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Praying for the salvation of loved ones

Practice / Praying
Are you feeling discouraged that you have been praying for someone’s salvation but they have yet to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour? Does it seem as if you haven’t witnessed much change? Don’t give up praying! The key to truly loving someone like God does is to keep hoping and persevering. Our faith is not in the seen but what God has been doing behind the scenes.

(See Chinese versions: 简体中文为所爱的人的救恩祷告 繁體中文 > 為所愛的人的救恩禱告)


The Bible verses, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, are quoted at weddings very often. People often remember the first few lines about love being patient and kind, and pay less attention to verse 7, which is arguably the most challenging part about love – to keep trusting, hoping and persevering.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Pray in belief, do not doubt – and victory will be ours! 

When we pray with a heart filled with faith in our perfect Father in heaven, it will just be a matter of time that we will witness spiritual breakthroughs in our unsaved loved ones’ lives.

Mark 11:23-24 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 

Remember that to God, a thousand years is like a day, so our time perspective is very different. God’s timing is perfect and God is good all the time. He does want anyone to perish and will answer our prayers when we ask Him for the salvation of our loved ones.

Psalm 90:4 A thousand years in your sight
 are like a day that has just gone by,
 or like a watch in the night.

2 Peter 3:9 ESV  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Many of us used to have hearts that were not open to God’s message of love, but have had a heart change after others have prayed for us, perhaps even for years.

Praying for the unsaved with the right perspective

1. Start with our own hearts

Before we pray for others, let’s first go humbly before God and ask Him if there is anything we may need to repent of personally before we pray for others.

Matthew 5:23-24 ESV  So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

2. Bring down spiritual blindness

Next, we can then pray that any spiritual blindness over others is completely removed in the name of Jesus Christ and that their hearts are softened so they will be receptive to Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:4 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.

3. Ask for more opportunities to hear God’s message of love

God will send more of His workers to share the gospel with our loved ones when we ask Him to.  We can pray that our loved ones get numerous opportunities to hear the Word of God and the spiritual climate around them will change. Let us ask for their hearts to be softened so that they will allow God’s light and love to penetrate any darkness in their lives

Matthew 9:38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

4. Ask for time and mercy

Let us also pray for God’s favour over the unsaved so they have the time they need to turn to Him as their saviour and that God continues to shower His mercy on them.

Ephesians 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

5. Praise God

Finally, we can thank God for the work He has already started in their lives because of our prayers. God does not want anyone to perish, so let us keep praying for our loved ones until their hearts are softened.

2 Peter 3:9 ESV  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.


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