Plan a Prayer for the Nations Night

Antarctica. That was what was printed on the folded-up sheet of paper I pulled from the cup on a small-group retreat once, and we all had a good laugh.

The 7 of us had each drawn a continent to pray for, and that was mine. But as we began to talk about it, we brainstormed who that could be. We talked about the scientists there who might not know Christ. We moved on to people in cold places in other parts of the world—Scandinavia, Siberia, Greenland, and so on. We went in a circle for quite some time, and when it got around to me, I lifted them all up.

That might not have been the most conventional way to pray for the lost around the world, but it’s one I haven’t forgotten even years later. And I think that tactic, while unusual, accomplished something. It made me remember those people. I still pray for them when Antarctica gets mentioned in conversation or in a movie. I still remember the people in all the cold places of the world.

That’s what a Night of Prayer for the Nations can do for you and a small group of people who want to gather together to pray for the lost around the world—it can give you faces and stories for parts of the world so that you will remember the needs and continue to pray for them after the night is over.

Here are a few things you could try as part of your prayer night:

  • Create stations around your home or room at church so that people can move around and pray at each one at their own pace. On the night of the event, play some soft worship music or maybe even music from another part of the world as they move from station to station.
  • At each one, put a sign with instructions of what to do there. For example, at 1 station, you might have short missions videos to watch and pray over. Depending on the size of your group, you could get a laptop or a small projector to play clips that share stories and needs from around the world. A great place to find those videos and other information about ways to pray is the website for the Week of Prayer for International Missions. You may even want to consider holding your prayer night sometime during the week of prayer, observed December 3–10 this year. On the sign at that station, you might instruct group members to choose 1 of the 8 videos on the list and pray for that missionary family or country, then mark on a list that they have prayed so that all the missionaries are prayed for.
  • Fashion each station with chairs, pillows on the floor, candles, and other appropriate décor.
  • Gather maps to display on the wall or perhaps 1 large world map. If you don’t have a map like this handy at home or at your church, stores like Walmart and Target often have cheap shower curtains with world maps printed on them. (And you might want to use the curtain in your shower after the event to remind you and your family to pray daily!) Consider getting some self-stick removable notes or cards that people can write prayer requests or prayers on for the people of different regions, then stick or pin them to the map.
  • After enough time has passed for everyone to move around the stations, call everyone back together to pray collectively for God to move among the nations, drawing hearts to Himself all over the world.

Grace Thornton is a freelance writer living in Birmingham, Alabama. She blogs at

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