Five Essentials When Praying for the Lost, Week 5
by Tom Goodman
February 19, 2009
We're taking several weeks in LeaderLines to "camp out" in the words of 1 Timothy 2:1-8 (Msg). These words can teach us how to pray for the lost:
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.... He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we've learned: that there's one God and only one, and one
Priest-Mediator between God and us -- Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news
to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth. Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray -- not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to
According to this text, there are 5 essentials when praying for the lost:
This week let's look at the fourth essential: You are more likely to pray for your lost friends when you hold to expectant hope that your prayer will be answered.
The passage in 1 Timothy 2 continues: "Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth."
Literally verse 6 ends with the assurance that the story of the cross will be "testified in the right time." I like the way Eugene Peterson translates that as: "Eventually the news is going to get out." Isn't that a great phrase? Only those who
really believe that and expect that and anticipate that are those who will see any impact from their prayers.
In his study workbook called The Disciple's Prayer Life, I like what T.W. Hunt (PrayerLife, p. 183) said: "A helpful prayer exercise is to visualize a lost person receiving Christ, being baptized, and finally becoming a glorious light for the
Lord by contributing notably to the light of the church. Close your eyes and visualize yourself presenting to God at His judgment seat some lost person you know as one you yourself brought to Christ. Think of what you would say to God and what He
would say to you."
It's interesting what happens when you pray in this manner, genuinely anticipating an answer.
So, we need the right expectation. Each time we end our prayer and get into the business of life, we should look for the ways God is responding to our prayer, drawing the people we've prayed for into a relationship with him. Eventually the good news
is going to get out.
Next week we'll close this LeaderLines series with a look at what kind of person you need to be as you pray for the lost.
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