Praying for the lost
Praying for the Lost
Charles Spurgeon related well the priority all Christians must give to praying for the lost:
The soul-winner must be a master of the art of prayer. You cannot bring souls to God if you go not to God yourself. You must get your battle-ax, and your weapons of war, from the armoury of sacred communication with Christ. If you are much alone with Jesus, you will catch His Spirit; you will be fired with the flame that burned in His breast, and consumed His life. You will weep with the tears that fell upon Jerusalem when He saw it perishing; and if you cannot speak so eloquently as He did, yet shall there be about what you say somewhat of the same power which in Him thrilled the hearts and awoke the consciences of men. My dear hearers, especially you members of the church, I am always so anxious lest any of you should begin to lie upon your oars, and take things easy in the matters of God’s kingdom. There are some of you—I bless you, and I bless God at the remembrance of you—who are in season, and out of season, in earnest for winning souls, and you are the truly wise; but I fear there are others whose hands are slack, who are satisfied to let me preach, but do not themselves preach; who take these seats, and occupy these pews, and hope the cause goes well, but that is all they do (The Soul Winner [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989 reprint], 246–47. Italics in original). The Bible gives several examples of prayer for those outside salvation. In Numbers 14:19 Moses prayed, “Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Thy loving-kindness, just as Thou also hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” He cried out to God for the forgiveness of the sinning Israelites.
The Nature of Evangelistic Prayer
Paul writes, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made” (1 Tim. 2:1). While the first three terms Paul uses are virtually synonymous, there are among them some subtle shades of meaning that enrich our concept of prayer. “Entreaties” refers to prayer that arises from a sense of need. Knowing what is lacking, we plead with God to supply it. As we look out on the masses of lost humanity, the enormity of the need should drive us to our knees in evangelistic prayer. Alone With God, John MacArthur