555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

373. Do Prayers for the Unconverted Help?

The most definite Bible passage on this subject is I John 5:16: "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life." The words of Paul in Acts 16:31, Thou shalt be saved, and thy house," probably mean simply that if all the members of the household believed they would be saved. But we have positive Scripture warrant for praying for our unconverted friends, and countless incidents from present day life and earlier times prove that many hearts have been won to Christ through prayer. The assurance may not always come that those for whom we pray will yield to God, but sometimes the assurance does come very definitely. Prayer for others should be personal, definite, earnest. S. D. Gordon in his Quiet Talks on Prayer takes the position that prayer for others, offered in the name of Jesus, has the effect of driving off evil influences from the persons for whom the prayer is being made. It projects the personal influence of the one who is praying to the one prayed for, and clears the spiritual atmosphere so that the voice of God can be heard and the power of God felt Just as by talking to a person one may be able to persuade him to listen and yield to God, so by prayer one may influence another to submit himself to God. Most important of all is love. We must love ardently, steadily, those for whom we pray. Love will prevent us from doing things that would mar our influence over them or spoil their conception of the religious life. If our friends know that we love them deeply and constantly our words and prayers will have an almost irresistible power.