How can I pray for the unsaved?

Question: “How can I effectively pray for the unsaved?”

Bible Answers

We first must recognize that it is God’s desire that call shall be saved.

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

Second, we must realize that it normally is a team effort. Not that God needs us, but that He has chosen to work through and with us.

Matthew 28:19 says, Go therefore and make d

isciples of all nations.

Jesus taught that we “ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).

When we pray for the Salvation of others, we are asking God to move in their lives, to tear down strongholds of lies and deception and to open their eyes to see, their ears to hear, and their heart that they may know the truth and turn to God.

If it is God’s desire that all should be saved, then why are so many people still unsaved?  2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us the god of this world [the devil] has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  

Satan’s power in the mind of man is limited to the lies and deceptions that he can get us to believe.  If we are on guard for the enemy’s attacks and if we refuse to let any of the enemy’s lies and deceptions remain in our mind, then Satan has no power over us. If we, both Christian and non-Christian, permit Satan to build false strongholds in our mind, he gains considerable power over us, and the sad part of deception is that it is very hard for the person who is deceived to believe that they are deceived, so start early casting out the enemy’s fiery darts of thoughts before they grow into deceptions and the deceptions grow into strongholds.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). This verse says a great deal.  We have weapons, we are in warfare, our war is not against our loved ones, but against the devil.  We are told that it is our war and “we” are to initiate the attack, not God.  And our weapons are not of this world, but are God’s “divine power” and authority to use God’s power to destroy the devil’s strongholds and arguments in a person, so that the light of the truth may come in.

To pray for our loved ones we need to come against the enemy and pray that they would receive the truth.  To come against the enemy, we need to first know what our power and authority is in Jesus.

Behold, I give unto you authority to tread … over ALL the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). Authority is delegated power. In my name shall they cast out devils (Mark 16:17). When we come against Satan in faith, in the name of Jesus, Satan must obey. Click for more info on overcoming the devil.

No one in the NT ever asked God to come against Satan on their behalf, because Jesus gave us the authority and power to come against Satan, who has bound our loved ones and friends with lies and deception.  It is now our job to come against Satan.  If we do not, then possibly no one will, thus permitting Satan to do whatever he desires.

Pray that the Lord will open their eyes to the truth and fill their heart with understanding, that He will tear down strongholds, and bring forth laborers to tell them about Jesus. Ask that the Lord will do whatever it takes for them to find the Lord.

The laborer is then whatever person, spiritual being, or thing the Lord may use to deliver the truth to the harvest field, any where in the world.

Before we can do battle with Satan and pray for lost loved one, neighbors, friend, and the world, we need to be sure that we have a relationship with the Lord, are free of unrepented sins and unforgiveness, and are confident in faith that in God’s perfect timing, He will answer.  

We cannot cast the devil out or away from another person without their permission, but we can, in the name of Jesus, break the devil’s power in their life and bind the evil spirits in the name of Jesus.  This does not remove the stronghold, but with the evil spirits bound by daily prayer, they cannot keep reinforcing the stronghold. This is not a one-time prayer, because as soon as the person sins again, they again open the door to Satan’s kingdom. Hence the need to stand in the gap and keep praying for the person and against the devil until the person sees the truth and accepts the truth into their life.

A possible prayer may be:

Father, I come before You in prayer and in faith, with a pure heart, believing. Your Word says …you desire all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). Lord, I bring ________ before You this day.

Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, “I break Satan power over ________’s life, and I bind Satan from manifesting in his/her life, and I loose him/her from Satan’s lies and deception (Matt 16:19). Lord, I destroy the stronghold that Satan has build by Your divine power, I cast down arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Jesus (2 Cor. 10:4-5).

In Jesus’ name, I claim their salvation and I claim God’s protection from the evil one (John 17:15).  Lord, while Satan is bound, I ask that You send forth the perfect laborers into your harvest field to share the truth of the gospel in such a way that ________ will listen, understand, and receive (Matt. 9:38).  I pray that you would send angels, visions, dreams, and whatever it takes for their eyes to be open to the truth of the gospel, and may they receive understanding in their heart from You, so that they may be set free from the snare of the devil and make Jesus their Lord (Acts 26:18). Lord, may you give them a new heart so that they may turn to you and be saved (Jeremiah 24:7). In Jesus’ name, amen.

We are praying that they would receive the needed truth and that they would react to the truth in a positive way. Only the truth will provide a person the reason to accept the Lord. Only the truth will set a person free. And only the Holy Spirit can draw a person to the Lord.  …for the Father seeks such to worship him (John 4:23).

People often get discouraged when their loved ones do not get saved and give up too soon. Prayers prayed with faith can be powerful in the lives of your unsaved relatives and friends.  Don’t give up, as your prayers may be their only hope.

As you pray for them each day, believe that in God’s love, he will arrange the best means for your loved one to receive the needed truth.  We pray frequently, because Satan is still fighting to keep them bound. Picture your loved one walking hand-in-hand with Jesus.

But they still have a choice

When Jesus walked the earth, performing many miracles, many still did not accept Him, and the same is true today, even when a person sees the truth that can set them free, that person can still say no.  However, we can keep asking the Lord to give them a new heart that they may turn to God and be spiritually healed. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart (Jeremiah 24:7).  

God will not force salvation

Some say that God will not come against a person’s will, and this is partly true.  God will not force a person to love Him, but when we open the door by binding Satan in a person, God can still draw them.  As Dee Warford says, “That is the beauty of intercession. Intercessory prayer allows God to work on a person's will even when it is contrary to His will.” For example, praying for others allows God to exercise His plan and purpose for a person by drawing them, by opening their eyes to the truth, and by arranging circumstances that demonstrate God’s love. If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life (1 John 5:16). If we ask (pray), God can give them life.

We are often not the best ones to talk to our loved ones; they just will not listen to us.  Rather than preaching to them and nagging them, the best approach is often to be an example of God’s love and to keep praying for them. Once we’ve prayed for our loved one with faith, conviction, and power, start treating them like they are saved. Unless the Lord tells us, or they ask, we shouldn’t preach to them, we shouldn’t tell them they need to be saved. Just keep praying and be an example of Jesus.  A person only comes to Jesus when God has called them and prayer is what brings forth God’s call.

As intercessors, we must be persistent – not to persuade God, but because of the enemy.  We are fighting for the souls for whom Christ died.  We should claim the tearing down of all the works of Satan, and that they will be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  In the name of the Lord Jesus, we must claim their deliverance from the power and persuasion of the Evil One and from the love of the world and the lust of the flesh.  We should also pray that their conscience might be convicted, and that God may bring them to the point of repentance. And pray that the Lord will anoint you with power and faith to believe and to keep praying.

While we are praying for the Lord to send out laborers into the harvest for our loved one, someone else is also praying for a laborer, maybe you, to speak forth God’s Word in love to their loved one.


While God will not force a person to accept and love Him, He is at work bring them to Himself by giving the person ideas, thoughts, dreams, visions, laborers to talk with them, and designing circumstances in their life to bring them face to face with the love of God.  In prayer, keep breaking Satan’s power in their life, binding Satan, and claiming their salvation.  Continuous prayer is powerful.

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