We tend to want to talk to God about the people and situations we know well, enabling us to pray specifically. It’s a lot harder to lift up the needs in countries you’ve never visited, praying for people and issues you can’t name. Here are some tips for embracing the world God loves in your prayer time.
1. Pray around the world alphabetically.
Are you methodical? Praying for countries in alphabetical order is for you. With about 196 independent states around the globe, you can cover them all in a year, if you are diligent — it breaks down to about 16 places a month — or move at a more leisurely pace and spread the task over a few years. Operation World provides an excellent alphabetical country guide with facts, stats, and challenges to lift up. When you pray, mention leaders by name (consult this list). Keep track of your prayer progress by hanging a world map on your wall and marking the countries you’ve prayed for with pushpins or stickers.
2. Pray through the news.
Heartbreaking headlines hit us from all sides — TV, radio, push notifications on our phones. Instead of tuning out the bad news, pray into it. That same hour or day, calm your spirit and seek God’s comfort for those affected by war, disaster, or poverty. Focus on the people in news photos or articles and pray that God gives them what they most need in their distress. And keep apprised of developments you might not hear about in the mainstream press by reading World Vision’s news from the field — and take time to pray afterward.
3. Pray into the 10/40 window.
Do you have a heart for people who haven’t yet heard about Jesus? You can focus your prayers in the regions approximately between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude, where the majority of people with only minimal knowledge of the gospel live. More than 4 billion people live in this window, and about half are members of an unreached people group. Residents of these regions also are among the poorest in the world. Pray for God’s light to reach all over the earth, transforming children and families in greatest need. Learn more about the 10/40 window at Joshua Project.
4. Pray through the day.
Things you do every day can remind you of chronic challenges in the developing world — and lead to prayer. For example, taking a shower or even turning on a faucet can trigger prayer for the millions of children worldwide who don’t have clean water. This World Vision magazine feature helps parents pray through the day with their children for problems like hunger, illiteracy, homelessness, and more.
5. Learn the Lord’s Prayer in another language.
In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus gave us the perfect words to engage with our Father. The Lord’s Prayer is spoken around the world in hundreds of languages, uniting all believers in worshiping God and asking his help with physical, spiritual, and relational needs. Expand your experience of this sacred prayer by learning it in another language. Find translations at Lords-Prayer-Words.com; watch a YouTube video of the prayer spoken in several languages; or ask a friend with language fluency to teach you.