Praying for the Unsaved

 

What is your motivation when you pray for the lost to be saved?  Generally I am motivated by the desire that the person I am praying for will have the best possible life on earth and a future in Heaven.  I don’t want anyone to go to hell, and I am certain the world would be a much better place if more of its inhabitants had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I read a devotional this morning by Charles Finney (Principles of Prayer, Day 6) that challenges that motivation as selfish and the wrong reason to pray for the unsaved.   Finney states that we tend to think about how our lives would be improved by the salvation of others, when we should actually focus on the glory God receives when a sinner comes to repentance and salvation. We need to pray that people come to Christ so they will stop dishonoring God through sin and so that God will be glorified by the conversion.

Perhaps you have known someone whose life was radically changed when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.  Those close to such a person can’t help but notice the difference that salvation has made, and many of the person’s acquaintances are drawn to Christ through such a conversion.  God is glorified through all conversions, and our desire should be that God receives the honor and glory due Him. Jesus told us the Heaven rejoices over every person who comes to Him.  “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10) 

Christians need to pray frequently and fervently for the lost to be saved.  If we pray with the expectation that God will be honored as sinners turn away from sinful lifestyles and that God will receive glory as the world notices the changes, I believe we will see a great move of God in our nation.  We need to pray for the salvation of not only our loved ones, but also for the salvation of persons of influence.

Can you imagine the impact on our society if many of our political leaders, celebrities, and other public figures came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and began to live according to God’s ordinance?

 

Symphony of Prayer

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”   Matthew 18:19-20

When I read this Scripture, I always envision a group of people joining together in prayer. For example, in our church, we often surround a person who has requested prayer and physically reach out and touch them while praying for them.   At other times, we hold hands and pray.  Of course, we can agree in prayer over the phone or even through emails.  Yet, I tend to think of Christians praying together in one place.

Tonight I was introduced to another way of thinking about this verse.   In his book Secrets of a Prayer Warrior,  Derek Prince offers a picture of Christians harmonizing in prayers, much as a symphony harmonizes.  Prince calls this harmonizing “the prayer symphony” and uses it to build a foundation for effective prayer.

According to Prince, the word translated as ‘agree’ comes the Greek word sumphoneo, or symphony.  He also states that ‘gathered together’ literally means ‘have been led together.’  As Christians, we are led by the Holy Spirit.  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14) Therefore, Prince writes, this verse is telling us “that any time two or three have been led together by the Holy Spirit into a meeting place, which is the name of Jesus, then they can count on His presence.  Additionally, if these ones shall symphonize–come together in perfect harmony–concerning anything that they shall ask, then it will be done for them.”

If we think of agreeing and coming together as being led by the Holy Spirit to pray in harmony , we can come together in the spirit of prayer wherever we are and pray as we are all lead by the same Holy Spirit.  Prince likens Christians being led in prayer by the Holy Spirit as a conductor leading an orchestra of musicians through a musical score.  The conductor is the Holy Spirit, the musicians are the Christians being brought together, and the score is the Word of God.  As the read the score, His will is revealed to us so that we know how He would have us pray.

Prince continues, “With these components in place, the Holy Spirit lifts the baton of His authority and unites the playing of many different instruments.”  He then encourages each of us to consider prayer as “taking your place in the orchestra and playing your instrument.  You are not confined to one instrument, of course, although you probably have an affinity for a particular one.  These instruments are praise, thanksgiving, worship, petition, intercession, supplication, command, commitment, dedication, persistence, blessing, and cursing.”

I am excited to continue to read this book and discover more about prayer and the secrets of becoming a true prayer warrior.  As I come to the Lord in prayer, I will be encouraged to think of millions of Christians around the world joining in the Symphony of Prayer and playing their particular instruments as we agree together according to His Word.