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Many of us have been greatly encouraged in our prayers for lost friends with the words from 2 Peter 3: 9, “God is not willing that any should perish.”

But I think it is important to note that there are a couple of ways in which this verse can be misinterpreted. The two that I have in mind both interpret the will of God here as immutable. But that is not the word used in the original language. The word is “boulomai,’ which is often a weaker term. The ESV translates this as not wishing that any should perish.

In Luke 13: 34 Jesus actually uses Thelo, the stronger Greek word.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, . . .How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

One misinterpretation of this is that since it is the will of God, everyone will eventually be saved. But the fact that God wants everyone to repent does not mean everyone will. God is always willing for people to turn to Him, but He waits for us to be willing.

The other misinterpretation that concerns me is that this cannot apply two lost people we are praying for because if God wills it, they will be saved, and we know everyone will not be saved.

But you need to understand that when you are praying for someone who has not come to Christ, you are not praying against the will of God. And God will be working on them to draw them to himself.



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