Prayer is pretty simply really. We talk to our Father God, we find out what He wants to happen and then we pray in the name of Jesus some variation of “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Actually understanding what His will is can be tricky. We have so many of our own plans and ideas, perspectives and filters, that we don’t always hear Him very well. There are factors like faith, persistence and agreement to take into account; and, when we intercede through prayer we are not contending with earthly beings but “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesisans 6v12.
The key, though, is “Your Kingdom come”, and at the moment I’m pondering this in terms of the Global sphere (if I can use that image!).
Firstly, what does the Kingdom of Heaven / Kingdom of God look like? I think we can be confident in agreeing that it is a place where there is no sickness and no death, no hurtful behaviour and no hatred. Jesus demonstrated during His time on earth that the Kingdom of Heaven was about proclaiming good news to the poor, fixing the brokenhearted, pronouncing freedom and light for captives (Isaiah 61 & Luke 4). When asked by John’s disciples if he is the Messiah, Jesus responds:
“Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Luke 7v22. This is the Kingdom of God come among us.
I believe God’s Kingdom is a place where there is both justice and peace; a place where the weak and poor are protected until they are strong and have everything they need.
So, I find myself asking, what does that mean in terms of praying for Global crises? How do we pray for God’s Kingdom to come and His Will be done in a war or a famine? It feels like such a huge task – I pray for those suffering from the famine, for those helping them and for wisdom in how I can help practically. But while praying I’m aware that the famine is often a symptom of a much deeper problem – of corrupt government, of war or poor land management, of corporate greed or international manipulation… If these things are not dealt with there will be another famine and another. So I find myself praying for wisdom and insight, trying to understand those causes so I can pray with clarity.
This brings a question of how important is it that I understand what I’m praying for – and of course, we’re told that the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf because we don’t know what to pray. Still, I think understanding is valuable in encouraging both faith and persistence. It is important to me to get to the root causes: it is part of both my nature and my calling. If I feel I have been given insight into a personal or local situation I pray with more confidence that God can and will intervene in the situation. This is even more true in the Global – without insight and understanding I know my prayers are often lacking in faith as I am overwhelmed by the issues.
So, when I start to pray for any Global situation I pray for wisdom and perception – like Joseph and Daniel received – of God’s solutions to the problem.
Oh Lord, help me to pray according to Your gracious will and with Your compassion.