Last updated on June 26th, 2020
Do you want to pray for the lost? Many are burdened for lost loved ones or wayward children. This post will empower you for spiritual warfare. It’s adapted and expanded from the original tract at Sermon Index: How I Learned To Pray For The Lost. What follows is a copy of the article in its entirety for your ease of reference with additional verses and comments at the end.
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.I Timothy 2:1, 3-4 (KJV)
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 (KJV)
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 Cor. 10:4-5 (KJV)
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. 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.
We will find as we pray the Holy Spirit will give new leads. Always follow His leads. We were interceding for a soul recently and felt that our prayers were not making contact. It seemed that there was nothing there. Then the Holy Spirit inspired us to begin to draw them up unto God in the name of the Lord Jesus. As we obeyed this leading, repeating, “I draw_____ unto God in the name of the Lord Jesus,” we felt our prayers gradually take hold. It seemed that we were drawing that one from deep within the very camp of the enemy. Then we were able to proceed as usual, claiming every detail of that life for God, holding the blood against the enemy.
This is true warfare in the spirit realm. Thank God that our spiritual weapons are mighty and that our authority in Christ is far above all authority of the rulers, the principalities and powers of darkness, so that the enemy is obliged to yield. But it takes faith, patience and persistence.
Missionaries on foreign and home fields can resist the enemy in their districts, communities and schools, by holding the blood of Jesus against the powers of darkness, sin and unbelief, in the authority of the name of Jesus. In the name of the Lord Jesus they can command that the enemy retreat.
By The Holy Spirit’s Power
We would like to point out that “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63). “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life” (2 Cor. 3:6). Therefore, we must constantly seek the quickening of the Holy Spirit in our own hearts, in our faith, in our prayer and testimony. It is most important also, that we keep ourselves and all that we have under the protection of the blood. The enemy will use every possible means to silence our intercession and block our advancement 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 God has provided for our protection. Thus equipped and protected, we need have no fear. But let us always remember that we of ourselves have no power and no authority outside of Christ.
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.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:11). For many years I thought this “word of testimony” meant the testimony of others to the goodness of God such as is customary in prayer and praise services.
But the time came when the Spirit began to reveal that this testimony was a word spoken directly to Satan and his demon spirits, and in the name of Jesus, and upon the basis of His shed blood, to command them in the first person. I was hesitant to accept this position since I had absolutely no precedent to follow.
I never heard, so far as I can remember, anyone else so interpret this Scripture as speaking the word of command directly to Satan and his emissaries. Satan sought to frighten me to keep from attempting such a thing. He tried to tell me that something terrible would happen to me if I became so presumptuous as to speak directly to him–even in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, and upon the basis of the shed blood of the Son of God.
When at last, in hesitation and trembling, I ventured to speak directly to him, calling him by name and commanding him and his demons of depression, oppression, affliction and bondage, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and upon the basis of His shed blood, to leave me and release me, I discovered immediate relief and release.
It was as though the demons of doubt and fear and bondage instantly melted away at the name of Jesus and the blood of the Lamb when the word of command was spoken directly to Satan and the demons he was causing to oppress and blind.
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14). “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
How We Overcome by the Blood of the Lamb
Try the method at once. This is the way in which you should use this plea. Say, “My God, I am utterly unworthy, and I own it; but, I beseech thee, hear me for the honour of thy dear Son. By his agony and bloody sweat, by his cross and passion, by his precious death and burial, I beseech thee hear me! O Lord, let the blood of thine Only-begotten prevail with thee! Canst thou put aside his groans, his tears, his death, when they speak on my behalf?” If you can thus come to pleading terms with God upon this ground, you must and will prevail. Jesus must be heard in heaven. The voice of his blood is eloquent with God. If you plead the atoning sacrifice, you must overcome through the blood of the Lamb.The Blood of the Lamb, the Conquering Weapon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Be Persistent Verses
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;Colossians 1:9-10 (KJV)
Verses suggested by Timeless Truths: How I Learned to Pray for the Lost
2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. 3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. 4 And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; 5 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: 6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. 7 And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. 8 Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. 9 Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.
10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. 11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. 12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.Daniel 10:2-13
11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.2 Corinthians 2:11
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.I Peter 5:8-9
SUGGESTED BY TIMELESS TRUTHS: HOW I LEARNED TO PRAY FOR THE LOST
Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.Revelation 7:3
E.M. Bounds was a famous preacher – known for his books on prayer – whose son was not converted until 63 years after his death. Read the story at Come to the Fire – Never Stop Praying for Your Loved Ones or order the booklet from Revival Literature.
Chrissy Cymbala Toledo is a young lady whose life was nearly destroyed by sin. A prayer meeting set her free from the enemy’s control. She shares highlights of her story in this interview by CNN – Rescuing the Girl in the Song.
One Sunday night we Reeces had a family over after church. As we were swapping stories of how God had brought us to faith in Christ, the husband of the visiting family shared this story: “I have the name of a special friend written inside my Bible cover. He’s someone I knew well in my rough, younger days. But he became a Christian and we went our separate ways for many years. After I was saved, our paths crossed again. He was so excited to learn I was now a believer. Then he showed me a piece of paper inside his Bible cover. On it was a list of ten names. He explained that he and some Christian brothers had made a “Top Ten List” of people who were the least likely to ever be saved. They agreed to pray daily for the salvation of the people on that list. My name was at the top.”
Pray that God will break up wrong relationships (Hedge of Thorns)
5 For their mother hath played the harlot… for she said, I will go after my lovers… 6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns… 7 And she shall follow after her lovers… but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.Hosea 2:5-7
Pray God will direct their hearts
The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.Proverbs 21:1
Pray God will soften their hearts
For God maketh my heart soft…Job 23:16a
Pray they will hear the Word of God
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.Romans 10:17
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.John 20:30-31
Pray Satan will not snatch away the Word, the cares and lusts of the world will not choke it out, but that it will grow in a soft heart and bear fruit
14 The sower soweth the word. 15 And these are they… where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word… 18 And these are… such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.Mark 4:14-20
Pray God’s goodness will lead them to repentance
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?Romans 2:4
Pray that God will humble them unto repentance
33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen…
34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High… 37 whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.Daniel 4:33-34, 37
Pray they would come to themselves
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living… 14 and he began to be in want… 17 And when he came to himself, he said… 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee…Luke 15:13-18
Pray they will believe in God’s mercy
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.2 Peter 3:9
22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.Lamentations 3:22-23
Pray God will give them repentance
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.2 Timothy 2:24-26
Pray God will give them saving faith
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.Ephesians 2:8-9