Evangelistic Prayer: How to Pray for Unsaved People

The Real Secret to Praying for the Lost

The Real Secret to Praying for the Lost

Evangelistic Prayer: The Real Secret to Praying for Unsaved People

There are seven Scriptures in the New Testament that explicitly link prayer to evangelism. Six of the seven call for Christians to open their mouths, rather than for unbelievers to open their hearts. Examine these six and find the Bible secret to praying for the unsaved.

First Evangelistic Prayer Matthew 9: 37-38

Jesus notices so many needy people; compassion for them rises in Him. He then puts his finger squarely on the problem–many people are ready to receive salvation, but few workers. His solution: Pray for workers.

Second Evangelistic Prayer Luke 10:2

On a separate occasion from Matthew 9, Jesus offers the same command. “Beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Does He ever specifically ask people to pray for the lost? Strangely, no. His solution is invariably the same: Pray for believers to go to work in the “harvest.”

Third Evangelistic Prayer Ephesians 6:19-20

Paul asks prayer for himself for four specific areas:
• That he would open his mouth
• That utterance, words (Greek: logos, from lego, which means “to speak”) be given to him
• Boldness to make the gospel known (twice requested)
• That he would speak as he ought
Five times his request centers on speaking out.

Fourth Evangelistic Prayer  Colossians 4:3-4

Paul asks the church in Colossae to pray for Timothy and him so they
• Will have an open door for their message
• May speak out “the mystery of Christ”
• Will speak clearly as they ought

Fifth Evangelistic Prayer 2 Thessalonians 3:1

Again Paul feels the need and cries out for prayers for Silvanus, Timothy and himself. His request–that the word of God which they speak would spread rapidly. They also wanted prayer that the way they spoke and the words they said would be respected, honored and received.

Sixth Evangelistic Prayer Acts 4:29-31

This incident in Acts 4 rests in the context of evangelism and prayer for the salvation of people opposed to Christ Jesus. After threats and harassment, Peter and John (and apparently other disciples) prayed aloud. Sandwiched between “take note of their threats” and “extend Your hand to heal” is this gem, “Grant that Your bondservants may speak Your word with all confidence” (Greek—parousia=boldness). This example of the New Testament Church in action clearly reveals the key to effective prayer for the lost.

I mentioned seven Scritpures linking prayer with evangelism. What is the seventh? Go to Romans 10:1 where Paul testifies that he is praying for the salvation of the Jews.

Is it wrong to pray for the unsaved by name? God forbid!–to pull a line from Paul. There are many general promises such as, “Ask and it will be given to you.” Also, I Timothy 2:1-4 edges toward prayer for the lost, but does not make a specific connection. (Note: Some translations, based on weak manuscript evidence or imagination, place Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20 in the future tense which makes it seem like He’s praying for the lost.)

Following these six Scriptures focuses a new and brighter light on evangelism.  Amazingly, the Bible way of prayer for the unsaved is largely unheralded and untried. Yet it is one of the keys that has made Chicken Evangelism so effective.

Summary and Conclusion

Each of the six Scriptures above linking prayer and evangelism emphasize prayer for the church to speak boldly and work in the “harvest”. Not one calls for prayer for the unsaved. Could this be a weak or missing link in our evangelism efforts? Are your evangelistic prayers based on the Bible way of praying?

I’d be interested in your thoughts.  What’s your experience with evangelistic prayer? Have you tried the real secret for praying for the lost?  What results are you getting?


  1. Please forgive my Spanglish. I truly think that God has a way to do things. I have a young adult child named of 22 years old. She is back home now after leaving home 6 months ago to live with an older boyfriend that she met after couple of weeks at the bar that she works. My husband and I never liked the idea of her working in a bar but she last year all of the sudden started doing things but seemed crazy to my husband and I. First she decided to get a loan in a bank to get augmentation surgery, then all of the sudden I knew that she already saw a surgeon doctor and already had a surgery appointment. Then she went to a school for 2 weeks to study bar tending and started working in a bar where all the real craziness started. She started coming late at first, then sometimes she was coming late home, so then when my husband and I tried to talk to her about her attitude and her life style, she decided to live one day while I was working. I came home and she was gone. I felt like I wanted to die and kill myself. My beautiful daughter that was dedicated at church when was a baby, and was coming to church and even taught children bible classes, now started drinking, working seven days a week, two jobs, day and night to support the police officer boyfriend of 30 years old. Meanwhile she stopped the Community College school. I prayed so hard and talked to all the pastors that I could talk, while inside I felt like an impending doom thinking the worse like maybe she is dead. I knew there was a gun at their place and I knew my daughter had a short temper. My daughter finally came to me last month after almost 6 months away from home and told me that she had money problems and that also broke up with the boyfriend. I told her that she could come home, help her pay the bills and of course pay it back, but I let her get away by accepting that she still could to go out whenever she wanted. Out of desperation I told her okay but it was getting out of hand again and everyday at night she would leave home at 10 pm and come back 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 am, next day. I was afraid to be strong with her and I finally had to and told her that it was important to respect her body and her parents coming home early and not going out every day. She is now so much better, she is taking online classes to be a veterinarian but the temptation in her is too much. She has all these bar friends always calling her to go there and and i can tell that she wants to do it. She was doing this for 6 six months while living with the police officer. He found her conveniently. Her body got used to. Now at home for a month, I am working with her and she is even trying to get a day time job. I am praying every day and all the time because I believe in the power of Jesus. I am human too and I have my days when I feel weak and tired because I am always thinking how to handle this situation. People tell me that I have no life and this problem is consuming me, but she is my daughter, I can’t give up and I trust in the Lord, I have faith in Jesus name. My husband just watches and not say much. The thing is that my daughter is back with the old boyfriend who used to date for couple of years who verbal abuses her and she is still working at the bars. I am praying for her to find a day time job, that she continuous school, leave the boyfriend, not wanting to leave home every night and come back early next day (She got used to), learn to be humble, but most importantly come back to the Lord. I also need a prayer for financial help because when she came back I had to pay all her debts and I had to postpone my legs treatments and surgery. I need peace. Thank you and God bless you, your church, your family and ministry. JUST A MOM

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