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A key focus in our work is praying for people groups who have never heard of Jesus Christ. It is God who burdens us to pray for them. His love is so fervent that He will not stop in His pursuit of all peoples until they know of His love and display His glory in their lives.
As we join our Lord in this pursuit, the need for unreached groups to glorify God has challenged me to consider our Lord's side when praying for the lost. My prayers have usually focused on people's need to be saved. While prayer for the spiritual well-being of the lost is a good thing, our first concern should be the glory of God.
The fact that multitudes of people are bowing down before false idols and not glorifying the True God should cause us, as His people, to rise up in righteous anger and should be our main incentive in praying for the lost.
Suppose that you had a close friend who wanted very much to be married and that your friend was in love with someone who hardly knew of them. You would want to do everything you could to introduce them. It would be your friend's happiness that was your main incentive for doing what you could to help. Your concern for the other person's happiness would be only because he or she was the object of your friend's affection.
Our incentive in praying for the lost then must first and foremost be the glory of God and seeing Christ honored by all peoples. John Stott (no relation!) expresses it well: "Here lies the supreme missionary motivation. It is neither obedience to the great commission nor compassion for the lost, nor excitement over the gospel, but zeal, even jealously for the honor of Christ's Name. No incentive is stronger than the longing that Christ should be given the honor that is due His Name."
While we should give ourselves wholeheartedly to the task of intercession and winning people to Christ, we must keep the ultimate purpose of evangelism clearly in view- it's all about the Father's glory and seeing His heart satisfied as He is honored and loved by the people He has created.
Global Prayer Coordinator