How to Pray for Lost Souls, Backsliders
Before Jesus gave up His Spirit on the cross, He took time to pray for those who were lost around Him. Do you have a heart to pray for the lost like Jesus did? Do you have the passion that inspired George Whitefield to pray, “O Lord, give me souls or take my soul”?
Every Christian needs to understand the responsibility to pray for the salvation of the lost. Praying “thy kingdom to come,” as instructed in Luke 11, must incorporate pray- ing for the lost. God’s Word tells us that it is not His will that any should perish but for all to have eternal life. The very reason He came to earth was to “seek and save the lost.”
When we pray for the lost, we can know without a doubt that we are praying according to His will.
“And we can be confident that he will listen to us when- ever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for” (I John 5:14-15, NLT).
Praying for lost souls
Pray for the lost to be saved according to the will of God (I Timothy 2:1-4; I John 5:13-15).
• Pray for God to send laborers into the harvest (Matthew 9:37-38).
• Pray for a witness of love to be among the brethren and for the lost (John 13:35; Jude 1:22).
• Pray for God to use us in the harvest (Isaiah 6:8; Matthew 22:9).
• Pray for a witness of righteousness and fear of the Lord. (I Peter 2:12; 3:1-2; Jude 1:23).
• Pray for Satan to be bound so that people might be free to receive the gospel (Matthew 12:29; 18:18-19; II Corinthians 4:3-4).
• Pray for there to be a witness of the miracles of God (Mark 16:20; Acts 4:29-30).
• Pray for the door to be opened for the preaching of the gospel (I Corinthians 16:9; II Corinthians 2:12; Revelation 3:7-8).
• Pray for there to be power for witnessing (Acts 1:8; I Corinthians 2:4).
• Pray for boldness to share the gospel (Acts 4:29-31; Ephesians 6:19).
• Pray for unity among believers (Psalm 133:1-3; Matthew 18:20).
• Pray for wisdom among believers (Proverbs 11:30; Daniel 12:3).
Praying for backsliders
Following are simple strategies when praying for the return of backsliders.
Approach the Father in that positional place of covenant that the backslider has with Him. Remind the Lord that the backslider is one of His children and that He is the Father of the lost. Ask the Lord to go rescue him as a shepherd rescues a lamb that strays from the flock.
Pray for ..
• The backsliders to have the ability to receive the grace of God.
The backslider may have lived very immorally, and it is sometimes hard for him to imagine the Father ever wanting him back. Pray that he would be able to receive the Father’s love and forgiveness.
• The Lord to pour out His riches when the backslider returns. Pray that the Lord would lavish His love on the backslider and pour out blessings of every kind—spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially.
• The elder son.
Pray that the church will prepare their hearts to receive the backslider back with joy and excitement.
• Those raised in church to have grace to accept those who are not quite so polished. Pray that the backslider who in some cases, has literally lived on the streets would be loved into total whole- ness.
• Supernatural love.
Although love does not mean condoning a sinners actions, it is necessary to possess a love that would be open and warm to prodigals even in their sin. Pray from the position of love, not the position of judg- ment and anger.
• Grace and endurance to pray for the backslider.
It can take years to see the fruit of intercession for a backslider.
• Spiritual famine.
Pray that whatever or whoever the backslider is placing his trust in, outside of Jesus, would be removed from his life. Pray that what once brought him pleasure would be empty. Pray that the novelty will wear off.
• Holy hunger or holy homesickness.
Pray that he would be constantly reminded of what it was like to be in fellowship with God. Pray that he would long for the cleansing relationship he once had.
• The backslider to come to himself.
Pray that he would realize something is wrong. Pray for his eyes to be open to the truth of his situation, and pray against any delusion the enemy would try to bring him.