“13I write this to you who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) the name of the Son of God [in the peculiar services and blessings conferred by Him on men], so that you may know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have life, yes, eternal life. 14And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. 15And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.” I John 5:13-15 (Amp)John gives us such encouragement in these few verses. We can have an assurance that we belong to God and not only that, but, we can also petition Him with the expectation of being received, heard and answered. Let us continue to pray the remaining days of this month with the full assurance of faith in a God who hears and answers prayer.
17.-18. Sri Lanka: Claimed by some to be the site of the Garden of Eden, Sri Lanka is now an island of tears. The ugly conflict between the Sinhala and Tamil has brought great suffering with an estimated 100,000 killed, 800,000 Sri Lankans (mainly Tamil) have emigrated or fled to India and the West, and between 700,000 and 1.5 million displaced in Sri Lanka.
Pray specifically for: a) The neutralization of the power and influence of Buddhist Sinhala extremists. It was their efforts to marginalize and suppress the Tamils that led to the present war. The cruelty and corruption of the armed forces have done great damage to the moral fiber of the nation. b) The ending of the Tamil LTTE violence whose ruthlessness and use of child soldiers and young suicide bombers have shocked the world and spread terror across much of the country.
Pray for honest, fair government for this multi-religious, multi-ethnic country. The bitterly divided Sinhala political scene prevents moves towards peace.
Pray for a meaningful cease-fire, willingness to negotiate an equitable peace that gives honor and respect to the major communities and protects their civil, economic and religious rights.
Pray for the binding of unleashed demonic powers. The reality of the spirit world and associated idolatry underlie the present evils in Sri Lanka.
19. St. Helena, St. Kitts: Evangelical Christians are largely linked with the Baptist Church and the Salvation Army and tend to be of the older generation. Few young people are active Christians and many move away seeking better employment opportunities. There is no evangelical witness on Ascension or Tristan. The Christian community is increasingly materialistic and nominal with church attendance in rapid decline. Most are indifferent to the gospel. The JWs and The Way International have, conversely, grown.
Pray for revival for a weakened Church and a spiritual awakening that will result in the evangelization of this generation of Islanders.
A large proportion of the working population lives and works on the communications and military bases of Ascension and the Falklands Islands because of the lack of employment opportunities.
Pray both for the evangelization of these transient communities and for a restoration of strong Christian family units, the latter being adversely affected by the unstable patterns of the society. 19. St. Lucia: The number of churches alive in the Spirit has multiplied – but so have divisions.
Pray for unity among believers. UFM has entered with a church-supportive ministry in discipleship and equipping pastors for effective service.
The majority of St. Lucians and Dominicans speak a French Creole. A WBT team is facilitating translation of the New Testament for them. CLC has a Christian bookstore in Castries.
Pray that the Word of God may thereby become more precious understood and applied in daily life.19. St. Pierre & Miwurlon: These isolated islands and their people have long been Catholic. Traditions are strong and change has been hard in the large economic and social upheavals affecting the islanders.
Pray for many to come to a vital, personal faith in the Lord Jesus.
The first active evangelical congregation was formed in 1998. The French AoG have also started a work.
Pray for this small congregation of Baptists and Assembly of God, that they may live lives that commend the gospel.
These isolated islands and their people have long been Catholic. Traditions are strong and change has been hard in the large economic and social upheavals affecting the islanders. The first active evangelical congregation was formed in 1998. The French have also started a work.19. St. Vincent: St. Vincent is a religious country, but most are not related to God through a personal faith in Jesus Christ. There is a crisis of holiness, lack of spiritual fruit and growing apathy, especially relating to missions.
Pray for revival and the restoration of a Biblically-based, Spirit-led Church.
There is a general lack of Biblical leadership in the churches, especially in the area of Bible teaching.
Pray for the encouragement of such through the three Bible School extension programs (AoG, Church of God, WT).
20.-21. Sudan: Sudan’s civil war has been one of the world’s longest conflicts in the 20th Century.
Pray for peace and the formation of a viable multi-cultural, multi-religious society. Wrongs have been done – the British colonial rulers (they brought peace, honest administration and an end to slavery, but were short-sighted in handling the south), the atrocities of both northerners and southerners and the bitter divisions among the southerners themselves.
Pray for repentance, restitution and rebuilding of communal life.
Sudan’s leaders proudly boast that they are the leaders of the Islamic Revolution in Africa. In fact, an Islamist Arab minority has used this as a tool to strengthen their personal control of the economy and political power. The tragic cost is 2 million dead, millions traumatized, an economy devastated and a country divided. Suffering and disruption of lives appear unending. There was once a strong Christian presence in northern Sudan, and for nearly a millennium the majority of the population was Christian. Muslims invaded and defeated the Christians at the end of the 13th Century and gradually Islamized the area by the 15th Century – a process now being extended to the non-Muslim south.
Pray for the disarming of the spiritual powers that have held the land in centuries of bondage and that a fair and durable peace be established.
The human tragedy of Sudan was long ignored until it was revealed that the Islamic government had sanctioned the re-institution of slavery. Many southerners have suffered from slave raiders. An estimated 60,000 – 200,000 are now chattel slaves. The controversial buying back of slaves by Western NGOs could be helping to perpetuate this evil.
Pray that this wicked, degrading practice may be ended, and pray that world leaders may prevail upon the government to change its policy and truly seek the welfare of all Sudan’s peoples.
There has been persecution of the Church over much of the past 50 years, but much more since 1985. Deliberate attempts to eliminate a viable Christian presence have been extreme, and have included bombing of Sunday church services, destruction of hospitals, schools, churches and Christian villages, massacres, killing of pastors and leaders and a food-for-conversion policy for refugees banished to desert areas around Khartoum. Slavery has been re-instituted with slave raiding and trading. Persecution has been especially severe in the Nuba Mountains. Whole areas have been laid waste and lands seized and given to Arabs.
Pray that Christians may bear good witness to their persecutors in these sufferings and become spiritually strong as a result.
Pray that the sufferings of Christians might become widely known and that peace, justice and religious freedom be firmly established.
Sudanese Christian leaders have achieved so much against all the odds. Many have lost their lives in serving Jesus. Few have had opportunity for formal theological education. The few theological institutions function under considerable difficulty. Many Sudanese are studying in other lands.
Pray for leadership, as there are too many young converts for the pastoral care and teaching available. A number of Bible schools function but with many disruptions.
Pray for the AIC Bible School, the Anglican Seminary, the SIC/SIM and SCOC/SUM-AP Gideon Theological College now based in Omdurman, and a Pentecostal Bible school in Juba.
The Bishop Gwynne College in W. Equatoria and the Christian Liberty Academy – the first Christian high school in the South have been restored and revived (Frontline Fellowship).
Pray for the provision of adequate facilities, staff and Sudanese leaders for the churches.
22. Suriname: Suriname’s post-independence experience was disastrous. The young nation is compartmentalized by race and religion, and the potential for further conflict remains.
Pray for continued peace, godly leaders, stable government, economic improvement, and, above all, for spiritual awakening.
The evangelical witness has grown significantly from a very small percentage in 1960 through a variety of Pentecostal and charismatic movements in nearly every culture.
Pray for the continuance of increasing trans-denominational cooperation in Bible-related ministries, the March for Jesus and in outreach.
Nearly half the population professes to be Christian, but few know much of a personal faith in Christ and Christian belief is often mixed with spiritism. Both the Moravian and Catholic Churches have large followings. In the Moravian Church are some evangelical leaders, revival prayer groups and also spiritual awakening among young people.
Pray for revival to sweep through the traditionalism of the majority of Christians.
Christian leaders with a warm personal faith and biblical message are few.
Pray for the three small Bible schools (two Pentecostal and one Baptist), and also for the ministry of Christian leaders in re-laying biblical foundations and standards in a nation that has lost its way morally and ethically in the confusion after independence.
23. Swaziland: Few African countries have retained such strong ties with pre-colonial political and cultural society. This leads to a clash between the claims of the past and those of biblical Christianity resulting in much compromise among Christians. The many evangelical churches have made little headway over the past decades and are generally stagnating. There are some major ministry challenges facing the Church: a) Coping with the increasingly devastating consequences of the AIDS pandemic. For too long the churches have ignored the growing crisis; b) Youth ministry. The large levels of youth unemployment bodes ill for future social stability – over 60% of youth are under 20 and by 2006 there may be 115,000 AIDS orphans and c) The Muslims, though few, have made a big effort to increase their numbers and build mosques. The churches are ill-equipped to respond.
Pray for revival, holy living, a clear evangelical message proclaimed and greater unity among Christian leaders. Pray also that the strong hold of witchcraft and ancestor worship, as well as the spirit of polygamy and immorality, might be broken within the churches and nation. It is the men who are most bound – over 70% of church members are women.
The unresolved constitutional issue is a source of potential conflict.
Pray for the wide acceptance of a constitution that both respects human rights and tradition and also respects the honored place of the king and democratic freedoms.
24. Sweden: The 19th Century was notable for revivals, a vigorous free church movement and great commitment to missions. The 20th Century was the opposite with rapid secularization and emergence of one of the most permissive societies in Europe. Government legislation reflects this.
Pray for a reversal of these trends, a national awakening and the re-evangelization of Sweden.
Missionary outreach from Sweden has been outstanding. The contribution of the Lutheran Church and all the Free Churches in over 100 countries has been used of God. Yet both numbers of missionaries and levels of interest have decreased markedly, with the Swedish Missionary Council Member statistics dropping from 927 missionaries in 1997 (the data used in this book) to 715 in 2000.
Pray for a quickening of this vision among young people for short-term and, even more, for long-term work.
Pray for the notable work of the Institute of Bible Translation in Stockholm with the vision to provide a translation of the NT in every non-Slavic language of the fSU.25. Switzerland: The great reformers, Calvin and Zwingli, expounded the truths of Scripture in this land, but few today have any interest or understanding of what real Christianity is. Wealth, comfort, indifference and a vague religiosity have become the norm. The socio-politico upheavals towards the end of the 20th Century stirred an uncertainty and identity crisis in the hearts of many, but it is the occult and eastern religions that the younger generations are exploring. Many baptized as children no longer retain any church link, and enrolled membership of Protestants and Catholics has halved in 30 years.
Pray that the Swiss may find the true way in Jesus Christ, and that the nation might be stirred again by the Holy Spirit.
In the Catholic cantons, predominantly in the south and centre of the country, the small evangelical witness is growing; centuries-old prejudices and religious polarizations are breaking down.
Pray that many may find a personal relationship with Jesus and come to assurance of salvation, and that a living fellowship of believers may come into being in every community.
Local radio and TV stations are well used by several Swiss Christian agencies, and have great potential for reaching the population. The Christian broadcast Fenster zum Sonntag has an audience of nearly 70,000 weekly.
Pray for more openness on national radio and television. TWR broadcasts in German, French and Italian through the Astra satellite, and from Albania in German.
The great reformers, Calvin and Zwingli, expounded the truths of Scripture in this land, but few today have any interest or understanding of what real Christianity is. Wealth, comfort, indifference and a vague religiosity have become the norm. The socio-politico upheavals towards the end of the 20th Century stirred an uncertainty and identity crisis in the hearts of many, but it is the occult and eastern religions that the younger generations are exploring. Many baptized as children no longer retain any church link, and enrolled membership of Protestants and Catholics has halved in 30 years.In the Catholic cantons, predominantly in the south and centre of the country, the small evangelical witness is growing; centuries-old prejudices and religious polarizations are breaking down. Local radio and TV stations are well used by several Swiss Christian agencies, and have great potential for reaching the population. The Christian broadcast has an audience of nearly 70,000 weekly.26. Syria: The Alawite minority regime has retained power by crushing all political dissent. The country has been involved in wars and confrontations with surrounding states for the last 50 years.
Pray for both political and religious freedom.
Christian minorities are tolerated and have freedom to worship and witness within their own community, but all activities that could threaten the government or communal harmony are watched. Evangelicals currently enjoy good standing, so they are hesitant to jeopardize this by witnessing too forthrightly.
Pray that they might discern how best to share Christ.
The Muslim majority has a false conception of what a true Christian is.
Pray that they may be enlightened by contacts with believers who have a holy lifestyle and radiant witness. Many Muslims are in daily contact with Christians, as are Syrian soldiers based in Lebanon.
Conversions out of Islam are few, but increasing. Spiritual bondages, social barriers and religious prejudices must be broken down before some will take the decisive step. Most churches in Syria are not yet ready to evangelize Muslims, let alone receive converts from Islam. There are signs of positive results from Bible Correspondence Courses and student outreach.
For those who do convert, pray for perseverance in persecution, acceptance into fellowship by other believers and growth to maturity.
27. Tajikistan: The Christian Church is largely composed of ethnic Europeans, but has been drastically reduced by emigration. During the civil war, those fleeing were almost entirely non-Tajik, and represented much of the country’s skilled labor.
Pray that the remaining believers might see their unique opportunity to be witnesses to Tajiks and other unreached peoples.
Pray for the establishment of a strong multi-ethnic Christian witness in each city which can then reach out to rural areas.
The civil war ended with the signing of a peace accord in 1997, but not before terrible damage was inflicted on the country. Over fifty thousand were killed and as many as one million were displaced. Poverty and extreme hardship is now common. Those under government care, such as prisoners, the aged, and orphans are most at risk.
Pray that the peace might take root – sporadic violence continues – and allow the government to address the economic and social issues which keep people in poverty.
Pray for stability that might enable Christians to offer physical and spiritual help.
Tajiks number 10 to 11 million in Central Asia. For nearly a thousand years, there was no significant outreach to Tajiks. Now, in addition to the hundreds of believers in Tajikistan, there are a further 1,000+ in neighbouring countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
Pray for this growth to increase, and pray for the establishment of an indigenous Tajik Church free from undue Russian or Western influences.
Pray also for good cooperation among all concerned for the Tajiks.
28.-29. Tanzania: The delicate inter-communal balance and political stability of the country cannot be taken for granted. The Muslim community is increasingly polarized between moderates and Islamists; the latter pressing for political influence and privileges and resentful of the perceived advantages enjoyed by Christians.
Pray that the government may be wise and even-handed, and that communal harmony and religious freedom may be maintained in both the mainland and Zanzibar.
The Pentecostal movement has flourished with many denominations growing. A wide range of evangelistic literature, media and social ministries have impacted the nation. Most are international; indigenous movements have been less influential than in other African countries. Pray for continued growth, increased maturity and unity across the evangelical spectrum – essential in the face of rising Muslim militancy.
30.-31. Thailand: Thailand means Land of the Free because it successfully retained its freedom when surrounding countries were colonized by Western powers. It is believed that a special guardian angel, Phra Sayam Devadhiraj, protected the land, and a golden image of this spirit being was made. It has been worshipped ever since. The land is in bondage to a complex web of culture, spirit appeasement, occult practices and Buddhism, with a social cohesiveness out of which few have dared to come. For many Thai, their nationality and religion are inextricably linked. Pray for the spiritual breakthrough so that in the Lord Jesus the Thai may be free indeed.
Of the 2.5 million Muslims, 90% are Malay. Nearly all live in the five southernmost provinces, where there has been political tension and guerrilla activity by Communists (until 1992) and also by Muslim separatists. This is the only major Malay community in Asia open for evangelism, yet after years of hard work only about 100 have turned to Christ. The upsurge in Islam in Malaysia to the south is affecting the Thai Malays and complicating outreach. Many seekers are held back by fear.
Pray for the local believers and missionary team, and for their outreach through postal evangelism, radio and literature. The Jawi Malay New Testament is being distributed to Malays, as well as a new BCC in Thai and Malay especially written to help Malay Muslims.
Once again the nations of the earth have been impacted by your prayers. The Lord smiles upon your generosity as you give time to the labor of nation changing prayer. I trust that the personal concerns of your heart have been lifted as you have lifted others before the throne this month.
Lane M. Holland, M.Div.
Mission Info Bank. Used by permission.
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