Read His Words Before Ours!
Our miniature matatu (think African style of a city bus…kind of) bumped up and down and our bodies bounced with it without the constraint of seatbelts. Red dust flew up behind us while some billowed through the windows, filling our nostrils with the ever-present African-dust smell. The chatter of my seven teammates filled the matatu, but I wasn’t hearing them. My senses were in the slums of Kenya, seeing, hearing, smelling, breathing my surroundings, but my heart and my head were somewhere else.
I saw children playing in the streets made of dust, I saw women walking to and fro, and I heard men shouting to one another, but in my mind, the red dust of this town was replaced by red dirt of Southern Utah. Children’s laughter was replaced with the memory of the foster children’s laughter from the camp I’d worked at earlier that year.
Never in my life had I experienced the pull and the weightiness of the world… and I broke.
As we drove through Kenyan slums, I could literally feel my heart being torn in two, slowly ripping right down the middle. When we arrived at the preschool ministry site for the day, everything came pouring out with deep sorrow. I turned to my leader, Allison, and said, “I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m here, I know I’m here and I’m supposed to be, but I’m so broken for the people in Utah who need Jesus, and I’m aching for the foster children in Kansas City who need redemption. What is wrong with me?”
“Kendra,” she told me gently, “have you ever prayed that God would break your heart for what breaks His?” I slowly nodded my head and squinted my eyes.
“He’s doing that right now.”
If I was weeping before (which I was), I was weeping harder now.
I didn’t know God’s heart hurt so much for us, and I only had a glimpse.
If we know anything, it’s that our world is shattered and broken.
Spreading the healing hope of the gospel and praying for nations to know the Lord is our urgent mission until Jesus returns. Paul presses the Church to pray for God’s creation in each of his epistles by asking them to pray for other churches, for people in leadership, and for those who are still lost without hope… but, why?
Why do we pour out our hearts in prayer for the
hurting, hungry, desperate, lost, broken people who make up God’s creation?
Because, God… “wants everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4). The Father’s heart is for His Creation.
He longs for us to know His love and be rescued from our sin.
Let us learn from Ezekiel 22:30, where God says He is looking for someone to stand in the gap for their nation, but found no one. We are called to stand in the gap for the nations with the hope of the gospel! Let us, who have the authority to approach the Father’s throne because of Jesus in us, pray for the nations!
Can I be real for a minute? (Ok, ok, I’m always real.)
Sometimes, I feel so overwhelmed with how many people I need to pray for, and how many things I need to pray for, and all the brokenness and lostness and heaviness
that I just don’t pray at all.
I know I need to pray for the nations, for my daughters, for my friends and family, for the people in leadership positions in the Church and in my country, but I don’t always know where to start or what to pray.
I’ve found the best place to begin is rooted in Scripture, following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Read His Word, and be ready to pray whenever and however the Spirit is pressing in.
Pray for the nations’ leaders to be filled with wisdom and be surrounded by wise and godly advisors. Pray for their hearts and ears to listen to wise counsel. (Proverbs 11:14)
Pray for leaders who don’t know Christ to have divine encounters with believers who would point them to salvation. Pray for leaders who are Christians to have steady discipleship pouring into them and that they would have strength to fight the arrows shot at them from the enemy. (Proverbs 2:1-8 and Ephesians 6:12-18)
Pray for unity in the Church in each nation. As each nation writes their own laws and citizens live in ways they feel just, the Church has different struggles in each country. How the Church is being pulled in the United States is entirely different than the struggles for the Church in New Zealand or India. Pray for unity within the Church in each country, and that followers of Christ would base their standards on biblical truth and not what society dictates. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
Sisters, sometimes I feel small.
Sometimes I feel like my prayers and voice won’t matter.
Will the Lord really hear my pleading for the underground church in North Korea?
And my prayers are pleasing in the sight of the Lord, as are yours.
Ask the Lord to break your heart for what breaks His.
Ask Him to burden your heart for the lost.
You might be surprised who you feel burdened for, but don’t be surprised when He answers your prayer. When He does, take action and pray for the lost, the hurting, the persecuted, the Christians and the non-Christians, then take steps to bring hope to them!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!