“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). These are the words Jesus spoke to Zacchaeus when Zacchaeus left his old life and began following Jesus. Although there are Christians all over the world today, many people still don’t know Jesus or believe in God. Those lost and without Christ are called to be a part of His family just as much as you and I. With so many people never having heard the Gospel message, how are Christians called to respond? You might think the answer is to immediately start talking and sharing the Gospel, however, if we are to follow the example of Christ, the first step is to pray for all non-believers.
Have you ever had a day when you were in a bad mood and someone really happy tried to cheer you up? Sometimes your mood improves, but other times that person might upset you even more. Just as our emotions and even what is happening that day can influence how we receive good news, so too do the emotions and circumstances of a non-believer affect how they receive the Gospel. Think about it! Not only is the Gospel good news, it is the BEST news.
But a person’s emotions and circumstances do not stop God whose mercy and grace can help everyone see the truth in His message.
Praying For The Heart
Even Christ, who always acted out of love and mercy, faced ridicule and persecution for the work that He did. However, He did not respond to anger with anger. Instead of dismissing these individuals as hopeless cases, Christ demonstrated to His disciples that not every heart is prepared to accept Him.
One of the ways that Christ conveys this message with His disciples is in the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-20). In this parable, Jesus illustrates the various ways people may receive the word of God: some are attacked by the devil after hearing it, some believe initially but later fall away, some are consumed by worldly concerns, and some embrace and live out the Gospel. Some of the soil is good and ready to receive and support a new seed, but sometimes the soil is contaminated, dry, or full of weeds. In that soil, very little can grow, no matter how good the seed is.
Preparing Good Soil
Before planting seeds, it is wise to tend to the soil where you want them to grow. Sometimes there are rocks or weeds in the dirt or it needs more water before plants can grow. If we want to spread the truth of the Bible, then let’s also tend to the heart in which we are planting it. Although we cannot make the decision to believe for others, we can pray that they might be ready to receive the Gospel message. In other words, we cannot change their heart, but God can.
As Paul told the Corinthians, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). Although God is the one to give the growth, we are still invited to plant the seeds of truth in the hearts of others.
When we pray for non-believers, our prayers are not empty words, bearing no fruit. Instead, we know that God hears them. Indeed, “this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14). Although we might not see the effects of our prayers immediately, that does not mean they are not being answered.
Praying for Non-Believer
Another reason to pray for non-believers is because this is the model that Christ left us. Before being handed over for crucifixion, Jesus prayed for those who would come to believe(John 17:20-26). In the same way that Christ prayed for them, so too must we pray that their hearts might be ready to hear God’s Word when the time comes.
If you truly believe in and are trying your best to live your faith, then you are called to go out and share it with others. Challenge yourself to love and serve others in the same way that God has shown love to you. Everyone deserves to hear the Gospel message and be given an opportunity to accept it.
Intercessory Prayers for Non-Believers
As you pray for those who do not believe, ask Jesus to help you to be a witness of His love and mercy, acting out of care for those who are lost. If you go to pray for those who do not believe and feel stuck, remember, prayer is not about saying the right words to get God to work. Instead, it is about sincerity, honesty, relationship, and love.
Check out this list of prayers below as a helpful place to start!
Dear Heavenly Father,
I know that in you all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Knowing this, I ask you to help [Name of family member(s)] who does not believe in the Gospel. Jesus has told us that He is the Good Shepherd who helps to find the lost (John 10:11-18).With a deep love for them in my heart, I offer this prayer, asking that you open their hearts to believe in you, Jesus. Into your hands I place my hope and prayers, that You will reveal Your love to them and welcome them into Your family of believers.
If they are feeling scared or have questions, I ask for Your grace to grant them courage and strength. You are the source of our strength, Jesus, and I pray that You will empower them as well. May their hearts be like fertile soil, ready to receive and nurture the seeds of faith. Only You can save them, Lord. Help them to embrace Your love and choose to become part of Your flock of followers.
In Jesus name, I pray,
Jesus, Friend of my Heart,
During your life on earth, you told us, “I have called you friends because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father” (John 15:15). You are the best friend I could ever ask you. On days when I am sad, you are with me. When I am happy, you celebrate alongside me! When I feel alone, I find comfort in knowing you are always there for me.
Because of your endless love, I ask you to help my friend [Name] who does not yet believe in you. Give me the courage to share with them the Gospel message and dispose their heart to hear the truth in your word. Let my love as a friend to them reflect the even greater love that you can give them.
In Jesus name I pray,
Gracious and Loving God,
I pray for all those around the world who do not know you yet and have no one praying for them. Knowing that you work in ways that I cannot understand, I ask that my prayers might lead them to you. I ask your Holy Spirit to descend upon them and give them the wisdom to look for you. In You, every question finds an answer, and every longing of our hearts is fulfilled. Even when we believe we desire something else, deep down, what we truly long for is You. I pray that devout Christians may serve as living examples of this truth to all those who are lost and without prayers.
In Jesus name, I pray,
Those in Leadership
King of the Universe,
From You flows all authority, and all power belongs to You. Even though this world is temporary, your kingdom will last forever. You call me to honor and pray for all leaders of this world because their power is your power. Therefore, I approach you to lift up those in positions of authority and leadership who have not embraced you: teachers, principals, government officials, business leaders, and others. Through the work of Your Holy Spirit, may they be guided to recognize Your authority, truth, and power. By Your Spirit, lead them in their decisions, that they may align with Your divine will.
In Jesus name, I pray,
As you pray this month, remember that the whole Bring Your Bible Team is joining you in prayer. We want to encourage you, your friends, and your family to pray for non-believers. While personal prayer is always valuable, there is tremendous power in praying together with others! Praying as a community makes us stronger and is a powerful way to remember that there are so many other Christians out there, all trying to grow close to Jesus and share the Gospel. Whether it is with your family, friends, or church community, find other people to pray for non-believers with you.
As you take on the challenge to pray for non-believers this month, we also challenge you to participate in See You at the Pole at the end of the month!
How to Prepare for SYATP
See You at the Pole is a beautiful way to see those walking toward Christ around you. On September 27th, students around the country will be gathering outside their schools to pray for their schools and community. Not only is this a great way to prepare for Bring Your Bible to School Day that happens the week after, but it is a student led campaign that can help give you courage to live your faith at school.
If students at your school are not already planning to participate, talk to your parents or school administration about organizing it for your school. On their website, See You At the Pole has lots of helpful resources for you to understand your rights as a student and information on how to prepare for the day! See You At the Pole is for everyone, students and teachers, so work to bring people together to pray in community for your school and for those who do not believe.