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Five Essentials When Praying for the Lost, Week 2
by Tom Goodman
January 29, 2009
For my LeaderLines e-newsletter, I've decided we need to spend a few weeks "camped 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 God.

According to this text, there are 5 essentials when praying for the lost:

  • The right priority
  • The right perspective
  • The right solution
  • The right hope
  • The right person

Last week we looked at the first essential: the right priority.  This week, let's spend some time with the second essential:  You must have the right perspective.

"He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know," Paul wrote to Timothy, "everyone to get to know the truth we've learned."  This concept is so important that we're going to take a couple of weeks in LeaderLines to meditate on it.

Paul said that God wanted "everyone saved."  Both of those words are important: everyone... saved.  Without the right perspective that both of those words provide, you won't have the kind of prayer life that makes any sort of impact.

Let's look at that word "saved" in this edition of LeaderLines, and then next week we'll look at why we're more likely to pray when we discover that God wants "everyone" saved.

"Saved."  That is the perspective the Bible provides on our greatest need -- we need to be "saved."  People choke on that word today, even in church.  You can tell by the way people refer to their decision for Christ.  We'll talk about the time we made a commitment to Christ, we'll say that we became believers, or we'll even say we gave our heart to the Lord.  But fewer and fewer of us will bluntly say we "got saved."

Do you want to know why fewer of us are using that word "saved" to talk about our decision for Christ?  Because it sounds so exclusive, and there's nothing we fear more than being looked upon as narrow-minded.  To say that people need to be saved implies that people who have not received Christ are lost, and that makes some of us uncomfortable.  We'd much rather say that they're "on their own spiritual path" and "all roads ultimately lead to God" and "each world religion is just another way of looking at God" and "Oh, I know he doesn't believe the same things I do about Jesus but once you get to know him you'll see he's spiritual in his own way."  I've heard all those statements.

Could it be that you've never prayed for those you know at work or in your family, because you no longer believe that people without Christ are lost and need to be found, that they are in trouble and need to be rescued?

Take a moment to thank God that he saved you, and take a moment to reflect on exactly why people need to be rescued.  We need sin's power broken in this life, and we need sin's penalty removed in the afterlife.  When you get "the right perspective," you'll be more likely to pray for your lost friends and family.

There's another word in our Scripture that will give you the perspective you need for effective praying, and that's the word "everyone" -- God wants "everyone saved."  We'll look at that one in next week's LeaderLines.


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