Expectant Prayer for the Nations

Do our prayers really matter in missions and the spread of the gospel around the globe? Is it worth leading our children to pray for specific nations of the world?

Recently, God impressed upon me the amazing era in which we live. The good news of Jesus Christ is rapidly spreading around the world.

Today, even I get to see with my own eyes the work of God in people from India, Arabia, China, and Africa – even if it is just a token of what is happening globally. My great-grandparents could only have dreamed of so many people from these lands joining us for worship as a church and sitting around our dining room table. I confess that as a child I did not expect this as I should have.

What has led to such progress? Jesus has also ordained that social, economic, and technological forces would align to propel the advance of the gospel in our day. Faithful gospel preachers have gone out over the years sowing with tears. And people have prayed for generations, and God has graciously answered.

In my growing up experience, our parents taught us to pray for the world. We prayed for specific countries from our little farm in Indiana. Missionary friends in those lands or particular needs of a nation usually motivated those prayers. As I recently reflected with gratitude on my parents’ leadership in missionary prayer day after day, something hit me: today, most of the international people I interact with personally and organically come from the same countries and regions of the world we prayed for most in my youth. God answered. How humbling. How motivating.

So, let’s gather our children around and pray for specific places and people in the world. Who knows what they might see thirty and forty years from now?! The sons of Korah prayed in Psalm 87 that Rahab and Babylon, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush would say that they were born in Zion. God has answered and is answering that prayer. May we too pray expectantly that specific nations and people would be born again and bow the knee to Jesus!

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