Praying for ourselves is something a lot of us do. When we feel in need of peace or courage or healing, we turn to God and ask for help. It's right that we pray often for ourselves.
But what about praying for those who live in other parts of the world? Perhaps we don't consider them often enough. Why? One reason might be that while we feel our own personal needs, we do not always feel the pains and needs of others. We don't have daily contact with people in far-off lands. Or we read the news and think that we can't do much to help. Or maybe we feel people should solve their own problems.
Certainly we all need to work out our own salvation, as the Bible counsels. But does that mean we shouldn't include the world in our prayers? And even though other peoples and nations are far from where we live, does that necessarily mean we should think our prayers aren't wanted and won't help? We need to love more and trust our prayers for others in the world even though we have no contact with them.
Christ Jesus was the Exemplar of love for God and man, and he clearly illustrated the power of prayer through his works. In one instance he was preaching all day to a very large crowd. Instead of sending them away to the villages to get food, he had them stay. Through his prayer thousands were amply fed when the only provision on hand was a few loaves and fishes. n1 What a wonderful example of caring for the needs of others.
n1 See Mark 6:34-44.
We might not know exactly the effects of our prayers for other nations and peoples, but we can surely trust God with the answer. Is this blind faith? No. It's humbly, understandingly trusting the results to God.
There are people who are oppressed, hungry, and afraid. We can pray when we think about them or hear something in the news that demands our attention. We can realize with conviction that God is everywhere and all-powerful; that His infinite love is able to free and heal. We can pray that God help those who are reaching out for solutions to what might seem insurmountable problems.
Sometimes when people pray for mankind they find themselves giving to charitable organizations, sending clothing, or voting to support specific humanitarian efforts. These practical steps are always appreciated. But nothing can substitute for our silent, loving prayer. People need to know that others in the world care about their salvation, their freedom and well-being. They need to feel the effects of loving, heartfelt prayer.
This may sound like wishful thinking. Some may think it just doesn't make any difference to pray for those on a far part of the globe. But it does make a difference. Our individual, prayerful recognition of God's omnipresent care for man can be a powerful force in helping bring that care to light.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gave the members of her Church a daily prayer that blesses individually as well as collectively. It reads, '' 'Thy kingdom come;' let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!'' n2
n2 Manual of The Mother Church, Art. VIII, Sect. 4
Again, it may be difficult to measure the results of our prayers for the world. But they can only bless. When we seek God's will, ask His blessing for all mankind, and quietly, consistently realize that the man of His creating - the true being of everyone - is free and cared for, this can only benefit humanity.
If nothing else, our prayers for others will lift our own expectancy of good. We will feel the love of God for all mankind, and know that we now care and will continue caring, doing our best to bring to others the same blessings that have come to us through prayer.
How universal and loving is the Psalmist's prayer ''God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; ... that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.'' n3
n3 Psalms 67:1, 2.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. I John 3:17, 18