Previously: Effectual, fervent prayer
For example, we are praying for an unbeliever. We are learning that when we ask according to His will, we have confidence that He has heard us. It is God’s will for that person to be saved, because it says in 2 Peter 3:9 that “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Since this person has not yet reached repentance, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 tells us why: “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 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.”
Okay, the god of this world has blinded that person’s mind. Blindness does not have to be a permanent state! Our God is the God who opens blind eyes! (See also Exodus 4:11, Isaiah 35:5, Isaiah 42:16, Matthew 11:2-6, Luke 7:21, and John 9:17).
These Scriptures apply to spiritual blindness as well as physical. I will give you two proofs: Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” John 9:39 (the Pharisees knew He was speaking of spiritual blindness here); and Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:18 for the eyes of our hearts to be enlightened.
In fact, John tells us that the life of Jesus is the light of men, and that light shines in the darkness (with which the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving) and that darkness is not able to overcome it. “The true light has come into the world which gives light to every man.” John 1:4-5,9. Every means not one is left out. Every means all.
Not only does Jesus heal (spiritual and physical) blindness, but He raises the (spiritual and physical) dead and calls into existence the things that do not today exist (Romans 4:17). He has triumphed over the god of this world by the cross. And we know that the work Jesus did — of doing good, and healing all who were oppressed of the devil — was not to cease when He ascended to heaven, because He specifically charged His disciples and all who would believe in Him to continue in it until the gospel is preached to every creature.
So knowing the word of God, and the will of God by it, how are we praying for the unbeliever, asking God for him according to His will, so that we can have confidence that He has heard us and answered our prayer?
To be continued …
Update: continued in Effectual, fervent prayer, part three