With everything going on in the United States right now, it’s been easier to lose sight of what is going on around the world, especially considering most of us haven’t seen much past the walls of our homes in the last eight months. Between the pandemic, the election, and our personal lives, we can all agree that this year has been trying. We can also agree that the Lord has been constant and present.
While most of us probably won’t be going on international mission trips in the foreseeable future, we still have the responsibility to care for the global church. Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, I had a pastor that said this phrase on numerous occasions: “Some of us can go. Most of us can give. All of us can pray.” This phrase has stayed with me for many years and while I’ve had the opportunity to go on many international mission trips, I’m at home praying right now.
I want to challenge you to pray for the global church right now. God is at work all over the world and we have the opportunity to intercede for brothers and sisters in Christ, most facing the same challenging times we are, if not even more so.
1. Pray through Scripture
God’s Word is full of examples of ways to pray for the church. In the New Testament, most authors stated in their letters how they were praying or praising God for the church. We can use these to pray for the church all over the world.
- Pray that the global church would stay true to a biblical gospel (2 Timothy 4:1-4).
- Pray for the leaders in the church and that members of the church body will rise up for service (Ephesians 4:11-12).
- Pray that the global church will find strength in their sufferings (Romans 8:18).
- Give thanks to God for the church and ask that she may receive wisdom (Ephesians 1:16-23).
- Pray that the work of the church would be done in the name of Jesus and His love (1 Corinthians 16:14; John 13:35).
2. Pray through the news
The news is the easiest way we stay connected to the world. Daily, in a matter of seconds, we can learn of natural disasters, wars and conflicts, and illnesses. Instead of watching the news with dismay, we have the opportunity to watch and turn to the Lord in prayer.
- Pray for peace in areas that are prone to violence.
- Pray for healing around the world in the midst of the pandemic.
- Pray for the missionaries in specific regions to have opportunities to show Jesus’ love.
- Pray for strength for fellow believers to continue living for God during difficult times.
3. Pray for the persecuted
If you have spent any time in a church that cares about missions and assisting churches around the world, you know of countries that persecute Christians for their faith in God or refusal to conform to other religions. While we can be so thankful for our freedom to worship freely without fear of persecution, our hearts are burdened for our brothers and sisters around the world who risk their lives to proclaim Jesus and the Bible.
Here are some specific areas of persecuted Christians that we can pray for:
- North Korea- pray for the growing church here and for God to be made known to the leaders of this country.
- Afghanistan- Pray for the converts from Islam here to have the courage to share the gospel with others and for peace from the increasing violence in this area.
- Somalia- Pray for the Somali people to turn to the God of the Bible and find hope in Him in the midst of violence.
- Libya- Pray for the safety of the Christians here to be able to worship freely without fear of attack from Islamic militants.
- Pakistan- Pray for the government of this country to be more accepting of Christian practices and put laws in place for their protection.
4. Pray for the unreached
God’s Word tells us that “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (Luke 10:2). Some ministries proclaim that there are still over 7,000 unreached people groups around the world. These are people who don’t have any or very few Christians or resources in their geographical location with their same language to spread the gospel.
There are many great ministries that have and continue to pave the way for the Bible to be in every language and for everyone to hear the gospel in their heart language. Let’s make it a habit to pray for those who don’t know about Jesus and the price He paid on the cross for their lives:
- Pray for people who don’t have the Bible in their heart language yet.
- Pray for diligence for the ministries, like Wycliffe and the Joshua Project, who are working in the fields to translate the Bible and equip others.
- Pray for the unreached to encounter God in miraculous ways.
- Pray for the political and cultural climates of unreached people groups to be open to accepting the gospel.
5. Pray about giving and going
It is because of the generosity of fellow church members and believers that I have been able to travel the world and serve alongside International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries and other ministries. This year, the IMB raised over $159 million through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.
We, as Christians, have the responsibility to spread the gospel. What that looks like in each of our lives is different, but we know giving financially is one way to further the gospel, if going to other parts of the world isn’t what we feel like the Lord is calling us to do.
- Pray that your eyes be opened on how you can be a part of the Great Commission.
- Ask God for wisdom and humility when deciding what actions to take.
- Pray boldly for God to take away any fear or anxiety you might have fulfilling what He is calling you to.