I urge, then, first of all that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people…this is good and pleases God our Savior who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1, 3, 4
The Bible speaks of many ways to please God, one of which is prayer. Praying for the salvation of your family and friends is the will of God. God wants those who are close to you saved and living in the truth. Salvation has been made available to all through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. When we take the posture to partner with God through prayer, we birth His redemptive plan of salvation for our family and friends.
Look at some of the words Paul used to emphasize the importance of prayer in 1 Timothy 2:1, 3, 4:
“I urge” — We are all under an earnest command to pray for all people and this includes your family members and friends. The command to pray does not come with an expiration date. In Luke 18:1, Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. The scripture introduces a widow who kept bringing her requests to a heartless judge and he granted her request based on her persistence. Choose to persevere in prayer even if you have been praying for years and have not seen answers yet.
“First of all” — Prayer should be a priority and not be an afterthought. Prayer is important to God and should be important to you. Praying for lost family members and friends should be deemed important and given special attention. Most Christians don’t view prayer as the “first thing” that they should do for themselves or even others. Often times everything else precedes the place of prayer. But when you understand the love of God for everyone, you are compelled to prioritize prayer on behalf of those you love.
“Petitions, Prayers, Intercession and Thanksgiving” — Different forms of prayers can be prayed for those you love. Petitions are requests made of God; prayer is communicating with God; intercession is prayer on behalf of others; and thanksgiving is worshipful prayer. Nonetheless all prayers should be fervent—heartfelt. Fervent prayers make God’s power available to work salvation and deliverance into the lives of your love ones: ”The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16b NLT).
“This is good and pleases God” — Pursuing salvation for your loved ones in prayer is good and it pleases God. It is the very nature and heart of God to want all people saved. Be committed in seeking God and praying for His will to be done in the lives of those nearest and dearest to you. Pray specifically for their salvation and for the grace of God to lead them to repentance. Luke 15:7 states “There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents.”
Just as your prayers for salvation are important, so is the life you live. See to it that you:
- Live wisely — As a child of God, “let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
- Make the most of every opportunity — Demonstrate the love of God. Love is patient and kind; it’s not jealous, boastful, proud, self-seeking, easily angered or keeps accounts of wrong (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
- Have gracious conversations — Be doers of the word. “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” (Colossians 4:6).
Earnestly pray for the salvation of your family and friends:
- Lord open the heart of ___ in response to the Gospel. Acts 16:14
- Pray that ___ would believe in the Lord Jesus and be saved. Acts 16:31
- Ask the Holy Spirit to convict ___of their sin and bring a change of heart and mind. John 16:8
- Ask God for the salvation of specific individuals by name. “Ask Me, and I will give you the heathen for your inheritance” Psalm 2:8