Today, our prayer goal is simple - but it takes a lot of faith! First we are going to get familiar with Operation World as it is going to be our key tool for the next year. Then, we are going to jump in with an overview of the world, and an appropriate Scripture-based prayer and worship time. Ready?
Pick up your copy of OW. If you have never gone through it before, or if it's been awhile, read the cover matter on the back and 3-5 of the testimonies on the inside pages. I believe this will help us get excited about how God can use this tool. If you are a person who needs a context (like me), glance through the initial pages of the book (xi-xxxv in my paperback edition). Take a look at the prayer calendar on xxxiv-xxxv to see what the year is going to look like. Once you feel a little more comfortable with the book, turn to page 1.
You'll notice that January 1-11 focuses on "The World". What does that mean, exactly? When the entire book is focused on specific countries, why pray for "the world"?
Simply put: Because it all belongs to Him. It's easy to get bogged down in the details of specific countries, burdened with the darkness that seems so pervasive, and forget that "God so loved THE WORLD" that He sent Jesus. Yes, His plan includes Afghanistan and Egypt and Morocco and the Solomon Islands and Tunisia and the United States and Yemen ... but it's bigger than any one of those. Isaiah 49:6 reveals this precious statement from God to His Servant, Messiah:
He says, "It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
God's plan is bigger than any one country or even any one people group. Therefore, our prayers should be bigger too. For today, let's focus on pages 1-4 (the blue box) and just get a sense of the bigness of the world God created. For His glory He determined that He would reach all of it. He was sending His own Son to die, after all. It was too small a thing to limit that salvation to just one corner of the world. His glory will only be fully known in the church when we stand around the throne with people from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people group (Rev. 7:9). Once you've looked over that section, come back and let's pray together for the world God so loves.
Want to know my favorite thing about today's prayer? It's knowing that this whole big world that God loves already belongs to Jesus! Psalm 2 (printed below) tells us that the "nations" (another way to put it is "people groups") are the inheritance that God has given Jesus. A thorough study of the word "begotten" as it applies to Jesus reveals that it means not "birthed" (since He is eternal) but "brought forth". When was Jesus brought forth? At the resurrection - as Acts 13:30-34 makes clear: But God raised Him from the dead; and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, "YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU"“ As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: "I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID."
Today, please read Psalm 2 and watch the video below as you pray for the world and worship the God who created it and loved it enough to send His Son. (my prayer follows the video).
Psalm 2:1-12 NASB
1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3 "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!"
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain."
7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'"
10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
My prayer for today: Lord, thank You for sending Jesus to die for the whole world - not just one corner of it. If you hadn't said that it was too small a thing to only reach the Jewish nation, then I wouldn't know You. I thank You for the bigness of Your plan, and for the glory that You receive when the nations worship You in spirit and truth. Thank You for reminding us in this Psalm that the nations belong to Jesus - they are His, given to Him when You brought Him forth at the resurrection. No matter the uproar of nations, no matter the scheming of leaders, You know that they are serving on borrowed time. Those nations are Yours, Lord. I pray for You to raise up people who know that You have given their lands to Jesus and like Rahab choose to put their faith in You, to worship You in reverence and pay homage to Jesus, to find their refuge in Him while there is still time. Lord, it's all Yours. From the busy streets of London to the quiet villages of Africa and everything in between. We lift it to You Lord. You love it more than we ever will. Thank You, Lord.