Is it right to pray for transgressors and non-believers, or only for those who are truly Christ’s?
Although many of the prayers in the Bible were of believers and for believers, there are many examples of prayers for transgressors and non-believers. Let us mention a few.
The apostle Paul instructed Timothy that in general meetings prayers should be made for “all men.” He specifies: “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” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
On numerous occasions Moses prayed to God in behalf of the children of Israel, who were disobedient and rebellious, and God heard and answered him (see Num. 14:15-22; Num. 21:1-3).
In the time of Samuel, the people turned against God, but Samuel could pray that they return to God, see the error of their ways, and seek forgiveness.
If we could not pray for transgressors, how could we get help ourselves when we fall? Jesus prayed for His disciples even when He knew that there was strife and wrong feelings among them. He prayed not that they be taken out of the world but that they might be kept from the evil that is in the world (John 17:15). He prayed for Peter when He transgressed. He said, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail” (Luke 22:32).
Let us thank God for the privilege of prayer, and keep our communication lines open by asking according to His will; then we can have the confidence that He will hear and help in every time of need (1 John 5:14; Heb. 4:16).