We all know someone who lived, or is currently living, their life not knowing Jesus or believing in Him for salvation. It’s heartbreaking. However, it’s a kind of heartbreak that tends to renew our passion for praying for the people in our lives who don’t yet know Christ as their Lord and savior.
While praying for the lost is a crucial component in how we participate in God’s kingdom work on earth, it’s just as important for us to consider how to pray for the lost.
Beyond praying for the salvation of unbelievers, there are some other powerful and strategic ways that we can be praying.
What the Bible Says About Praying for Others Who Are Lost
When examining scriptures about praying for the lost, there is one specific verse that sums it up very nicely.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth – 1 Timothy 2:1-4 ESV
This is a verse we use often when considering how to pray for our leaders, but there are a couple of precepts we can glean from this passage about praying for all people, including the unsaved.
- Paul (author of 1 Timothy) is saying that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving should be made for ALL people.
- God desires that all people be saved and come to a saving knowledge of the truth.
This verse makes it very clear that God wants us to be praying for the lost.
How to Pray for the Lost Effectively
There are some basic principles for prayer threaded throughout scripture that we can apply to how we pray for the lost.
Pray with Faith and Hope
God wants us to pray in faith. I admit that there are unbelievers in my life who I struggle to have hope for. People who seem to be so hostile and resistant towards the things of God.
“…with God, all things are possible”. – Matthew 19:26 NASB
This is a verse that we quote often and frequently, but if you look at it in its context you see that it’s talking about salvation.
And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” 26 And looking at them, Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:23-26 NASB
There is nobody who is out of salvation’s reach. We need to pray for the lost in faith and hope.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB
Part of God’s will for us is that we would pray without ceasing. Part of our unceasing prayer should include praying for the unsaved people in our lives to place their faith in Christ.
If we really believe that prayer has the power to change our relationships and circumstances, then it makes sense that we would want to be intentional and strategic about how we use it.
Pray Using Scripture
God’s Word is our ultimate source of truth. It is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). When we pray scripture we can be more confident that our prayers are in alignment with God’s will.
Use a Prayer Journal
I have found it extremely helpful to use a prayer journal to keep track of the strategic prayers that I want to be praying for on a long-term and short-term basis. Having a place to write down names and specific requests helps me to remember all the important requests, circumstances, and people I want to pray for.
5 Practical Ways to Pray for A Lost Soul
Here are a few practical ways that we can be praying for lost family members, friends, neighbors, and other loved ones.
1. Pray for Protection from Satan’s Influence
Satan’s goal is to blind the minds of the unbelieving from seeing the light of the Truth. He wants to maintain his claim over their hearts and minds. Pray for protection from his tactics to keep the lost enslaved to the enemy.
in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God – 2 Corinthians 4:4 NASB
2. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s Influence
The role of the Spirit in the world is to convict men of their sin and their need for a savior. Pray for the lost to be sensitive to this work of the Holy Spirit.
for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment – John 16:7-8 NASB
3. Pray for the Believers in Their Life
Here are some ways to pray for the believers in their life.
- Pray the Lord would place more godly influences in their path.
- Pray that the believers in their life walk in a manner worthy of the gospel.
- Pray that the believers would be bold to proclaim the gospel to them.
4. Pray for their Felt Needs
Praying this way is a bit different than the other ways we pray for the lost. This is a time that I suggest actually praying with them.
In your conversations with them, be listening for a felt need that they have. Do they have a sick family member? Is there anything that seems to be weighing heavy on their heart? Do they have any material needs? A car? A paycheck?
Once you identify a need, ask if you can pray with them for that specific need. Be discerning of the Lord’s leading with this.
Then, pray with them! That way, if that need is met, they will hopefully remember that you prayed for that need and connect the dots to the Lord answering your prayer and supplying for them.
5. Pray for Their Spiritual Need
The greatest need of every human soul is the need of salvation. Pray that they would come to a saving knowledge of the truth.
…God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth – 2 Timothy 2:25 ESV
Examples of How to Pray for the Lost
Here are some examples of scriptures to pray for lost loved ones.
- I ask that You would keep the enemy from blinding Sally’s mind, not allowing her to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. Shine the light of Your truth into her heart. – 2 Corinthians 4:4 NASB
- Holy Spirit I ask that You would convict my brother concerning sin, righteousness, and Judgment. That he would come to understand the state of his eternal condition apart from you and see his need for Jesus. – John 16:7-8 NASB
- Lord would you place more believers in Jennifer’s life who will boldly proclaim truth and faithfully walk in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Please help me to be this kind of person in her life. – Philippians 1:27 NASB
- Please draw my friend to yourself and to salvation. Grant her repentance that leads to a saving knowledge of the truth. – 2 Timothy 2:25 NASB
Where else can I focus my prayer life?
Praying against negativity is an incredible way to not only pray for the lost, but to pray for focus in life and how to remain steadfast in a fallen world.
How do you pray for the lost?
Let us know below in the comments section!
Megan Allen is a wife and homeschool mom of three. She has been a student of God’s Word through Inductive Bible Study for many years. Her passion is equipping other women to study the Bible for themselves. She currently lives in the beautiful Boise, ID area with her husband Casey, their three children, and their dog Sadie.