Praying to Fulfill the Great Commission

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In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul specifically asked for evangelistic prayer.

“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:19-20).

Prayer is a powerful and valuable tool God has given us to reach others. First of all, it recognizes His sovereign role in drawing others to Him. If we’re serious about reaching the world with the gospel, we need to commit ourselves to pray for willing servants and receptive, listening hearts.

There are so many ways that we can contribute to the gospel’s spread through our prayers and help fulfill the Great Commission. One way to tackle the task is to focus our prayers on a different evangelistic focus every day.

This example focuses on a specific topic and locale for daily prayer.

Learning to pray strategically

Here we’ve focused on a theme related to missions and sharing the gospel. For instance, on Monday, we encourage a focus on boldness. But the topic of boldness can be broken up over a month.

  • Week one: Personal boldness in sharing the gospel
  • Week two: Boldness on the part of local churches and leaders
  • Week three: Boldness for missionaries around the world
  • Week four: Boldness in the choices Christians must make that might run contrary to cultural priorities or preferences.

As you can see, you don’t have to pray for each area for a long time. The important thing (and the area where prayer often falls apart) lies in planning to pray strategically. So maybe that means that one night a week, you sit down and plan out your prayer topics for the week.

In the following prayer plan, we include prayers for a different continent each day of the week. As we explain, you might want to focus on a single nation on that continent each day. In your planning, you can spend some time learning about where that nation is and what their needs might be, educating yourself about the areas you bring to God. The great thing about doing this kind of intentional prayer is that God can stir in us greater passion as we become more informed.

You can learn more about various countries by reading Wikipedia articles, news stories, and by staying connected to mission organizations. But even when you don’t feel like you have what you need to pray informed prayers for an area, you can always pray for the leadership of those countries, for openness to the gospel, and for God to raise up people to serve that country and minister from within.

A weekly prayer template

Consider the following weekly template as a jumping-off point for your own mission-oriented prayers. This isn’t a definitive prayer suggestion, but it demonstrates how you can think about approaching weekly prayers to focus on reaching the world.

You might want to consider using this template for a year (or even a quarter) and then recalibrating toward something that works for you.

  • Monday:
    -Boldness: Pray for the church’s boldness in proclaiming the gospel. You could focus these prayers on mission organizations worldwide, but you should also focus on the local church. Pray that the Lord raises up churches passionate about sharing with their local communities and sending people into the world.
    -North America: Pray for countries like Canada, Mexico, Greenland, Haiti, etc.
  • Tuesday:
    – Workers: The Lord told us that the fields were ripe, and we needed to pray for harvesters who would go into the fields to gather (Matthew 9:37-38). This is still a necessity.
    – South America: Pray for countries like Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Peru, Chile, etc.
  • Wednesday:
    -Opportunities: On a local level, we should be praying that we would recognize the opportunities we have to share the good news with the people around us. On a macro level, we should also pray that God would create opportunities in nations that are closed off or even antagonistic to the gospel.
    -Europe: Pray for countries like Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Netherlands, etc.
  • Thursday:
    -Openness: Ask the Holy Spirit to help make people receptive to the gospel’s message at home and abroad.
    -Africa: Pray for countries like South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, Morocco, etc.
  • Friday:
    -Witness: Pray for the church to demonstrate the beauty of the gospel in the way that we love our neighbor and care for others. Ask the Lord to elevate stories of the church demonstrating His heart for the world.
    -Asia: Pray for countries like Japan, China, Indonesia, India, Thailand, North Korea, etc.
  • Saturday:
    -Justice: There are so many ways that people around the world find themselves trapped in cycles of darkness and oppression. We can pray against trafficking, poverty, hunger, slavery, and other forms of persecution and exploitation.
    -Australia: Pray for Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.
  • Sunday:
    -Protection: Carrying the gospel into the world is a challenging calling that can put missionaries at risk. Not only do we need to pray for missionaries to be protected from aggression and persecution, but we also need to pray for their physical, relational, and emotional health.
    -Antarctica: Unlike the other continents, Antarctica doesn’t have an indigenous population. There are, however, many scientific residents from all over the world. So prayers on this day could go in multiple directions:
    – Pray for growing openness to the gospel in the world’s scientific community.
    – Pray for countries that have stations in Antarctica. This includes countries like Finland, Poland, Uruguay, Chile, etc.
    – Use this day as an opportunity to pray for people groups that are unrepresented by countries. These groups are isolated, and many don’t have a written language of their own.

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