirdly, we must believe that it is God’s will to save the lost. We read in 2 Peter 3:9, ” The Lord is not … willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” It most cases, it is God’s will to save those for whom we pray. However, there are rare cases where some people have hardened their hearts and resisted God so much, that they will no longer be able to turn to God. We read in 1 John 5:16, “There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.”

How to pray for the lost:

Firstly, we must break the influence of the powers of darkness over their minds and hearts.

We read in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” The reason why many have not repented is because their minds have been blinded. Those who have not received Jesus are under the influence of the spirit of this world, which is contrary to the Kingdom of God. We read in 1 John 5:19, that the whole world “lies under the sway of the wicked one.”

We can use our authority in Christ to break the blindness over their hearts and minds. In Luke 10:19, it says that “we have authority to trample on snakes and scorpions. In 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 we read, “For the weapons of our warfare are not [a]carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” We have the authority to break demonic strongholds over people’s minds.”

Jesus said in  Matthew 18:18-19, ” Assuredly, I say to you, “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “ Again I say to you “that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” One of the most powerful forms of prayer is the prayer of agreement. We can agree with others and bind the darkness over the minds of those whom we pray for.

Secondly, we can ask the Father to and draw them to Christ:

We have already read in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” The Bible says in 1 John 5:14, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” It is God’s will that none should perish, but should come to repentance. Therefore, with confidence we can ask the Father to draw them to Christ

Thirdly, we can ask the Father to convict them by the Holy Spirit:

We read in John 16:8, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” We can ask God to give them a revelation by the Holy Spirit of heaven and hell. Furthermore, we can ask the Father for the presence of the Holy Spirit that will bring conviction of sin.

Fourthly, we can pray specifically as the Holy Spirit leads us as we pray in the Spirit.

We can pray in tongues and believe the Holy Spirit to inspire our thoughts on how we should pray. In 1 Corinthians 14:13-15, “Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.  For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding.” We can pray in tongues, and then take a step of faith and pray in our own language, believing that the Holy Spirit is leading us while we pray.

For example, the Holy Spirit may lead us as follows: We can ask God to remove negative influences such as television, the internet, wrong relationships, bad habits and other things that distract them from Jesus. We can then ask God to bring positive influences into their lives. We can ask God to send Christians into their lives. Jesus said in Matthew 9:37 that we should ask the Father to send workers into the harvest fields. We can also ask God to speak to them through books,

Fifthly, we can make positive declarations over their lives:

Jesus said in Mark 11:23, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” It is important to say what we believe. In Hebrews 10:23 we read, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” The word confession means, “to say what God says.”

We can declare that promises of God’s word over their lives. For example, we can declare that they will serve the Lord and follow Jesus. We can declare that God is opening their hearts to the Holy Spirit and that they are turning to the Lord. In Job 22:28, it says in the King James Bible, “You shall decree a matter and it shall be established.”  Our words affect the spiritual world and release angelic activity to influence their lives for Christ. It is very important that our words agree with our prayers! It is no good to pray for something and then say the opposite!

Fifthly, the importance of thanksgiving:

In Philippians 4:6-7 we read, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and ….” Thanksgiving enables us to believe. Therefore, we can thank God for what He is already doing even if we do not yet see the answers.

Sixthly, it is important to persevere:

In Luke 18:1 we read “that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” In Ephesians 6:17 we read, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance  …” As we pray, the Holy Spirit will convict. If we stop praying, the conviction will stop. The reason why many of our prayers are not answered is because we do not pray consistently. We need to keep the pressure of conviction on them through prayer until something happens.

Finally, we can ask the Holy Spirit to show us if there are any actions that we should take:

In Romans 10:16 we read, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” God may want to us to share the gospel with them! Therefore, although it is important to pray for the lost, we also have the responsibility to share the gospel with them. When we talk to Jesus about people, it will be easier to talk to people about Jesus. We are co-laborers with Christ. If we do our part, God will do His part. We are living in a time of harvest and we can believe that through our prayers and the sharing of the gospel, many will be saved. We also read in John 4:36, “He that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit unto life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together.” Not only is there great reward on earth, but there will be great reward in eternity for those who turn others for Christ. Amen