On a Sunday following a recent church service, the pastor of my church passed out a printed page that encouraged each member to pray for five friends. The message was persistent prayer for others can bring transformation to their lives.

It’s biblical for believers to pray to benefit the lives of others.

A month or so ago, a good man who I knew, died. He was a progressive person, who during his lifetime did many good things that benefited the lives of others. He was good — but he didn’t believe in God.

Jesus Christ teaches us that everyone is eternal. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whomever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). God’s gift for eternity is his heavenly kingdom and is for those who believe in the life, sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the Great Commission, Jesus Christ sent his disciples to “Go into all of the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but those who do not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15).

Today’s believers are also disciples to Jesus Christ, and have the same responsibility as the original apostles and disciples. There are many in our neighborhoods and throughout the world who aren’t familiar with the words and teachings of God.

These people, when we know who they are, should be included among those who we prayed for. As Christians, it’s our responsibility to love our neighbors as ourselves. The souls of a non-believer are as precious as ours. They deserve our efforts along with the prayer.

According to the book of James in the New Testament, “Faith in God without good works is dead.”

Every believer has the responsibility to spread the gospel to every creature. We “plant the seed” of God’s existence and leave the rest up to God. “There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7).

Lloyd Criss lives in La Marque.

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