Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 35 : Be a House of Prayer | Day 244

Pray for All People!

Many years ago I heard a story about an American soldier in World War II who was on a jungle trail when he suddenly found himself surrounded by the enemy. They motioned for him to put his hands in the air and march toward their camp. This soldier was a committed Christian and wanted to introduce these men to Jesus, so he started singing a hymn.

They suddenly stopped him and asked, "Are you a Christian?"

He said, "Yes, I am."

"So are we," they replied.

When the American asked how they had become Christians, they explained that it was through the work of a certain missionary. The soldier exclaimed, "My church supports that missionary! For many years I have prayed for him and his work."

There was an immediate bonding between these men, and instead of taking the American soldier as a prisoner of war, the other soldiers decided to return him to the American camp. Can you imagine the astonishment when a single soldier came out of the jungle with a whole group of "enemy soldiers!" He was decorated for bravery, but the real credit was due to his obedience to pray for all people.

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men ... . For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior" (I Timothy 2:1, 3).

Why does God want us to pray for all people? It is because He created each person and loves each one so much that He sent Christ to die for them. In fact, He patiently delays His return because He is “... not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9; see also I Timothy 2:4). We must recognize that reaching all people for Christ is a spiritual battle and we must pray for them. Also, we need to pray for those who are in positions of authority so that they will allow God's Word to be preached and the Gospel to be boldly proclaimed in our own neighborhoods as well as around the world. (See Ephesians 6:18-19.)

One of the powerful impressions that I experienced in my early Christian life was made by a dynamic missionary who visited our struggling little church. At the time, we were trying to raise funds for a new church building, but very little was being collected and there were no obvious sources from which funds could be expected.

The missionary gave the congregation what seemed to be an impossible challenge: Enlarge your prayer ministry to all the nations of the world and give a dollar to your mission fund for every dollar that you give to the building fund. Our church accepted this challenge and soon funds began flowing in from unexpected sources. In a short time the building was paid for and a strong prayer ministry was established.

God will enlarge the scope of our ministry to the degree that we have enlarged the scope of our prayers.

Do we care as God does for all the people of the earth? Do our prayers reflect His love for them, or are we focused merely on our own needs? Through prayer, let's be co-laborers with Christ in His work around the world and boldly claim the promise of Psalm 2:8: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance.”

“... It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:13).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard