The third feature of praying in the Spirit is its spread or extent, expressed here by Paul as praying for all God’s people. This aspect is connected to the great doctrine of adoption into God’s family. When we come into his presence and say to him, ‘Abba, Father,’ we are aware that we have brothers and sisters throughout the world. It is automatic to think of family members when we meet our parents or see photographs of them. Similarly, thinking of the Father leads us to think of his children.
It is the case that we will only meet in this life a very small percentage of God’s people in our own country, never mind the many millions of them throughout the rest of the world. Nevertheless, it is part of God’s revealed will that every Christian should pray for all other Christians.
Inevitably, this type of prayer will focus mainly on areas such as their growth in grace. Of course, we should pray for numerical growth as well. We can do this at a denominational level and pray for each congregation regularly. We can do this at an international level by reading Christian magazines that give details of what is happening in various countries. We can do this by watching the news programmes and noting areas of the world where there are problems and praying for Christians in these places.
These prayers will be answered by God and we will see one day, probably in heaven, the way in which God used these prayers to further his kingdom.