Day Eighteen: What’s love got to do with it?

Scripture: 1 John 4:7-12

Principle: God’s people are characterized by love.

There are a multitude of scriptures which hammer this principle home—whether directly or indirectly. When a church or a Christian lacks love, John goes so far as to say they don’t even know God. This makes George Whitefield’s question about so little love in the church hit home even harder. I want to point out two characteristics of this love. First, love is action. God’s love for us didn’t stop with him just saying, “I love you.” It moved him to act. He saw the appalling condition we were in and he sent his son. Second, His love was unconditional. He didn’t have to love us because we were family. He didn’t love us because we were so loveable. In fact, he loved us even though we were his enemies.

Maybe one of the most loving things we can do in response to His love is pray. Pray for the salvation of those who don’t know Christ. One of the difficulties of praying for those without Christ is knowing what to pray. We can pray that they will be saved, but I want to give you five specific ways that you can pray for the lost.

  • First, pray that God would set them apart for salvation. The meaning of the Greek word which gets translated sanctify is “to set apart.” Before someone gets saved, they have to be set apart or sanctified by God for salvation.
  • Second, ask God to bless them, not materially but with “the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience.” (Romans 2:4, ESV) It is God’s kindness which leads to repentance.
  • Third, ask God to convict them. It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to convince people of their sin and need of a Savior. This may be the greatest need in America. As Americans we don’t see a need for Jesus. Americans believe they are basically good people. Ask God to send His Spirit to convict those who don’t know Jesus.
  • Fourth, ask God to illuminate their minds. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he says, “the gospel is veiled to those who are lost.” Then he says “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4, ESV) The lost need to have the veil removed from their eyes to see the truth. After we’ve prayed for God to set them apart for salvation and asked God to bless them with His kindness and the Holy Spirit to convince them of their need and that God would illuminate their minds, then we can ask God to save them.

Application: Create a list of every lost person you know: friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, boss, enemies. Start praying that God would set them apart for salvation. Pray God’s blessing on them. Pray they would be convicted of their sin and need of a savior. Pray their minds would be able to understand the gospel. Pray that today would be the day of salvation.