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How Do I Pray for Lost Loved Ones?

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In today’s concert of prayer, the Holy Spirit is leading me to pray for those who do not know Jesus Christ. For a moving, real-life illustration of the need for your prayer and witness, see My surprise Visitor — I believe this post will motivate you in your prayer for the lost.

One of the most helpful, encouraging personal accounts of prayer for lost souls is found in The 2959 Plan by Peter Lord. In this guide to prayer and communion with God, Peter shares a letter written to him by a person who saw dramatic answers to prayer — after praying ineffectively for lost loved ones for over 20 years:

Here is a remarkable testimony which should be of real help to many.  Since the nature of the testimony is personal, the writer requested that her name be withheld. The letter accompanying this testimony says in part: “This is the result of my search for the right way of praying for the unsaved. I have found it to produce amazing results in a very short time.  After more than 20 years of fruitless praying, it seemed that there was no possible chance for my loved ones to ever return to the faith. But after only a few weeks of the type of praying that I have outlined here, I have seen them studying the Bible by the hours and attending every church service possible. Also, their whole attitude toward Christianity has changed, and all resistance seems to be gone. I have taken my place of authority in Christ and am using it against the Enemy. I have not looked at myself to see if I am fit or not; I have just taken my place and have prayed that the Holy Spirit may do His convicting work. If each and every member of the Body of Christ would do this, what a change would be made in this world.”

 

Believers everywhere are burdened for unsaved or backsliding loved ones. However, many are praying in the spirit of fear and worry instead of in faith.

This has caused me to seek for definite light on how to pray; feeling the need of praying the right prayer and also the need for a definite promise or word from God on which to base my faith when praying for the unsaved.  Praise God—He never fails to give such needed help.

Perhaps because the salvation of some seemed to me to be an impossibility, the first verse of Scripture that was given to me was Mark 10:27: “With God all things are possible.”

The next Scripture verse had occupied my attention for some time, but it took on a new meaning: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations [speculations] 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 of this will be accomplished in the ones for whom we are concerned; that is, that the works of the Enemy will be torn down.

Finally, I was given the solid foundation for my prayers—the basis of redemption. In reality, Christ’s redemption purchased all mankind, so that we may say that each one is actually God’s purchased possession, although he is still held by the Enemy. We must, through the prayer of faith, claim and take for God, in the name of the Lord Jesus, that which is rightfully His. This can be done only on the basis of redemption. This is not meant to imply that, because all persons have been purchased by God through redemption, they are automatically saved. They must believe and accept the gospel for themselves; our intercession enables them to do this.

To pray in the name of the Lord Jesus is to ask for, or to claim, the things which the blood of Christ has secured.  Therefore, each individual for whom prayer is made should be claimed by name as God’s purchased possession, in the name of the Lord Jesus and on the basis of His shed blood.

We should claim the tearing down of all the works of Satan, such as false doctrine, unbelief, atheistic teaching and hatred, which the Enemy may have built up in their thinking. We must pray that their very thoughts will be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

With the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus, we must 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 also pray that their conscience may be convicted, that God may bring them to the point of repentance and that they may listen and believe as they hear or read the Word of God. Our prayer must be that God’s will and purposes may be accomplished in and through them.

Intercession must be persistent—not to persuade God, for redemption is by God, but because of the Enemy. Our prayer and resistance are against the Enemy—the awful powers and rulers of darkness.  It is our duty before God to fight for the souls for whom Christ died. Just as some must preach to them the good news of redemption, others must fight the powers of darkness on their behalf through prayer.

Satan yields only what and when he must, and he renews his attacks in subtle ways. Therefore, prayer must be definite and persistent, even long after definite results are seen. And we must pray for the new Christian even after he begins to be established in the faith.

We will find that as we pray, the Holy Spirit will give new directions. At one time I was interceding for a soul and began to feel that my prayers were largely ineffective. Then the Holy Spirit inspired me to begin presenting that person to God in the name of the Lord Jesus. As I obeyed this leading, praying, “I present so-and-so to God in the name of the Lord Jesus,” I felt that my prayers were gradually becoming more effective. It seemed that I was drawing that person from deep within the very camp of the Enemy. Then I was able to proceed as usual, claiming every detail of that life for God, using the power of the blood against the Enemy. This is true warfare in the spiritual realm. Thank God that our spiritual weapons are mighty and that our authority in Christ is far above all the authority of the rulers, powers, and forces of darkness, so that the Enemy must yield.  But it takes faith and patience and persistence.

Missionaries on foreign and home fields can resist the Enemy in their districts, communities, and schools by using the power of the blood of Jesus against the powers of darkness, sin, and unbelief.  With the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus they can demand that the Enemy retreat.

Note that “it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” (John 6:63) and that “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). Therefore, we must constantly seek the motivation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, in our faith, in our prayer, and in our testimony. It is most important, also, that we confess our own sins and have them forgiven. The Enemy will use every possible means to silence our intercession and to block our attack against him. We must not only understand our Enemy, our authority in Christ and how to use our spiritual weapons, but also how to wear the armor that God has provided for our protection.  Thus equipped and protected, we need not have any fear. But let us always remember that we have no power and no authority other than that of Christ.

“Now thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:14. KJV).

Greater is he that is in you (Christ), than he that is in the world (Satan)” (1 John 4:4, KJV).

—  L.M.  [1]

The Holy Spirit will lead you to many scriptures and promises as you pray for lost loved ones, lost church members (yes, sadly there are many within the church who are not truly saved), and the lost in your community. May those mentioned in the letter above and the bulleted list below be a starting place for you. As the writer of the above letter states, it is important to remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit, praying what He desires to pray through us.

Additional Scriptures and Promises to Pray:

  • John 6:44, 65 — Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (v.44). In verse 65, He said, “…no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

Pray that the Father will draw your loved one and enable him / her to come to Christ.

  • 2 Corinthians 4:3-4“Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…” The Amplified Bible Classic says that the Gospel is “obscured and covered up with a veil that hinders the knowledge of God, it is hidden only to those who are perishing and obscured only to those who are spiritually dying and veiled only to those who are lost.”

Pray that the veil over the gospel will be lifted for this one who is perishing.

  • 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 — “4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Take a look at the meanings of these words in the original language. It will invigorate your prayer life and show you how to specifically plead this promise and exercise its authority in the life of your lost loved one:

power (v.4):  “to be able (to do something), having power for something.” [2] The root word for “power” means: “to be able, to have power, to be capable, strong and powerful.”[3]

strongholds (v.4): “a castle, stronghold, fortress; anything on which one relies; the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavors to fortify his opinion and defend it”[4]

demolish (v.5):  “take down, (as from a higher place,) with the idea of force, to pull down.”[5]throw down, cast down…pull down, demolish the subtle reasonings (of opponents) likened to a fortress, i.e. to refute, to destroy.”[6]

The word for “demolish” used in verse 4 is taken from this root word and means “a pulling down, destruction, demolition”

arguments (v.5): “a reckoning, reasoning, such as is hostile to the Gospel”[7][8]

pretension (v.5): “thing elevated, height, to lift up”[9]

The weapons of the your prayer and the promises of God are able, strong and powerful. Use these weapons to destroy the arguments and reasonings the enemy has established in your loved one’s mind that are hostile to the Gospel—religions, philosophies, belief systems that have exalted themselves against the knowledge of Christ.

  • Matthew 16:13-17 – Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?” When Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon…for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

The Father must be the one to reveal to humanity who Jesus truly is. Our verbal witnessing alone cannot do this. Pray that our Father will reveal to your loved one who Jesus is!

  • Luke 24:45“Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”

Pray that Jesus will open your loved one’s mind so that he or she can understand the scriptures.

  • John 6:45 – Jesus said, “Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.” God draws people by teaching them.

Pray that your loved one will listen to the voice of God and learn from him. If this takes place, God has promised he / she will come to Jesus Christ.

  • John 16:8-11, 138 When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me;11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. … 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.”

Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict your loved one of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment. And that He, the Spirit of Truth, will guide him / her into all truth.

Pray in Firm Faith and Confident Expectation

I encourage you to print the letter and bullet points and place them with your Bible at your daily place of prayer to remind you of specific promises you can plead for those who do not know Christ. Whatever format you use for your prayer journal, include this letter and bullet points. Perhaps you could paste them in your prayer app, or clip this page to evernote. Put this content somewhere that will be easily accessible for you… and pray DAILY in firm faith that God will answer!

George Mueller prayed every day for lost loved ones to be saved. In time, every one of them was converted. Mr. Mueller prayed every day for over 52 years for the salvation of two men, but he never doubted God would answer. The key to Mr. Mueller’s prayers was the firm faith in which he prayed. He was 100% confident that God would answer. You can pray with that same confidence and expectation. See Renew Your Passion to Pray for the Lost: 5 Thoughts from George Mueller

Questions:

  • How will knowing these specific ways to pray affect your prayers for your lost loved one?
  • Will you be more motivated to pray and more consistent in your prayers? 
  • Will you pray with more confidence and expectation — with firm faith that God will answer? 

 


*  All scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version (1984 Edition) unless otherwise noted.

[1] Peter Lord, The 2959 Plan, (Agape Ministries, 1976), 27-29

[2] http://bible.lifeway.com/crossmain.asp, Strongs #1415

[3] Ibid, Strongs #1410

[4] http://bible.lifeway.com/crossmain.asp, Strongs #3794

[5] E.W. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 1999), 137

[6] http://bible.lifeway.com/crossmain.asp, Strongs #2507

[7] Ibid, Strongs #3053

[8] Spiros Zodhiates, The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1985), 1706

[9] http://bible.lifeway.com/crossmain.asp, Strongs #5313

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4 Responses to “How Do I Pray for Lost Loved Ones?”

  1. Corne du Toit says:

    Please pray for my son Ruben, he grew up in a Christian house, but told me he doesn't believe in God anymore. Pray that the Holy Spirit will give me the gift of knowledge to talk to him. I'm going to visit him next week (he lives far from me). He is involved with a lady who also grew up in a Christian home, but is believing now in the New Age – belief.

    • Natalie Turner says:

      Why don't you pray for your son ….this lady just laid out how to do so….why are you putting your son's soul in this lady's hands….you are his mother …you should pray…search the internet if you have to….this is your starting point…time is short….we do not have long..

  2. Sheri says:

    Thank you for this information…my son was saved and baptized about 10 years ago…he has become very involved with the Masons…which as we all know false doctrine..he is becoming higher up in the organization..dangerous…very dangerous…my heart hurts. Have been pleading with the holy spirit to pursue him..torture him to listen to how dangerous this is….

  3. Natalie Turner says:

    A lot of people do not have a clue on how to find scriptures…or even what scriptures exist….you could have put up a sample outline or something ….souls are at hand…we are no longer in the last days…but the last hours ..Thank You and God Bless!!!!

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