Whilst there are wonderful stories of people eventually coming to know the Lord after years of faithful praying by a friend or relative, many of us have known disappointment in this area.
Whilst Paul was convinced that prayer is key to ‘opening a door’ for the truth of the gospel to penetrate the hearts and minds of unbelievers (Col 4:2-4), we may struggle in this area. It may be that we have seen few answers to our prayers for unbelievers, or find it difficult to persevere. Many of us have never been taught how to pray in this vital area. We may mentally agree with the following except from Prayer in Evangelism: (Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 42, 20), but not know where to start.
“Many things happen when Christians pray for the unsaved in their spheres of influence, their communities, and their world – things that wouldn’t have happened if they had not prayed (Eph 3:20). This is true because all the power of prayer is God’s power released through our prayers. God’s power, working in and through believers, changes hearts (1 Tim 2:1-4), accomplishes great works (John 14:12-14), defeats Satan (Eph 6:18), and shapes history. It has been said, ‘Prayer is not a key to evangelism, it is the key’!
Something happens to those we pray for:
“Hearts are softened and changed;
people are convicted of sin and turn to God in repentance;
people are delivered from bondage and Satanic deceit; and
strongholds are broken such that individuals and communities are transformed.”
Below are seven steps to praying for people to become spiritually alive. Each of these steps is explained in more detail on the following pages. They are not intended to be mechanistic, but rather a helpful way to structure our thinking and praying. As such, whilst there is some logic to the sequence, it is not vital that they are prayed in a particular order. *
Step 1: Connecting with God’s Heart for the Lost
Step 2: Building Faith
Step 3: Fighting for Life
Step 4: Praying Life for the Spiritually Dead
Step 5: Praying Sight for the Spiritually Blind
Step 6: Praying Freedom for the Captives
Step 7: Praying for Opportunities
- Let me encourage you at the start of this ‘Pray for Life’ journey to ask God for the names of three people on whom to focus your prayers.
- You might also like to keep a prayer journal during these forty days.
* The influence on this structure of How to Pray for Lost Loved Ones by Dutch Sheets is gratefully acknowledged.