The Second Greatest Commandment
Loving the Unlovely – Part III
Scripture Reading: Luke 15:1-7 (NLT)
Key Verses: Luke 15:1-2 (NLT) Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that He was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
The Bible is so clear about loving the unlovely, those that are far from God. One of the ways that we can love them is to pray often for them.
Read what the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy:
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
These scriptures are a great guide for how to pray for unbelievers that we know.
First, God wants us to pray for all people… no one is too far gone for prayer.
Second, ask God to help the unbelievers that we know. We sometimes think that we should ask God to strike unbelievers with some calamity to wake them up. But God treats sinners with kindness and wants to help them find their way to Him.
Third, give thanks for the unbelievers that we know. God is not mad at them and neither should we be.
Finally, pray with confidence because we agree with God, who wants to save everyone and for them to understand the truth!
One of the truths that has helped me pray for the unbelievers that I know is to realize that though God does not force anyone to come to Him, He will bring the forces of Heaven upon them as I intercede for them.
These forces of Heaven come in many different forms, some are dramatic, like the Apostle Paul received (Acts 9:1-31). The forces of Heaven also come in less dramatic ways, such as the salvation of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). Sometimes the forces of Heaven work through the kindness of believers toward sinners (Acts 16 25-34). In other words, God knows what “force” the person needs to have the best chance of salvation.
As we intercede for people, we can have confidence that we please God with our efforts, as 1 Timothy 2:1-4 suggests. We can also have the confidence that we are releasing the forces of Heaven upon them, and that God designs these forces just for them.
If we are going to be obedient to Jesus’s command to love others as we love ourselves, then we must make praying for them a part of our daily routines. Praying for others is also being obedient to the Golden Rule, which reminds us to treat others as we want them to treat us.
I am sure that there were people praying for you before you got saved!
Father, I am grateful that You want to save everyone and for them to understand the truth! Please remind me to pray for those I know that need You and Your truth. In Jesus’s Name, amen.