Years ago a mission team I was leading arrived at Moffat College of the Bible in Kiijabe, Kenya, two full days after we had left home. We were safe and fairly rested—even after two night flights, two customs checks, and a variety of airplane food.
The flights, transfers, visa checkpoints, and myriad other details that make up such a trip were flawlessly accomplished. All 22 pieces of luggage arrived with us, unscathed, in Nairobi.
When we were introduced to the students at Moffat College, a student leader welcomed us: “For four months we have been praying for you every day, and now you are here. Welcome!”
I realized that our flawless travel was not due to my leadership or planning. We were on the receiving end of faithful, consistent prayer. We benefited because brothers and sisters we had not even met were faithful in praying for us. We had been touched, protected, and guided by God in response to the prayers of people we did not know.
In that experience, I was convicted of my own failure to pray. In the students at Moffat College of the Bible, I saw the importance of prayer on a global scale. Their prayers crossed the world and changed our world. Through them, I realized that prayer was my greatest avenue for being a partner in God’s work around the world.
How can our petitions play a part in God’s worldwide harvest? Wesley Duewel, author of Touch the World Through Prayer, suggests four ways that prayer involves us strategically in God’s work around the world.
We can join in any team that God is using. We can participate in the efforts of missionaries in the Amazon River Valley, in the ministries of pastors in Sri Lanka, or in the evangelistic efforts of tentmakers in North Africa through our prayers!
We can water the harvest. Literature distribution or radio broadcasts can sow the seed of the Gospel, but we need to water this seed through our prayers.
We can cultivate the harvest. Many who come to faith in Christ do so at the risk of their lives. We can be partners with these new believers through intercession on their behalf—just like many who prayed for Chinese Christians after 1950.
We can influence world leaders. Isaiah 40: 17,23,24 and Proverbs 21:1 describe how God views world leaders. We can change leaders and governments as we pray for them to be used by God to foster the spread of the Gospel.
What an opportunity and privilege we have to go to God in prayer and beseech Him—not only that He would make us like His son, Jesus Christ, but that He will work mightily in the world! God invites us to be part of changing the world through prayer. How will we respond?’
Adapted from Around the World on Your Knees, in issue 48 of Discipleship Journal. Used by permission of NavPress. Paul Borthwick serves on the staff of Development Associates International, a training group dedicated to the character and ministry development of leaders in the under-resourced world. He also teaches missions at Gordon College, and is author of the NavPress book, A Mind for Missions.