If a Christian really believed that his friend had some ability, power, or goodness within himself to choose Jesus as Lord and Savior apart from the free, sovereign, electing grace of God, he wouldn’t pray that his friend get saved. He would simply figure out more relevant or strategic ways to draw out what is already inside his friend.
If people had the ability in themselves to be born again, prayer wouldn’t do a thing. The ability to save your own soul implies spiritual autonomy. An autonomous soul cannot be influenced by anything. Alternatively, by definition, prayer is pleading with God for him do something.
The new birth of a sinner is not an exception. The problem is that people are spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1-5), and there needs to be more than an mere influence on their stone hearts. There needs to be an ultimate influence. There needs to be a complete heart transplant.
So, go to your friends and plead with them to look to Jesus (Rom. 10:13-17). But plead to God that he might save their souls — by his grace he might grant them repentance that leads to life (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25).
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