How I Learned to Pray for the Lost
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men…. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
We know that believers everywhere are burdened for unsaved or backsliding loved ones. However, many are praying in a spirit of fear and worry instead of in faith.
This has caused the writer to seek for definite light on how to pray, feeling the need of praying the right prayer, also the need for a definite promise or word upon which to base our faith when praying for the unsaved. Praise God, He never fails to give such needed help.
Perhaps because the salvation of some looked to us to be an impossibility, the first Scripture that was given us was:
“With God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)
The next scripture had occupied our attention sometime before, but with new emphasis now:
“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations [margin: reasonings], and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
This shows the mighty power of our spiritual weapons. We must pray that all this be accomplished in the ones for whom we pray: that is, that the works of the enemy be torn down.
Finally we were given the solid basis for our prayer—the ground of redemption. In reality, redemption purchased all mankind, so that we may say that each one is actually God’s purchased possession, although still held by the enemy. We must through the prayer of faith, claim and take for God, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that which is rightfully His. This can be done only on the ground of redemption. We do not mean to imply that because all persons have been purchased by God through redemption, they are thus automatically saved. They must believe and accept the gospel for themselves: this our intercession enables them to do.
To pray in the name of the Lord Jesus is to ask for or claim the things which the blood of Christ has secured. Each individual for whom prayer is made should be claimed by name, as God’s purchased possession in the name of the Lord Jesus on the ground of His shed blood.
We should claim the tearing down of all the works of Satan, such as false doctrine, unbelief, hatred, etc., which the enemy may have built up in their thinking, and that their very thoughts shall be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
In the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus, claim their deliverance from the power and persuasion of the Evil One, and from the love of the world and the lust of the flesh. We should pray also for the quickening of their conscience, and that God might grant them repentance and hearing ears and believing hearts as they hear or read the Word of God. Pray that God’s will and purpose be accomplished in and through them.
Intercession must be persistent, not to persuade God, for redemption is of God, but because of the enemy. Our prayer and resistance are against the enemy, the awful powers and rulers of darkness (Daniel 10:2-13; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Peter 5:8-9). It is our duty before God to fight for the souls for whom Christ died. Just as some preach to them the good news of their redemption, just so others must fight back the powers of darkness on their behalf. Satan yields only what and when he must, and he renews his attacks in subtle ways; therefore, prayer must be persisted in, even long after definite results are seen. We must hold what is taken for God against the enemy until such time as that soul is firmly established in the faith.
Satan has succeeded in keeping God’s people in the dark about Christ’s finished work on Calvary—and his defeat there. He has succeeded by deception in convincing the Church that he is almost, if not quite, as powerful as God, when actually he has no power at all—that is, he has no legal standing, no rights, no authority.
The devil knows that when the Church fully realizes the utterness of his defeat, and how to use the authority which has been delegated to her, his evil reign is over.
Therefore, he seeks by every means possible to keep God’s people in the dark, to prevent their knowing about and using the authority which is theirs.
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)
“Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
“Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 7:12)