One of the exciting things about being part of the church is its global presence. We do not belong to some small operation but to a worldwide network of believers, joined by the Holy Spirit into one body.
Therefore, Paul’s instructions in Ephesians 6:18 to pray for “all the saints” constitutes a call to pray globally.
This call to global prayer flows out of God’s love for the world that we read about in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world….” The great commission encompasses the world: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations….” (NKJ Matthew 28:19) Therefore, our prayers should reflect this heart of God in His concern for the whole world.
This call to global prayer leads to the question of how one can possibly pray for the whole world. Let me make some practical suggestions.
First, I find it best to pray country by country. Since it would be difficult to pray for all the countries in the whole world in a meaningful way every day, I recommend dividing the world into different territories and praying for one segment each day. In general terms, dividing the world by continents will give you a good start. It helps to subdivide some continents. For my own prayers I have divided the world until 11 segments, allowing me to rotate through them every two weeks. One segment is the island world, which covers a lot of territory.
In praying for the world it is helpful to get a good map or to use something like Google map that will help to locate and identify various countries. One of the great things about global praying is how much it helps your geography. I make no claims to be a geography whiz, but because I pray globally I know the locations of countries like Bhutan and Eritrea, which I’m sure I never learned in ninth grade geography, and if I had I would not remember them now.
In praying for given countries I find it helpful to divide my prayers into three categories. If there is persecution of Christians in the area, I pray for them first. You can stay updated on persecution of Christians through various websites such as WorldWatch Monitor. If I know of missionaries or mission endeavors in the country I pray for them next. Then I pray for the local church in that country. There is also a lot of information pertaining to these topics on the Internet.
Being as informed as possible is critical because otherwise praying globally can be reduced to going down a list of countries with which you are unfamiliar. Becoming knowledgeable regarding the church in various areas provides Christians with a much better idea about what is going on in the world than most other people possess. I have a long way to go in this pursuit of knowledge, but I realize that I’m much further down that path because of my interest in praying for the entire world.
One of the blessings of praying globally is the sense of being connected to God’s church around the world. An even greater blessing resides in being able to minister to people thousands of miles away through prayer.
I would encourage you to start praying globally. This requires some initiative and the investment of some initial time and work in dividing up the world, finding a map either online or a physical one, and looking for websites that will give you the needed information. As you get started it also requires doing the needed research to find out what is going on in the world.
The good news is that you don’t have to do this all at once. In fact, if you try getting it all together before you start you will probably give up before you ever begin praying. Do a little at a time, especially as world events direct your attention to given areas. After a while you will feel that you are gaining a pretty good handle on praying globally. If you ever get all those African countries figured out, let me know. The bad news is that by the time you contact me some of the names will again have changed.