Prayer is commanded throughout the Bible. It is the habit that every Christian should be in daily practice beyond the table. The Bible gives examples of saints and even Jesus on how we should pray. Yet it has crossed my mind lately that in many cases we likely do not pray rightly. James 4:3 says that “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Although this is often sinful prayers it probably is applied in the form of me not obeying the great commission. I will say that even if we do pray and not correctly that we have an intercessor on our behalf. I would challenge you pray from a Biblical perspective for the lost.
I find that people pray (me included) when it comes to the lost that God save them. Even if our prayer is for family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors that we pray but with little application. For instance we might pray for say Cindy. “Lord, will you save Cindy? Help her to repent and come to faith in you.” Yet this is hardly supported in the scripture. It might be more easily said Lord help me to share the Gospel with Cindy. Enough of my thoughts lets look at what Jesus says on the subject.
The Lord’s prayer is an obvious choice. “In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.”
The Lord Jesus does in deed pray and it seems that it is the Lord’s return soon. So in one sense we might pray for those family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors that the kingdom of God would come to them and that the will God be done in their life. But here is what Jesus says about prayer and evangelism in Luke 10:2; “Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” In Luke He was sending them to preach and while at it pray for more laborers. Why because the harvest is plentiful. There are people who are prime for the truth and God has set them to be saved.
Paul would say that we should pray for boldness. [Pray] “for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” In Ephesians 6:19 Paul is asking for prayer that he would speak boldly in the context of praying. Many supplications and thanksgivings would be made including boldness to preach the word. This might be a bit controversial but look at what Acts tells us.
Both Peter and John pray to God for boldness. After a day of sharing the gospel these two are arrested, beaten, jailed, and then threatened. Now we might look at success as the man who was healed. But say you saw Peter and John arrested that this was a successful ministry. Many would say it is not. But here is what Peter and John prayed. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus (Acts 4:29-30).” So again it seems that boldness to preach the gospel was the prayer. It seems that even the disciples needed a little prayer to be bold and witness.
It seems that the gospel needs people who are willing to share it. It looks to me that a more Biblical approach to prayer in evangelism is that we should go and do the will of God. Will I completely stop praying for the lost. Not likely. Will I pray more that I or someone would be sent that they would hear and believe. Yes.