Billions of people around the world don’t know Jesus, but God has given you and me the power to change that. And it all starts with prayer. Prayer is the catalyst—the fire that ignites your heart for God’s mission.

Real prayer, birthed by the Spirit, always moves us to mission. But prayer is not the end game. The end game is to share the Gospel with people and then disciple them after they surrender their lives to Christ. Once you start praying for people, the Holy Spirit moves you to share Jesus with them.

Prayer softens people’s hearts to receive the seed of the Gospel. Without prayer, our best evangelistic efforts are futile. As Billy Graham once said, “Prayer is crucial in evangelism: Only God can change the heart of someone who is in rebellion against Him. No matter how logical our arguments or how fervent our appeals, our words will accomplish nothing unless God’s Spirit prepares the way.”

At Finishing The Task, we have a prayer BHAG—a Big Holy Audacious Goal—we want to pray for everyone in the world by name

Impossible you say?

Absolutely! But that’s why we serve a God who specializes in doing the impossible. Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible!”

Why would we even attempt something as crazy as praying for 8 billion people by name? Because God’s Word commands us to. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:1-6: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul lays out the challenge of praying for all people—every man, woman, and child. As far as we know, no generation has ever prayed personally for every human alive. This is an unfulfilled mandate in Scripture that we can’t ignore any longer.

The central theme of this passage is all people. The Apostle Paul makes three significant points:

Verse 1: God commands us to pray for all people

Verse 3: God wants all people to be saved.

Verse 6: Jesus gave His life as a ransom for all people.

The Greek words translated as “all people” in 1 Timothy 2 are pantōn anthrōpōn, which means “every human.” It is worthy of note that Paul didn’t use the Greek word ethne, which refers to ethnic groups. That’s because we are saved as individuals and not as people groups. Salvation is personal and individual. People come to faith in Christ one at a time.

God’s love compels us to pray for eight billion people by name so they can know the only name that has the power to save them. The name that is above every other name. The name that saves sinners, calls prodigals home, heals the sick, and comforts the brokenhearted. The name that causes every demon in hell to tremble and every angel in heaven to worship. The name of…Jesus.

There are over two billion Catholics, Protestants, and Evangelicals in the world today. If every Christ-follower committed to praying for five people daily, simple math shows us that we could pray for everyone. This strategy is simple, doable, and scalable. Nearly every child, teenager, and adult know five people they can pray for and share Jesus with—five friends, neighbors, family members, classmates, teammates, and co-workers.

How about you? Could you take five minutes a day to pray for 5 people you know who are far from God?

Why don’t you stop right now and ask God to show you who He wants you to pray for and start praying for them…by name?

Learn more about how to pray for people by name in Brian Alarid’s book By Name: How to Pray for People and Lead Them to Jesus. You can download free prayer resources for churches, networks, small groups, children, and youth at


 Brian Alarid is the President of World Prays and the Chairman of Pray For All. He is the author of two books: When People Pray and By Name. Brian serves on the leadership team of the FTT prayer task force. You can contact Brian at [email protected] or follow him on social media @BrianAlarid. 

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