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Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Praying for an Unbeliever BY RICK WARREN — APRIL 18, 2018
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10 NASB).
If you asked 50 random people, “How do you get to Heaven?” you’d get a lot of different answers. But most of them would be based on the idea that you can (and have to) earn your way to Heaven.
You’d hear things like, “Try to be good, and do your best” or “Do more good things than bad things in life.” Those ideas are all based on works, not grace.
But Romans 3:24 says, “All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ” (NCV).
God says that salvation is absolutely free to receive! You don’t work for a gift, and you can’t earn it or buy it.
This is the fundamental difference between Christianity and every other religion. Every other belief system can be summarized by one word: “do.” You do certain things to gain bliss, gain Heaven or some other kind of eternal reward, and gain God’s approval.
On the other hand, you can summarize Christianity in one word: “done.” Jesus Christ paid for our salvation on the cross, and now he offers his grace as a free gift. That’s why Jesus Christ, when he was hanging on the cross, stretched out his arms and said, “It is finished.” What’s the “it”? It’s our salvation — the plan to provide grace for every person who needs it.
We all have people in our lives who do not have a relationship with Jesus. They may include family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and acquaintances. The Bible says to pray for their salvation. In fact, Jesus “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4 CEB), so when we pray for the salvation of an unsaved person, we are doing what pleases God.
We can trust that God’s love reaches everywhere and everyone. His power is limitless, and his forgiveness is endless. Your prayers for people who do not know the hope we find in Christ do not go unheard. Keep on praying, and don’t lose heart.
What people are you praying for who don’t yet know Christ?
How can you thank God for those people’s presence in your life?
How can you pray for people who disagree with you or openly reject Scripture?
Here is a sample prayer for unbelieving friends:
“Lord, I know there are people who don’t have a relationship with you. Perhaps they know about you; they have heard your name. They just don’t you as their personal Savior. I pray that you would give them the courage to open their heart and mind and life to you. Lord, help them with their unbelief. May they learn to trust you and love you. Use me as a bridge to their belief. Keep me faithful in prayer.”
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Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Rick Warren’s study “Experience God’s Power Through Prayer,” available here[JW1] .