Because I feel so helpless to persuade and convince people of the truth, their needs, doing what is right, etc., I can be discouraged and think, “what’s the use?” in prayer.
The big problem here is the ‘I’ in that statement. That ‘I’ has been crucified with Christ and the praying is done by the new ‘Jesus in me’ person. Gal. 2:20
Another thing that has discouraged me is the thought that God does not force Himself upon a person; He knocks on the door, but they need to respond in faith and open the door. Rev. 3:20
Part of the problem here is thinking God is being a little slack and that I need to somehow help God out with His work of convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8) and somehow overcome people’s reluctance. Let God be God. He doesn’t need our help to do His job.
Our part begins with prayer. So what do we pray for people who don’t know Jesus and believers who are blinded by sin and persisting in their own way?
II Cor. 4:6 I pray that the God, who created light in the first place, pierce the darkness in an unbeliever’s mind which has been blinded to the gospel by Satan (vs. 4) with the light of the gospel. Or in the case of a believer, that they be so enlightened with the knowledge of the glory of God that their sin/error/unbelief/idols are clearly exposed and that they experience Godly sorrow that leads to genuine and full repentance.
To sum it up, I think my job is to pray, proclaim Christ/Truth i.e. help them hear what God is saying, and point out the next step in pursuing Him.