Praying for non-Christians is an important habit to develop as a family.
It demonstrates for everyone (parents and kids alike), some of the most important character traits that Christ wants to grow in us:
- faith in God
- and the list goes on…
As you develop habits of prayer as a family, you’ll begin to see God’s answers, which encourages your faith all the more!
Whether it’s family members, friends, neighbors, or co-workers, you want to make sure you’re praying in a way that is aligned with God’s will.
Specifically, here’s a passage that my mother-in-love pointed out to me that is powerfully helpful in setting your family’s mindset on what is actually needed and happening when you pray for unsaved people. It’s Jesus’ words to Paul when he was being told what his role as an Apostle would be about…
But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. – Acts 26:16-18
There are 3 primary things we need to understand as we pray for non-believing people:1 Their eyes need to be opened.
Every person is blind, blind, blind to their need for Christ. We need to pray that their eyes will be opened. We need to pray specifically that God will open their eyes – to their need and to His sufficiency as their Savior. If this doesn’t happen, salvation is not possible.2 They need to be turned from darkness to light.
The allure of the dark world in which we live is powerful. Unsaved people are not only blind and lost, they don’t realize they are blind or lost. They enjoy the darkness. They feel like it’s best, right, and good. We need to be praying that God will turn people away form darkness, that He’ll dispel the illusion, that He’ll spoil the fantasy it offers.3 They need to be turned from the power of Satan to the power of God.
The problem is not only that people are blind. And it’s not only that they love darkness. People are also held captive by the power of Satan. We need to ask God to release them from his grip. It’s what Jesus came to do (1 John 3:8).
Praying in this way will strengthen your family’s faith.
A biblically-informed prayer of this kind takes the focus off of our inability to change people. It shows us that God is the only one who can do what is needed to save a human soul.
This kind of prayer helps us see the all-sufficient power of Jesus’ death on the cross and gives us hope that those lost family members or friends can be set free.
Our job is to pray.
Our job is to keep praying.
And our job as parents is to teach our children that our God delights to save people. He delights to make Himself glorious in doing so. And He delights to increase our faith by answering our prayers for the salvation of our family and friends.
Here’s a great song by Jill Paquette (I’d love to see her in concert). This song is about a lost friend, “Katie Lynn,” and the struggle that happens when we care so much about a friend or family member and don’t know what to do… and still don’t take the time to pray.