Are we commanded to pray for the salvation of the lost?
Mathew 9:37, 38 – Pray for laborers
Acts 4:29–31 – Pray for boldness
Colossians 4:2–4 – Pray for opportunity to speak and that your message will be clear
Ephesians 6:19, 20 – Pray for boldness and the right words to speak
2 Thessalonians 3:1 – Pray that the Word will have “free course”
John 17:20–24 – That they will be perfect, one in unity and present with Jesus
Philemon 6 – Share your faith
Acts 18:9, 10 – Keep speaking your faith and don’t be afraid
Philippians 4:2–4 – Unity! Unity! Get along!
There is nothing wrong in praying for the lost, but God says speak to the lost. Go to the lost. Can we follow His simple command, or do we disrespect Him?
Brian Cederquist is associate pastor of Good News Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Brian, this is a great question and a good Scriptural outline for us to put into practice ourselves. To answer your question I would ask you to consider: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” Romans 10:1 (NKJV) Doesn’t it appear that Paul was praying for the salvation of an entire nation of people? We are not commanded to pray for the lost, but I believe we have a great example of one who did pray for the salvation of others. Paul didn’t just pray; He backed up his prayers with ministry and witness to his fellow Jews. He put feet under his prayers. What a wonderful example of taking God’s gift of grace to a lost world!
Thanks for your thoughts on prayer and evangelism. I would agree with Greg that Paul gives us his example of praying for the lost in Romans 10. However, I believe there is an even stronger passage in I Timothy 2:1-8. I believe that passage, contextually, deals with public prayer in the church. Verse 1 challenges us to pray in various ways for all men. Verse 2 specifically focuses on praying for those in governmental authority. Verse 4, still in the same context, gives one particular focus of those prayers – the salvation of the lost. Verse 8 shows that the context is continuing throughout this passage – a context of public prayers in the church. So, I would suggest I Timothy 2 as one exhortation in which Paul challenges us to pray for the lost, especially praying for governmental authorities who do not know Christ!
Thanks Tom and Greg – I appreciate your insight and thoughts. Both of those passages have been a great encouragement to me of late!