I want to share a question and answer from a recent “Questions and Bible Answers” issue of the Gospel Minutes publication. It underscores the importance of thinking carefully before taking a strong position toward spiritual topics, and also how easy it can be to allow the scriptures to reveal the “big picture” in regards to guiding principles and the questions we may have.
“Dear David: My teacher says we cannot pray for the unsaved, sinners and small children. Who can we pray for?” I.B., CA
I believe Jesus demonstrates this with some of His last words. As the soldiers were nailing Him to the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 22:34). Later, when Stephen was being stoned to death by an angry, riotous mob, he also prayed, “And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:60). If Jesus and Stephen could pray for sinners, even while they were in the act of sinning, so can we.
Further, Paul tells us who we should pray for. “I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intersessions, thanksgivings, be made for all men; for kings and all that are in high place; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). I watch a lot of politicians and powerful people who have some control over my life. I can tell you they are not all Christians and many of them are proven sinners (and scoundrels!). Yet, I should pray for them. So, we can pray for the unsaved. Jesus blessed the babies who were brought to Him (Matthew 19:13-15). If He could bless, or pray for innocent children, so can we. – David Thurman
Gospel Minutes – Volume 67, Number 20 – May 18, 2018 – Fort Worth, Texas – Clem Thurman, Co-Editor – David Thurman, Co-Editor
I do not know why someone would say we cannot pray for others who are not a Christian. Perhaps (and this is only a guess) it may have to with reservations concerning the free-will of another individual; but even if that were so, one’s reservations about praying for another individual who possesses his or her own free-will (or any other biblical topic) must be reconciled with the plain admonition and guidance of God’s word. The simple fact is we cannot tell someone today it is wrong to pray for the same classes of people who God’s people prayed for in the past … especially when they were instructed to do that very thing.