May - Prayer for Current Events

May 2008

I do not know about you, but prayer is hard for me. Praying for the world is especially hard! It is usually because I just do not know what is going on around the world. Sometimes, when I feel guilty about it, I will throw up a prayer like, “God, may you allow some baby overseas somewhere to get some food” or something else general. Charles Spurgeon one said, “There is a general kind of praying which fails for lack of precision. It is as if a regiment of soldiers should all fire off their guns anywhere. Possibly somebody would be killed, but the majority of the enemy would be missed.” I have been using some online resources to help me pray more effectively and specifically for what is currently going on in the most unreached parts of the world.

Did you know that there are prayer updates on CNN.COM? It is called the world news! That is right: CNN takes the biggest and most impactful current events of the world and puts them into an easily understandable form that you can use to pray through. Instead of my home page for my browser being Google or Facebook, it now is www.cnn.com/WORLD. Every time I open up my internet browser, I take a few seconds and pray through some of the major headlines. Today I prayed for the Buddhist monks being persecuted, that they would realize that no amount of meditation or adherence to Buddha’s teaching can eliminate the suffering in this world caused by sin, and that they would realize the only Christ can bring meaning into their lives. Most of all I prayed that the attention being drawn to Myanmar, and other places where Buddhism is prevalent, would cause more people to have a desire to reach out to Buddhist areas.

In addition to equipping you to pray specifically for what is happening in the world, a good knowledge of current events also increases your effectiveness in ministry, especially with international students. Imagine being a student from New York City studying abroad in Asia on September 11, 2001. Now imagine that no one asked about your friends or family. You would either think that no one cared about your country or even that no one cared about you as a person. Turn around the situation, and imagine how many international students feel when bombings, terrorism, political turmoil or even natural disasters happen in their home countries…and how little people ask them or talk to them about it. A good knowledge of world events can help us be strategic and informed when we reach out to international students. Knowing just a little about what is going on in their part of the world can help them understand that you care about them as people. Even if you do not know much, just by asking them more about those kinds of situations can often be very meaningful to them!

We can see in Luke 13 that people discussed current events with Jesus. He not only knew about the events they were talking about, but brought up a similar story and related it to the spiritual truth that sin impacts us all equally. We can also use our knowledge of what is going on in the world to connect with others about the nature of man, the need for redemption, and the search for truth. Take some time to read about what’s going on in the world to pray, welcome and share God’s truth with others!