Growing up in church, I remember being encouraged to pray for our lost friends and family. So I would do it but felt very ineffective. I would pray for people, but I felt like my words weren’t going anywhere or weren’t very powerful.
Then somebody taught me how to use scripture to pray for my lost friends and family (a strategy, so to speak). I have been implementing it, and now I feel that it is powerful and effective when I pray.
Learning how to pray the truth of His word radically changed how I prayed.
In our current sermon series, “All That Matters,” we are learning that lost people are what’s on God’s heart. ALL OF THEM. And He has called each person who knows Him to help those who don’t find a relationship with Him.
We ask you to think of 10 people you know are far from God, pray for them, and invite them to church with you.
I know it may sound scary, but there is power in the personal invitation. And what’s the worst that can happen? They say no?
I am even going to help you!
You can download your personal prayer booklet here and just begin to pray:
(Excerpt from the booklet)
1. ASK GOD TO DRAW THEM TO JESUS
God draws people to Him. It’s not something we can make happen out of our own efforts, so we need to be faithful in praying that the Father would draw those He’s placed on our hearts to Jesus.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them...
Think about the people you know who are far from God. Let your heart be open to God and anyone He may bring to your mind. It may help to write down their names as you focus on praying for them.
“Father, I pray for the people around me (list specific names), that You would supernaturally draw their hearts to You. Send Your Holy Spirit to them, and give them the desire to give their lives to You. Help them to recognize their longing for more in life as a spiritual thirst only You can quench. Open their ears to hear Your voice.”
2. BIND THE SPIRIT THAT BLINDS THEIR MINDS
The truth can be right in front of some people, and they still can’t see it because something is in the way blocking their view of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
We can pray against whatever is in their way so that they can see the light of God. We can pray that they would see the truth without any obstacles or distractions interfering.
“Father, bind the evil spirits that are blinding the minds of the people around me. In the name of Jesus, I pray that they would be able to see clearly, to recognize who You are, and to give their hearts to You. Remove all hindrances the enemy would use to distract them from Your truth. Open their eyes, Lord, that they might see Jesus.”
3. PRAY THAT THEY MAY HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Many people think Christianity is just another religion. They only see God through the lens of the organization and institution of the church. They may even feel frustrated, angry, or betrayed by people in churches they have encountered or by religious legalists and their hypocrisy. But God didn’t come to build an organization. He came to have a relationship with His children.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
God wants His beloved sons and daughters to come home. Praying for people to have personal encounters with the living God makes a huge difference.
“Father, I pray that people will understand how much You love them. Loose the Spirit of adoption for the people around me, so that they come into a meaningful relationship with You. Stir in their hearts a longing to come home, to hear Your voice, and to see You welcoming them with open arms. Let them know You are always running to meet them and hold them close.”
4. PRAY FOR BELIEVERS TO CROSS THEIR PATHS
This is twofold: we can pray for other Christians to influence the people around them positively, and we can also look for opportunities to influence others positively ourselves. God’s plan to reach people is worked through those who already know and love Him.
Jesus asked us to pray for people to go into the world to be salt and light. He came to bring the good news of the Gospel to all people, and His desire is that everyone would know and love Him.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.
As His “spiritual farmers,” we should be attuned to opportunities to plant spiritual seeds in the lives of the people we encounter each day. We may have no idea who has already been praying for them and the culminating impact our kind word, compassionate act, or loving attitude can have to draw someone to Christ.
“Father, I pray for the lost around me to meet believers who will influence them in a positive way. Lord, let my life shine in such a way that people want to know the God I serve. Allow others to see my genuine love and concern for them in all that I say and do. Let me be Your hands and feet to serve them and let them know just how much You love them.”
5. RELEASE THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND REVELATION ON THEM, SO THEY MAY KNOW GOD BETTER
It’s that “eureka” moment, that “aha!” when it finally clicks. The most important moment to have this kind of revelation is when the lights come on spiritually. People need to see their own sin, see what Jesus did on the cross, and see the hope that comes from giving their life to God.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
People need wisdom, not just knowledge, of spiritual things and insight into how spiritual realities directly impact them. We can pray for this kind of supernatural revelation that only comes from God.
One of the reasons I love this strategy is because I am praying scripture, and scripture is alive and active.
Jesus gave three examples of lost things, and we see here that everything that was lost was worth doing whatever it took to find.
Read these three stories to see how Jesus feels about the lost.
Luke 15:4-6. (NIV)
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
Of course, the lost sheep here refers to a believer who strayed away from the Lord. The sheep that was lost was not lost to start with. It was one of the 100 sheep.
Luke 15:8-9 (NIV)
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’
In this parable, something was misplaced or lost. Again, the parable refers to a believer who strays from the Lord. The coin that was lost was not lost at the beginning of the parable. It was one of the ten coins on the bracelet.
Luke 15:24, and 31-32 (NIV)
For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
He was a son before he left, while he was gone, and when he returned.
We are all children of God, no matter where we are or what we do, but for those:
- Who don’t know God yet
- Who know of Him but don’t know how much He loves them or what joy they could have in their lives if they had a relationship with Him
- Who used to know Him but have been hurt and blame Him in some way
- Who refuse to acknowledge Him
Those are the “lost” we pray for.
You may have a family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker that has been on your mind.
Ask God for a Holy Spirit boldness to pray for and invite each one to church.