Should we still pray for the lost even if God predestined and chosen in advance, those He will grant salvation?
Although the Bible is clear on “Divine election,” the apostle Paul urged the early church to pray for ALL the lost. In 1 Timothy 2:2, the Ephesians stopped praying for them. He urged Timothy to make it a priority again.
Monergism vs. Synergism: The root cause of debate
In monergism, God works through the Holy Spirit who regenerates (predestined) fallen men to respond to the Gospel, regardless of the person’s cooperation. Synergism is God moving in our hearts—but we need to respond (receive the gift) to be saved.
1. Jesus came to seek the lost
If in order to be saved is up to God (predestination), there is no need to pray for the lost for there is no hope for them. Yet Jesus came to seek the lost (Luke 19:10).
However, He also said, only those “God draws” can come to Him (John 6:44). In fact, the natural man cannot understand the Gospel, unless God’s Spirit “draws them.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
The word “draw” used means to persuade someone or to draw their attention. It does not follow they will believe (repent) which is not up to God but men. Hence, free will.
2. God elects and He also invites people to respond
“And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.“
3. The apostles shared the Gospel to whoever
The apostles told us to pray for the lost and share the Gospel. Our part is to “accept God’s gift” and believe. Such an act does not make us sovereign, but of “free will.”
In the same way that God choosing many of us to be saved ahead of time, still requires a response through repentance. (metanoia).
1 Timothy 2:2-4
“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.“
Can it be both? God elected but to others; He gives the free will to choose; hence we must pray for those God already rejected
God has elected some, while the invitation to enter the door of salvation remains open to everyone else, but only for a time. [Parable of the virgins]
While the answer remains a debate, we can’t limit God’s grace. No one knows the mind of God.