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Today a Pastor on a local TV (in India) was preaching that we need not pray for someone's salvation. Salvation is something that belongs to God and His Plans. He also said that nowhere in the New testament are believers requested to pray for sinners or to ask God for a non-believer's salvation.

He said the plan of salvation by God is already fulfilled, and we only preach the Gospel and live a model life for unsaved people to come to our Lord.

Revealtion 19:1 says,

19 After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord.

If salvation belongs to the Lord, praying for someone's salvation would become absurd, correct?

PS: I found another question Praying for someone's salvation. Is there a point? but that was asked in a bit different approach. If this question still seems irrelevant, kindly close it or merge it. Thanks.

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Depends on how hard line Calvinist you are. If you believe in strict predestination, then it is a (notice not 'the') logical conclusion to say you don't need to pray for their salvation, because God will effect his desire in any event. That said, svn a Calvinst can be grateful for the opportunity to participate in Gods work by bringing the matter up to the Father in obedience. –  Affable Geek Apr 15 '12 at 16:32
@Affable Geek You're being pretty inflammatory by saying that. I know you meant it well, but this is not a badge that 95% of Calvinists would be willing to wear. One could just as easily say that Non-Calvinists should say "we don't pray for someone's salvation because God has already done all that He can or is willing to do to bring someone to faith and salvation, so it would be wrong to pray for more." This will be my last comment. I don't want to start an e-fight. –  San Jacinto Apr 15 '12 at 18:02
@Affable Geek Actually, in reading it again, it doesn't seem that bad. My apologies. It's only your very first sentence that I'm not crazy about. It's not correct to say that someone is "more" Calvinist because he doesn't believe it is correct to pray for someone's salvation. Did Calvin say as much? –  San Jacinto Apr 15 '12 at 18:08
@San Jacinto Apologies for being unclear - I was using the term Calvinistic where I simply should have said predestination. No offense was intended - just pulling out a potential theological path in which an answer could be framed. –  Affable Geek Apr 15 '12 at 22:24
possible duplicate of Praying for someone's salvation. Is there a point? –  Jas 3.1 Jul 15 '12 at 3:08

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

To make an assertion that Christians should not do something, one must appeal to an authoritative source, most likely the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded not to pray for the salvation of unbelievers, and that is quite problematic to the argument. Indeed, if we are not supposed to do something, would God not have mentioned it somewhere instead of leaving it up to us to figure out based on obscure logic?

In reality, the apostle Paul gives us an example for us to pray that others may be saved. He specifically prays for Jewish unbelievers, and his prayer is specifically for their salvation. While he does not specifically request others to do so, it would be quite a stretch to assert that this was only something Paul did that no one else was supposed to do.

Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. Romans 10:1 ESV

Indeed, if God answers prayer, it would be difficult to find something to pray for in which He is more glorified than in someone responding to Jesus in faith.

Salvation does, indeed, come from God. It is He who does the saving, so it's His salvation in that it comes from Him. Yet, it is our salvation in that we are the ones saved by it.

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I find that I pray for others salvation a lot but its not a "please Lord save this sinner" type thing as it is an active prayer. I pray that their heart may be softened so that the gospel can take root in their heart and change them. I ask if there is anything that I can do to help that process and I pray for them to find comfort in trials and to know that that comfort is coming from God.

That's my take on praying for someones salvation and I think that yes its something we all should be doing. However your question is a little broad and you are going to get several different answers depending on the denomination that is answering.

As for my reasons for answering the way I did I think this scripture can help:

(KJV) Ephesians 6:17-18 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Paul describes something active in taking the helmet of salvation and then in watching in prayer over all the saints.

Also as @Affable Geek said it depends on what your thought process is on salvation. Some believe that it is solely up to the Lord. Others believe that it takes faith alone, and yet others believe that it takes faith and works to obtain salvation. So whether its appropriate for you to pray for someones salvation depends on where you fall in those three main groups. (And that does not even begin to cover all the different thoughts on how one obtains or is given salvation).

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To put in another perspective, it is traditional for Orthodox Christians to pray for the salvation of not only other living people, but also for the dead. Note that when we pray for 'salvation, visitation and continuance in all good things' as the common prayer states, we do not make a distinction between believers and non believers, and ultimately, no distinction between the living and the dead. Although there is an important point here as to why this prayer is generally first towards the living - those who are glorified do not need to be prayed for, but instead are asked to entreat God for those of us who struggle. But then what that means is those people are those who did not taste of death; they, like the Thief on the cross were 'that day with Him in Paradise' to paraphrase.

To 'undigress', also from our perspective we can take note of two stark facts:

  1. God wills that all men be saved. Who can countervail his will?
  2. Not all men end up being saved. We know of at least Judas, and according to our tradition, Arius as well.

Given this, we should say that our praying for the salvation of people is not asking God to save them - he already has. Instead, we are asking him to help incline their heart toward him to accept the gift he freely gives. Given this, why would you not pray for their salvation? Do you not want to live with them in Eternity? Do you not want to see them glorified and at perfect peace?

I know some people I'd rather not be around. But to not want good things for them, especially the Good Things, is certainly lacking in Charity. Let a person decide for themselves where they stand on this.

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The bible is the best authority, as always, I Tim.2:1-5;

1"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time" 1 Timothy 2:1-5

I Tim. 4:10 - "For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers."

I chose these verses from I Timothy from among many such verses found in the bible (for example II Pet.3:9c - "not wishing that any should perish' etc.) to illustrate that it is God's will of desire that all men have opportunity for salvation.

I am aware that strong Calvinist interpret these and like verses to apply only to the elect. I do not believe the Greek supports the translation; ex. in Timothy as "All types or categories of men" nor in II Pet. "Not willing that any of us-ward (i.e. believers) should perish." Therefore I believe it is clearly proper to pray for the salvation of the unsaved.

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