If you love somebody or if you even care a little, you want that person to have eternal life. The alternative you don’t wish even on your worst enemy. So what can a person do to help? It starts with prayer.
Ultimately, God has to make a believer who is connected to Jesus and has eternal life. I can’t force this on someone. I can’t will it on them. I can’t even talk them into it. That is the thrust of John 1:12-13:
Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
It is not that God isn’t already aware of a person or desiring their salvation, that we need to pray. God has decided to include us in this process and through prayer we are included.
What should we ask for? This depends on the person. I have asked that God put people in a person’s life who will show them the love of God and share the Gospel with them. I have prayed that God would use me for the same. In situations where distance keeps me out of a person’s day-to-day life, I have asked that God would send other people to the person I am praying for and that He would send me to somebody else. Has it worked? Yes. Since the situation is very personal (about family), I can’t share it here, but it has worked.
I have also prayed that God would break down barriers within a person. Sometimes the barriers have been false priorities–like money. Other times it has been about hardened “intellectual” arguments against God and the Gospel. I have prayed that God would use any means necessary. If necessary, even rough means. It is better that a person have grievous loss, if that’s what it takes, then to go to their death without Jesus. Has this worked? Again, yes. A friend lost a great deal of money and an infatuation with the Stock Market. That loss turned him toward God. In another situation loss of health softened a person’s reliance on a material worldview. The moral of the story isn’t that you had better come along peacefully or I’ll ruin your life. Rather it is that love has important priorities.
God is an unlimited being, but because He chooses to work through His people, we become a limiting resource. Therefore, we need to be maximally available. That is another thing I pray about. I ask God to use me and to make me fully aware of my opportunities.
Prayer matters. As a disciple of Jesus, you have the right and duty to use prayer. Use it for things that really matter–like the eternal well-being of another.