We all know believers who have for some reason fallen away in their walk with God. As Paul said they have become “shipwrecked” in the faith. In some way the world, the flesh, and the devil have made inroads into their faith life, and they are away from God and out of fellowship.
I have found James 4:5 to be a real key in praying for these prodigal sons and daughters of God. Listen to it in these various translations:
Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously?” (NKJV)
Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? (NIV)
Or, do you think that the scripture says in an empty manner and to no purpose, The Spirit [Holy Spirit] who has been caused to make His permanent home in us has a passionate desire [to control us] to the point of envy [of any control indwelling sin may have over us]? (Wuest)
Do you think the Scripture means nothing that says, "The Spirit that God made to live in us wants us for Himself alone"? (New Century Version).
When we are born again, the Holy Spirit becomes a jealous lover! He wants no person or thing to take our focus off of Jesus and the Father. He becomes intensely jealous whenever Jesus and the Father’s place are taken by another.
Notice James 4:4 in the Amplified: You are like unfaithful wives having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God! Do you not know that being the world's friend is being God's enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.
The most miserable people on earth are not happy-go-lucky sinners. The most miserable people are those who have walked with God and have fallen into sin. Their every action is a grief to the Holy Spirit. He is jealous to win them back to the Father.
In praying for a wayward believer, pray for the jealous yearning of the Holy Spirit to rise up within them every day. Pray for God’s jealous love to draw them back to the Father every waking moment. Pray that they will have no rest or peace until they are back in fellowship.
Years ago I had a friend who attended the same Bible school as I did, and attended my church. In fact, we worked together for a while on the church staff as custodians. After he completed school, he found another job and I lost contact with him. I saw him one day while running some errands, and there was my friend, cursing, blowing cigarette smoke in my face, and telling me of his sinful escapades. I affirmed my care for him and encouraged him to come back to the Lord.
I had such a burden for him after I left his presence. I cried out to God for my friend to come back to Jesus, and I prayed for this jealous lover to draw him back to the Father. I prayed that he would find no rest or comfort until he came back to the Father in repentance. I prayed for the jealous lover to draw him every day, and I prayed that the Father would send believers across his path of life daily to encourage him to come back to Jesus.
Some time later I received a phone call from my wayward friend. He had come back to God and had cleaned his life up. He had been set free from the deception of the enemy.
Take some time today to pray for the jealous lover to rise up in those that you know who have fallen away from God. He will draw them back to Himself as you give yourself to praying in faith for them.