How to Pray for This Generation

David Livingstone died much the way he lived, in prayer by his bedside. He had cut a ‘gospel road’ through the interior of Africa, and forged alliances that ultimately lead to the abolition of slavery. So beloved was he that nations fought over his body. Britain wanted it returned for a proper ceremony, but the tribe would not give it up. Finally they relented, but cut the heart out and put a note on the body that said, “You can have his body, but his heart belongs in Africa!”

John Hyde entered the tough as nails missionary graveyard of Punjab, India as a young man, and left 20 years later in ruined health. Early on he learned how to pray, because he had to. At one point God directed him to ask for “one soul a day.” It seemed ludicrous in such harsh resistant soil. But John prayed, and God gave him one soul every day for the first year. If at the end of a day, someone had not relented to the wooing of the Gospel, then he would enter his prayer chamber and ask God to point out the sin that kept prayer’s answer at bay. Afterward, he would rise and go the streets to find the one God had prepared. He returned to the states in broken health, and a doctor said, ‘John, your heart has shifted out of its normal position, that’s why you are sick.’ He didn’t tell the doctor what he long suspected, that prolonged and protracted prayer for India’s darkened land, had literally broken his heart.

Lately, I’ve been praying for a new generation of prayer prophets like Livingstone and Hyde, built in the throes of suffering, convinced in the schools of failure, and sent to the front lines. Here, the best they can hope for is a sheet of lead. But that’s why God prepares them.

They are unique. In their heart, no other’s praise affects them, no other’s critique moves them, no other mission tempts them, and no other idol consumes them. That’s because the love of the Gospel has wooed, the vision of the gospel has fed, and the strain of getting the gospel to the world has led them into the arms of Christ. We need not fret over this generation’s preoccupations, or our nation’s moral failures surrounding them. God rests upon a throne, and as we pray, He will send out these young prophets.

What would it look like to hear of a new generation of ‘Fellowship of the Burning Hearts?’ Could it be that God waits for you, and for me to pray to that end? The church needs young men and women with fire. Could God be calling us to ask Him to birth these prophets? Perhaps they aren’t born yet. It doesn’t matter, we must pray anyway. Or, perhaps they are in a cataclysmic struggle over whether they will forsake all, and follow Jesus Christ into the winnowing call to prayer. They may be preachers, or missionaries. They might be doctors, or they could be night watchmen. Regardless of their station, they are aching over a restless urge somewhere too deep to identify, to depart from convention, and follow a Voice.

But here’s the rub. At the same time God is wooing them, a smaller voice, more concrete, and so more enticing, assails them. “You must not walk alone, don’t be too radical, others are watching, so tone it down.” But deep inside they know the right path, and understand they must walk as all prophets do, alone. This is the crisis point over which we must pray. Our land turns a deaf ear, and only prophets with the muster of what the old timers used to call unction, will awaken us all to the One Voice urging return to a ministry of prayer.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ken Vensel says:

    right on bro…beware when all men speak well of you…

  2. Tracey says:

    Powerful thoughts. I will pray to that end for my grandsons hearts.

  3. Terrence Donahue says:

    Kevin, this writing really spoke to me. Thank you very much for sharing this with me.

    I pray for you regularly. May His hand lead you today to appointments he put in is calendar a millennium ago.


    From: “To Sir, with love” Reply-To: “To Sir, with love” Date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 7:22 PM To: Terrence Donahue Subject: [New post] How to Pray for This Generation kevinjyoung posted: “David Livingstone died much the way he lived, in prayer by his bedside. He had cut a gospel road through the interior of Africa, and forged alliances that ultimately lead to the abolition of slavery. So beloved was he that nations fought over his body.”

  4. Linda Alvarado says:


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