Passport Prayers

I get to travel every day.  I journal my prayers in a daily notebook.  Prayer Journal  (click here to get ideas or learn more)  Each day has a heading and four sections– one for birthdays or other “memory days”; one for thematic prayers (generalized themes like “family”, “community”, “global concerns”, “culture”, etc.); one for urgent requests, and one for a region of the world–nations, major cities, local communities.  On busy days, I send a short prayer and try to remember what I know, or imagine what I’d like to know, about that area.  Some days, I have the luxury of time to look up information or history about that area– what is the language, capital city, literacy rate, average age, major religion, geography, economy, etc.

Our world is full of wonder, variety, crisis, and opportunity–I want to add all of this to my pursuit of prayer. It reminds me of several things:

  • I am not the center of the universe– my issues and problems are not unique or exceptional.
  • God has placed me here to interact with others–I can’t reach out and connect with 6 billion others, but I can become more aware of their needs and way of life.
  • The world is a big place–seeing it on the screen via the internet sometimes causes me to forget that.  And as I see how big the world is, I also need to remember that God is even bigger!
  • The world is full of variety.  Not everyone lives or thinks or worships as I do.  Not everyone faces the same circumstances, the same temptations, the same struggles.  Yet God sees and hears each one who calls on him.  He doesn’t have trouble understanding languages and dialects– he doesn’t get culture shock.  He is not an American Jesus, or a Brazilian Jesus, or a Korean Jesus.  He’s not an urban Jesus or a remote mountain village Jesus, or a gated community Jesus.  When we enter eternity, we will share it with amazing brothers and sisters from every corner of creation.  He’s got the whole world in his hands!

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  • Many millions of people around the globe have never heard the Gospel– or they’ve heard lies and misrepresentations.  Millions of other believers are being persecuted for believing in Jesus or for sharing the good news of Salvation in His Name. People in every nation, every community, are suffering.
  • We are commanded, as Christians, to “go into all the world” and preach the gospel.  I may not be able to travel to “all the world”, but I can “go” in prayer, sharing on-line, and  learning about needs, as well as in sending out and praying for those who can travel.
  • I am grateful for the opportunities God has given me– to learn about him and worship him in freedom; to travel and participate on short-term mission opportunities; to meet and share with missionaries, travelers, students, foreign workers, and others who share their culture and knowledge and perspectives; and for the global work of the Savior, and my privilege to share in it.

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Time to pack my bags– I’m heading to Germany tomorrow!

“Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It…”

Anyone old enough to remember the old TV show, or anyone who has seen the movies with Tom Cruise, will recognize the title quote from Mission Impossible.  A message, containing details of a top secret mission, would be sent to an agent of the CIA.  After the message had been delivered, it would self-destruct, and the agent would set out to save the world from terrorists or other worldwide threats.  It made for exciting entertainment– speeding trains, double agents, close calls with assassins, death-defying stunts, and lots of explosions– all happening in exotic locations around the world.

Prayer doesn’t usually involve death-defying stunts or explosions, but in can involve a mission, and exotic locations.  As I started keeping a prayer journal, I wanted to pray for people around the world– except I’m not a world traveler.  I’ve never been to Fiji or Burundi, Greenland or the Gobi Desert.  I know some missionaries who have lived or are living overseas, and their newsletters are helpful and personal– I can pray for them, for their fellow workers, and for their neighbors and friends and circumstances across the globe.  But I wondered, couldn’t I do more?  What if I set aside one day for every country on earth– to pray for that country and its people even once a year?  That might seem like an impossible mission.  How can I pray effectively for a country if I don’t even know where it is or how to pronounce its name?  Thankfully, I have a lot of help.  The internet is a great resource for finding out about countries, especially those in the news.  But one of my favorite resources is the CIA!pexels-photo-319968.jpeg

The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America is not just in the spy business.  They collect “intelligence”– facts about our world and every country in it–maps, statistics, flags, forms of government, populations, literacy and mortality rates, and so much more.  /https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
By visiting their site, you can find out more about any country in the world, and use that information to pray for very specific needs–countries that have been ravaged by war, disease, faltering economies; those countries facing turmoil from burgeoning immigration or sectarian violence.  You can find out the official language(s) of any country, the approximate breakdown of religious affiliation, the percentage of the population that suffers from obesity, illiteracy, or poverty– even some of the history and social structure. Are there major rivers or mountain ranges in that country?  What natural resources do they have (or not have).

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I don’t spend hours poring over each country each day– sometimes, I just lift up that country by name, knowing that God already knows the needs and situations in each place better than I ever could (even with the help of drones and spies).  But when I have the time, I like to learn more about the amazing diversity of peoples, languages, cultures, and circumstances around the world.  It reminds me that God has all of them in his hand, on his mind, and in his heart at all times.  It’s a big world out there, though it often seems to be shrinking.   God is Bigger!  There are a lot of tragic circumstances and heartbreaking issues around the world.  God is still Sovereign!  There are millions of people in remote and forgotten corners of the world– God sees and cherishes all of them!

I still have my “first world” problems, and personal issues to bring to the throne of Grace, but what a privilege to be able to lift up others– people I have never met in places I will never be able to visit–knowing that I can have a tiny part in the work God wants to do in their lives, as well as in mine.

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