“Nothing was more pressing than that the nations and multitudes who are marching to a Christless eternity should be saved. How I saw the agendas of men: so many and varied and all of such vital importance to them, but there was only one paramount agenda to God: The nations. I instantly realized that the entire task of the glorious triune God was completely and utterly devoted to this one supreme purpose for which Jesus had so freely given His life. All else was rather trivial in comparison and we all had majored on the trivial.” Michael Howard
While at sea for days on a ministry trip and with our ship bobbing up and down in the vast and seemingly limitless ocean, it was easy to feel low or even seasick. I found it was a prime opportunity to seek to see things from God’s point of view. Undistracted by the business of the usual routines, I was able to look at God’s world, taking time to hear His heart of love for the nations. “When thou didst say, ‘Seek My face’ my heart said to Thee, ‘Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek'” (Psalm 27:8).
God’s heart is full of compassion. His heart takes in the whole world. What does this mean to us as intercessors and a people who want to grow in prayer? Our focus should also include the world, the nations and cities around us. We are the ones who can impact the nations with our prayers.
God is looking across this whole earth to find those whose hearts are as His heart, those who will intercede for the nations. Will you be one to stand in the gap? God is looking for intercessors. Will you be one that intercedes for the nations? Will you let God lay a nation on your heart for the purpose of prayer? Can God give you His passion for the world? A key to our authority is when our heart-beat aligns with the heartbeat of our Almighty God. He desires to use you in a powerful way to touch the nations.
“The one great need in the modern missionary movement is intercess-ors. They were scarce in the days of Isaiah. This was his complaint: ‘And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor’ (Isaiah 59:16). So today there is great need of intercessors: first, for the needy harvest fields of earth, born of a Christlike compass-ion for the thousands without the Gospel, and, then, for laborers to be sent forth by God into the needy fields of earth.” E. M. Bounds
How to Pray for Nations
“The only condition that is to give worldwide power to this Gospel is prayer, and the spread of this Gospel will depend on prayer. The energy that is to give it marvelous momentum and conquering power over all its malignant and powerful foes is the energy of prayer.” E. M. Bounds
Begin to pray for the nations. Ask God to lay a burden on your heart for a nation, a people group or for a region of the world. You may want to pray for troubled areas of the world you hear about on the news. God wants every one of us to open our eyes, enlarge our vision, and begin to pray for the needy world around us. There are many ways to pray. Some intercessors like to pray through prayer cards with prayer requests for different nations. Others like to pray over a large map of a country. Some like to use the book Operation World that has detailed requests for every nation. Each way is good, but the main thing is to begin.
Here are several points of prayer that apply to the nations, plus some scriptures to start you off as you pray. These prayer requests are excellent when interceding for any nation. During your time of prayer, God may have you focus strongly on one or on a few of these items. Be creative, be led by the Holy Spirit, and let God burden your heart for different parts of the world with His particular emphasis for that day. Don’t think you have to pray through the whole list but let God direct you by His Spirit. Pray the Scriptural truth over the nation as well.
Adding countries into your prayer life develops your effectiveness in a powerful way. Your burden for the world will grow, and you will begin to see the world and life in a new way. Our own problems seem smaller when we focus on the needs of whole nations and people groups.
- Thank God for how He is working in the nations – “How awesome is the Lord most High, the great King is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth! God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne” (Psalm 47:2, 8) .
- Pray for unity in the body of Christ – “I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23). “Pray for revival among God’s people – “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you” (Psalm 85:6) .
- Pray for government leaders and spiritual leaders – “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2) .
- Pray that God’s people will walk in holiness and obedience – “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
- Pray for the fear of the Lord among Christians – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).
- Pray for God to send His workers from every nation into the harvest field – “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20) .
- Pray that the Church will reach out to the poor, needy and imprisoned – “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3).
- Pray for the salvation of the lost – “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21).
- Pray that God will use children and youth mightily for His glory – “At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children'” (Matthew 11:25) .
- Pray for just laws and righteous moral standards – “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34) .
- Pray that the Word of God will be given its rightful place – “Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them” (Psalm 119:129).
- Pray that 24-7 prayer and worship will start in every major city in all nations – “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house. They are ever praising you” (Psalm 84:1,2,4) .
- Pray that God’s people will know how to effectively wage spiritual warfare – “Finally be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11) .
- Pray the promises of God in His Word over the nations – “The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory” (Psalm 102:15) .
- Praise God for prayer for the nations – “These will I bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7) .
Praying for the nations has rewards that will endure through all eternity. This may be one of the most strategic things we ever do. One day we will worship God around the throne in heaven with people from every tribe and tongue and nation. We will then realize the value of every prayer we prayed for a nation while we were on the earth.
Are you willing today to pray for the nations?
Are you willing to invest your time in a task that is so rewarding?
“And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation'” (Revelation 5:9).
“While I am very excited about what is happening, yet as an intercessor, I can never forget that over half of the world’s population has never heard of Jesus. The task ahead is still enormous. As darkness covers the earth in the last days and darkens the people, the glory of the Lord will shine brighter and brighter, brighter and brighter in the face of a people who love Him absolutely and uncompromisingly. In this way, the whole world will know that there is a God who reigns in the Heavens and man will be left without excuse on the day of Christ’s appearing. The Spirit is still heralding a call for watchmen to join the great choir of intercessors.” Michael Howard
By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International