Summary: John Edmiston’s sermon teaches us a great deal about the power and efficacy of praying for the lost as an evangelistic strategy.
How To Pray For The Lost (Sermon by John Edmiston)
Many of us - if not all of us , owe our conversion to friends and family who prayed us into the Kingdom. Prayer is the big weapon for the salvation of souls. Argument and debate without prayer is dry and fruitless. Do not spend all your time bashing your head against the arguments of people. Instead bash into Heaven with strong prayers on behalf of those you want to be saved.
Why should we pray for the lost?
1. Out of love - if we love our neighbour as ourselves we will want him or her to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour too.
2. Out of holy fear - if we realise that Hell is for real and for eternity then we will not want our friends, family or neighbours to go there.
3. Out of knowledge of the nature of God - who loves to be merciful and desires that all men should be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
4. Out of knowledge of the power of prayer - prayer often succeeds when all else has failed. It is the only way we have of asking God to move in someone’s life and heart. We know that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. We know that prayers according to God’s will are answered. This is not spiritual manipulation from a distance. Rather prayer grants the person the ability to see clearly and make a free and informed choice, free from the manipulative bondages and blindness that the Devil tries to impose. We can legitimately pray that a person may be able to freely choose between the mercy and glory of God and the temporary trash of this world. We can pray that their blindness be removed and Christ shown to them convincingly and clearly. Imagine if we could present every non-Christian with a clear convincing presentation of the facts. Imagine they were made to choose between the love of Jesus Christ, eternal glory, a magnificent resurrection body , life in heaven etc. versus pain and torment and death and disgrace for all eternity . Only a crazy person would choose to remain a non-Christian. Prayer allows the unbeliever to glimpse the facts for what they are and to make a sensible choice. It is not unfair or manipulative -it is the fairest, most freeing way we have.
Praying for Structures
Paul writes to Timothy about his FIRST PRIORITY in 1 Tim 2:1-8
1 Timothy 2:1-8 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle--I am telling the truth, I am not lying--and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles. 8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
God wants us to pray - for kings and all those in authority..... in order that people may be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. This points out a sometimes forgotten aspect about praying for the lost - that governments can do a lot to help or to hinder the process of evangelism. For instance in Albania, one of the world’s most atheistic communist states a generation of people has been raised without the remotest awareness of Jesus Christ or the gospel. Albania is in ruins as a result and is without the social services or human compassion that the influence of the gospel brings. On the other hand Samoa and some of the Pacific nations are very Christian and the Government actively encourages participation in Christian activities. Everyone has some knowledge of the gospel and many are saved.
God wants "all people everywhere" - that means the lot of you without exception - to pray for those in authority so that we may openly have permission to preach the gospel without hindrance. Please pray that:
Our school system may remain open to Christian chaplaincy and R.E.
That tax concessions for some areas of Christian work may remain in place and that more areas e.g. donations to missionary societies may be made tax exempt.
That anti-Christian laws in some States may be repealed.
That the Government recognise the contribution that true Christianity can make to Australia .