It was while William Carey was repairing shoes that he prayed for the inhabitants of planet earth. He had read the Journals of Captain Cook, and had begun praying for the people he was reading about. Eventually he made a leather map and hung it on the wall in front of him, to help him to systematically pray for the people represented on the map. Would such systematic intercessory prayer be good in our day? In Carey's day, it eventually led him to volunteer to go as a missionaryanswering his own prayers!
Here is what someone else said on the same subject:
"Would it not be well could we train ourselves to take up all the countries of the world in detail, and make mention of them systematically before God? There are persons who have attempted to do this every day of their lives, while others divide the world into portions, and take these up on successive days. I hope I may not offend any hearers if I venture to recommend the use of a prayer-book, which I have found of service, and which can be had from the shelves of Messrs. Keith Johnston and Co. [a company that existed at the time of publication, 1885]. I mean a pocket atlas, which should be spread out like Hezekiah's letter before the Lord, and be gone over carefully from day to day, and from year to year, so that every kingdom, capital, island, and ocean should be individually remembered. If this were done on an extensive scale among Christians, blessed issues would ensue.
"Let me say that our faith should lay account with a blessing coming to whole regions and kingdoms in response to the prayers of even one individual. Moses, when he prayed for himself to be permitted to cross the Jordan, was refused; yet, when he fell down before the Lord on Sinai's solitary top, forty days and forty nights, in intercession for two millions of guilty people, to avert judgment from them, God, as he tells us, hearkened unto him.
"If we find that individuals are employed to change the face of continents by exploration or personal effort, why may not individuals equally prevail when they, by prayer, lay hold of the arm of the Almighty?
"The answer to your prayers may come by God's sending you as evangelists or settlers to the very lands for which you prayed; or by enabling you to write a volume which may stir the missionary activity of hundreds, or to prepare hymns that may be sung in every land and tongue. God may enable you, by your addresses as ministers, professors, and laymen, to rouse congregations and entire synods to their duty to the heathen, as well as to call forth the Christian enthusiasm of young men in our colleges and universities; and mothers' in Israel, like Hannah, Lois, and Eunice, may, through prayer, be the means of sending forth a Carey, a Henry Martyn, a Dull, a William Burns, a Stanley Smith, or a Studd. I believe that the Day will declare that solitary individuals have, simply by their prayers, prevailed to introduce the Gospel into vast and populous dominions.
Would it not be well could we train ourselves to take up all the countries of the world in detail, and make mention of them systematically before God?"Dr. Somerville