13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13 – 14)
Thanks to all the commentators last week who added so much to our review of the Disciplines of Bible Study and Spiritual Warfare. Today we begin our reflections on the Discipline of Prayer as we consider the theme A World in Need. A quick pause though, to make an announcement. On Thursday and Friday of this week we will turn our attention to the Discipline of Fasting. As we have done in prior years, on Friday we encourage all who can to fast. We’ll say more about this on Thursday, but I want you to be aware of the day of fasting with sufficient notice.
Does the world need our prayers? It might seem odd to even ask such a question. However, from two perspectives it is a relevant question to ask. First, many in the world don’t believe in prayer; and second, Christians don’t spend a lot of time praying for the world. A 2018 survey performed by the Guardian newspaper in the UK found that non-believers typically only turn to prayer in a crisis, and Christians spend less than 25 percent of praying time focussed on topics other than themselves, family and friends. It begs the question, who is praying for the needs of the world?
Please prayerfully read the passage above and consider the questions below.
How much time do you spend praying for the world and how do you decide what/who to pray for?
March 9, 2020 at 9:37 am
I agree that only a small amount of time is spent on praying for the world. For me, a maximum of ten percent of my prayer time is spent on world issues. My prayers are focused on catastrophes, e.g the fire in Australia and the suffering that persons are experiencing in Venezuela. The criteria used are usually global issues, and requests made by friends, and missionaries.
March 9, 2020 at 10:08 am
I do not pray enough for the world and definitely fall in the “less than 25%” category. However, I did pray for the world today. Thank you Norman for today’s encouragement and reminder.
March 9, 2020 at 10:17 am
Whereas our private world (family and friends) could capture most of our attention in prayer, there is need to expand our boundaries on matters of prayer. Permit me to briefly share what l have been practicing for many many years on a weekly basis.
Monday: family matters.
Tuesday: church leaders and related issues.
Wednesday: friends, neighbors, colleagues, those in need.
Thursday: missionaries, mission organizations around the world.
Friday: national leaders and related issues affecting our nation and around the world.
Saturday: l keep it personal regarding my own discipline and walk with the Lord.
Sunday: l reserve for thanksgiving.
Over the years this has helped me to broaden my focus on prayer beyond my personal circle of interest.
March 9, 2020 at 10:20 am
I’m not sure how to quantify it, but certainly not enough time. I usually pray about the world as soon as some sort of need or tragedy/issue comes to mind for that day.
March 9, 2020 at 11:01 am
As I think about the question I realize that I fall in the category of those in the survey. My times of praying for the world are highest after reading a book about believers in other areas of the globe who are being persecuted or after an international trip. Yet still it isn’t general but specific to the needs of those I have met. I will add the world to my prayer list. Today for the world, I pray for healing and a cure for our current “plague” to stop spreading. Amen.
March 9, 2020 at 11:04 am
Thanks for sharing. I’ve come across models like this but haven’t applied it. I will try to model this starting today.
March 9, 2020 at 12:10 pm
I definitely fall in that percentage 🙁 I also asked myself why don’t I pray more for the world and my honest answers were it’s not as personal, closely affecting me, maybe my love for others isn’t what it should be, somethings that are happening I try or pretend to be oblivious to, it’s exhausting with so many issues, and times I feel that prophecies are coming to past and what’s the point or what do I pray in light of… (all of these, shame on me).. Then the times I do pray for the world are like now with this virus and the possibilities of it touching those I love, and those affected, or times when there are issues touching a family. This is a great food for thought and for change of actions question. Thanks.
March 9, 2020 at 12:12 pm
I forget as I guess unless there is a crisis like now with the corona virus.
Thanks for making me aware.
March 9, 2020 at 12:32 pm
I don’t pray enough for the people of the world. I need to, and I need to be specific in prayers. Many, many people of the world need Jesus. I often find myself saying, “What is wrong with people?” Sometimes my husband says it before I do because he knows I’m going to say it based on something I’ve seen or heard that is totally shocking to me.
We have a lot of praying to do for ourselves and the people of the world if we really start thinking about all that’s going on around us. I don’t think I’ve really sat and thought about it.
The people of the world is added to my prayer list.
March 9, 2020 at 12:49 pm
Who and what to pray for? I can pray for the Christians of the world to stay strong. I can also pray for the people for the world who don’t know Christ, that their hearts will be receptive to the people who invite them to church, concerts, Bible studies, etc. so they will know more about Jesus. I can also pray for those who are Christians who feel like God has failed them. Sometimes some people feel that because they are Christians they shouldn’t have hardships. When things aren’t easy, they think God has deserted them. I can pray for them to have faith in their God, because He would never allow us to deal with more than we can handle.
I can definitely pray for the people who have accepted the sinful changes in the world as the norm, to realize that doing what’s “right” is not part of a popularity contest. It’s okay to be the “odd man out”.
I can pray for students. I wish prayer was still in schools. I wish teachers were allowed to teach students how to treat each other, how to behave toward their parents and adults, and how to become children of God, all from a Biblical perspective.
I can pray for parents to go to church and get to know Christ, so they can be Godly examples to their children.
I had about half the students in my class come to church with me last year. They enjoyed it. A couple of parents came as well. I know they enjoyed it, but they either had a church home already, or just didn’t go to church at all.
I will pray and pray for many more. God hears our prayers.
March 9, 2020 at 1:37 pm
I don’t regularly pray for the world. Right now the Corona virus is the main concern of everyone. Nowadays I pray for all the countries affected. What I’m certain is I often pray for the leaders of Japan, Philippines and USA as I have relatives snd loved ones in these 3 countries. When we are assigned abroad, I pray for our host country as well as its leader. I watch CNN and NHK all the time. It helps me to be aware of what’s going on in the world, thus giving me an idea as to what, and how to pray for the world.
March 9, 2020 at 2:08 pm
This is a very helpful schedule. Thanks!
March 9, 2020 at 2:08 pm
@ David Jordan
March 9, 2020 at 5:57 pm
I enjoyed reading everyone’s perspectives. Thanks @ David for schedule. I might use it. Here’s the trouble I’ve had with praying for the world – sincerity. I believe true prayer is earnest and heartfelt ( see for eg NKJV James 5:16). And those attributes are lacking when I pray for the world.
When I pray for the world it feels insincere. So I avoid praying for the world, reasoning it’s not given to me to pray for the world because God has laid this burden on the hearts of others. Contrary to my reasoning the Bible teaches believers to pray for all peoples and authorities (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
It occurred to me while writing this that I could ask the Holy Spirit to give me sincerity of heart for the world so that I can pray for the world more effectively.
March 9, 2020 at 11:09 pm
Just this past week in preparing for a Sunday school class which was focused on the Habbakuk 1, the issue presented in today’s information, came through to me – am I putting myself in a position to carry the burdens of others as God would want me to.
I asked my group if they only positioned themself before a mirror, where they only see themselves, when preparing for Prayer? If so, it’s time to “move” to a place where we can “see” the people who God want us to be advocates for in our sphere of influence and intercessors for in our prayers.
March 15, 2020 at 12:19 pm
I missed this day with a full week of family celebrations. 17 of us. Thanks for the reviews and prompt back to the 9th. Living in non Christian Countries makes one more aware of the need for praying for others. Doing so for the enemy, jealousy, and non believers are usually among my daily prayers. This nudge is very welcome.