I did a short Bible study over the summer called “Setting Captives Free: by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. This 4-week study was a reminder of how to pray for the unsaved. (I recommend the full study on prayer called “Living a Praying Life”.) In the midst of this short study one of our summer conference speakers encouraged us to get beyond praying, “Bless the missionaries.” I felt challenged to really pray in a new way for the unsaved.
Here are some ways in which we can begin to pray differently.
1. Understand the need. If someone is unsaved what exactly is keeping them from a relationship with Christ? We don’t need to pray for someone to be saved – God already wants that so how can we go beyond what we know God already wants? Understanding that the unsaved are blind and deaf allows us to pray that the veil between that person and God would be lifted and their ears would hear. Understand that the unsaved are spiritually dead and slaves to the world. These word pictures of truth give new insight in how to pray for the unsaved based on their condition.
2. Understand that Satan has a firm grip on individuals. He is hard at work keeping the unsaved in a world of darkness and lies. You and I need to be hard at work by praying with the understanding that we are entering into spiritual warfare on behalf of others. Eph. 6:10-20 in short tells us, “Be strong in the Lord”, be warned of the devils schemes, and understand our enemies are in the spiritual realm. And that we will need the armor of God in order to withstand.
3. Use scripture in our prayers. The easiest way I know of praying scripture is to start with a Psalm. By personalizing a verse it is easy to pray with power and to pray for specific things that go beyond “Save them, Lord!”
4. Begin a strategic plan to pray. To be a powerful intercessor we will need to abide in Christ and know what He desires and agree with it. Be mindful to be searching your own heart so that you are not harboring sin, or praying from the wrong motive. Always remember prayer is hard work. Prayer will require your availability and your commitment to make it a priority.
I pray that you and I will pray prayers that are effective and that produce fruit and glorify our Lord and Savior. Let us move away from praying big words and fearing how we sound in front of others. Let’s begin to pray differently!
Kathy Withers is on staff at America’s Keswick and serves in Partner Care. Kathy has been married to her husband Dave for 30 years. They have two adult children. Kathy is active in her local Church and teaches a Bible Study for women. Her passion is to encourage women to deepen their walk with Jesus Christ by finding and living out the truths of God’s Word.