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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Does the Bible really say that? Excerpt from my book, 6

I have searched the New Testament for examples of prayer, which asked that unsaved people may become converted to Christ. The only example that I have found is the last prayer in the [previous excerpt, from Romans 10:1], where Paul indicates that he wishes that his fellow Jews would become believers.

Prayer for believers

Wasn’t Paul concerned about people becoming converted? Wasn’t Jesus? Weren’t the other disciples? Of course they were. But this concern didn’t seem to translate into making prayer for the conversion of specific people, or even groups, a high priority. Why not?

Based on prayers that are found in the New Testament, the answer is this: It’s more important to pray for believers. Here’s the longest prayer in the New Testament, with emphasis added:

John 17:1 Jesus said these things, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may also glorify you; 2 even as you gave him authority over all flesh, he will give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 4 I glorified you on the earth. I have accomplished the work which you have given me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world existed. 6 I revealed your name to the people whom you have given me out of the world. They were yours, and you have given them to me. They have kept your word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatever you have given me are from you, 8 for the words which you have given me I have given to them, and they received them, and knew for sure that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I don’t pray for the world, but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All things that are mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them through your name which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name. Those whom you have given me I have kept. None of them is lost, except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to you, and I say these things in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them your word. The world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that you would take them from the world, but that you would keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. 20 Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me. 22 The glory which you have given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, even as we are one; 23 I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that you sent me, and loved them, even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also whom you have given me be with me where I am, that they may see my glory, which you have given me, for you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 Righteous Father, the world hasn’t known you, but I knew you; and these knew that you sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and will make it known; that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Christ prayed for his disciples, and, explicitly, for those who would believe because of them, including you and me. If we are spiritually up-to-date, and doing what God wants us to, others will become believers because of us!

The above, except for the insert in brackets, which was put in for clarity in changing from a full book to a series of blog posts, is an excerpt from my recently published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, public domain.

The previous post in this series is here.

Thanks for reading!

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