[We all have friends and family that sit in our churches but only act like they are Christians. It is up to us to pray for their salvation. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]


“All people are naturally inclined to some form of religion, yet they fail to worship their Creator…” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1613, “Mankind’s Guilty Knowledge of God”).

FATHER, I fear ____ has decided on (his/her) own to follow You because (he/she) finds it convenient. It’s quite possible (he/she) has a belief like the crowd described in John 2:23: “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name…” (John 2:23 NASU).

The crowd’s belief in JESUS was not a life-changing belief. They were quick only to acknowledge Him as a teacher, or a great prophet, or someone who could make their life better. The Amplified version sums it up, they …[identified themselves with His party]…. Surely they figured being close in proximity met He would save them from…whatever they wanted saved from.

FATHER, I fear ____ has found comfort in a faith that does not save. (He/She) may be content to know about JESUS, like Him, and conclude (he/she) identifies enough with Him that (he’ll/she’ll) go to heaven when (he/she) dies.

“To believe, for Paul, involves knowledge of the gospel’s content, mental assent to its testimony about Christ (Rom 10:14), and obedient trust and reliance on Him as Savior and Lord (Rom 1:5)” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1617, [Rom 3:22]).

I pray You give ____ ears to hear the Gospel. Convince (him/her) that (he/she) has no righteousness of (his/her) own and needs CHRIST’s righteousness. Be graphic about revealing (his/her) danger of perishing. LORD, give (him/her) a need to look for someone to save (him/her) from Your wrath. And then motivate (him/her) to make the effort to understand that CHRIST cannot save unless He becomes LORD of (his/her) life.

FATHER, give ____ opportunity to understand and grab hold of the faith that saves. By exercising (his/her) faith and by obeying, You will cause (him/her) to joyfully worship You. (He/She) does not need to be punished with everlasting destruction being forever away from Your presence and from the glory of Your power either in the rest of this life or in the life to come (2 Thes 1:9).



[We all have friends and family that sit in our churches but only act like they are Christians. It is up to us to pray for their salvation. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]


“No part of us is untouched by sin, and no action of ours is as good as it should be. Consequently, nothing we do is ever meritorious in God’s eyes. We cannot earn God’s favor no matter what we do; unless grace saves us, we are lost” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p781, [Original Sin and Total Depravity]).

FATHER, since You are a great GOD who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number (Job 5:9), I defer to You with my request. I observe ____ depending on (his/her) own good accomplishments to please You. But, “obedience is a response to God’s favor, and not a means of gaining itThe Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1732, [Col 3:1] underlining mine).

Your Gospel that You provide as a gift, given freely by Your grace, causes both intense longing or intense resentment. I fear ____ is comfortable with (his/her) own moral achievements and resents any other way of pleasing You. I see (him/her) in the following quote:

“I will give my life to martyrdom, I will give myself in consecration, I will do anything, but do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do is to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Nov 28th).

FATHER, I pray You cause ____ to come to the realization that (he/she) must receive salvation as a pure gift or do without it. As long as (he/she) is possessed of anything in the way of independence, You can do nothing for (him/her) (ref#7, Nov 28th).

You say, “the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands (Ps 9:16 ESV). So I pray for ____ that (he/she) turn and repent so (his/her) sins are blotted out (Acts 3:19). FATHER, please make ____ a person who has an intense longing for Your gift of salvation. Make (him/her) like one who was in the crowd listening to JESUS. “Now, all the tax collectors and those sinners stained with certain vices and crimes were continually crowding close to Him for the purpose of hearing Him” (ref#37, p176 [Luke 15:1]). These people reaped the benefit of JESUS’ presence by their lowly and contrite heart, I pray ____ does, too.



screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-2-26-03-pm…FATHER, I am a member of Your household, through CHRIST.   I am no longer a stranger and an alien but a citizen of Your kingdom (Eph 2:18-19).

You have drawn me to Yourself, I am unable to draw myself to You. I cannot do what You do, but You will not do what I can do. You, FATHER, save and sanctify, but You will not give me good habits or make me walk aright. I, by faith, must work out the salvation You worked in (ref#7, May 10th). I am responsible; You will judge me according to Your justice.

You have given me the power to make personal decisions, yet You control the actions I choose. You have conferred responsibility on me for my thoughts, words, and deeds (ref#56, p1221, “God Reigns: Divine Sovereignty”) yet You are continually sovereign.

“Numerous biblical passages integrate the sovereignty of God and the moral responsibility of human beings without allowing the predeterminate will of God to be used as an excuse for moral evil (Esth 4:13-14; Joel 2:32; Matt 26:24-25; Acts 2:23)” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1159, [Ezek 14:9]).

FATHER, compel me not to think that because You have chosen me that I have no responsibility.



screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-4-20-18-pm…FATHER, in Your Word You command many things of me. But if I look at Your commands as just something I need to do I am in the wrong frame of mind. I do not say, “I believe in JESUS” and then add hard work to my faith.

“Martin Luther’s old formula still sums things up nicely: ‘We are saved by faith alone [not our works], but not by faith that remains alone.’ Nothing we do can merit God’s grace and favor, we can only believe that he has given it to us in Jesus Christ and receive it by faith. But if we truly believe and trust in the one who sacrificially served us, it changes us into people who sacrificially serve God and our neighbors” Timothy Keller (ref#123, p123-124).

“Desire without knowledge is not good,…” (Prov 19:2 NRSV). “Sincerity and energy by themselves miss the mark (Rom 10:2)” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p903 [Prov 19:2]).

“Religion operates on the principle of ‘I obey therefore I am accepted by God.’ The basic operating principle of the gospel is ‘I am accepted by God through the work of Jesus Christ—therefore I obey’” Timothy Keller (ref#123, p114).

Religion is “the default mode of my heart.” I have to deliberately and repeatedly set my heart to gospel-mode (ref#123, p114-115). I do that not by willfully doing good works but by feeding on the Gospel, digesting it so it becomes my motivating energy.

When the Apostle Paul gives a command, he doesn’t pressure directly on the will or on emotions but draws his listeners back to CHRIST and the work He did. As the hours go by in the day, if I keep thinking about how CHRIST lived out His life, I will soon realize how much His sacrificial love did for me—I will soon want to similarly sacrifice for others—be a comparable “elder brother.” In this mind-set I will complete jobs not to get them “checked off” but to do them because it is a joy to “do” for the One I love.

“Our problems arise largely because we don’t continually return to the gospel to work it in and live it out” (ref#123, p119). Let me repeat that: “Our problems arise largely because we don’t continually return to the gospel to work it in and live it out” Timothy Keller (ref#123, p119).

Looking through the lens of the Gospel my responsibilities named in Scripture become not heavy burdens but privileges to enjoy. There is no higher privilege than to work and suffer for CHRIST (ref#10, p244). It doesn’t get any better than that.



screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-2-46-17-pm“The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty….” (Nah 1:2-3 ESV).

FATHER, I can think, act, and feel humble—actually fall on my knees before You, but if I’m not routinely pleading for JESUS to forgive my sins, I stand before You prideful, not humble and Your wrath is upon me. You cannot tolerate the pride of man (Prov 8:13).

You did not spare angels when they sinned, but committed them to chains to be kept until the judgment (2 Pet 2:4). You did not spare the ancient world, but preserved only Noah and seven others (2 Peter 2:5). You turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, condemning them to extinction making them as an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly (2 Peter 2:6).

I am always unholy, standing in the way of Your wrath. I am a city like Sodom if I do not continually grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord, JESUS (2 Pet 3:18). “This knowledge is the ever-deepening experience of Christ and understanding of His truth” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1825, [2 Pet 3:18]).

FATHER, may I understand the seriousness of Your wrath. Instead of a city like Sodom, I must be like the city of Nineveh. Nineveh fasted and prayed and turned from evil so that You relented of the disaster that You said You would do (Jonah 3:7-10).

You say, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay;” You will judge people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living GOD (Heb 10:30-31), for You are a consuming fire (Heb 12:29).

Please remind me often that I naturally stand in the way of Your wrath the moment I turn my head away from JESUS. I default to living my life using my own resources.  Sober me against that. You accept nothing but my spirit submitting to Your SPIRIT (Zech 4:6).



[We all have friends and family that do not want anything to do with Christianity so it is up to us to pray for their salvation. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]


Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.49.48 PM…FATHER, I thank You that I cannot find out who commits the “unpardonable sin” for it would surely devastate me. I know You glorify Yourself through dispensing wrath since You are holy and only bless ones who are holy through their embracing the cross of Your Son, but I sure don’t want ____ to suffer forever without You.

FATHER, I pray ____ come to understand Your SPIRIT’s work:

“It is the Holy Spirit’s work to enlighten the mind of sinners (Eph 1:17,18), to reveal and teach the gospel (John 14:26), persuading souls to repent and believe the truth (cf. Acts 7:51)” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1421, “The Unpardonable Sin”).

Your SPIRIT not only explains Your Word, but will open ____’s mind so (he/she) can perceive it (2 Cor 3:16,17).

I pray ____ has not deliberately and knowingly refused what the SPIRIT freely gives. I pray (he/she) has not committed such a “voluntary and informed act of malice” to the point that (his/her) heart is so hardened making (him/her) unable to repent (Heb 3:12-13) (ref#56, p 1421, “The Unpardonable Sin”).

I know there is a profound act of hatred that You have determined You will not forgive—indeed, cannot forgive. And, I know You must respond to offenses against Your love, but I pray that You continue to beckon ____. I pray (he/she) has not gone beyond (his/her) ability to turn back toward You. Send Your SPIRIT, FATHER to persuade ____ to repent and believe the truth!



[Because we are Christians and live in the world we will always need prayer for our walk and for witnessing to others about CHRIST. Here’s an opportunity to pray for others or even ourselves. Fill their name or your name in the blanks.]



Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 6.46.31 AM…FATHER, You have created ____ for fellowshipping with You in Your work. You have fashioned (him/her) to experience the most joy when (he/she) is with You. By steady attention to obedience, natural lives can be turned into spiritual lives (ref#118, p61-62). The farmer joyfully plants anticipating the harvest. Cause ____ who plants to anticipate Your spiritual harvest.

Your powerful Word dawns on men like the morning light—like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning—like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth (2 Sam 23:4). This Word comes through the SPIRIT, LORD, put His words on ____’s tongue (2 Sam 23:2).

Make it, FATHER, ____’s joy to be faithful to You as You make (his/her) way blameless (2 Sam 22:33) and righteous (2 Sam 22:21). You will reward (him/her) with joy when (his/her) work is faithful to You (ref#56, p460, [2 Sam 22:21-25]).

By working in union with You ____ can be bold declaring the Gospel, without error or impurity—having no desire to deceive. Make it (his/her) longing to be approved by You (1 Thes 2:2-4)—desiring not approval for (himself/herself) or from men.

FATHER, make ____ gentle, and affectionately desirous that men hear plainly the Gospel (1 Thes 2:7-8). With You, (he/she) will exhort and encourage and charge men to walk in a manner worthy of You—calling them into Your kingdom and glory (1 Thes 2:12).

Also, FATHER, make the ones You regenerate ____’s hope and joy and crown of boasting (1 Thes 2:19). Joining with You, FATHER, in prayer for the ones awakened to Your free gift of grace, cause it to be (his/her) greatest joy. For (he/she) knows that the ones You draw to Yourself through (him/her), will remain in faith and love (1 Thes 3:6) and continue standing fast (1 Thes 3:8). What joy (he/she) will feel for their sake and will long to continue in fellowship with them so that (he/she) may supply what is lacking in their faith and they may supply what is lacking in (his/her) faith (1 Thes 3:9-10).



[We all have friends and family that do not want anything to do with Christianity so it is up to us to pray for their salvation. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]


Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 5.32.48 AM“There may be those…in sin that there may seem to be…almost no ground of hope. They may have cast off all the restraints of religion, of morality, of decency;…they may have been professors of religion, and now may have renounced the faith of the gospel altogether, but still, while there is life it is our duty to pray for them,…” Barne’s Notes (ref#16, [1 John 5:16])

FATHER, I am thinking about ____. Your Apostle John says, at the end of his first epistle, there is sin that leads to death and sin that does not lead to death (1 John 5:16). I do not know where ____ is in (his/her) spiritual life, because I only see the outward signs, but, I pray for (him/her) with a “hope and expectation of success” Matthew Poole (ref#21, p941, [1 John 5:16]).

You say, You will give me what I ask for in 1 John 5:15. And follow it with: “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life…” (1 John 5:16 ESV).

Oh FATHER, how I want to believe that ____ is sinning in a way that does not lead to death so that You will give (him/her) life. I pray ____’s sin is not an obstinate sin, thus incurable (ref#21, p941, [1 John 5:16]). I pray ____ is not refusing Your diagnosis of (his/her) need and Your offer of forgiveness (ref#56, p1828, [1 John 1:10]). I pray ____ is not chronically disobedient to Your commands (ref#125, p2437, [1 John 5:16]) for continuing in such a state leads to permanent death.

Sin that does not lead “to death is sin for which forgiveness is possible because (1) forgiveness is sought” and (2) You, FATHER, are “willing to grant it” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2437, [1 John 5:16]).

Turn ____ from (his/her) wandering, evil course; save (him/her) from death (James 5:20). FATHER, nothing is impossible with You (Luke 1:37). Grant ____, repentance that (he/she) may escape from the snare of the devil, for (he/she) now is captured by him to do his will (2 Tim 2:25-26).



Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 5.09.20 AM…FATHER, I desire to understand the mechanics of Your salvation (as much as You permit me to know)—how You have redeemed me and what the stipulations are of Your covenant with me.

You began by drawing me (John 6:44); I never sought You on my own—for I was unable (Rom 3:10,11). “Regeneration is a momentary act, bringing a person from spiritual death to life. It is exclusively God’s work” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1650).

“Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man…is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself…” (The Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. IX:3).

FATHER, through Your drawing I realized my sins were a roadblock between You and me (Isa 59:2) and so I repented of them (Isa 59:20), believing CHRIST’s shed blood saved me from Your wrath (Rom 3:25).

I became a brand new person inside. My new life began (2 Cor 5:17)—a life fashioned after You, renewed from the inside and able to work itself into my conduct as You accurately reproduced Your character in me (Eph 4:24). This metamorphosis is called, “sanctification” and it will continue until the day I die (Phil 2:12).

“According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q. 35), sanctification is ‘the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness’” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1650).

From now on I have a choice to sin or not to sin since regeneration releases me from the bondage of continual sin (2 Cor 7:1). But, as I go through sanctification I have two contrary urgings (Rom 8:6-7): (1), urgings from the SPIRIT, and, (2), urgings from my depraved nature.

The SPIRIT sustains my new life but my original fallen instinct (the sin of my flesh) still has the ability to rise to obstruct my Christlike desires (Rom 7:18,19).

“Sanctification is…dependent on God’s continuing action in the believer, and consisting of the believer’s continuous struggle against sin….Sanctification is…human effort dependent on GodThe Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p 1650) (underlining mine).




Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.24.02 AM…FATHER, You, a GOD who needs nothing from me, puts at my disposal word-pictures that I might acquaint myself with Your majesty and love. You reveal Yourself through the Bible.

“…when we understand the words used, the historical background, and the cultural conventions of the writer and his readers, we are well on our way to grasping the thoughts that are being conveyed” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p844, “Understanding the Word of God”).

Without the SPIRIT’s help I will read the Bible from my vantage point, looking for facts that will help me know and achieve what I want. So, FATHER, I desire the SPIRIT to generate in me a passion for You.

May I seek You as I read noting Your attributes so I might strengthen my trust and love for You “not reading the Bible looking for information like an academic subject or trivia or doctrines, but a Person…” Dan Cummings (ref#141, Basking In the Light of the Glory of Christ, (sermon notes) Jan 1, 2005).