We’ve been studying what the Bible says about prayer in recent visits, trying to undrstand how to have reasonable expectations regarding answers to our prayers. We’ve looked at Category A type requests which are based on clear statements in the Bible.
Then we considered Category B type requests which are in harmony with what we believe the Bible teaches. For example, if your spouse or child is not a believing Christian, it’s entirely proper to pray for his or her salvation. In fact, many would put that kind of request in Category A based on such Scriptures as Acts 16:31, Believe in the Lord Jesus , and you will be saved – you and your household.” Also 1 Timothy 2:4, “God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
You need to keep in mind, however, that though John 3:16 says God loves everyone in the world so much that He gave His Son to become their Savior it is followed with a warning in verse 18, “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
So even if a believer prays for their spouse, or believing parents pray for their child to be saved, if they refuse to believe they will not be saved. Such prayers open doors of opportunity but they don’t force the unbeliever to go through those doors. There is a strong basis for hope, but not a guarantee. In our next visit I will share what happened in my mother’s prayer journey as it related to me and my brother’s salvation.