How to Pray Globally

A leader/teacher may offer the following approaches to encourage members of a Sabbath School class to increase their focus on foreign missions through prayer.

Begin where you are. If you pray exclusively for personal needs and local concerns, your prayers are too small! But don’t overreact by adding 35 missionaries and 168 countries to your prayer list all at once. Add one missionary. Begin to pray for one other country.

Shoot arrow prayers. Praying without ceasing means offering prayer requests throughout the day. As you read the newspaper or hear the news, launch a prayer arrow heavenward about global issues. When you encounter a coworker from another country or world religion, breathe a prayer on his or her behalf.

Pray informed prayers. Fuel prayer with information from Christian resources, the news, or the Internet. When we lack understanding of the country or culture we pray for, our prayers are reduced to “Bless the missionaries.”

Pray and correspond. Paul the apostle prayed as he wrote letters. As you send birthday cards, letters, or e-mail to Christians serving in other parts of the world, pray for them.

Join a team. Don’t undertake alone the challenge of praying for the world. Integrate global intercession into your Sabbath School class. If everyone prays for different missionaries or locales, you’ll learn about various places in the world.

Find a plan that works. Martin Luther started at 4 a.m., but you need to find what works for your lifestyle. One creative person prays on his bed while staring at a map on his ceiling. Another prays through the countries of the world from A through Z -- one country each day. One family prays through a stack of missionary prayer cards, using one each evening.

Use prayer tools. Get prayer cards. Find an up-to-date map. Use the international section of the news. Find tools that help you think and pray globally.

Intercede. Don’t just read the prayer list and recite names; take time to think through specific spiritual needs. Paul prayed for others’ spiritual vitality, growth, and endurance. Do the same for friends serving elsewhere in the world. Never assume that Christian workers are automatically more spiritual.

Pray by faith (not results). Stay faithful in prayer for the expansion of the church in places such as North Korea, Libya, Iran, or Iraq -- even if you never hear of “progress.”

Learn to say no. You cannot possibly pray daily for every person who asks. Focus your international prayers and stay faithful -- every day -- for the people you choose. Cover others with occasional prayer arrows.

Paul Borthwick
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists