How to Pray for the “Big Picture”
“If God answered all of your prayers, would the world look different or just your life?”
Oh man. This quote gave me the chills when I saw it last week.
After the horrific suicide bombings in Egypt on Palm Sunday I went down a rabbit’s hole in the internet, researching what it is like to be a Christian in that country. In my pursuit to learn more about modern day Egypt I came across a ministry called Open Doors.
Every year Open Doors releases something called the World Watch List. On this list, the ministry compiles the top nations where Christians are the most persecuted.
According to Open Doors, here are the top 5 nations of 2017 where Christians are the most persecuted.
My heart was deeply moved as I read about each nation and what it is like for Christians who lived there.
These counties are filled with believers who are forced to hide their faith from anyone who does not agree with them. Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ has severe consequences.
Let me share with you a little bit about North Korea and the persecution Christians face.
According to the ministry, believers who are “caught being Christians” are imprisoned in hard labor camps where they are often beaten, tortured or starved to death.
Can you imagine? My heart aches for these people.
Along with the country’s persecution information, Open Doors includes “prayer prompts” to inform the reader how to effectively pray for that specific nation. The ministry explains in detail who to pray for and how to pray for them. As I was reading about the #1 persecuted nation I felt the Holy Spirit encourage me to take the next 5 weeks and pray for these top 5 countries.
So there I was…2 weeks ago… little ol’ me sitting on my couch getting ready to pray when it dawned on me.
I don’t think I have ever prayed for North Korea before.
I don’t think I ever really sat down and lifted up the Christians in that nation before that very moment.
Of course I’ve heard a lot about North Korea over the years. I know the economic/ political/ social state of the country and how desperately these people need help. But I don’t think I’ve ever really prayed for them.
This got me thinking. How much time do I spend praying for things that are extremely far removed from my life?
Things such as persecuted Christians in nations I’ve never been to- in places I probably couldn’t even find on a map!
See, here’s the deal.
God cares about the big picture.
You know how we affectionately refer to one another as “brothers and sisters in Christ?”
Well that includes all our brothers and sisters in Christ! Including the ones we’ve never met in countries we’ve never visited.
God longs for us to be moved by big issues that face His children. He’s looking for men and women of God who are willing to pray beyond their corner of the globe.
Like many of you, my prayer life changes depending on the season. Some seasons I spend the majority of my time praying for friends and family. Then there are times where I pray mostly for myself. Both are awesome and honoring to God but what about going beyond that?
I want to start praying for bigger issues- things that can really change the world we live in and not just my own personal life. I want to be more intentional in praying for people way beyond my reach.
Three Ideas for Praying “Big Picture”
1. Pray for a specific nation God places on your heart.
Pray for the government, the citizens and the children of that nation. Pray God gives a boldness to the believers who live there. Pray the gospel spreads to the youth and they become a God-loving generation!
2. Pray for our President
Oh…did I just hit a hot topic?! Ah ha! Yes, I did! 🙂 Pray for our President! Pray the wisdom of God is upon him. Pray for him to lead our country in the truth of God’s word.
3. Pray for a celebrity
Is there a certain celebrity that you think could influence our culture in a powerful way if he/she used their voice for God’s purpose? Pray for them! Imagine what God could accomplish through someone who already has a huge audience.
This world is such an incredible place. It’s filled with so many amazing things.
But it also has people living in it who are lost, hurting and in need.
I want to encourage all of us to spend time praying in a “world changing way.” Not just a “change my own personal life” way.
One last thought.
Our God is both intimately personal and immensely global.
What world issue is on your heart? What’s something you could pray for that has nothing to do with you but you feel led to lift up to God? Let’s just go with what the Holy Sprit is leading and watch God move in our world!
// Lord, teach us to pray for the bigger picture. Lead us to pray for things beyond ourselves that need your covering. Show us people we can pray for today- maybe even those we’ve never met. Thank you for being a personal God as well as a world changing God! 🙂