Sometimes praying for the lost discourages me. I pour my heart into praying for a few by name, but what about all the others? What about the ones whose names I do not know?
Several months ago, one of the friends I had been lifting up in prayer for a while was saved. The change Christ has made in her has thrilled my heart to no end. Even more thrilling has been her passion to invest in the salvation of others through prayer and witnessing. She grew up in church. She has always known missions and the importance of spreading the gospel. But now it is real to her in a new way, and she is serious about it.
Just this week she had the opportunity to walk a friend right into the arms of Jesus’ forgiveness. I was so excited with her as she told me how the Holy Spirit used her to minister to her friend and speak words of truth into her friend’s life. As she shared the story with me, I realized something. When I prayed for my friend’s salvation, I was unknowingly also praying for her friend’s salvation.
Do you see it? She has ministered to hearts, impacted lives, and seen people surrender to Christ because of the change God has brought about in her. My prayers for her salvation have had a ripple effect that reaches far beyond my direct acquaintanceship with her.
I do not say any of this to brag about my praying. To be honest, there are days I wonder why God listens to my pitiful prayers at all! But, I cannot express how encouraged I was to realize that my prayer for one name has already impacted more names I do not even know. And what about those names? Will they impact others? How far will it spread?
Every time I see the growth and victories evident in my friend’s life, I find myself emboldened to pray for the other lost friends and loved ones on my list. And now, when I look at those names and realize just how few they are compared to the overwhelming number of lost souls in this world, I can remember that each of those names could represent other names as well. Each of those people could reach at least one more. The ripple effect spreads.
Praying for the lost may always feel overwhelming. But, God is never limited to the narrow scope of our prayers. He sees so much more than we see. He sees connections and promises. He sees relationships and encounters. He sees His own plan laid out in perfection from eternity to eternity. He can take my little prayers for a handful of people and turn them into more rescued souls than I will ever know. And that thought thrills my heart.