by Rex Yancey

How to Pray for the Lost
Rex Yancey
Colossians 4:1-6

"More things are wrought through prayer than this world ever dreamed of." Prayer is essential in the Christian life. Great churches pray collectively and individually in all their services. Churches have prayer retreats, prayer meetings and prayer chains. We pray for the sick, each other, and national leaders.

But as I study the NT, I realize praying for the lost is not the primary thrust with regard to evangelism. The Scriptures do not record that Jesus ever prayed explicitly and directly for the salvation of a lost soul. Nor did he ever command us to do so.

We are to pray for those who persecute us. He prayed for the city of Jerusalem. Neither Paul nor any of the apostles urged us to pray for the lost. "Pray for kings and for those in authority." "God will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth." Praying for the lost is implied, not specified.

The most specific prayer for the lost is Paul's prayer for Israel. This prayer is for an entire nation and not an individual. This is amazing in the light that we have always been taught to pray for the lost.

-What does the NT teach in regard to prayer and evangelism? When Jesus saw a great spiritual need, he said, "The harvest truly is plenteous, BUT the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth laborers into his harvest."

Jesus emphasized the harvesters instead of the harvest, the laborers rather than the lost, the saints rather than the sinners.

-When Jesus spoke those words there were 7,200 priests who ministered in the temple and 9,600 Levites. But while they practiced the rituals of temple worship, the world perished for want of personal reconciliation with God. Jesus then urged the disciples to pray for more workers.

-Send forth means to "thrust forth." Pray that disciples will feel compelled to work in the overripe harvest fields. There is a close correlation be ...

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