Prayer is often misunderstood. It is not simply a wish list, or to be used casually in conversation. It is also not for spreading gossip in the form of a prayer. When it’s sincere, I do believe God hears those gut-wrenching prayers we call out to him in our time of desperation. God is always ready to extend grace to those who reach out to Him. But many times it feels like we don’t see prayers being answered. It is not from lack of faith. God does not requires us to earn anything first. But it does require an understanding of who God is and His plan for our world. Throughout the story of the Bible, God relentlessly pursues a relationship with us, to bring us back to Him, and is constantly fighting for us against the evil. He promises us hope and a Savior. Many times God has reassured me of things but He has never told me the future. God always meets us where we are today, not in the future. Every day is precious in itself.
As I journey into praying for our world this year, it is good to see what prayer has done for our world in just the last few decades. We often hear of the bad news, but if we step back a little, we can see the overall good and God’s plan for our world.
- There is an unprecedented number of new believers across Africa, Asia and Latin America – those who have not had as much opportunity as before.
- Christianity is now a global religion – there are Christians in every country on earth.
- Renewal movements are also growing at an unforeseen rate, especially after the 1950’s (around the time Israel became a nation again).
- Prayer movements and networks have multiplied and grown, including Global Day of Prayer, Days of Prayer for the nations, and grass-root networks.
- Charity aid has escalated across the globe since the 1980’s and 1990’s. There is a more holistic understanding of missions – care for orphans and widows, uplift the poor, liberty to the oppressed and set the captives free. All those things Jesus taught us to do.
- Many places previously closed are now open to aid workers and educators.
- There are many new methods to reaching and helping people than ever before.
We must also be aware of the global hotspots in our world, where there is likely to be more turmoil and conflict in the coming years. We should especially be praying for these areas:
- Future of Jerusalem and the ongoing conflict.
- The Korean Peninsula shared between a ruthless dictator and a thriving but nervous democracy.
- Somalia – war-torn and aggressive groups.
- Central Africa – lawless militias.
- Afghanistan and Pakistan – unstable and dangerous due to religious extremism and terrorism.
- China’s growth and assertiveness.
- All – human trafficking. It has now replaced drugs as the main trafficking area. 30 million people live in this type of slavery. It happens in our towns and cities, and is an attack on our youth. We should all be outraged!
Praying for others is a way we can recognize other people’s value, and a start to a more caring world. It gives us a sense of higher calling, something more than just ourselves, and a likeness to Christ.