I’ve had an interest in world missions since I took my first summer mission trip to Norway after my junior year of high school. During college, I took another mission trip to Mexico. But later in life I developed health conditions that made it difficult to travel.
One year I decided to adopt a nation to pray for. I chose Cyprus. I knew nothing about Cyprus except that it was mentioned in the New Testament. I studied a little and prayed a little and got bored. Soon I forgot all about Cyprus.
I didn’t pray for nations for several years because . . . yawn. But then God burdened me to pray for Haiti after their devastating earthquakes. The story stayed in the news for months, which made it easier to keep praying.
Over time, God gave me other nations to pray for. I was praying for India when COVID struck, and they experienced devastating loss from it. I grieved for them. I listened to music from India. I drew pictures of people and places in India.
I began to act like an ambassador between God and India. After all, we are ambassadors for Christ in this world. Sometimes he calls us to be prayer ambassadors to a specific nation.
God sometimes gives me a new prayer nation. But I find that my previous assignments just become secondary to the new one and I keep adding one nation at a time as God directs.
When I prayed for Cyprus, I treated it like a research project and it was a boring, academic, fact-finding mission. But facts don’t drive prayer; compassion does. The Bible says Jesus was “moved by compassion” (Matthew 9:36; Mark 1:41). Compassion moves us. Our emotional connection drives and motivates us.
I found, over the course of several nations, that when I focused on my connection with the people of a nation, I couldn’t stop praying for them. I avoid lists of facts and look for connections. What are real people experiencing in this nation? What moves me? What makes my heart ache? When I am moved by compassion, I pray. So will you.
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