December 18, 2017

Praying for the Lost

George Stiekes

The believer’s responsibility with regards to reaching the lost must begin with prayer. Paul makes this very clear in I Timothy 2:1-4: I exhort therefore, that FIRST OF ALL, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for ALL men: For kings, and for ALL that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have ALL men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

The “ALL” indicates that we can never pray too widely. It is GOD’S WILL that we pray for the lost (2:4). It is not His will . . .that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). Death and eternal destruction is not God’s desire and our praying ought to re-echo His desire.

Many Christians claim that they want to see loved ones, neighbors, and friends saved and yet, over a period of time, little progress is made in getting them saved. Is there a genuine burden followed by passionate, fervent and persevering prayer. In short, how burdened are we to see God do something?

So many Christians say that they believe in prayer, yet they spend so little time in prayer and seldom attend prayer services. How can we say that we believe prayer changes things and depend on it so little? God will indeed do many things in response to our praying, but we must pray and we must as He has instructed us in His Word.

1. Recognize our God given prayer privileges as believers and then be determined to use those privileges for His glory (Ephesians 2:6; Hebrews 4:16). Recognize further that when God gets the glory, we get the blessing.

2. Remember what it was like to be lost. Thank God for saving you and ask Him to give you a greater burden for lost souls. Be aware that the first prayer God will hear from anyone’s lips is the prayer of the sinner. Then ask God for a greater burden for lost souls.

3. Keep in mind the character of God as revealed in His Word.

A. His goodness – Shall not the judge of all the earth do right (Genesis 18:25).

B. His mercy – Remember, O Lord, Thy tender mercies and Thy loving kindness; for they have been even of old (Psalm 25:6). It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not (Lamentations 3:22).

C. His faithfulness – Great is Thy faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23). Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it (I Thessalonians 5:24).

D. His longsuffering – The Lord…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9).

E. His will – Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4).

F. His compassion – But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest (Matthew 9:36-38).

G. God’s Name – That all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even Thou only (II Kings 19:19).

H. His promises – …him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out (John 6:37).

I. His grace – God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (James 4:6). In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

J. His love – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

The greater your knowledge of God and His Word, the greater will be your ability to pray for the lost biblically. It will also help you to be better prepared in sharing the Gospel with the lost.

4. Confess and repent of any sin standing between you and God. Sin clogs the channel of prayer between man and God (Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:1-2; James 5:16).

5. Pray in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

Praying In the Flesh

Praying in the Spirit

A. The heart desires what we love, what we want, and resists what we do not love. A. The heart is surrendered to God and therefore loves what God loves and hates what God hates.
B. The mind seeks what we think is best, important and necessary. B. The mind being surrendered to God’s Word seeks the mind of Christ as to what is best & necessary.
C. The will longs for what we want or do not want. C. The will being surrendered to Christ wills to do His will and wants what He wants.
This is not true prayer and it will not be heard or answered. This is true prayer and will be offered by one who truly walks close to the Lord. His prayer will be both heard and answered.

6. Pray specifically by name for certain people to be saved. Don’t pray, “God, save the lost.” Many times we vocalize words to God, but really fail to pray.

7. Pray for open doors (Colossians 4:3) and be ready to move when God speaks to you. In Acts 4:31, when they honestly prayed, God gave them boldness to speak the Word of God. In Luke 10:2-3, those who were told to pray were themselves sent forth with the gospel message. The disciples moved God in prayer and God moved them. A Christian, with a genuine burden, who spends time at the throne of grace, will not be afraid to tell people how to stay out of hell and be saved. Always pray and be ready!

8. You should also pray as you approach the lost and as you share Christ.

A. Pray for power and pray for God to open the blind minds to spiritual truth (II Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:10-18; II Timothy 2:24-26; I Peter 5:8,9).

B. Pray for God to prepare the hearts of those who are ready to be saved (Divine appointments).

C. Pray for God to draw the sinner to Christ (John 6:44). Pray for the sinner to turn from their sin (Acts 3:19).

D. Pray that the Word of God would have free course when we share His Word (II Thessalonians 3:1).

E. Pray specifically that they would seek God (Deuteronomy 4:29) and confess Jesus Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10).

List those that you covenant to pray for every day. Find a prayer promise that relates and claim it.

PRAYER REQUESTS Date First Prayed Date Answered Bible Verse Claimed

Prayer Promises:
John 15:7 Matthew 7:7 James 5:16 Mark 11:24 Psalm 50:10 John 14:14 Luke 22:43 James 4:8 James 4:3 Ephesians 3:20 I Sam. 12:23 Luke 18:1-8 I John 5:14 I Tim. 2:1-4 Jeremiah 33:3 Psalm 91:15 Luke 11:91 Matt. 9:37-38 Luke 22:43

Previous posts in this series:

George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

Submit other comments here.