A Gospel Prayer based on Ephesians 5:1-7

God of light and love,

You made the stars to worship You. The mountains bow in reverence to You. You caused the oceans to roar Your greatness. Since everything exists to lift You high, so will I. You are worthy. 

You are not only worthy to be worshipped, You are worthy to be imitated. In fact, my imitation of You should be an expression of my exultation in You. As a child who has a good father longs to walk in his daddy’s steps, so I should copy You.

Yet I fail to pattern my life after Yours. My love too often turns into lust. Instead of being generous, I have the itch to get my hands on what belongs to other people. My greed proves that I am in reality an idolater who worships the things of this world. Too often my mouth pours out filthiness, nastiness, silliness, foolish talk, flippancy, and crude joking. I am a child of disobedience. Because of my defiance, O God, I deserve to experience Your wrath.

How could a sinful person like me ever come into Your presence? I know, deep down, that apart from Christ no immoral, impure, or greedy person like me could ever inherit the Kingdom of Christ.

Yet even though my life has been filled with idolatry, Christ Jesus still loves me. Thank You, Lord, that He offered Himself on the cross as a sacrifice. The offering of His life to die in my place was a pleasing aroma to You, God. His love for me was not cautious but extravagant. He gave everything of Himself to save me. Therefore, I repent and I receive the undeserved gift of Your forgiveness that has been offered to me through Christ. 

You are the God of my salvation. You chased down my heart through all of my failure and pride.

On a hill called Calvary, the Light of the world was abandoned in darkness to die. All my failures disappeared there where Your Son lost His life. He lost His life so I could find mine. And then He left the grave behind. And one day, so will I.

Now, help me to live a life that is worthy of this gospel. May I not be fooled by those who try to excuse their sins. Don’t even let me hang around people who deceive others with their empty words. Save me from participating in the sinful things these people do. Remind me often that sin has no place among God’s people. 

Instead, help me to give thanks, to live in purity, and to be generous. As Your beloved child, help me to watch what You do and then mimic Your ways. I want to follow the example of my Lord Jesus Christ, living a life overflowing with Your love.

Since the wind goes where You send it, so will I. Since even the rocks cry out Your praise, so will I. Since the sum of all my praises still falls shy, then I look forward to singing to You again in heaven a hundred billion times.

Lord God of my salvation, truly You are worthy.

Amen.

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 5:1-7. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, the New Living Translation, The Message, the New American Standard Bible, the J.B. Phillips New Testament, and the song “So Will I.”

A Gospel Prayer based on Ephesians 4:25-32

Dear Lord God almighty, my heavenly Father,

You have called us to love – freely, fully, unconditionally. You gave us Your word to teach us what loves does. You have sent Your Son to show us Who love is.

Yet I have chosen to live selfishly. No matter how hard I try, I cannot love like You. My failure to love has created for me a twin burden that I carry, namely guilt and shame. But in spite of all my selfishness, You have not turned away from me. Jesus came from heaven to die on the cross to pay for my self-centered failure to love. He rose again, ascended to heaven, and sent His Spirit to live in me. Now I have the divine ability to love like You. 

Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to live in me and through me. Thank You that the gift of Your Spirit identifies me as Your own, guaranteeing that I will be saved on the day of Your redemption. Help me never take the gift of Your Spirit for granted. Help me never to bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit by the way I live. I don’t want to break His heart.

Help me to embrace Your truth and to tell Your truth to others. Remind me that in Christ’s body – the church- we are all connected to each other. Show me that when I don’t tell the whole truth I end up not only hurting myself but also everyone else. So, help me put away all falsehood.

Lord, help me to be angry only with what makes You angry. Save me from any sinful, selfish kinds of anger that linger on and on – that I take to bed with me. May I never use anger as fuel for revenge. Save me from self-seeking anger that can give the devil a foothold in my life.

Help me not be a taker, but a giver. Guide me into my career calling so that I will use these hands You’ve given me for good hard work so that I might give generously to with anyone in need.

Help me to watch the way I talk. I don’t want to corrupt anyone with my speech. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of my mouth. Instead, help me be intentional to build others up – to say only what helps. May everything I say be good and helpful, so that my words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. May my words be gifts to bless others’ lives.

Teach me how to make a clean break with bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander along with all malice. Help me to be gentle with and sensitive to others. Thank You for forgiving me though the gospel of Christ. How could I not forgive others as quickly and as thoroughly as You have forgiven me? May more and more of Your kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness flow from my life to others.

Thank You for enabling me, by Your Spirit’s power, to love like You in Jesus’ name,

Amen

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 4:25-32. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, the New Living Translation, and The Message.

A Gospel Prayer based on Ephesians 4:17-24

Dear Giver of life,

You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them. And the heavenly host bows down before You (Nehemiah 9:6). With You is the fountain of life (Psalm 36:9). You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever (Psalm 16:11).

But I chose the path of death rather than the path of life. My understanding was once full of darkness. I was alienated from Your life, God, because of my ignorance and the hardness of my heart. My mind was closed. I had lost touch not only with You but with reality itself. I could not think straight. I became callous. I lost my sense of shame. I lived for lustful pleasures and eagerly practiced what was impure.

But You helped me see that this was no life for me! You brought me to Christ – the One who is the way, the truth, and the life. He died on the cross to forgive me, rose again to justify me, and sent His Spirit to enliven me. As I heard about Jesus, I came to know Him. I learned Christ! You helped me pay careful attention to Him. Because He is the truth, He has become my Source of truth. Thank You for instructing me in the life-giving word, will, and ways of Jesus.

Now, help me no longer walk as those who are unsaved do, for they are hopelessly confused, like I used to be. May I no longer go along with the ungodly, the empty-headed, the mindless crowd.

Thank You for giving me the ability to put off my old self, which belongs to my former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires. Everything – and I do mean everything – connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. O Lord, help me to get rid of it! Instead, let the Spirit renew my thoughts and attitudes. 

Thank You for not only giving me the ability to put off the old self, but for giving me the power to put on my new self, created after Your likeness, God. Make me truly righteous and holy. I want a life fashioned by You, a life renewed by You from the inside out. Please reproduce Your character in me.

May Your life work itself into my day-to-day conduct. As I experience new life in Christ, help me to invite others to experience that new life, too – a life offered, purchased, and secured by the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus. Lord, I believe and I receive all of who He is for all of who I am.

Amen

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 4:17-24. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, the New Living Translation, and The Message.

A Gospel Prayer based on Ephesians 4:7-16

O great and generous God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

I praise You, Lord, for Your overflowing heart. You richly provide all things for us to enjoy – family, friends, food, stories, sports, sunshine, masterpieces, music, mountains, books, beaches, ballfields, laughter, love, and life itself… all things that I have ever enjoyed are gifts from You (1 Timothy 6:17). You, my Father in heaven, delight to give good things to those who ask You (Matthew 7:11). You, Lord, bestow favor and honor. No good thing will You withhold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from You, the Father of lights (James 1:17). You love to give gifts to men.

And You have called me to be like You, overflowing with generosity to others. You have given me gifts to share. Yet I have failed to use my gifts to serve You and to bless the lives of my family, my friends, my neighbors, my co-workers.

Instead, I have acted selfishly. Sometimes, I ignore my gifts. Other times, I hoard my gifts. Therefore, the lives of the people You have put in my path are impoverished because I have failed to build up, encourage, and serve them.

My selfish lack of love is not a small sin. My sins of omission are heinous in Your sight. When I don’t bless others the way You’ve gifted me to bless them, then I am actually harming them. I am not fulfilling Your plan to love them through me. My failure to love, to serve, to give, to bless is deserving of Your judgment. 

I praise You, Lord God, that You have provided a way of escape from that judgment. You have made forgiveness available through Christ’s descent and ascent. He descended from His home in heaven to this lowly world. He lived the life I could never live and died the death I should have died so I could be forgiven for all my selfish ways. You raised Jesus from the dead. Afterwards, He victoriously ascended on high and out of His generosity, through His Spirit He gave gifts to undeserving sinners like me.

Your grace was given to me through Jesus – not so I would look and speak and act the same as everyone else but so I could bless the lives of others according to my own unique gifts. As I join with others in using our gifts, the presence of Christ will one day fill all things; that is, the whole universe!

So, Lord, let me be fully equipped by the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers that You have given to train people in Your church. And guide me to embrace the role I am to play in Your church – whether it be apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding, or teaching. Help our leaders and me equip other saints to do their work in the ministry so that the whole body of Christ might be built up.

Give to me and to all Your church a greater desire to be one in our faith. Help us grow to know Jesus better so that we can become fully mature, fully developed, fully imitating Jesus Christ.

Since I am a gifted part of Your body, the church, may I no longer be spiritually immature like a child, an easy prey for spiritual predators. Help me never to be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. May I not be influenced when false teachers try to trick me with their crafty lies and deceitful schemes.

Thank You for the spiritual gifts You have given to me. Thank You for the role that I have been called to play in Your church. I want to learn to speak the truth in love. I long to be more and more like Christ, the head of Your church, in every way. Help me to take my lead from Him, who is the Source of everything I do.

And as each gifted person in Your church serves uniquely, may the whole body of Christ become increasingly harmonious, joined and held together in love. Keep us in step with each other. May each individual part of the body of Christ function properly. Cause us to grow, to mature, and to build one another up in unselfish love.

Amen.

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 4:7-16. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, the Amplified Bible, the Phillips New Testament in Modern English, the New Living Translation, and The Message.

A Gospel Prayer based on Ephesians 3:14-21

Father in heaven, who demonstrated Your love by sending Your Son to die for us and Your Spirit to live in us,

I praise You for Your great wisdom that in Christ You are bringing together every tribe and language and people and nation. Your extraordinary plan to unite all mankind in Christ is being known and talked about even among the angels.

My response is to get down on my knees before You, Father. In my sin, I was once far from You, an orphan. But in Christ, You have made all who believe, those in heaven and those on earth, part of Your family. You are my magnificent Father.

Please, Lord, from Your glorious, unlimited riches, empower me and all Your children with inner strength through Your Spirit. May Christ make His home in my heart as I learn to trust Him more and more. Right now, I open the door of my life once again and invite Christ to dwell in my heart through faith! I repent and I believe the gospel.

Help me to be deeply rooted and securely grounded in Your love, to have both my feet planted firmly in Your gracious affection for me. Strengthen me to be able to comprehend with all my brothers and sisters how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Your love is. Lord, I want to embrace the breadth of Your love, to know the length of Your love, to plumb the depth of Your love, and to reach the height of Your love. I want to know the unknowable – the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. I long to personally experience in my heart the love of Christ which far surpasses mere head knowledge.

Show me how deep Your Father-love is for me! Show me how vast Your love is beyond all measure! You gave Your only Son for me and made me, a wretch, Your treasure! O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure. Your love is the saints’ and angels’ song.

Now, fill me, Lord, with all Your fullness. I ask You for the richest spiritual experience possible – completely flood me with Your presence.

You, Lord God, are able to do far more abundantly than all that I could ever ask or think. You can do anything – far more than I could ever imagine or guess or request in my wildest dreams! Heavenly Father, Your mighty power is at work within me and within all my brothers and sisters.

May You receive all the glory that belongs to You in Your church. May You receive all the glory that belongs to You in Christ Jesus. May You receive all the glory that belongs to You throughout all generations forever and ever.

Amen.

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 3:14-21. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, The Message, the New Living Translation and the Amplified Version. Words were also used from the hymns “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” and “The Love of God.”

A Gospel Prayer based on Ephesians 3:1-13

Lord God, Revealer of divine mystery,

I give You praise, as the Creator of all things, that You kept Your plan hidden in past ages. I give You thanks that Your shrouded mystery has now been revealed. You had not revealed it to previous generations, but now by Your Spirit You have revealed the mystery to Your holy apostles and prophets.

And this is Your revelation: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches we now inherit as Your children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because both Jews and Gentiles can belong to Christ Jesus. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. We all get the same offer, the same help, the same promises in Christ Jesus. Your grace, God, is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board.

I, however, have not always been welcoming to everyone. I have valued and devalued people based on the color of their skin, their economic status, their level of education, their political point of view, their nationality, or their ethnic heritage. Sometimes, my pride-filled self-pity causes me to act like I am “worse than.” At other times, my self-exalting arrogance causes me to think I am “better than.” In short, I fail to love as You love. I have sinned and fallen short of Your glory.

Like the apostle Paul, I see myself as the least of the saints, the most undeserving of all Your people. Yet You have given me Your grace. Jesus laid down His life for me to forgive me for my lack of love. He rose again to give me new life. Because of Christ and my faith in Him, I can now come boldly and confidently into Your presence. 

By the working of Your power, You have called me to be Your minister. You have given me insight into Your mystery. You have granted me the honor of serving You by spreading the Good News. You have graciously invited me to tell everyone about the endless treasures available to all who are in Christ. And so here I am, Lord, with the responsibility to announce to others – Jews and Gentiles, black and white, rich and poor, young and old – things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ.

Give me more and more insight into the mystery of Christ. May I be a good steward of the grace that has been given to me. If necessary, help me be willing to suffer on behalf of others in order to share Your gospel with them.

Lord, use Your church – and me in it – to accomplish Your purpose to display Your manifold wisdom to the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Show all of creation the many colors – the artistry – of Your supreme intelligence. May Your extraordinary plan to unite all mankind in Christ be known and talked about even among the angels!

Make Your mystery known, Lord, through me.

Amen.

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 3:1-13. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, The Message, and the New Living Translation.

A Gospel Prayer based on Ephesians 2:19-23

O God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and Sender of the Holy Spirit,

I praise You as the Triune God, eternally existing as Father, Son, and Spirit. You have always lived in community. You exemplify interrelationship and interconnectedness. You created mankind to live in fellowship with You and one another. Your communal nature means that You participate in and interact with all of Your creation. And You have invited me into this communal way of life.

But too often I have chosen to live alienated from You and alienated from Your people. I have gone my own way. I have pursued my selfish agendas. Instead of pursuing an interdependency with You and others, I have pursued either unhealthy dependence or unhealthy independence. In short, I have not loved You or others as I ought. Too often my sinful choices have caused me to live in lonely isolation.

But You did not want me to live alone. You pursued me. You loved me enough to send Jesus to die for my sins, so that I could know You and be adopted to be Your beloved child. You brought me, the solitary, into Your family so I could have a relationship with You and with Your other children as we together inherit eternal life.

So now, I am no longer a stranger or a foreigner. I am no longer a wandering exile. I am now a fellow citizen in Your kingdom with all Your people that You have made holy in Your sight. Your household of faith is now our home. 

You have built a home for me and for all Your people. I belong. We all belong. Together, we are Your house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself. 

It’s the gospel of Jesus that makes all this possible. Christ is the One who holds the household together and makes us continue to grow into a holy temple for the Lord. 

Together, we are a sanctuary that is dedicated, set apart, and sacred in the presence of the Lord. You are building us – all together – to be Your dwelling place by the Spirit.

Help me to see that You love not just a collection of individuals, but a community of people. May I see that You have not merely invited me into a personal relationship with You, but into Your glorious family. Help me to embrace the gift You have given – a divine relationship with You and with all my brothers and sisters in Your church all around the world. Teach me how to love and to be loved as the gospel not only transforms my heart, but also transforms our relationships in the church, with our neighbors, and in the community around us. 

May our lives together reflect the eternal love which existed in eternity past between You, Father, and the Son and the Spirit.

Amen

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 2:19–23. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, The Message, the Contemporary English Version, the Amplified Bible, and the New Living Translation.

Not Again!

With disbelief and a heavy heart, we add the name Ravi Zacharias to the list of names of Christian leaders who have fallen morally.  How tragic to have a man so well known for his intellect and persuasive handling of God’s truth in the arena of apologetics, to now be stained with sexual scandal.  It is heart-wrenching to think a man we so admired could be capable of what he did, and it is anguishing to think of what fear and torment his victims had to experience and now live with.

We are again reminded that Christ is the cornerstone of our faith, not any one Christian man or woman we admire or look up to.

What do we do during times like this?  What does our mind and heart need to engage in when navigating the pain of these situations?  Sometimes passing on a good resource is better than creating new content.  That is what I will do here.  I commend this article from The Gospel Coalition for you to read and reflect on.  The author of the post gives us 10 good ways to navigate grievous moments like these when Christian leaders hurt others and fall from their influential status. 

As you read through these, which one is the easiest for you to do and which one is the most difficult?  I encourage you to have a conversation with another Christian friend around the answer to those questions.

As a Christian leader, I plead with you to keep your pastors and ministry leaders in regular prayer.  There are a lot of ways to pray for us, but if I had to summarize how you could pray in one word, I would say “Integrity.”  Integrity will cover most of the areas we need prayed for most – our personal relationships with God, our families, our choices, and our ministries.  Will you pause for a minute now and pray for your pastors and ministry leaders to have integrity?  Will you commit to do so on a regular basis so that the name of Christ will be glorified, and that we will be leaders who help others and not hurt them.

Live new,

Chad Allen

A Gospel Prayer based on Ephesians 2:11-18

O God of all mankind,

You created us to enjoy Your presence. You long to be near to everyone You have made. Your desire has always been for Your people to be at home with You and for You to be at home with them. You are faithful, Lord, inviting us into fellowship with You and into unity with one another.

However, we have rejected Your invitation. You offered us the greatest privilege – to be near You. Yet we have chosen the greatest curse – to be far from You. The foolish choice to reject the invitation to be close to You also caused human beings to divide from one another.

Woe is me! I participated with the rest of humanity. My sin made a separation between You and me. My willful, wrong choices caused You to hide Your face from me. Just as Adam was banished from the Garden because of his sin, so I too have suffered alienation from You and from others. Without Your rescuing grace, I would be headed to an eternal separation in hell forever. 

You, however, did not leave me alone. You did what was seemingly impossible. Before Christ, I was excluded from citizenship among Your people. I did not know the covenant promises You had made. I lived in this world without You and without hope. But because of Christ – shedding His blood for my forgiveness and dying on the cross so I could have new life – I, who was once far off, have been brought near. 

You made Jesus to be our peace. He tore down the walls between people, the divisions that kept us at a distance from one another. The hostility between various groups of people has now been broken. Jesus takes two who are at war – Jew and Gentile, black and white, men and women, young and old, East and West, North and South – and makes us one in peace.

This is why I praise You for the cross. Christ brought me and people quite unlike me together through His death on the cross. The cross enables me to embrace those who are different and kills any hostility lurking in my heart.

Thank You that Christ came and preached peace to me, someone who was far away from You, and to those who were near. Thank You that we all share the same Spirit and have equal access to You, Father.

Now, help me today to show and share Your message – that no matter who someone is or what they have done – the cross of Christ is the way we can all be reconciled to God and to one another. Put an end, Lord, to the divisions we experience because ethnicity, nationality, upbringing, economic status, or any other earthly distinction that wrongly separates us. Tear down the walls between us through the power of the risen Christ.

Amen. 

***

This prayer is based on the truths found in Ephesians 2:11-18. Some of the words and phrases are taken directly from the English Standard Version, The Living Bible, The Message, and the New Living Translation of the Bible.

Preaching the Gospel to yourself and others

As we continue to focus heavily on the Gospel, especially the value of “preaching” it to ourselves, we do not want to mistakenly reduce the gospel to some sort of divine “self-help” material.  The Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16) which means we can walk in the power of the Gospel after salvation, as well as embrace God’s power in the Gospel in our salvation.  But the Gospel is good news to share with others, not just good news to rehearse to ourselves.  Sharing the Gospel is one of the best ways to experience its power in your own life. In the receiving, we are compelled by God to be part of the giving.

One of the most important aspects of sharing the Gospel with those who do not know the Lord is to pray for them before you share the Gospel with them, while you share the Gospel with them, and after you share the Gospel with them.  Sometimes we say it this way, “Talk to God about your friend before you talk to your friend about God.”  If you are at loss for how to pray for your “One” and those who do not know Christ, here is a good refresher list for you…

How to Pray for the Lost

Adapted from Tim Challies “18 Prayers to Pray for Unbelievers”

Pray that God would circumcise their hearts. Circumcision was the Old Testament sign of entering into God’s covenant, of being God’s people. To have a circumcised heart symbolizes having a heart that is fully joined to God, fully submissive to him. “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:6).

Pray that God would give them a heart of flesh. The Bible contrasts a heart of flesh, a heart that is alive and responsive to God, to a heart of stone, a heart that is cold and unyielding. Pray that God would work within these unbelievers to change their hearts. “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh…” (Ezekiel 11:19).

Pray that God would put his Spirit within them. The great joy of salvation is being indwelled by God himself. Pray that God would grant this honor to those unbelievers, that he would choose to take up residence within them. “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:27).

Pray that they would come to Christ. If unbelievers are to come to salvation, there is just one way. They must come through Christ and Christ alone. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6). Remember, too, that he is the one who calls them to come and to be relieved of the burden of their sin (see Matthew 11:28-30).

Pray that God would open their hearts to believe the gospel. Once more, God must initiate and people must respond. So, pray that God would open the hearts of these unbelievers so they can in turn believe, just as Lydia did. “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul” (Acts 16:14).

Pray that God would free them from the slavery of sin. Unbelievers may believe they are free, but they are in fact enslaved. They are slaves of sin, bound by their sin and sinfulness. Pray that God would liberate them by his gospel. “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed” (Romans 6:17).

Pray that God would remove Satan’s blinding influence. Unbelievers have been blinded by Satan and will only ever be able to see and appreciate the gospel if God works within them. So, pray that God would give them sight—spiritual sight. “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Pray that God would grant them repentance. Unbelievers cannot repent without the enabling grace of God. So, pray that God would grant them repentance, that this repentance would lead them to a knowledge of the truth. Pray as well that they would come to their senses and that they would escape from the devil’s snare. “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25-26).

Pray for other believers to encounter them. God almost always uses a succession of people to share the gospel with people before they are saved. Pray, then, that God would lead other Christians into the lives of the unbelievers you love, that they too would provide an example of Christian living and that they too would speak the gospel. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Pray that God would use any circumstance to do his work in them. We pray to a God who is sovereign and who sovereignly works his good will. Often he saves people through difficult circumstances, through bringing them to the very end of themselves. Pray, then, that God would arrange circumstances, whether easy or difficult, to lead them to salvation. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (Psalm 119:67). As you pray for the unbelievers you love, always pray to God: “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Pray that God would extend his mercy to them. God assures us that he wishes for all people to turn to him in repentance and faith. He receives no joy from seeing people perish. Pray, then, that God would be glorified in the salvation of these people. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Pray with confidence. Finally, pray with confidence. God expects we will pray, God invites us to pray, God commands us to pray. Why? Because God loves to hear us pray and God loves to respond to our prayers. So as you pray for unbelievers, pray with confidence that God hears your prayers. “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16).