The call to pray for the nations

“Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession” (Psalm 2:8 NIV)

It is hard to comprehend what a magnanimous heart God has when one considers the verse “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Think about it. The world, the entire world includes 196 nations and the 7 billion people who inhabit them. That takes a whole lot of love. Something only Jesus could accomplish through His death on the cross, burial and resurrection. And it is His ultimate intention that “all the nations, whom [He] has made shall come and worship before [Him].” (Psalm 86:9)

Even a cursory reading of the Bible immediately conveys this loving concern God carries for the nations of the world. We are explicitly told in Psalm 66 that “His eyes keep watch on the nations.” (vs. 7) In nearly every book of the Bible we find the evidence of this heart expressed through prophetic utterances and/or divine initiatives to both reveal Himself and draw nations through repentance and faith toward Himself. From His Old Testament promise to Abraham to bless all the nations of the world through him, to the New Testament command of Jesus that the gospel of the kingdom be proclaimed throughout the entire world, we see His unshakeable purpose to make the nations His inheritance. Again, that is a whole lot of love! How can He possibly do that?

His choice is to do it through the instrumentation of prayer and intercession. From the book of Genesis forward we find God looking for individuals to answer His call to become intercessors on behalf of His purposes for the nations. Just consider the intercessory ministries of the likes of Noah, Moses, Daniel, Nehemiah, the prophets, Paul and the apostles. “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance” He pleads. (Psalm 2:8) “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one,” He declares through Ezekiel. (22:30 NIV) “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then His own arm brought Him salvation, and His righteousness upheld Him.” (Isaiah 59:16 ESV) And with that He calls forth His son Jesus who alone is able to save and who “ever lives to make intercession.” (Hebrews 7:25)