Prayer and World Evangelization

From Patrick Johnstone, the founder of Operation World

If all the desires, requests and goals expressed throughout this website were to be implemented it would radically change the nations of this world.

Wars would be ended, ethnic hatreds tamed, politicians become honest, ecological restoration begun, HIV/AIDS halted, poverty reduced.

The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ would be provided with godly leaders, it would be renewed, revived, united in vision, mobilized for mission and readied for the return of its Head. Jesus would return with the world evangelized and the Church complete! That is the wish. How much of the earthly and how quickly the eternal agendas would be achieved depends on ONE activity – prayer in the name of Jesus to a loving, sovereign Father.

The ministry of the children of God is not doing but praying, not strategizing but prostrate before God seeking His will, not clever strategies for manipulating people and events but trusting in God who moves in the hearts of even His most implacable enemies. Through prayer, Nebuchadnezzar and today’s dictators get converted, Manassehs and today’s persecutors repent, and kingdoms of Babylon and Iron Curtains are torn down. We do not engage in ministry and pray for God’s blessing on it, prayer IS the ministry from which all other ministries must flow.

Psalm 2 reveals the Father’s Great Commission to His Son and how the destiny of nations is tied in with their rejection of or submission to His Kingly Son. Look at the command and promises of Ps 2:8:

‘Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, And dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’

Dare we apply this command and these promises to ourselves?

God spoke to me from Psalm 2:8 as a young Christian at university in Bristol, England. I heard for the first time of the work of the Dorothea Mission in the urban slums of Southern Africa. I knew that God was speaking to me that this was His will for me, but I asked the Lord for scriptural confirmation, and it was this passage which spoke to me – South Africa was, for me, one of the ends of the earth for which I could ask. I did not realize at the time that this “asking for the nations” would actually define a large part of my ministry for the next 40 years in successive editions of Operation World! Again this passage leapt to my mind. It was as if God was saying, “I called you to one end of the earth, but now I am giving you all the ends!”.

The content of this website gives something of the needs and challenges of our needy, sin-sick, doomed world. The nations are there for the asking. God is calling you and me into the ministry of intercession for them. Through these prayers much will happen – above all we could ask or expect. In this edition we have added a new feature of giving a few answers to prayers requested in earlier editions for which there has been some answer. Daniel heard God’s voice in Daniel 7:27:

The kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; Their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.

The cost is great, for these words were preceded in verse 21-22 by:

As I looked, this horn made war with the saints, and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgement was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints received the kingdom.

The nations are there for the asking. God is calling you and me into the ministry of intercession for them. We have plenty of opposition in the heavenlies and from human powers and persecutors. 

The enemy will seek to frighten us and dangle allurements to distract us from the vision of a heavenly, eternal kingdom filled with people from every race, tribe, people, and tongue. Yet Jesus offers you a share in his reign. We may look up to Him in agony at times, but we must see our true position – looking down with Him, exercising the authority bequeathed by Him in the Great Commission He has given to every Christian. May you become an intercessor with a world vision that prays Satan-defeating, kingdom-taking, people-reaching, captive-releasing, revival-giving, Christ-glorifying prayers.

Prayer not only changes people, situations and even the course of history, but also those who pray! It is dangerous for the enemy and also ‘dangerous’ for you.

There is a price to pay to be a person who stands in the gap in prayer. That price may mean becoming an answer to your own prayers in giving time, finances, and even going out as a witness in your Jerusalem (where you now live), your Judea (your own country), your Samaria (the other ethnic groups in your own country), or even to the ends of the earth. Our prayer is that many will give their whole lives for this most noble of causes – to obey Jesus’ last command in making disciples of all nations and so ready the Church and the world for the grand climax of His glorious return.

Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.