"Pray" is not merely a religious term
However, it does have strong religious connotations when expressed without further context.
Two definitions that are not specifically religious are:
- to make earnest petition to (a person).
- to make petition or entreaty for; crave:
When a typical religious person is stating "Pray for [Country X]" when that country's people/land are in distress, what they are actually communicating is a request (a prayer) with some elided aspects to it (communicated in parenthesis below). Essentially, they are saying something like:
(Would you join with me to) pray (to God) for [Country X] (that help and relief would come from Him for the distress they are in)?
The point is not simply to have that country in others' "hearts & minds," as such does Country X no tangible good. In the normal religious context (which I hold to BTW), one is asking God to do what needs to be done to help, usually to an extent that is far beyond any one individual's ability to help.
Making it "non-religious" by explicit denotation
So to make it not inherently contain a religious connotation, simply provide more context for who the request is targeted to, and perhaps change the word used. Something like:
Pray others to help [Country X]
Entreat others to help [Country X]
Recall that the original statement assumes that the one calling to "Pray for [Country X]" is in no more than a small position (if any) to help the country themselves, and that they assume most people are in a like small position to help. So the request is to entreat God to help (while also subtly asking that one be a part of that help as one can). If God is going to be taken out of the equation, then one would need to simply implore other people to join them in imploring yet other people to help (such as they can help).
It may be shortened to
Help [Country X]
But that does not quite communicate the same thing, as it does not directly entreat others to continue to motivate still others to help also.