For our worship service the past few years we have dedicated the entire service to praying for the nations. Here is our prayer guide for this year along with a brief introduction on why we use Scripture based prayer. The introduction has been modified from something Alvin Vander Griend originally gave me.
Why this Prayer Guide?
This prayer guide is intended for any church that wants to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to be released locally, nationally and internationally. The Church that Jesus planted in Jerusalem was “devoted to prayer” and “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:14, 2:4, 2:42, 4:31 and 6:4). That is what He intends for every church today.
To become a Spirit filled, praying church you must start with prayer. You can’t just initiate a prayer program. If you start with a program, you will end up with a program. But if you consistently ask God to make your church a Spirit filled, praying church, and you step out in obedience, He will lead you to be a church truly devoted to prayer and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Why Scripture Prayer?
God’s promises, commands and self-revelations are imbedded in the Scriptures. They are infallible and reliable. When our prayers are shaped by his Word, we are building on solid ground. We are responding to who God is and what He is doing. We are claiming His promises. We are obeying His commands. There is no better way to pray.
How to Use the Prayer Guide?
Use the following Bible verses on prayer, together with the suggested responses, to help you pray God’s heart for the church.
- Pray through one of the seven sections each day, or pray through them all at once at some time each week (about 30-60 minutes).
- Ponder each Scripture passage. Listen to what the Spirit has to say. Let the meaning of the verse sink in.
- Talk to God with thoughts and words that are shaped by what you have heard Him say to you. You will find reason to praise God for who he is, thank him for what he does, confess wrongs or shortcoming, ask him to act, and commit to action.
- Lord, Make Us a Spirit Filled Church
“On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 1:4-5
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” – Acts 4:31
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” – Eph. 5:18
“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” – Psalm 127:1
- Pray for God to build His Church using our body as he sees fit.
- Pray for a greater awareness of the Spirit’s promptings and directions in the Church and its membership.
- Ask God to give His people patience and a willingness to wait upon the Lord.
- Confess the ways you have run ahead of God with your own plans for the church instead of waiting on Him to work.
- Lord, Bring Forth Your Fruit in this Church
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 5:22–6:2
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” – Eph. 5:19-21
- Ask God to teach the church what it really means to [insert fruit] so that… [Why would God’s glory be exalted by His Church knowing this?]
- Pray for the Spirit to direct our steps this year as we evangelize others, enfold new members, encourage all believers, equip one another and exalt the Lord.
- Confess the ways conceit, envy, pride and sin keep the Church from following God.
- Ask God to give each believer something worthy of sharing with the Church.
- Lord, Make us a Church that is Mature & United
“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” – Eph. 4:11–13
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” – 1 Cor. 12:7–11
- Thank God for the leadership of the Church. Thank him for the missionaries and evangelists you know who spread the Word.
- Ask God to lead His people into works of service that will glorify His name.
- Pray for maturity and unity in the worldwide Church. Pray specifically for maturity in the church of Africa and Asia and for unity in the Church in the western world
- Thank God for the gifts He gives and ask Him to grant any gifts that are not being practiced in this local church.
- Lord, Make Us a Church that Does Great Things for God by Prayer
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” –John 14:12-14.
- Pray for the wisdom to know what “greater things” Jesus wants you and your church to do for him.
- Pray for the power to do the “great things” Jesus had in mind—things that will “bring glory to the Father.”
- Commit yourself to prayers that reach beyond personal needs and focus on Christ’s momentous kingdom concerns.
- Lord, Make Us a Church that Transforms Its Community by Prayer
“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” –Jer. 29:7
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” –1 Tim. 2:1-2
- Praise God who governs the world by his Son—the King of kings—and is able to grant peace and prosperity in response to our prayers.
- Pray that your church will pray so faithfully and powerfully for your city/community that it will prosper materially and spiritually.
- Ask God to give you practical, down-to-earth ways to bring peace and prosperity to your city/community.
- Lord, Make Us a Church That Prays for the World
“Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” –Rom. 10:1
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people….This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” –1 Tim. 2:1, 3, 4
- Thank God for those who prayed for you to come to Christ.
- Pray that the “heart’s desire” of your church would be to pray for the unsaved as Jesus and Paul did (Jn. 17:20, Rom. 10:1).
- Commit yourself and your church to pray for persons yet-to-be-saved, knowing that “this pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved.”
- Ask God to give your church some practical ways to facilitate “outreach” prayer.
- Comoro Islands (Africa)
Statistics (Operation World, p176-177)…
- 700,000 People, 28% urbanized, bottom third of least developed countries
- 98% muslim, 1% Christian, 1% other
- Umemployment 36%, numerous coups and attempts since 1990
- Completely unevangelized before 1973
- Pray for God to open the way to overt means of sharing the Gospel.
- Pray for governmental leadership that is Christ friendly
- Pray for the 30± missionaries on the islands to have increased opportunities to witness
- Pray for the first convert who is a major leader in this fledgling church.
- Pray for our contact on the island, Kristin, to be encouraged, spiritual protected and to have plenty of chances to share the message of hope
- Nepal (Asia)
Statistics (Operation World, p 405-407)…
- 40% Literacy rate among 30 million people
- Nearly 1 million Christians, 75% Hindu, rest mixture of animism, Buddhism, secular.
- Bottom third of least developed countries in world.
- 8 of the 10 highest mountains in the world are in Nepal making it a very rugged land to traverse.
- Pray for the strength of the persecuted church. God would raise up leaders who stand firm in the face of opposition and preach the truth.
- Pray for justice in human rights abuses to be done
- Pray for the unreached people in Nepal to hear the gospel. There are hundreds of unreached people groups spanning 127 different languages.
- Pray for Bible Translators to have skill in bringing the Word of God to each people group
- Netherlands (Europe)
Statistics (Operation World p408-410)…
- 16 ½ million people, 65% unreligious
- 6th most developed country in the world
- 1 in 7 people declared unfit/unable to work
- Pray for God to change hearts in a country where there are few to no restrictions on drugs, prostitution, alternative sexuality, abortion and euthanasia
- Pray for the church leadership to boldly take stands for Christ and to lead the church in effectively countering the tide of secular liberalism.
- Ask God to reclaim the strong reformed witness that the church had in the past but has lost.
- Pray for the Muslim minority, particularly the students and guest workers, who tend to live alone and separate from others in the country.
- Uruguay (South America)
Statistics (Operation World p568-569)…
- Most educated and secular country in South America
- 3 million people, 86% urbanized, 37% unreligious
- 22,000 Jews live in the capital
- New age thinking permeates
- Pray for continued success for the evangelists who are sharing the gospel among the middle class.
- Ask God to close the 1200 occult centers in the country (more than the number of protestant churches) and draw spiritually hungry people into the church.
- Ask God to raise us Spirit filled, Bible believing, Evangelical preachers through the 20 seminaries and Bible schools in the country.
- Pray for the two Uruguayan mission organizations that have begun and are seeking to send out laborers.
- Pray for laborers among the Jewish population which is receptive to the gospel.