How to Pray for Your Unsaved Friends

| March 13, 2017

I was a fairly shy tenth grader and getting yelled at by another student in front of all our class. The teacher was running a few minutes late, and there was nobody to intervene for me.

Why was “Misty” so upset with me? I had left a note in her locker telling her I’d love to tell her about the Lord. I’d been praying for her regularly (we were pretty good friends) and felt like the Holy Spirit was calling me to be bolder in my approach, but being a generally insecure teen girl at the time, I didn’t want to have the conversation face-to-face.

Hence the note that Misty found in her locker that got her so upset she chewed me out in front of everybody.

Fast-forward a decade or two, and my encounter with Misty still sits in the back of my head when I think about my unsaved friends. But God, I want to say, if I share the gospel with her, she might yell at me! In many ways, I’m no different than that shy, insecure fourteen-year-old getting berated in front of a class full of students.

The Struggle is Real

Why is it so hard for us to share our faith with others? Of course, nobody wants to be called a bigot (a label many individuals plaster on Christians who try to spread the gospel). Many times, I’m afraid of offending others or (as in the case with Misty) of losing a friend. I know at least internally that the thought of someone spending eternity in Hell should be enough of a compulsion to help us overcome our fears all the time, but so often I find myself more like Jonah than I want to admit: God, send someone else!

A few months ago, Jaime Hampton, my friend and co-host of the Prevailing Prayer Podcast, each made individual commitments to pray for five of our unsaved friends every day. We came to this agreement based on the story of George Müller, and how his prayer list began with the names of five friends. After decades of fervent prayer, he saw God bring these individuals to salvation. The last conversion came just a few months after George Müller’s death. His perseverance to pray was an inspiration to me, and I made the same level of commitment to pray for these people on my prayer list either until they are converted or until I die.

The struggle became what to do to keep my mind sharp and my focus directed in my prayers. I wanted more than a simple, Please help so-and-so be saved. I’d already written several prayer guides by then, which is how I decided to write the 30 Days of Prayer for the Unsaved. This guide can be read as an eBook, but I also set up a daily email so for the next thirty days, I could get one prayer each day in my inbox reminding me to pray about a specific aspect for my unsaved friend.

How to Pray for Your Unsaved FriendsThree ways to pray for your unsaved friends

If you have unsaved friends, you might be where I was — wanting to pray for their salvation but unsure what to say to God on their behalf. Here are a few ideas of ways to pray for the unsaved.

  1. Pray for opportunities. Many people hear the gospel several times before they actually come to Christ. Ask God to bring witnesses into your friend’s life. The more you pray, the more God might change your heart and give you boldness so you’ll be ready to take that step and share the gospel with them if the chance arises.
  1. Pray for a conviction of sin. Unless someone realizes their need for a Savior, they have no perceived need for Christ. Pray that God would use your friend’s conscience to lead them to the cross, where they can find true forgiveness from their sins and freedom from guilt.
  1. Pray against spiritual blindness. Scripture says that before your friend is saved, a veil covers their eyes so they can’t understand the gospel. Only in Christ can that veil be removed. Ask God to prepare your friend’s heart to receive his free gift of salvation.

If you’d like to get emails with other prayer points and reminders, you can sign up at www.alanaterry.com/unsaved, and if you’re encouraged to pray more fervently and regularly for your unsaved friends, leave us a comment and tell us about your commitment!

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28 Comments

  • Reply Terri March 13, 2017 at 8:07 am

    So many great tips and I love the tweets 🙂

    • Reply Alana Terry March 15, 2017 at 10:30 pm

      Yeah Terri, the tweets are awesome. Good work, Heather!

  • Reply Heather Hart March 13, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Thank you so much for these tips, Alana! There are a couple of ladies I pray for regularly, and this will help me pray more intentionally.
    Heather Hart recently posted…Praying is DoingMy Profile

  • Reply Andrea March 13, 2017 at 11:00 am

    And pray that God would open up their spiritual eyes

    • Reply Alana Terry March 15, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Absolutely! Such an important prayer.

  • Reply Samantha March 13, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, I’m reminded to begin praying for unsaved friends.
    Samantha recently posted…Esther Task Force: Calling Out The Voice Of Righteousness In The MediaMy Profile

  • Reply Stephanie Carter March 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    This was just so stinkin good … I LOVE IT… yessss just what we need.. loved this article i just loved it .. did I already say that,.. Thank you for writing it.

  • Reply Aleida Lane March 13, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Thank you for this. I have several unsaved coworkers and family.
    Aleida Lane recently posted…5 Questions that Saved Me from Marrying the Wrong OneMy Profile

  • Reply Amy Hagerup March 13, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    I love all these suggestions. I have been sharing my faith more readily with strangers but I need to do it more with friends. Thanks for these tips on how to pray for them.
    Amy Hagerup recently posted…How to Build A Healthy Immune SystemMy Profile

    • Reply Alana Terry March 15, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      It’s almost harder with people we know well, isn’t it?

  • Reply Brandy Champeau March 14, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Thank you for sharing this. These are great tips, which are just what I needed right now.

  • Reply Kristi March 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    All great suggestions for how to pray over those who don’t know Christ yet! I had a friend several years ago for her birthday ask for no presents other than for us to commit to pray over one of her friends. It was the coolest present to ever give.
    Kristi recently posted…Attention: Mom Burnout LikelyMy Profile

  • Reply Maria Hass March 15, 2017 at 1:36 am

    I think just praying helps! But a more prevailing problem since high school is: All my friends are saved! While I understand that I’m building close relationships with people of the same faith, the fact is obvious that I’m in a very comfortable bubble and I haven’t reached out to connect with anyone outside my church circle. So now my prayer is, “Lord open my eyes to someone who could really use a friend, and give the me courage to try to be a friend for this person!”
    Maria Hass recently posted…The Special Needs, Battle-Worn ParentMy Profile

    • Reply Alana Terry March 15, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      What a great way to look at it Maria. And how fun to see you here!!

  • Reply Debbie March 15, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Alana, what a great post! Thank you for this. I pray that others will see this. Praying is so important. Sometimes we get so busy and don’t pray for others as much as we should. God bless you.

  • Reply Susan B Mead March 17, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Beautiful. Thank you for these prayers. As a mom of a son in Heaven and one here who’s so lost because he “lost” his brother, prayer strategies for an unsaved person are welcome. So thank you. Hugs. Susan

    Oh by the way, please share this at the DanceWithJesus Linkup at SusanBMead.com/blog., if you haven’t already done that. It starts each Friday. Hugs. Susan

  • Reply Liz March 24, 2017 at 6:13 am

    I definitely needed to read this this morning! God has laid one specific woman on my heart and I’ve been at a complete loss for how to help her! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Amy Ramsay March 24, 2017 at 6:44 am

    I am married to an unsaved man. He is a good and kind man but He is unsaved and have had to be the spiritual head of our family. I have not been a very good one over the years and it shows by the fact that both of my daughters have not made wise choices. The oldest, Abby, is living in Hollywood trying to be an actress and has turned her back on God. My other daughter claims to have returned to the faith, but it has recently come to light that she is involved in drugs,alcohol, smoking and sex and when asked about it she denies it. I need prayers for my family members to have the scales removed from their eyes, to be convicted of their sins and that God will mess with them so much that they can do nothing but fall to their knees in repentance. I cannot do this alone and as you said there is power in numbers, so I continually reach out to people, to other Christians, to help lift up my family to God. So I am reaching out to you today as well.

    Thank you for your prayers.

    • Reply Alana Terry March 24, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Sounds like a difficult situation. Definitely sending prayers for your family.

  • Reply Sue Moore Donaldson March 24, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    so great! it’s all about spiritual warfare not so much of what i do or do not say – having tea w/ one in an hour!
    Sue Moore Donaldson recently posted…Feast on Friday: Chicken Curry and Rice Soup–Enough to ShareMy Profile

  • Reply Donna Reidland March 24, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    I had read that story about George Muller before, but I was convicted anew as I read your post. Thanks for your encouragement to make this commitment. I look forward to receiving your daily email as a reminder.
    Donna Reidland recently posted…“Self-Righteousness, ‘The Shack’ & Cosmic Over-Reactions” March 24My Profile

    • Reply Alana Terry March 24, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      Great, thanks Donna! Many blessings to you!

  • Reply Maree Dee March 25, 2017 at 12:25 am

    Thank you for this post. Theses are great prayer points.

  • Reply Kristi April 19, 2017 at 12:36 am

    Such good tips on how to pray for those who don’t know Jesus yet as their personal savior. Our Lord definitely doesn’t want to lose anyone and I love praying that he will prep hearts and provide opportunities!
    Kristi recently posted…Change Your Day by Blessing God!My Profile

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