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Praying Outwards

Posted by Stephen Birkett on

… My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. Isaiah 56:7

The elation of Easter Sunday was quickly tempered by news of the tragic bombings in Sri Lanka – a stark reminder that we still live in a fallen world, as if we needed reminding so soon after the shocking similar event in New Zealand.

But my first thought was not to pray for those involved in this far-away disaster; that came only when I was prompted by a chat group message from someone with a personal connection in Sri Lanka calling our group to pray for those affected. Until then, I subconsciously categorised the tragic events merely as “World News”. So often, the scope and potential of our empathy and prayers are limited by an inward-looking, compartmentalised approach to the world around us.

What does that say about our progress in being transformed by the renewing of our minds, loving our neighbour like ourselves, or going out into the world and making disciples of all nations? Limited progress, right?

In the Isaiah verse above, God was referring to His temple being a house of prayer open to all nations; however, now that we have that privileged access, surely we should be exercising it in “prayer for all nations.” So, let’s not be so complacent and self-absorbed. How about adding a God-sized non-personal prayer request every time we ask Him to help us out with something personal or family related? Global warming, Brexit, US-China trade wars, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, Libya, ISIS, AI, the wealth gap, New Zealand… and now Sri Lanka, and Ukraine again – there is no shortage of such mega issues, but they will not get much prayer coverage if everyone limits their outlook to personal matters.

Let us move beyond a limited “inward” prayer perspective by:

  • Thanking God that we have access to prayer possibilities that are only limited by our imagination and His good purposes; and,
  • Asking God to prompt us to pray “outward” prayers of intercession for matters that are so big and important we often forget to raise them.

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