On the October 3 episode of “Ask Pastor John,” theologian John Piper offers encouraging words to a listener who, for years, has asked his ministry the same short, powerful question: “How do I pray for my husband to be saved?”
Without knowing more details, Piper provides hope from Scripture. The pastor and author also lists specific ways Christians can pray for loved ones who don’t yet know Jesus.
John Piper: God Is Unstoppable
To begin his answer, John Piper points to “the biblical conviction that God is sovereign and, whenever he chooses, he can overcome all resistance and save the hardest sinner.” In other words, humans don’t have “final veto power over the sovereign will of God.” Instead of being fatalistic, Piper says, that concept “actually creates hope” because “nothing can stop [God].”
Other sources of encouragement include God’s many “new-covenant promises of salvation,” and the fact that God is “not a begrudging Father.” All Christians need reminders that “God really does delight to answer the prayers of his children” and is “a Shepherd eager to bless,” says Piper.
Thanks to the new covenant, which Jesus secured “by his own blood,” Christians don’t just face “demands from outside” but are enabled “to do the commands from inside,” Piper says. He cites Ezekiel 36:27, which says, in part, “I will cause you to walk in my statutes.”
Turn New-Covenant Promises Into Prayers for Salvation
Next, Piper shares three targeted ways to pray for a spouse (or any loved one) to come to faith in Jesus. First, he points to Ezekiel 11:19-21, where God promises to give us a “new spirit” and a “heart of flesh” so we can obey him and be his people.
To turn that promise into a prayer, Piper suggests this wording: “Dear Father, I pray for my precious husband that you would, in your great mercy, bought by the blood of Jesus, take out the heart of stone and give him a tender, soft heart toward you. Put a new spirit in him. Give him a new disposition to love your Word and keep it. Become his God. Make him your child.”
Second, Piper says we can pray that God will circumcise the hearts of unbelievers. Based on Deuteronomy 30:6, we can ask God to “cut away the old nature of self-exaltation and self-rule.” Though none of us deserves that, adds Piper, we can plead with God to set people “free from resistance to your truth and goodness and beauty.”