I heard these two statements recently about how prayer leads to God working to save:
- When a church starts praying for the unsaved then God will be working to save through those prayers. We do not know the timescale, but God will be working to honour those prayers by granting salvation.
- When someone is saved that person has always had someone praying for them.
These phrases got me thinking. I don’t think either statement can be specifically proven by cross-reference to a scripture. My conclusion is that both statements reflect general principles of the ways that God operates. Neither of them indicates the way that the Lord always works, but they are generalisms which reflect the general character of the Lord’s workings. So you may well find a church which has genuinely and passionately prayed for the ungodly in their community and not seen God work to save. And there may be those who have come to faith without anyone specifically praying for them.
However, it stands as a vital principle that the church that is praying for the unsaved in their community is setting itself in the flow of God’s purposes. For our God is the God of salvation. Prayer asks the God of salvation to work salvation for the honour of his Name and the good of those created in His image.
Further, when God places you in a situation where prayer is drawn from you for someone in your ambit of contact, then that may well be an indication that God is going to save that person. Parents with children may be one particular example of this. Also there are times when we have someone laid on our hearts to pray for, And again this may be an indication that God will work to save that person.