How to Pray for an Unsaved Loved One
People often get discouraged when praying for the salvation of loved ones and begin to wonder if their prayers ever really help. Well, guess what? Yes! Your prayers can be a powerful force in the lives of your unsaved relatives and friends if you know how to pray for them according to the wisdom and Word of God.
The problem is that most Christians don’t know how to pray with skill. They just throw prayers in every direction and hope something comes of it. That’s especially true when it comes to praying for the lost. It’s not uncommon to see believers praying for friends or loved ones to get saved for 20, 30 or even 40 years without results.
What exactly are these people praying? It usually boils down to something like this: “Oh, God, please save my brother. He needs to be saved.” (Don’t you think God knows he needs saving?) Then they might go a step further and start rehearsing their brother’s sins: “Lord, he got drunk again last night and we had to bail him out of jail again. If You don’t save him, he’s going to drive us all crazy!”
That may sound funny—the example is a little extreme to make a point—but many of us have prayed prayers that sounded something like that.
What we haven’t understood is this: There’s nothing wrong with your unsaved loved one (or any other unsaved person) except the devil. No human being who truly understood the salvation Jesus has offered to us would reject that salvation of his own free will. No one!
Why, then, are so many people still unsaved? II Corinthians 4:4 tells us it is because “the god of this world [the devil] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Once you realize it’s the devil (not your loved one) who’s the real problem, your first prayer step becomes clear. You must get the devil out of your loved one’s way.
As Jesus said, “How can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man?” (Matthew 12:29). You can’t! So bind him.
Say, “You spirit operating in the life of my loved one, blinding to the gospel to keep out of the kingdom of God, I bind you now. I belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. I carry His authority and righteousness, and in His Name I command you to desist in your maneuvers. I spoil your house according to the Word of God and I enter into it to deliver my loved one from your hands.”
Now, you may not be able to cast that devil entirely out of the situation, because your loved one may invite him back in faster than you can cast him out. But you can bind that spirit and keep it bound. It may keep you busy for a while, but you can do it.
You’ll find your next prayer step in Matthew 9:37-38. There, Jesus was looking out at the multitudes who needed ministry and He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
It’s the Word of God that brings faith for salvation: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). So you need to see to it that the Word gets into your loved one’s heart.
“How?” you say, “My loved one won’t listen to me!”
Probably not, but God knows who your loved one will listen to, and He’ll send that person halfway around the world to talk to your loved one if necessary.
So pray to the Lord of the harvest: “Father, I’m asking You to send laborers across ’s path, laborers who are equipped with the Word of God about salvation, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, healing and deliverance. Send laborers who can communicate effectively with so Your Word can reach his/her heart.”
Once you’ve prayed for your loved one like that, from then on, put your faith in action by treating your loved one like he’s/she’s saved. Don’t treat your loved one like he’s/she’s not good. On the contrary, every time you see your loved one, say, “Praise God! Isn’t it good to know Jesus?” Then just stand back and watch how things change. You’ll be amazed.
It’s happened many times. And it can happen that way for you and your loved one. So don’t give up. Get smart! Start praying according to the Word and praying by faith…and you will see the salvation of the Lord!
Here is a sample prayer for your unsaved loved ones. As you speak God’s Word, remember that it will not return to Him void. It will prosper in the thing whereto it is sent (Isaiah 55:11):
“Father, I come before You in prayer and in faith, believing. Your Word says You desire all men to be saved and come into the knowledge of the truth, so I bring ________ before You this day.
“I break the power of Satan from his assignments and activities in ’s life in the Name of Jesus. Now, while Satan is bound, I ask that You send forth the perfect laborers to share the good news of the gospel in such a way that will listen and understand it. As the truth is ministered, I believe will open his/her eyes to the gospel, come out of the snare of the devil and make Jesus Lord.
“Father, I ask that You fill with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. As I intercede in his/her behalf, I believe that the power of the Holy Spirit is activated, and from this moment on, I shall praise and thank You for ’s salvation. I am confident that You are alert and active, watching over Your Word to perform it. It will not return to You void. It will accomplish that which You please and prosper in the thing whereto it was sent.
“Therefore, my confession of faith is: ‘God has begun a good work in ’s life and He will perform it and bring it to full completion until the day of Jesus Christ, in Jesus’ Name.’”
Scripture References from The Amplified Bible: II Peter 3:9; Matthew 18:18, 9:37-38; II Timothy 2:26; Jeremiah 1:12; Isaiah 55:11; Philippians 1:6.