This past fall, a friend from my neighborhood lost her second battle with cancer. She’d already endured and survived breast cancer five years prior to this. She seemed healthy.
Unfortunately, in December of 2016, she discovered that the cancer had metastasized and manifested itself in her brain. I told her I would pray. I also baked bread and made soup. Simple offerings for a complicated problem.
As her treatment progressed, I continued to pray. Even after brain surgery and radiation, the cancer continued to spread. It eventually made its way into her spine and bones until no more could be done.
This was a horrible blow to our community. The healing we’d so urgently prayed for didn’t come.
Throughout her illness, I made it a point to pray for her. I also made sure to visit with her periodically. During these visits, I gave her Bible verses written on index cards and a prayer journal. It was a blessing to hear that the verses and journal had been comforting to her.
In August 2017, after I’d invited her several times, she was finally able to make it to church with me. At other times she’d been too busy or ill to come.
Two other friends joined us that Sunday. We prayed with her and for her during and after the service. She even laid hands on us and prayed for us, asking God to bless us for praying for her. It was incredible!
During the altar call on that Sunday, she raised her hand to receive Christ. She later told me how blessed and peaceful she’d felt being at church.
I never got to talk to her about this in more detail because she was hospitalized only a few weeks later. There she remained until passing away in mid-October.
While she was sick, the same two friends and I continued to storm the gates of heaven on her behalf.
We prayed for her healing and that she would respond well to treatment. We prayed for her husband and 8-year-old twins. Of course we did. That’s what praying people do.
Even more importantly, we prayed for the state of her soul. We asked God to reveal Himself to her so that she would put her trust in Him, sealing her place with Jesus in eternity.
Before she passed, my heart was burdened with the idea that I should be praying for my friends and family who are unsaved just as fervently as I was praying for my sick friend.
Though they may not be physically afflicted, facing each new day without the security of salvation is just as bad as slowly dying of a terminal disease. One of my friends who was in church with us that Sunday told me she’d been feeling the same burden to pray for the unsaved.
Though they may not be physically afflicted, facing each new day without the security of salvation is just as bad as slowly dying of a terminal disease.
In thinking about this, I have been more intentional about praying for those who don’t know Jesus. But I must do more. Here are some ways we can reflect upon scripture as we pray for the lost:
1 – REMEMBER WHERE YOU CAME FROM – In praying for the lost, we must remember the origins of our own faith. With patience and grace, we must love and pray for those who don’t know Jesus. The walk of faith is a long journey.
Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. -Ephesians 2:12
2 – PRAY FOR THEIR EYES TO BE OPENED – Those who do not know Jesus cannot see their need for Him, nor can they see His goodness. Pray that their spiritual eyes are opened to the reality of their need for Jesus. Pray that they may see Him for who He really is.
…I am sending you to them 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 26:17-18
3 – PRAY FOR THEIR HEARTS TO BE SOFTENED – We must pray for the unsaved to have pliable hearts so that God can transform them. A heart of stone cannot be shaped. Pray they would grow tender enough to receive God’s grace and mercy.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. -Ezekiel 26:36