By Michael Catt
God cares about the lost, and He will rain down salvation from the heavens if we seek Him earnestly for the salvation of unbelievers. Is there someone in your life who is lost? Do you love that person? Do you want God’s best for them? Then plead for them. Ask the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin. Pray that situations and circumstances will be set in motion to cause them to turn to God. Take the name of that unsaved parent, child, relative, friend, or work associate to the throne of grace. As the Lord brings their names to your mind, pray that God would draw them to Himself.
We are surrounded by people whose lives hang in the balance. They are headed toward a Christ-less eternity. We must ask God to give us a burden for the “least of these.” We need our hearts broken over the broken lives and homes all around us. We need to get before God and pray until we see the world the way He sees it.
Jesus didn’t see crowds of people; He saw people in a crowd. He was moved with compassion when He saw the fields white unto harvest. He then told His disciples to “pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38). Pray for the lost. Pray for workers and witnesses. And realize that the answer to that prayer is you and me. If prayer is simply an afterthought or a supplement, it makes our methods primary and prayer secondary. But prayer is not incidental in the work of God; it is the work. Jesus said, “You can do nothing without Me” (John 15:5). Only in a prayer environment can our evangelistic efforts find power.
How should we approach praying for the lost?
First of all, we need to believe God. God’s arm is not too short to rescue from the deepest pit. He came to redeem lost man. His death paid the price for sin. When we pray, we should ask for and claim all that the blood of Christ has purchased. Do you really believe God wants to save the lost? Do you pray believing?
Secondly, we need to be persistent in our praying. Salvation is not up to us; it’s up to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. We’re not trying to persuade the Lord or twist His arm. We’re standing on behalf of those who are lost. It is our duty to fight for the souls of those who are lost and perishing. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. In prayer and evangelism we battle for others.
Lastly, we must remember that Satan is a defeated foe. When Jesus came out of the grave, He overcame the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are called on to appropriate His victory through believing prayer. We should bind what He has bound, and we should loose what He has loosed. If it’s God’s will for men to be saved, then we should deal with Satan the way Jesus did. We should remember that the work of Christ is a finished work. Jesus died to pay for sin.
It’s not our responsibility to “win” the lost. It’s our responsibility to be prayed up and share the gospel. This is not a game we are trying to win or lose. It is a battle in which spiritual forces are raging. No one is beyond the power of God. There is no limit to what our God can do.
Intercession is imperative. My responsibility to pray for the lost should be unceasing. As long as there are lost people, there is a need for intercession. It is not because God has to be convinced to save the lost, but because those who are lost need the convicting power of the Holy Spirit in their lives brought on by the intercession of others. My responsibility to pray for the lost is unequivocal. It is much more than “God save the lost.” It is specific, not general. It is mandatory, not optional. Praying for the lost is not the least I can do; it is the most I can do.
Michael Catt has served as Senior Pastor of 3,000-member Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., since 1989. The church started the outreach ministry Sherwood Pictures, and Michael has served as the Executive Producer of such films as Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous.