How Shall We Pray?

How Shall We Pray?

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born (Matthew 2:1-4, NKJV).

I find this to be one of the most disturbing verses in the Bible, and it has everything to do with how we should pray for unreached people groups (UPGs). We know that we should pray for laborers; Jesus said this very clearly. Without the laborers, the UPGs have very little change of hearing the good news. We know that we need to pray that UPGs receive a Bible in their heart language so they can take ownership of the Word and understand it. And while we're at it, we need to pray for receptive hearts.

Hollow Knowledge or Desiring God's Will

But this verse tells us about something that goes beyond this; something frightening. Herod believed the scriptures. Having found out that the Christ was born, he called together the experts to find out where He would be. Herod knew the special King of the Jews was part of God's plan, but he didn't hesitate to try to stop God's will by murdering hundreds of baby boys in the futile hope of eliminating a rival for power. He was willing to stand before the Almighty on Judgment Day having deliberately defied His will.

It's true that when we pray for unreached people groups, we must pray for them to have the Scriptures and believe them. This is an important first step. There must be faith, and it must be on the firm foundation. But King Herod's twisted example tells us something more. We need to pray that the nations not only believe in the Lord, but that they also desire His will. Without a desire for God's will, there is only a hollow knowledge which James says makes demons shudder (James 2:19).

Our response

As we pray for the unreached to desire God's will, we must also search our own hearts. Are we willing to seek, find, and obey God's will in our own circumstances? Are we willing to say what Jesus said in Gethsemane, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done" (Matthew 26:42b, NKJV). This is a huge change in our outlook, one that will require us to rely on the Holy Spirit. But He is in the business of transforming us, just as He transforms members of unreached people groups to conform to His will.

Keith is the Editor In Chief for Global Prayer Digest (GPD) at Frontier Ventures.

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