"The history of missions is the history of answered prayer. It is the key to the whole mission problem. All human means are secondary." Samuel Zwemer
Prayer is vital to the work of missionaries around the world. It softens our own hearts for those who have never heard the gospel, desiring that God be glorified and they be saved. And, just maybe, it leads us to obey the Great Commission overseas ourselves.
Praying for the nations also helps us cultivate missions awareness, personally and corporately within the church body. When we pray for specific people groups, nations, and missionaries who are serving among them, we become more aware of how God is working to make his name known around the world.
But it can be hard to know where to start. Of course, the easiest place to start is by praying for the people groups and nations where you've sent long-term missionaries, short-term teams, or have strategic partnerships. If you haven't already, contact these people to ask for a prayer card and sign up to receive their regular email updates. Many missionary teams also create resources with information on their specific people group and how their team is working to spread the gospel among them. You can ask if there's anything they can send you for guided prayer.
After that, you can expand your prayer list. Fortunately, there are many organizations that have developed prayer guides for the nations. We've compiled some of these for you below.
Persecution is a reality for many believers around the world. The Voice of the Martyrs serves persecuted Christians around the world. The organization has created a variety of resources to help guide prayer for those who are suffering for their faith around the world, including a dedicated website.
The Joshua Project helps bring awareness of unreached people groups around the world. Among its many resources, there are daily prayer prompts for a different people group each day, along with statistics about each group, what resources are available in their language, outreach ideas, and more.
Prayercast's resources help individuals and the local church pray for the advancement of the gospel among the nations. There are a variety of guides to prompt daily prayer. Some examples include a 9-day World Religion guide, a 40-day Persecuted Nations guide, or one-country-per-day guide for every nation in the world.
You might know of Operation World from the book of the same name. It, too, provides daily prompts for prayer for the nations, along with statistics about that day's nation or people group. Operation World also offers various publications, a daily email prayer reminder, and has a mobile app.
Finally, most missions organizations have a dedicated page on their website for prayer. You can find a few listed below, but a quick Google search can help you find one that's not listed here.
Meredith is the content manager for the Upstream Collective. She has an M.Div in Missiology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Keelan, have two children and live in Houston, Texas. Connect with her on Twitter.