Prayer for the Nations
Matthew 9:36-38 (NASB)
36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Mark 11:17 (NASB)
And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den.”
Romans 10:14-15 (NASB)
14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 (NASB)
1 Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2 and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NASB)
1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,
2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
Revelation 7:9-10 (NASB)
9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Now is the time to share the gospel. Today is the day God has given you to proclaim His name, to share His glory, and to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to those you interact with. We are compelled by the grace of God to share this message, for there is no higher decision in this life than that which has to do with the gospel (1 John 5:12). So how do we begin and how do we gather the strength for such a task? Quite simply, by prayer.
Paul had a heart for the salvation of the Jewish people and prayed to God for it, even though he was called to be an apostle to the gentiles (Romans 10:1; 11:13). He taught in faith and truth, reasoned daily with people from the Scriptures, and exercised good discernment and wisdom with those he interacted with. (Acts 17:17; 19:8-10; 1 Timothy 2:7). He prayed alongside the people he was ministering to (Acts 20:36; 21:5). He often asked for the prayers of other believers, and exhorted the church of Rome to be devoted to prayer (Romans 12:12; 15:30-32). In affliction, he sought prayer support from believers (2 Corinthians 1:8-11). Some of the prayers of the apostle Paul are found in Scripture, and may even be used as an example for how we may pray for each other in the church today.
So set out on the adventure of prayer, walking closely with the Lord Jesus Christ and in fellowship with those who call upon His name with sincerity (2 Timothy 2:22). Too much of our time is often spent on vanity while the men and women around us are in peril of hell! Spiritual warfare is part of this fallen world, and the souls of mankind are being fought for (Ephesians 6:10-20). This battle is one we have been born into, and it will continue until that day when Christ finally casts Satan into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). We must make the most of every opportunity to fulfill our roles as ambassadors for Christ, tactfully sharing the gospel without compromise (1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Colossians 4:5). Remember that God is the one who gives faith and draws a person to Himself through Christ (Matthew 16:15-17; Acts 16:14). Yet the church must be proclaiming the gospel in obedience to the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
A heart for the lost should be present in our prayers for them (Luke 9:50-56; 15). If we really do seek their well-being, we will pray for the lost in this world and earnestly desire their salvation. This desire for the lost to be reached with the gospel ought to be present among all followers of Christ. As we view things in light of eternity, keeping in mind that we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, it will transform our earthly lives as we live for Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:21). Our confidence should be in Him whose power and might we labor with (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
Prayer for the nations can be done alone or with others. Sometimes prayer may be made in response to activities going on in the world. Other times, proactive prayer for the expansion of God’s kingdom and will on earth are to be made. People groups of a common ethnicity are great to pray for, especially if they are unreached or unengaged. There are a multitude of organizations and ministries which publish prayer requests online, and you may bookmark or subscribe to them to receive updates.
Another idea is to pray for affinity groups, or people that share a common interest or bond. How many types of groups can you think of? You are able to make prayer charts for your neighbors, coworkers, and family members. You can search for groups in your communities and join them. By forming relationships and praying for people whose lives you interact with, God may give you an opportunity to share the gospel. Examine your life to see who you meet with on a daily or weekly basis and pray for them. You can join groups with another Christian and feel out the differing beliefs of the crowd. The acronym F.O.U.R. may help you to engage in conversation and transition fluidly into discussions regarding faith. Be genuine in getting to know them!
F – Family
O – Occupation
U – Upbringing
R – Religion
You can use maps and other tools for prayer as well. Apps, prayer journals, a calendar, or other items may be utilized for prayer. You may write a topic for prayer each day of the month on a calendar. When walking by, it may only take a minute to lift a request up to God in prayer. The impacts of His answer can be great! You can also write down five things to pray for each day and five things to pray for each week. Google Maps may be used to search for cities to pray for. Ministries also produce maps that display where the gospel is not being preached or where it is not very prevalent. Be informed in what you pray for!
A leader list may serve as a reminder to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Who holds positions of authority in your life? Is it parents, a manager, a mayor, a governor, a president? Often times we don’t even know the names of the leaders in the regions in which we live.
You can pray for places or events of cultural significance and go there with other Christians to reason with people from the Scriptures, while exercising discernment and wisdom with those you interact with (Acts 17:17; Colossians 4:5-6). You can bring gospel tracts to give to those people who are responsive to the gospel. If they are interested, you could even connect them to a good local Christian church. Pray for people to have repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ!
Heavenly Father, You are amazing and I am so blessed to be able to approach You in prayer. How great that You are the Creator and that You have allowed me to enter into a relationship with You through Jesus Christ. God, please open my eyes to the power You hold and bring me to love seeing You work and respond to my prayers. Please help me to enjoy my time in prayer with You, and I pray to have an excellent relationship with You. Please God, there are so many people without Christ in the world. Please raise up more faithful and godly believers to pray for the lost and reach them with Your gospel. Thank You! In Jesus name, amen.
- A Passion for Prayer: Experiencing Deeper Intimacy with God by Tom Eliff.
- The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon.
- CIA: The World Factbook
- Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Cultures by Darrow L. Miller.
- Does Prayer Change Things? by R.C. Sproul.
- Every Home for Christ: Free Prayer Maps
- Global Recordings Network: Resources
- Handbook to Prayer: Praying Scripture Back to God by Kenneth Boa.
- HeartCry Missionary Society: Guidelines for Prayer
- International Mission Board: Deepen Discipleship
- International Mission Board: Maps
- Joshua Project: Prayer Resources
- Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions by John Piper.
- Living Waters: The School of Biblical Evangelism
- The Missionary Call: Find Your Place in God’s Plan for the World by M. David Sills.
- Open Doors USA: Prayer Updates
- Operation World by Jason Mandryk.
- People Groups: Explore
- Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader by Ralph D. Winter.
- Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century: A Comprehensive Guide for New Churches and Those Desiring Renewal by Aubrey Malphurs.
- Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds.
- The Sending Church: The Church Must Leave the Building by Pat Hood.
- The Traveling Team: Pray
- The Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennett.
- What is the Great Commission? by R.C. Sproul.
- With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray.