Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 7, 2009

Praying in Bangladesh

   I will never forget the day in 1999 when I knelt to pray with seven Muslim background believers in Bangladesh. We knew that in a couple of hours they would return to their villages and I would move on to my next assignment. So, we chose to end our time together in prayer. The emotion was as intense as the heat as we knelt in a circle to pray. What impressed me most was the concern of these men for others and their earnest desire for the advancement of the kingdom of God. Knowing the difficulties of sharing the gospel in their villages, they prayed for one another. And these men, who knew and understood the high cost of being a Christian in a Muslim country, interceded for me. They prayed that I would not allow anything to distract me from faithfully serving God. Ironically, they feared that the lack of persecution might endanger my faith.

   My experience with my new friends in Bangladesh reminded me of John 17 — one of the most moving chapters in the New Testament. The prayer recorded in this chapter is the longest prayer of Jesus and should be labeled the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus prayed this prayer in the hearing of His disciples somewhere between the upper room and the garden of Gethsemane. The prayer reveals the concern of Jesus for Himself (17:1-5), His disciples (17:6-19), and future believers (17:20-26). Here is a brief summary of Jesus’ prayer.

Jesus Prayed for Himself (17:1-5) | Jesus prayed that the Father would glorify Him so that He might glorify the Father. Jesus glorified the Father by completing the work God had given Him to do. For this reason, Jesus asked the Father to restore to Him the glory He had before He came to earth.

Jesus Prayed for His Disciples (17:6-19) | Jesus acknowledged that God had given the disciples to Him. He asked the Father to protect them, to keep them united, and to keep them from the enemy. He did not ask that they be taken out of the world, but that they be sanctified and consequently live distinctive lives in the world.

Jesus Prayed for Future Believers (17:20-26) | Jesus prayed for those who would believe in Him as a result of the disciples’ message. He specifically prayed that they be one, as He and the Father are one. Christian unity tells the world that Christ makes a difference in the lives of those who believe in Him. Although the world had failed to recognize who Jesus was, the disciples had come to believe that He was the One sent from God. Jesus prayed that the Father’s love would be in them and that He (Jesus) Himself would be in them.

   What characterizes your prayers? Answer the questions below and then consider what you can do to develop a prayer life that promotes the glory of God, unity among believers, and the advancement of His kingdom.

P = Power | “We can accomplish more by time and strength put into prayer than we can by putting the same amount of time and strength into anything else” (“The Power of Prayer” by R.A. Torrey, p. 28). Do you put time and strength into praying? R.A. Torry observed, “Nights of prayer with God are followed by days of power with men” (“How to Pray,” p. 91).

R = Regular | Mother Teresa said, “Does your mind and heart go to Jesus as soon as you get up in the morning?” (“No Greater Love,” p. 13). Do you have a regular time and place where you devote quiet and undistracted time to God? Follow the example of Jesus in Mark 1:35 — “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there.”

A = Advancement | “Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Jesus, Matthew 9:38). Do you pray for those who are working in harvest fields around the world? Do you pray for the advancement of God’s kingdom in your home, neighborhood, and world? Are you willing to go into the harvest fields?

Y = Yearning | “Oh, that we might pray as we ought, as intelligently as we ought, as definitely as we ought, as earnestly and determinedly as we ought, for the salvation of the men, and women and children whom we know are unsaved” (“The Power of Prayer” by R.A. Torrey, p. 34). Do you yearn for the salvation of the lost and pray for them by name?

E = Effort | “If we put so little heart into our prayers, we cannot expect God to put much heart into answering them” (“How to Pray” by R.A. Torrey, p. 30). James 5:16 tells us, “The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful.” Do you put much heart into your prayers?

R = Reputation | “The true purpose of prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer” (“How to Pray” by R.A. Torrey, p. 75). Do you pray for God to glorify Himself through the answers to your prayers and through your life?


Responses

  1. I am reading your page, ‘Prayer in Bangladesh.’ I am very much interesting to see your article about Bangladesh. And encouraging us to praying, examples that How to Jesus prayed for His disciples. (John 17).

    I encouraged a lot to praying for the nations. And other nations too. Thanks for reference of Mother Teresa, and R.A. Torrey. Better to learn from one another. Good prose’s for me to learning.

    Mortuza
    Dhaka, Bangladesh


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