7 ways to pray for your unsaved friends
Most Christians have friends and family members who have not yet come to trust Christ as their Savior. One of the most important things we can do for our unsaved loved ones is to pray for them.
Here are seven ways to pray for those you love who do not yet know the Lord.
1) Pray for the Holy Spirit to show them their need for Jesus.
In John 16, Jesus promised that after his resurrection he would send us the Holy Spirit. In making this promise, Jesus added, “When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.…” (v. 8).
The Holy Spirit has a way of convincing us that we are guilty before God and that we stand in need of forgiveness. He unveils our brokenness, tears down our defenses, and stirs within us a growing hunger for the love of God. Pray for the Holy Spirit to do this for your friend.
2) Pray for God to surround them with people who point them to Christ.
“When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matt. 9:36-38).
Many people are like sheep without a shepherd. They have no one in their daily lives who is concerned for their spiritual wellbeing. God has a way of putting people in the right place at the right time. Pray for God to place faithful believers in your friends’ lives so they can hear the gospel and experience God’s love.
3) Pray for God to free them from anything that holds them captive.
Jesus compared spiritually oppressed people to hostages held captive in the home of a powerful foe. How can these prisoners be set free? Jesus said, “No one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house” (Mark 3:27).
People are often held captive by powerful forces that keep them from receiving the new life God offers. They are enslaved to things like fear, shame, addiction, false beliefs, superstitions, and wrong assumptions about themselves or about God. Pray for God to bind the powerful forces that hold your friend captive so that they can experience freedom in Christ.
4) Pray for God to give them a new heart.
As you pray for your loved one, claim the promise of Ezekiel 36:26-27 on their behalf. God said, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
5) Pray for them to see the beauty of Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Pray for God to open your friends eyes to see how beautiful and lovely Jesus is. This is what God did for you when you came to faith. (See 2 Cor. 4:6.)
6) Pray for them to feel dissatisfied with the emptiness of life without Christ.
In Christ’s parable of the prodigal son, the wandering child did not return to his father’s house until he ran out of food. (See Luke 15:11-32.) Pray for God to give your loved one a deep dissatisfaction with the things of the world so that they will hunger for the riches of God. Pray for them to hit bottom so that they will finally look up.
7) Pray for God to grant them repentance.
Repentance means a complete change of one’s heart and life. Though we are each responsible to repent (Acts 17:30), there is a sense in which repentance is a gift of God (Acts 11:18). As you intercede for your loved one, pray that God will “grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25-26).