I, like many of my readers, have a number of non-believing family members and friends. I pray at least weekly for all of them and daily for several of them—but knowing how to pray isn't always easy.
Here are some prayers I think are important, but hard:
1. That God would convict me of my personal responsibility to boldly and clearly tell the good news to my family and friends. Frankly, it's often easier to pray for someone else to do the witnessing than to do it myself. I'm grateful for others who evangelize my family as well, but I don't want to shirk my own responsibility to reach them.
2. That my non-believing family and friends would see themselves as they are—as separated from God and in the devil's kingdom. (See Eph 2:1-3, Col 1:13, Acts 26:18.) The latter is a hard word regarding our own loved ones, but it's biblical teaching. The enemy has blinded them (2 Cor 4:3-4).
3. That they would long for real joy—which means they recognize and admit what they don't yet have. That requires they experience some sense of disappointment and joylessness before getting to that point. Few of us naturally want our loved ones to go through that kind of experience.
4. That God would do whatever it takes to draw them to Himself. That's a frightening prayer, actually, because we don't know what steps God might take. What we do know, though, is that He always does what's right. Our task sometimes is to get out of the way and trust His work, even if it brings pain to others.
5. That God would not only save them, but also use them mightily as His witnesses—which could include a call to the nations. These nations could be dangerous ones, in fact, where our newly saved loved ones might take their families (including our grandchildren) and spend the rest of their lives. Praying this way isn't easy for many of us.
6. That I would be persistently broken over lostness and patiently trusting God's timing in saving my family and friends. For the former, I too often let my burden wane, even for loved ones; for the latter, I'm seriously impatient. I need God to change me as much as He changes others.
Would you pray for me and my non-believing family and friends today?
For the original article, visit chucklawless.com.
Chuck Lawless is dean of doctoral studies and vice president of Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is team leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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