As 2018 passed into 2019, I found myself thinking about how to pray for matters on a global scale. Having had some time to ruminate on it now, I’d like to share some of my thoughts with you.
There is always a reason for hope for those in Christ. God, through His Son, has not only given us assurance of “good things to come” but also called us to actively participate with Him in reconciling this world to Him through Christ.
The least a believer can do is pray for the poor and hurting in our world. Here are three things you can pray for and why they are important in God’s grand scheme of things.
God’s primary objective for the church is to preach His gospel to the world. Missions, both local and global, are made possible not just by the finances available for but also by the prayers of millions across the globe.
2019 could be a challenging year for both local and world missions. In the developed West, rapid socio-cultural changes pose a serious challenge for evangelism. Problems originating from socially engineered ideologies on gender, religion, intolerance, and deep political divisions are some of the things that need our prayers. In the developing countries, missions face challenges from traditional obstacles such as oppression from religious majorities, legal barricades, and growing geo-political instability.
There is nothing out of God’s control. But God expects us to pray and support missions, in our neighborhoods and to the ends of the earth. It is God who enables us to share the gospel with others. Let us continue to ask God for His strength and guidance every day.
God is sovereign, and He appoints leaders and rulers of this world. Nevertheless, we are called to pray for the elected leaders and those who are going to be elected to governments in different parts of the world.
Pray for persecuted Christians in the Middle East and Asia. Pray for resolution to conflicts in Africa, and for religious freedom for Christians and others in the developed West. Pray that God, in His divine wisdom, will change and work on the hearts of leaders appointed in different countries.
Churches often underestimate their call to actively play an important role in the development of our society. Christians, like others, have the innate ability to apply their minds and energy for the betterment of our society.After all, the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors. Spending our time and energy for the betterment of society is an integral part of expressing our love for our neighbors (both near and far).
Many of the founding fathers of modern science were Christians. Slavery was abolished through the relentless pursuit of Christians. Even the success of modern agriculture can be attributed to the effort of a devout Christian, Norman Borlaug, on whose birthday, March 25, the Cornwall Alliance celebrates its Day of Prayer each year, in which we hope thousands will participate.
Many Christians have contributed immensely to the world through their political offices. Unfortunately, and surprisingly, anti-developmental ideology has taken over global political institutions. Man is now viewed as the cancer of the earth, a destroyer of the environment.
While it is true that there is gross mismanagement of environmental resources in some regions of the world, the global society as a whole has largely become very efficient in managing resources and protecting the natural environment.
People who espouse a very radical form of environmentalism are adamant about implementing policies that compromise human well-being. For example, despite no evidence of an imminent global warming catastrophe, environmentalists have successfully disrupted the conventional energy industry.
Global policies on energy have the potential to delay the alleviation of poverty in Third World countries. Poor countries cannot meet the very basic needs (such as electricity, drinking water, affordable food) of their people unless they have access to abundant, reliable, affordable energy resources that enable economic progress.
So, pray that the Lord opens the eyes of those who are blinded to the sufferings of the poor in developing countries. Pray that God will appoint leaders who do not submit to the radical environmental policies that are being forced upon the nations.
Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Chennai, India.