May I encourage you to build a global dimension into your daily prayers? “Grant that your name be hallowed. Grant that your kingdom would come. Grant that your will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.” These are global prayers—with personal implications. Both kinds of prayer are good: specific, local, personal prayers, and general, global, sweeping prayers for the church and the nations.
Here is the way I keep the world in my prayers. I use the Online Operation World. I keep it in my bookmark bar on the browser and click it every day. If you go there, click in the left hand column “Pray Today.” Each day there is a different global focus. On February 7, they will start to lead us in prayer for every country of the world alphabetically. Till then they direct our attention to the overarching picture of the global church. Today the call for prayer looks like this:
- Maintaining a clear witness to the uniqueness of Christ in the midst of a growing religious pluralism, non-Christian religious revival, urbanization, modernity and relativism. Christians will be increasingly criticized for being "intolerant".
- Sustaining the centrality of the Scriptures in today's world at a time when many Evangelicals in the West are becoming less firm in their convictions. Too often believers' thoughts, prejudices and fears are moulded more by the prevailing culture, philosophies, superstitions and religions of the society around them than by the Bible. Humanism in the West, Hinduism in India, etc., are examples. All such can rob Christians of their assurance, power and joy in the face of a hostile world, and side-track believers into focusing on secondary or irrelevant issues.
- The effective functioning of local congregations. Each should be an organism, a body. Each member has gifts to contribute to the up-building of the whole, yet rarely do congregations function in this way. This emphasis on "body life" has come into prominence in the past three decades. New, innovative models of 'church' and its ministry are emerging. May every congregation be an effective body through which the Holy Spirit can work!
- Leadership — the key. Pastors, ministers and elders need constant upholding in prayer. There is a worldwide lack of men and women truly called of God and deeply taught in the Scriptures to lead the churches — people willing to suffer scorn, poverty and the shame of the Cross for the sake of the Saviour who redeemed them. Those who accurately and effectively expound the Scriptures are few, especially in areas where the churches are growing rapidly. May all leaders be an example to their flocks in holy living, evangelism and missionary concern for a lost world!
- Spiritual depth. This is rare in many congregations. Superficiality, an inadequate devotional life and worldliness are common. This highlights the need for effective teaching, in the mother tongue, of the Bible's content, doctrines, and applicability to life and witness.
- Victorious optimism is rare where evangelical believers are a small and despised minority or in countries where there is widespread decline in commitment to the Lord. These believers are often introspective and timid, and hardly a mighty force for the pulling down of the fortifications of the devil. Believers need prayer that they may witness boldly and effectively.
- Young people. In this modern age they are often lost to the Church and become worldly, even after a Christian upbringing, because of a growing generation gap and the pressures of the world around them. Every new generation needs to be evangelized afresh, or the churches soon become nominal. Young people need prayer as never before.
- Revival has occurred in various parts of the world this century (see Regions), but not on the scale, nor with the effect, for which believers long in this critical and momentous time of history.
- Missionary vision. An Acts 1:8 strategy is needed for every church and denomination. Amazing results have been achieved by a dedicated few. How speedily the world would be evangelized if all believers and every congregation obeyed the commands of Jesus in Acts 1, and believed His promises for enablement through the Holy Spirit! Pray for the awakening and growth of missionary concern. Pray for effective and practical missionary involvement in praying, giving and going and for the following:
a) The speediest possible completion of the goals given in the Great Commission by the Lord Jesus to His Church.
b) All churches to make obedience to the Great Commission their primary ministry objective. Only through this will the resources be available to bring the task to conclusion, or closure, in our generation.
c) All leadership training institutions and programmes to ensure that missions be a fundamental and essential core component of every course. It is failure to do this that has caused the centuries of neglect and marginalization of world evangelization in churches and agencies.
d) Mission agency prayer, planning and deployment to emphasize reaching unreached areas, peoples and cities. The Adopt-a-People Clearinghouse and the AD2000 and Beyond Movement have compiled a list of over 6,000 unreached and adoptable peoples submitted by agencies as targeted for entry. Many are those included in our World A totals, others are World B and C peoples. (See Appendix 2 for addresses of these organizations and agencies who can provide further information.)
e) The adoption of unreached peoples by churches, Christian groups, prayer circles and individuals. The task can be completed only as Christians take responsibility in earnest intercession until believers are won and churches planted in each people.