Praying with Specificity 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?
My great-grandfather loved Psalm 87 as his favorite Psalm. From his farm in Eastern Kansas a century ago, he sang and prayed this Psalm. He asked that the nations would be turned to Christ. He pleaded that Rahab and Babylon, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush would say that they were born in Zion, God's city. His father had served in the Reformed Presbyterian mission to Chinese migrant workers in Northern California. But this Kansas farmer never went to the nations. Still, he hosted as many missionaries as he could along with his bride in their farmhouse and taught his children to pray that Christ would be exalted on earth
Over the last century, the Lord has answered his prayer by working through RP Global Missions. More than a few of that man’s own descendants have gone to the nations serving with RPGM. As an heir to this man and his tradition, I grew up in a home that prayed for missions regularly, too.
A few years ago, as I neared 40 years old, God impressed upon me a stunning reality. The specific nations for which we prayed regularly in my youth are the very nations I am most connected to today. The connections are evident in organic relationships within the congregation I serve as pastor and in my work as a board member for RPGM. The unnamed individuals we prayed for at my parents dining room table decades ago now sit at the dining room table with my wife and me today. Still further, I’ve sat at the dining room tables of some of those peoples in other nations. I confess that as a child I did not expect this fruit. God answered prayers that were not prayed with much faith nor with much expectation. 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?! Psalm 87 tells us to expect that our children will hear more people and nations near and far say of the Lord “All my springs are in you.”