A Guide to Praying for Missions

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Need for New Churches in Bicol • God's Preparation of His People • White unto Harvest in the Philippines • Our "Window" of Opportunity • A Call to Missions • 50/50 Porthole • A Guide to Praying for Missions

        Prayer is the key element for success on the mission field.  We are so blessed to have so many people who have partnered together with us as prayer partners and prayer warriors!

        As I was reading a book entitled, Pierced by the Word by John Piper, I was struck by the implications of one particular chapter in this book.  The chapter was called "Big, SweepingBut Not InsipidPrayers."  He asserts that God wants us to pray for the nations in a way that is interesting!  So I would like to share this article with you.

                                                                    Wade Allen




One of the amazing things about the prayers of the Bible is how big and sweeping they often are. Yet they don’t have the vague ring of “God bless the missionaries” that sounds so weak. We sometimes try to remedy this by saying, “We should pray specific prayers for specific people and specific needs, and not vague general prayers.” There is truth to that. We should pray that way.

But there is another reason why our big general prayers seem insipid, while the big Bible prayers don’t. Ours often don’t have much of God in them, and don’t articulate what the great spiritual things are that we want God to do for “for the missionaries” or “the nations” or ‘the world” or “the lost.” The words “God bless” would not sound so weak and vague if we said what the blessing would look like. There is a world of difference between “Lord, help our missionaries” and “Lord, help our missionaries to drink deep at the river of Your delights.” Or , “Lord, help our missionaries rejoice in tribulations and remember that tribulation works endurance and endurance hope.”

Big general prayers become powerful when they are filled up with concrete, radical biblical goals for the people we are praying for. “Hallowed be thy name…thy will be done earth as it is in heaven,” is a huge, sweeping prayer. But it asks for two concrete things: that in all the world God’s name would be changed to do God’s will with the same zeal and purity that the angels have in heaven.

It is mentioning these spiritual goals with passion that turns insipid generalizations into dynamite generalizations. So don’t shrink back from praying huge, sweeping prayers. For example, in Ephesians 6:18 Paul says that we should be “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication…for all the saints.” Think of it! What an incredible breadth and generality. ALL the saints! Do you do that? Pray for all the saints? I admit I do not do it often enough. My heart is too small. But I am trying to get my heart around it. The Bible commands it.

This will not sound silly, like “God bless all the saints.” It will wound robust and cataclysmic, like, “God, look upon your entire church everywhere and have mercy to waken her and give her new life and hope doctrinal purity and holiness so that the saints stand strong for your glory in the day of temptation and distress.”

Let’s pray some huge prayers for billions of lost people and thousands of people in the “10/40 Window.” Paul said, “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you” (2 Thessalonians 3:1). Oh, that God would do that speeding work in our day! I encouraged all of my readers to go out and buy Patrick Johnstone’s Operation World – a truth-laden prayer guide for all the countries of the world. Then pray some huge, sweeping prayers for the peoples and the missionaries of this vast region called 10/40 Window.

The 10/40 Window extends from West Africa to East Asia, and from ten degrees north to forty degrees south of the equator. This specific region contains three of the world’s dominant religious blocs. The majority of those darkened in unbelief by Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism live within the 10/40 Window. It is home to the majority of the world’s unevangelized people.

While it constitutes only one-third of earth’s total land area, the 10/40 Window is home to nearly two-thirds of the world’s people, with a total population nearing four billion. Of the world’s 50 least evangelized countries, 37 are within the 10/40 Window. Yet those 37 countries comprise 95 percent of the total population of the 50 least evangelized countries!

Of the poorest of the poor, more that eight out of ten live in the 10/40 Window. On average, they exist on less than $500 per year. Although 2.4 billion of these people live within the 10/40 Window, only 8 percent of all missionaries work among them. Surely this is worth some, big, sweeping, biblical prayers!

Great God overflowing grace,
Move our hearts to pray for
Your saving power among the nations.
Burden us with the plight of peoples who
Have no access to the gospel.
Grant us to pray big, global,
God-sized, Bible-saturated prayers.
Don’t let us lose sight of the one lost sheep nearby.
But, O Father, give us a passion for Your
Worldwide purpose to call Your sheep from every people on the earth.
For the glory of Christ,
and in His name we pray. Amen

Piper, John.  Pierced by the Word.  (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Press), 2003.
For more information about John Piper or his ministry, please click here.

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Last modified: September 15, 2006