Please login to continue
Having Trouble Logging In?
Reset your password
Don't have an account?
Sign Up Now!
Register for a Free Account
The password must be at least 8 characters long and must contain at least 1 capital letter, 1 number and 1 symbol.
Choose Password
Confirm Password

Your account has been created!

Stories & Blog

Unlock the Power of Prayer for the Nations

Unlock the Power of Prayer for the Nations

Missionary Samuel Zwemer (1867-1952) famously said, “The history of missions is the history of answered prayer.”

If that’s true, then the future of missions depends on our prayers today. What an opportunity we have! Do we pray with the fervor and urgency we should?

Many of us grow weary of praying for the world — for countries we’ve never visited and people we’ve never met. We all need to be reminded afresh of the importance and power of our prayers.

The history of missions is the history of answered prayer.
— Samuel Zwemer

Your prayers matter. Your prayers change eternity.

Let’s look at the reasons we must pray for the nations and specific ways you can pray for the world today.

8 reasons to pray for the nations

  1. God cares about the nations.
    Scripture from Genesis to Revelation reveals God’s heart for the nations — that he is Lord over all countries and people, and he is working to redeem people from every tribe and language so that all nations will praise him. Because God is concerned for the nations, we should be too. And we can express our union with God in that concern through prayer.

  2. Prayer expands our view of God and the world.
    We’re prone to get stuck in our own corner of the world. By praying for countries and people different from us, we gain a global perspective. Prayer for the nations instills in us a heart of humility, a love of other cultures, and an admiration of the God who made them all.

  3. Jesus commanded it, and we should obey.
    The key to unreached peoples believing in Christ is sending missionaries (Romans 10:13-15), and the key to sending missionaries is prayer! For this reason Jesus commanded his people to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2, ESV). Could he have made the connection between prayer and the provision of gospel workers any clearer?

  4. We get to join God’s global work.
    God is always working (John 5:17), and he is pleased for his children to participate in the work with him. Jesus invited us to pray in his name and promised to answer our requests. “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do” (John 14:13, ESV). When we pray for the nations, we get to see God act and we have the joy of knowing we played a small part.

  5. We need God’s help to reach the nations.
    Seeking to fulfill the Great Commission that Christ gave to go and make disciples of all nations is foolishness without asking God to give us the nations for his glory. On our own, we will fail (John 15:5). But God is king over all the earth (Psalm 47). Praying for the nations reveals our total reliance on God for the task he has given us. In his book Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts, author Jerry Bridges said, “Prayer is the most tangible expression of trust in God.”

  6. Missionaries need prayer partners.
    Just like Moses needed Aaron and Hur to hold up his hands to fight God’s battle, missionaries need a team of people holding them up in prayer. Every day they face spiritual warfare, cultural confusion, sin in themselves and their disciples, and the strongholds of the enemy — and there are no victories without prayer. Crossworld worker Cindy said, “We depend on the prayers of our partners and have experienced the effects of their faithfulness. When someone takes the time to write the specific request they are praying about, I feel encouraged, more hopeful, and more bold.”

  7. The stakes are high for the least-reached.
    One day (Jesus himself says “soon”) the time for missions will be over because Jesus’ kingdom will come in full. Working to reach the least-reached isn’t a game — it’s an all-out spiritual war, and time is of the essence. Hell is a real place, and judgment is coming for those who do not trust in Jesus. These realities should move us to grieve and urgently pray for the lost. While we long for Jesus to return, we must pray for those who need him.

  8. Someone prayed for you.
    More than likely, someone (or perhaps many people) prayed for your salvation. God was merciful to you through the prayers of others. Now it’s your turn to pay it forward. Who will you pray into the kingdom? You don’t have to know their name or their face to pray on their behalf. One day, when all nations are gathered around God’s throne, you’ll get to meet the people who are there because of your prayers.

8 reasons to pray for the nations

The privilege and power of prayer

Perhaps the biggest reason of all to pray for the nations is because prayer is powerful. Pastor and author John Piper references James 4:2 when he said, “Prayers cause things to happen that would not happen if you didn’t pray.”

Think about it this way. What is stagnant among the nations because we aren’t praying? Are there individuals who are searching for truth but don’t know a single Christian? Are there entire people groups that have no church among them? Are there countries closed off from the work of the gospel?

But if we started to pray, what might our prayers cause to happen? Would we see a flood of missionaries sent into the harvest? Would the doors of closed countries burst wide open? Would we hear of terrorists (like the apostle Paul) miraculously transformed by the Holy Spirit? Would human trafficking be eradicated and brothels turned into houses of worship? Would the name of Jesus become known in every language?

If we started to pray, what might our prayers cause to happen?

God can, of course, do all these things without our prayers. But the astonishing thing is that he chooses to use our prayers as the catalyst. He invites us to be part of the work with him and imbues our prayers with power (James 5:16).

You can directly influence what happens in Asia or Africa from your living room in North America — not because of the greatness of your prayers, but because of the greatness of our God. Through prayer, we have direct access to the One who is sovereign over all and has all power and authority.

Thus, prayer, Piper said, is a staggeringly glorious privilege.

Are you making use of it?

Ways to pray for the world

Find a way to make prayer for the nations part of your regular prayer life — whether by yourself in the mornings, during family devotions, with your church small group, or any other time. When and how you pray doesn’t matter. What matters is that you pray.

As you read your Bible, look for mention of the nations and pray those verses back to God.

Here are more prayer prompts for the nations.

  1. Pray for your own heart.
    Ask God to help you develop a heart of love for the nations. Our compassion will grow weak, but his compassions never fail (Lamentations 3:22).

  2. Pray for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done.
    This is what Jesus taught his disciples to pray in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:10).

  3. Pray for peace on earth.
    God is not a God of confusion and chaos but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33), and the nations desperately need it.

  4. Pray for social justice.
    All forms of violence and oppression are not from God, who loves justice and hates evil (Isaiah 61:8).

  5. Pray for world leaders.
    Their authority has been instituted by God (Romans 13:1), and he can guide their hearts (Proverbs 21:1).

  6. Pray for the poor, homeless, and needy.
    God takes thought of them (Psalm 40:17), and he is their help.

  7. Pray for refugees, orphans, and widows.
    God takes up the cause of those who have no rights of their own, and he provides for them (Deuteronomy 10:18).

  8. Pray for the persecuted church.
    Many believers face the threat of oppression or death, even from their own families. They need God’s comfort and courage.

  9. Pray for an end to human suffering.
    Sin destroyed the shalom God designed us for (Genesis 1:28), but Jesus is reversing the curse.

  10. Pray for creation and the environment.
    The fall wreaked havoc on God’s good creation, and just like God’s people, it eagerly awaits redemption in Jesus’ kingdom (Romans 8:19-24).

  11. Pray for open doors for the gospel.
    The apostle Paul asked for evangelism opportunities (Colossians 4:3). In today’s world, let’s also ask God to open countries whose borders are closed.

  12. Pray for unreached people groups.
    Fully a third of the world’s population is suffering the greatest injustice — they have little or no access to the gospel. Pray for God’s mercy.

  13. Pray for Bible translation.
    More than 190 million people have no Scripture in their language. Millions more only have portions of the Bible.

  14. Pray for people to be saved.
    No one can come to Christ unless God draws him. Ask God to open the eyes of lost people and give them faith to trust in Jesus.

  15. Pray for missionaries.
    Pray specific requests for missionaries you know personally, or pray these seven daily requests.

  16. Pray for the global church.
    Jesus promised to build his church (Matthew 16:18). Pray for its growth, maturity, unity, and endurance.

  17. Pray for the earth to be filled with God’s glory.
    From Genesis to Revelation, this is God’s ultimate purpose and goal (Habakkuk 2:14).

More resources to help you pray for the world

  • Your church’s missionary directory | Sign up to receive emails and prayer requests from the missionaries your church supports
  • World news | Pray about current events and things happening around the world. Each time you hear about a country in the news, stop and pray for those people.
  • Operation World | Pray for all nations
  • Joshua Project | Pray for unreached people groups
  • Prayercast | Watch prayer-focused videos
  • International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church | Gather your church to unite in prayer the first Sunday in November
  • Voices of the Faithful | Read this 365-day devotional with stories from around the world

Will you commit to pray for the world this year? Just imagine what God will do through the fervent prayers of his people.

Join our email list

Mark Silvers, Crossworld Director of MobilizationMark Silvers served with Crossworld in the Philippines for 10 years and joined the Recruitment team in 2009. Mark’s driving passion is to reach the 3.4 billion people in the world today with no access to the gospel.

Support a Worker's Ministry
Give Where Most Needed
Your gift to the Global Advance Fund sends, equips, and cares for disciple-makers among the least-reached. Learn more.
Give to a Project
Featured Projects