In Matthew 28, Jesus tells us that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him, and with that authority, he tells us to go and make disciples of all nations. Jesus cares about all the people of the world and wants every one of them to be saved, but there are still over 2 billion people who have never heard the gospel before. As Christians, this should move us to pray for the nations.
How can you pray for the nations? You can pray for the nations by praying the Lord’s Prayer and scripture over unreached people groups. You can ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in your prayers. You can pray that God would send out workers or missionaries to these people groups, for the believers who are being persecuted, and even for their persecutors.
Even though we don’t always see the effects of our prayers, prayer is a powerful weapon that we can use to break down walls in the spiritual realm because Jesus has given us the authority to bring his kingdom down to earth.
We are also called to pray constantly and for all peoples because God wants us to be a part of his big plan of redemption and partner with him in sending out the gospel.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.1 Timothy 2:1-4 ESV
6 Examples Of How To Pray For The Nations
Because our prayers can actually change the world and invite the Holy Spirit to change people’s hearts, I found 6 ways that you can pray for the nations.
1. Pray The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s prayer is a great place to start for learning how to pray for the nations or just how to pray in general. Jesus prayed it when he was teaching his disciples how to pray, and it is meant to glorify God and ask for His kingdom to come in.
Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.Matthew 6:9-13 CSB
Although this seems like a personal prayer, you can insert the name of a nation or people group into these verses and pray that they would see the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. You can pray for God to provide for them, to forgive them, and to deliver them from the hands of the enemy.
2. Pray Through Scripture
Praying through scripture is another powerful way to pray for the nations because God says that his word will never come back void. It always has a purpose and when we pray through it, it sets out to accomplish the will of the Father.
There are endless verses and promises about God-loving and rescuing the nations. So, if you’re not sure what to pray, insert the name of a people group or country into these verses and lift them up to God in your prayer time:
- Psalm 22:27
- Psalm 67:1-7
- Habbakuk 2:14
- Isaiah 40:11
- Isaiah 57:14
- Jeremiah 24:7
- Acts 26:18
- 1 Peter 2:9
- 2 Peter 3:9
- 1 John 1:7-9
- Revelation 7:9
3. Ask The Holy Spirit For Help
If you have felt burdened to pray for the nations or for a specific people group, know that that has been placed in you by God and that he will send his Holy Spirit to you to help you pray, even when you don’t know what to say.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.Romans 8:26 ESV
Be encouraged that even the Holy Spirit is praying with and for you and as you pray for the nations, so you can ask for the strength and the words-or groans-that you need.
You don’t need the best words, or the fanciest words, or a lot of them, you just need the Holy Spirit to guide you.
4. Pray For The Unreached People Groups
One of the greatest tragedies in this world is that there are over 2 billion people who have never had a chance to hear the gospel and know Jesus Christ. That makes 7,407 unreached people groups. These groups are less than 2% of Christians and have no way of knowing who Jesus is without outside help.
This is one of the reasons why missions and praying for the nations is so important, so if you want to find out how you can pray for the unreached, go to the Joshua Project, an organization dedicated to reaching the unreached through raising awareness, researching different locations, and offering lots of prayer resources.
5. Pray To The Lord Of The Harvest For Workers
Another way to pray for unreached people groups as well as all the nations, is to ask God, the Lord of the harvest, to send out workers into the mission field.
He told them, ‘The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.Luke 10:2 CSB
The harvest is ready. There are so many people who are ready to receive Christ if only they had someone to tell them. There is an abundant need to share the gospel with these people, therefore when you pray, pray for workers to bring in the harvest. You may even feel called to pray for God to send you.
This journey of prayer and of sending out the gospel is a grand adventure, one filled with conflict and challenges but an eternity’s worth of rewards. But if we don’t obey God and pray, and if workers aren’t sent out, how then will the 2 billion people all over the world be saved?
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him?
And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.Romans 10:13-15 CSB
Every missionary out on the field right now is there because of prayer. Someone somewhere prayed for a people group to be reached, someone prayed for the missionary to go, and even Jesus prayed for all future believers in John 17, so that everyone might know the Father.
So keep on praying, because from your prayers workers will go out with the gospel, and the love of Jesus will reach people groups that desperately need him.
6. Pray For The Persecuted And The Persecutors
As an American, it’s easy to get comfortable in our Bible-belt world and take for granted the freedom we have to worship Jesus. But, it’s a sad reality to know that in a lot of other places all over the world Christians are getting persecuted and killed for their faith.
Despite this, we are to pray not necessarily that the persecution will end, because persecution is a sign that the gospel is spreading, but pray that these believers will grow in endurance and boldness and that God would comfort and protect them.
Over and over again the Bible tells us that whatever trial and persecution we are facing, we can rejoice knowing that it will be used to glorify God.
This is an upside-down teaching, but as Christians, we do not put our hope in this world. Instead, we put our hope in Jesus and the eternity with him to come.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells the Israelites to love their enemies and pray for their persecutors.
You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.Matthew 5:43-44 CSB
This command is by no means easy, but it shows us just how much Jesus wants to save and love every single person.
Resources For Praying For The Nations
When praying for the nations, it’s easy to pray broad, overarching prayers for the whole world, which is great and needed. However, it’s also nice to have some extra resources to dig into in order to focus on a certain people group or topic that God has put on your heart.
The Joshua Project
As I mentioned above, the Joshua Project is an incredible organization that has put together resources and information about different people groups so that we can know exactly who and what to pray for.
They have prayer cards, global statistics, and opportunities to search up specific locations and information for whatever you feel more called to pray for.
If you’d like to access their website and begin praying, click here.
International House Of Prayer
International House of Prayer, located in Kansas City, MO is an organization that hosts 24/7 worship and prayer on their campus and online via live stream.
They have different prayer resources, ways to get involved, and worship hours for various countries and languages.
If you’d like to tune into their worship live streams to help you focus on prayer or find other resources on their website, click here.
Global Prayer Resource Network
Global Prayer Resource Network also has many encouraging materials you can use on their website. From information about the unreached and the lost to miraculous stories of prayer in action, you will be able to find the right information to help you keep praying for the nations.
You can click here to access Global Prayer Resource Network.
Other Ideas For Praying For The Nations
- Pray by listening to worship music
- Pull out a world map and pray for a country a day
- Get a world themed calendar and write a prayer for the nations in a box each day
- Ask a friend or family member to pray with you regularly
- Paint out your prayers or create art while praying for the nations
Why Praying For The Nations Matters
In the Bible, there are loads of times when we are called to pray unceasingly, but it can be easy to lose focus and wonder if we’re truly making a difference.
Missions exist because worship doesn’tJohn Piper
When all believers are in heaven, there will be no need for missions. In everything we do, we will be worshipping God for eternity and we will be with Jesus and all of our brothers and sisters in Christ forever.
Why is this important? Because we were not made for the purpose of spreading the gospel, we were made to worship God and be loved by him. Worship will last for eternity, but missions will not.
That’s something to look forward to, yet despite this, reaching the unreached with the gospel and praying for the nations is still our mission right now. It is vital for making a way for every tribe, tongue, and nation to worship God and praise him.
God deserves all the glory, honor, and praise, and one day his glory will cover the earth as the water covers the seas. That’s why praying for the nation’s matter, because when the nations know who Jesus is, not only will they be saved but they will be able to do what they were made to do: worship God and be completely loved by him forever.
Praying For The Nations Matters Because Our Prayers Can Change The World
When people get together and pray, it changes the world. Think about the Moravians who started a 100 year 24/7 prayer watch in 1727. 65 years in, they were able to send 300 missionaries to the ends of the earth, and the movement spurred on the Great Awakening in both Britain and the United States in the 1800s.
Prayer changes things, it shakes up the spiritual realm. It is a weapon against the enemy and in the name of Jesus, our prayers make Satan and his schemes flee.
Jesus told us that Satan was the ruler of this world, but now that Jesus has overcome the world and the power of the grave, we can use his authority in our prayers to change the hearts of nations.
Remember the story in Daniel, where Daniel is confronted by a terrifyingly beautiful angel about his humble and fervent prayers.
Don’t be afraid, Daniel. God has heard everything that you said ever since the first day you decided to humble yourself in front of your God so that you could learn to understand things. I have come in response to your prayer.
The commander of the Persian kingdom opposed me for 21 days. But then Michael, one of the chief commanders, came to help me because I was left alone with the kings of PersiaDaniel 10:12-13
Woah. In this passage, we get a glimpse into the spiritual realm where serious and important battles are going on. I’d encourage you to go read the rest of the story about Daniel’s faith and encounter with God’s Word here, but this just goes to show that our prayers can make some serious impact and gain a spiritual battleground.
God loves it when we make prayer a priority and dedicate our time and energy to investing in the kingdom of God. What better way to do that than pray for the nations and live as if we want as many people to get to know Jesus as possible?
Praying For The Nations Matters Because It Will Hasten Jesus’ Coming Back
As Christians, we know that Jesus is coming back to resurrect all who believe in him and bring about the end of times for this earth. There’s a lot of crazy things that will happen when Jesus comes back and we know that there’s no way of predicting exactly when that will be. However, Jesus does tell us that before he can come back, every tribe, tongue, and nation will have heard the gospel.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:14 ESV
This is a big deal for Christians, and it’s why we take the Great Commission so seriously. We don’t just want people to be saved-Praise Jesus-but we also want Jesus. We want Jesus to come back, we want to hasten his return and be ready for him. We want to worship him altogether in heaven.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their handsRevelation 7:9
This verse is wildly encouraging because it’s not just a vision, it’s a promise. There will be a representative from every people group from all over the world with us in heaven, but before that happens, we get the privilege to pray for these things to take place and pray for the nations so that Jesus can come back soon.
Praying For The Nations Is Our Mission
Although missions and praying won’t last forever, it is still what God is calling us to do as Christians so that all can know and worship him.
Jesus cares about all the people of the world and wants every one of them to be saved, but there are still over 2 billion people who have never heard the gospel before.
To be a part of making a difference for God’s kingdom, let’s pray through scripture and the Lord’s prayer. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit for help and for words.
Let’s pray for the unreached people groups and that workers may be sent out to preach the good news of the gospel to them. Let’s pray for the persecuted and their persecutors and ask God to hasten Jesus’ coming.
We are waiting for Jesus, and looking forward to his coming. While we wait, we can change the world and inspire others to do the same as we worship God and pray for all the nations.