“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1–4).
We’ve been talking this week about “6 Ways to Pray as You Evangelize” using the acronym L.O.B.S.S.S. Today, let’s look at the final “S”—salvation.
Scripture tells us that God desires for all people to be save (1 Tim. 2:4), and further, He is not willing that any should perish.
Second Peter 3:9 reads, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Some might interpret this to mean that Christ will not return until everyone has the chance to trust Him. That is not the point of the message.
Scoffers were saying in Peter’s day, “What is the proof of His coming? Everything is continuing as it always was.” Peter’s point was we cannot know when Christ will return because God’s sense of time is different from ours. To Him, "one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (v. 8), a figure of speech meaning that our human understanding of time is not relevant in gauging His actions. Christ’s return will happen in His timing—not ours.
Time and time again, Scripture reveals the Lord’s patience and concern for people who are bound for hell. Jesus has not delayed His coming. Being longsuffering, though, Christ is allowing as much time as possible for as many people as possible to come to Him for salvation. Peter reassured them, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise” (v. 9).
The fact that He has not returned is simply furnishing proof of His love and patience for perishing people.
This truth about God and His mission leaves us with a truth about our mission. If He has not yet returned and desires to see more people saved, we ought to pray toward this end.
Consider the broad base of non-Christian contacts you already have and pray for their salvation:
- Immediate friends and family
- Neighbors, co-workers, employees, landlords
- Newspaper carriers, mail carriers, barbers or hairstylists, grocery store cashiers, waiters or waitresses
- Car dealers, insurance agents, accountants, attorneys, bankers
- Doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists
- Plumbers, electricians, mechanics
- Teachers, professors, coaches, classmates