The next facet of extraordinary prayer is expanding our prayer beyond our present perspective.
Are you praying every day for people who are hard to pray for? It stretches your faith and prayer life to pray for people you do not like. Do you pray for God to bless people with whom you disagree? Do you love your enemies in prayer? Shortly after the attacks on 9/11/2001, a young but precocious boy in our church said, “We need to pray for the terrorists.” Before I could curb my tongue I had said, “We need to pray that they will be caught and killed.” I don’t think I answered well, but I certainly believe it is sometimes right to pray for justice. More often I don’t know how to pray for an enemy. It is acceptable to leave such concerns up to the wise intercession of the Spirit.
We also need to stretch our concern and prayers for people we may not think about often enough. If the gospel is to be preached among all peoples before the end comes, we must stretch our vision beyond our borders. There is a prayer program on the Operation World website, www.operationworld.org . Many mission agencies have similar prayer programs. The Southern Baptist I.M.B. will send out monthly prayer guides with specific requests for a different people group every day. My wife puts this up on our bathroom mirror where we have easy access.
I wrote this poem several years ago.
AM I ASKING?
I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
It is hard to sit among those content with the comfortable mundane
And say out loud, “I am God-endowed with a mission to fulfill.”
It is a step of faith to stand unflinching and to all proclaim,
“I hear His call, despite it all. I know; I have been shown God’s will.
I have a vision of distant lands and people beyond the seas.”
He’s not forgotten His Only Begotten, and He’s shown His will to me.
He told me, too, “You are my son! Today I gave you heaven’s birth.
My precious one, to know I Am will be your inheritance and wealth.”
The Firstborn of many chosen brothers shares His holy worth.
Like the Father’s promised only Son, He holds me to Himself.
He is the Vine and I’m a branch on the heavenly family tree.
He’s not forgotten His Only Begotten, and He keeps His hold on me.
So will I ask for healing, wealth or some other selfish blessing?
For temporal toys and shallow joys, and maybe a nice vacation?
The ends of the earth are promised to me, given for my possessing.
He tells me, “You are mine; ask me for the distant teeming nations.”
They can be ours to know and love and tell as far as God can see.
He’s not forgotten His Only Begotten, and He will answer me.
Have I prayed for the Berbers and the Bora, the Jula, or the Han?
Will I ask for Madagascar, Persia, or the isles of the Coral Sea?
I can seek Him for the nations, Africa, Asia and far beyond.
I can pray and preach and go out and teach as far as I will believe.
He’s not forgotten His Only Begotten, and He has promised me.