Wars and rumors of wars. Persecutions. Plagues. Disasters. I have to admit I’ve been having a bit of a tough time knowing how to pray for as I watch the world churn. And I can’t be the only one. And when I read that “all these are but the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:8), I find little consolation. If all this must come to pass, how on earth do I pray?
Pray for Peace
Now, what’s the point of that, you may wonder, if you’re convinced we’re nearing the end of the world as we know it? First, you don’t know when the end will come. No one does.
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.—Matthew 24:36
Second, we’re commanded to seek peace (Psalm 34:14; Matthew 5:9) as those who serve a God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33). And third, God asks us to pray a very specific prayer of peace.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love you.—Psalm 122:6
God commands us to pray for Israel and promises to bless those who do. I desire obedience, and I appreciate a blessing, so count me in. This is not a political statement but a spiritual reality.
Pray for the Gospel to Reach the World
When we finally stand before God’s throne, we will worship with people of every nation, tribe and tongue (Revelation 7:9). And because we know “faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of God” (Romans 10:17), this requires boots on the ground.
Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.—Matthew 9:38
Pray for Bibleless peoples, and pray for the missionaries who serve them. Pray for organizations such as Ethos 360, Wycliffe Bible Translators, The Seed Co., the International Mission Board and other organizations that are scrambling to reach the remaining 180 million people who don’t have a Bible in their native tongue. Such prayer sets the stage for a glorious grand entrance of a glorious Savior.
This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.—Matthew 24:14
Pray for the Perseverance of the Saints
Christians tend to overestimate their ability to withstand temptation. Me, give in to some beautiful woman who asked me to taste forbidden fruit? Wouldn’t have happened, and we’d never be in the mess we’re in today. Me, run when troops came to arrest Jesus and then deny Him? Nope, no post-resurrection restoration would have been needed here.
Truth is, we’re all weak, which is why we need God’s strength. No one will need it more than those living in the last days.
Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.—Matthew 24:11-13
Pray now for them. They could be among your descendants – or perhaps even among the people you know and love.
Pray for God’s Mercy
The approaching tribulation will be a time of incomprehensible suffering. Jesus Himself said so.
How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.—Matthew 24:19-21
Pray for God’s mercy upon people living in those dark times. Pray as if you are praying for yourself. You may be. Or maybe not. But if the end is soon coming, may it find us upon well-worn knees.