How can I pray salvation for others?

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

Bible Answers

The first consideration is the realization that one of God’s greatest desires is the salvation of all mankind. God’s desire is clearly stated.

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 says, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.

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).

It is God’s desire that all should be saved.  He loves you so much that He gave His one and only son as a ransom to pay for our sins.  

Why pray

We should, we must, pray for the Salvation of others. What we are doing is asking God to move in their lives. Jesus said that He came to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus does the seeking and the Holy Spirit opens their heart. If you want to see someone’s heart healed and their eternal future secured, you must be praying. Pray helps open the door to Jesus. Jesus taught that we “ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).

Why are so many still unsaved

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.  

How does Satan blind the minds of the unsaved

Satan blinds the minds of the unsaved and often of the saved, by slowly feeding our minds with lies and deception that is mixed with truth.  He then feeds us more lies and deception, but with less truth, until we fully believe the lies and deception.  The devil builds lies and deceptions one upon another, creating walls, until he has built a stronghold in a person’s mind.  And like any soldier, he is always at work defending his stronghold. The stronghold makes it hard for a person to receive the truth and without the truth, a person has no reason to ever believe in Jesus. To believe in Jesus, the strongholds, the lies and deception, must be pulled down.

Satan’s power

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 a stronghold.

Tearing down 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.

Take up the sword of the Word and in His divine power, tear down those strongholds. Jesus said to His disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). Click for more info on overcoming the devil.

Coming against Satan

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. However, we can ask God to protect us from the enemy and to put His mighty angels around our loved ones, our friends, and us.  The Lord’s Prayer ends with but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13). We can bless them with God’s blessings of protection.

Ways the truth can be presented

Typically, our unsaved loved ones would likely come to Christ if they were free of Satan’s strongholds and strongholds can only be broken down by the divine power of God. Now you may say, but they will not talk with me, so how can they receive the truth?

Jesus did say to His disciples, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest (Matthew 9:38).  

A laborer is one who delivers the truth of God.  The following can be laborers.

Pray that the Lord will open their eyes to the truth and fill their heart with understanding, and that the Lord will do whatever it takes for them to find the Lord.

But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me (John 15:26).

The laborer is then whatever person, spiritual being, or thing the Lord may use to deliver the truth to the harvest field. Recall that the harvest field encircles the world, starting with your home.

Being prepared to pray

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 are prepared.  We prepare ourselves for prayer by:

1.  Entering God’s Presence

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name (Psalm 100:4).

2.  Having a relationship with God   

We develop the strongest relationship with God when He and His Word are more important than anything else in our life and we spend time with Him with a pure heart.  

3.  A pure heart

Our heart is pure when we are free of unforgiveness and unrepented sin, and we do not have any other god’s in our heart. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8).

4.  Knowing God’s will

We know God’s will by following the Holy Spirit and the Holy Word.

5.  Making our Requests of God.     

After we have spent time thanking, praising, worshipping, and seeking His will, we are ready to make our requests of God.  

Knowing our authority

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; and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:19). Authority is delegated power.  

Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick (Luke 9:1, 2).

For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants (Mark 13:34).

In my name shall they cast out devils (Mark 16:17).

What power and authority do these four verses say that Christ gave us?  He gave us “All power and authority” over the enemy. Christ has given us His power and authority over Satan and his kingdom.  However, it only works if we believe in faith and command in faith through Christ. When we come against Satan in faith, in the name of Jesus, Satan must obey.  If you do not believe, if you have little faith, Satan knows, and will not listen to you. While Satan may not obey us, he must obey the authority of Jesus that we have been given and that we are operating in.

And who are we that Christ should give us such authority? …you are a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir (Gal 4:7).

Suggested Prayer

Now that we understand how Satan has filled our loved ones with lies and deception, building strongholds, we can better understand how truth needs to replace Satan’s stronghold. Having prepared ourselves to come before God, we are ready to apply what we have learned.

This sample prayer is just one way of praying for the salvation of a loved one.  A better prayer will always be one guided by the Holy Spirit.

Prayer example

Father, I come before You in prayer with a pure heart, in faith, 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.

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).

“Father, I ask that You fill ________ with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Colossians 1:9).  As I intercede in their behalf, I believe the power of the Holy Spirit is activated, and from this moment on, I shall praise and thank You for ________’s salvation.  “Therefore, my confession of faith is: ‘God has begun a good work in their life (Philippians 1:6) and He will perform it and bring forth truth and salvation, in Jesus’ Name.”

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).

Shorter example

Father, in Jesus’ name, I surrender ___________ to you and I pray that you would open their heart to your salvation, protecting them from the enemy. Thank you Father, amen.

In the name of Jesus, I break the power of the devil over __________ life, and I claim their salvation.

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, God is busy encouraging them, even if it doesn’t look that way to you.  Remember, 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.

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.  After the person has the truth, they still have a free will to accept or reject Jesus. 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).  

In another’s life, we cannot cast the devil out or away from them 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.

 Your prayer of faith for your loved one is very powerful

Additional considerations

There are many different strongholds that are built on the devil’s deceptions, and a person will often retain some of these strongholds at the time of salvation, except the stronghold of not believing in Jesus.  After salvation, they need to learn the Word, and come against these strongholds with the truth and the power of Jesus. Christians need to always keep on guard or the devil will start feeding their minds with little deceptions that grow over time.  

Will God 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.

An example

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 and they will want what we have.  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 see the victory.

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.


Do not give up praying for others.  While God will not force a person to accept and love Him, He can and does work hard to 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 and faith does not give up.

Next Section: Can a Christian lose their salvation?

Climbing From Hell To Salvation

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