A few months ago Art McQueen, our office landlord and mentor, gave me a copy of Praying Effectively for the Lost. I have always known Art to be an intercessor. For years he has held prayer vigils at his office for intercessors and office devotions. His life and family have been strongly outlined by his commitment to God and prayer.
Despite this, I let it lay on my desk unread. When Art invited Pastor Lee Thomas to Spartanburg to speak on the book, I was fortunate enough to attend. His concept focuses around 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” I have to say that I was enormously impressed with Pastor Thomas on his command of God’s Word. Never have I heard more scripture quoted on praying effectively as when Pastor Thomas taught how the lost are bound and how we are instructed to pray effectively for them.
The small book is given free of charge, as a project of “Praying Effectively for the Lost” a 501 © 3 organization. He has traveled the world since writing the book to speak on praying effectively for the lost. There have now been over one and a half million copies distributed around the world. It is now believed that over two million have come to Christ due to the direct influence of the book.
The book starts off by boldly saying, “The lost will not and indeed cannot be saved unless someone prays for them.” It derives this from John 8:44 “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire;” and Acts 26:18 which additionally tells us that they are under his power. Mark 3:27 tells us that the “strong man” must first be bound, meaning Satan and the stronghold that he has on the lost, “In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.”
Thomas instructs, and I have found it to be true, that we all have mental strongholds. The lost though have spiritual and mental strongholds that they must be freed from through prayer before they can come to Christ. An example he gave was of the time he and another pastor visited a woman that did not know Christ. She had an obvious mental block to hearing what they had to say. Both Thomas and the other pastor heard a word from the Lord at the time, “molestation.” They asked her if she had been molested as a child. She instantly broke, crying uncontrollably. This woman had a stronghold of unforgiveness against the person who had harmed her. They told her that she would have to press through the pain and forgive this man in order to move forward in life. She was unable to and therefore unable to hear anything about the Lord.
In chapter five, Spiritual Warfare, he shares,
“The primary purpose in praying for the lost is NOT to convince God to save them for He is ‘not willing that any should perish’ (2nd Peter 3:9)….rather, it has to do with spiritual warfare—freeing them of demonic influence so they can be saved. The lost are prisoners which Satan refuses to release (Isaiah 14:17), slaves under Satan’s authority and jurisdiction (Acts 26:18), children of the devil (John 8:44), blinded to the gospel (2nd Corinthians 4:3-4), ‘energized’ by Satan (Ephesians 2:2), helplessly held in Satan’s grasp (1st John 5:19), and a strong man’s house (Mark 3:27. Of course, a lost person doesn’t know that… He thinks he is free (that’s part of his lostness)… Mark 3:27 is what I consider to be the most important verse in the Bible concerning winning the lost to Christ. Jesus Himself says, ‘No man can enter into a strong man’s house and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. If this verse means anything, it means that no lost person will ever be saved unless someone frees him from the demonic influences that control him….this freeing process is accomplished through prayer!”
This book cuts through everything and goes to the heart of the matter. You will want to study this powerful tool, devouring it, underlining throughout, as I did. Then, go back, and read each verse that he shares as he usually only shares a small portion or just shares the verse address. With only 43 pages, including a testimonial chapter and commitment page, the book is designed to not take long and get you to praying.
On page 27 he shares, “It’s difficult to win homosexuals to Christ—not because God doesn’t love them or because the gospel is not powerful enough or because you don’t care enough. But this is such a powerful stronghold that much prayer, fasting, persistence, faith, etc. is needed to break it.” While I don’t know how much fasting was done for me when I was in the gay lifestyle, I absolutely know that a number of people were persistently praying for me. I bear witness to the information he shares in this book being true in my own life. He speaks of asking the Lord to separate the lost person to draw him or her away in order to saturate their mind with God. This was so true in my life. I started to physically feel the void in my heart for the Lord, feeling my own depravity, my own lostness, feeling drawn by the Lord to Himself. Though I did not know what was going on at the time, I can look back and see how the power of prayer and His working in my life brought me to the place of walking away from homosexuality when the gospel was presented.
Don’t miss out on this powerful tool. We have started including a copy of Praying Effectively with everything we send out. You’ll be glad that you took the time get a copy when you become the prayer warrior God has called you to be.