What is your motivation when you pray for the lost to be saved? Generally I am motivated by the desire that the person I am praying for will have the best possible life on earth and a future in Heaven. I don’t want anyone to go to hell, and I am certain the world would be a much better place if more of its inhabitants had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I read a devotional this morning by Charles Finney (Principles of Prayer, Day 6) that challenges that motivation as selfish and the wrong reason to pray for the unsaved. Finney states that we tend to think about how our lives would be improved by the salvation of others, when we should actually focus on the glory God receives when a sinner comes to repentance and salvation. We need to pray that people come to Christ so they will stop dishonoring God through sin and so that God will be glorified by the conversion.
Perhaps you have known someone whose life was radically changed when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. Those close to such a person can’t help but notice the difference that salvation has made, and many of the person’s acquaintances are drawn to Christ through such a conversion. God is glorified through all conversions, and our desire should be that God receives the honor and glory due Him. Jesus told us the Heaven rejoices over every person who comes to Him. “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)
Christians need to pray frequently and fervently for the lost to be saved. If we pray with the expectation that God will be honored as sinners turn away from sinful lifestyles and that God will receive glory as the world notices the changes, I believe we will see a great move of God in our nation. We need to pray for the salvation of not only our loved ones, but also for the salvation of persons of influence.
Can you imagine the impact on our society if many of our political leaders, celebrities, and other public figures came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and began to live according to God’s ordinance?