This month, my fourth graders continued to build on our study and the prayers we’ve offered for various nations!
Check out our prayers for Azerbaijan, Colombia, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Laos, Moroco, Nepal, and Nigeria here: Part one: A Month of Praying for the Nations
After praying for 12 nations in groups in December-early February, students prayed for a variety of other countries in which Christians are persecuted OR have fewer protections under the law.
For this assignment, students created individual prayers based on the needs of believers in specific nations. They celebrated each country’s culture and special characteristics, and offered prayers for a variety of topics.
Why not just study nations? Why is Prayer necessary?
It is my prayer that God would grow genuine love in my students’ hearts for these nations, and use their lives to serve the well being of the people there. While I’m sure some will become missionaries, their positive influence may be indirect, through business, working with international nonprofits, loving people of that nationality who have transplanted to the U.S., or in a variety of ways only God knows. My students know that I’ve prayed this form them, and while some might be skeptical, I still believe God wants to give them the nations.
In the West, we tend to be culturally short-sighted, dangerously self-absorbed and without self-awareness. We tend to imagine that the world revolves around us, and in international relations, that has cost us dearly. The things that the U.S. has done abroad but not yet repented of include toppling other countries economies, introducing unsustainable privatized models for healthcare and retirement, exporting nutritionally bankrupt dietary tendencies, and failing to equip other nations in a way that would make them our partners, instead of our financial and social dependents. I have wondered if our need for influence as a nation comes from insecurity, and I have seen our limited effort to know and love other nations leaving a negative legacy.
I pray that my students in hearing the names of these countries, whether in the news or as they read, would recall a deep sense of solidarity and love. I pray that my students would genuinely seek their welfare, and serve other countries with the humility of Jesus. I pray that they would see in our own country faces from all nations, and welcome anyone whom God has called to make the United States their home. As students study other countries, their scholarship must start with the heart. For too many years, we’ve started with facts only, and that hardness of heart has allowed us to greatly mistreat others who are created in the same image of God. When my students look to the nation, I want them to be bridge builders who can honor cultures and celebrate the successes of other countries without insecurity as to where they stand. Instead of militant nationalism, I want them to worship a God who has called many nations to himself, and in love, continues to lay himself down to do so.
How did Students pray?
Some (but not all) students prayed for Evangelism. Many prayed for the spiritual and physical needs of the people, including:
- Healing from War
- Protection from COVID 19 and Religious Extremism
- Religious Freedom and Equal Rights under the law
- For people to know the Transformative Love of Jesus, and the Peace of Christ
- Celebrating Animals and Landforms
- Protection from False Accusation or Arrest
One student faithful prayed the Lord’s prayer over his nations. Others faithfully focused on nation’s interesting animals, foods, or special attributes. While I was sometimes surprised by the direction of students’ prayers, I felt that the Holy Spirit was guiding their prayers. Once students had researched their nation and composed a prayer, we met together in regional groups to pray together.
Check out the images below to find out how students’ prayed!
Algeria: Protection and Discipleship
Armenia: Healing from War, Protection from snakes and floods
Bangladesh: Protection from Floods, Protection for children and families, Forgiveness and healing
Chiapas (state), Mexico: Safety, against Gang violence
Comoros: Religious Freedom and Equal Rights
Ethiopia: Celebrating landforms, Healing from War, Freedom from Religious Extremism
Eritrea: Peace of Christ, Protection, Healing from War
Gaza and the West Bank: Peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Against mutual persecution
Indonesia: Protection and Peace of Christ
Jordan: Freedom of Religion, Equal rights under the law
Kuwait: Protection from War
Kyrgyzstan: Freedom of Religion
Libya: Protection and Peace of Christ
Madagascar: Freedom of Religion and from War, Celebrating islands and culture
Malaysia: Freedom, Kingdom of God established in Malaysia
Maldives: Protection and for people to know the Love of Jesus
Mauritania: Social belonging, Ending modern day slavery, Economic well-being
Learn more about Modern-day slavery in Mauritania here.