PRAYER ASSIGNMENTS FOR SEPTEMBER 2009
As we look at the calendar another season is almost upon us. It seems that the year is rapidly slipping by. But for many on this blue orb the days may seem endless because of the many needs and challenges faced daily. Our daily prayers help to lift the burden from many hearts and lives. Let us persevere on our knees and in our prayer closets until the whole earth knows that Jesus is Lord! Let us continue to beseech the God of the whole earth until justice is restored in all the nations of the earth.
“…but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith…”( Galatians 6:8b-10 KJV)
“..4But let justice run down like waters and righteousness as a mighty and ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24 AMP)
1-2 Nigeria: The government needs time, the support of the people and courage to bring about the painful reconstruction of the country after four decades of being plundered by its leaders.
Pray for the right balance between tact and firmness and between revolution and evolution in economic affairs, vested interests and tribalism.
The introduction of shari’a law in northern Muslim states is a direct challenge to the federal government and a danger to national stability.
Pray with Nigerian Christians for the preservation of national unity, the integrity of the federal constitution and for full religious freedom.
The culture of greed and corruption runs deep. Nigeria has become infamous for spectacular international scams, international crime and drug-running.
Pray that God may raise up many more who fear Him and have the moral integrity and courage to tackle the rottenness manifest in society.
Pray that Christian values and lifestyle may affect every area of national life and that Nigeria attain its potential as a light to the world for God.
Persecution in Nigeria’s northern states between 1991 and 2000 led to the death of thousands of believers, murder of pastors and destruction of hundreds of churches in Kaduna, Gombe, Sokoto, Kano, Bauchi, etc. This has united Christians as never before, but also driven them to the Lord in prayer.
a) Forgiveness for persecutors and deliverance from a spirit of revenge.
b) Restoration and recovery for those who have suffered loss, bereavement and rape.
c) The Christian Association of Nigeria and its ministry of representing Nigeria’s 58 million Christians to the local and federal authorities.
d) The conversion of Muslims – both persecutors and those appalled by the behavior of their co-religionists. There have been many won to Christ over recent years.
3. Norway: Norway’s commitment to world evangelization has been exemplary. There are an estimated 2,600+ prayer houses (many involved in missions) and 14,000 mission support groups in the country. The Norwegian Mission Council has provided support and fellowship for most of the mission agencies. In 2001 the Norwegian Council for Mission and Evangelism assumed this role. The number of missionaries sent out had declined somewhat, but by 2000 this had stabilized. Saami Christians have started a missionary training college to prepare and send missionaries to reach other Arctic peoples in the fSU.
Pray that vision for world evangelization may increase and bear much fruit.
The Lutheran Church of Norway is unique in Europe, for although it is the State Church, many of the pastors are theologically evangelical. Out of revival and persecution have sprung up many voluntary organizations within the Church – agencies, prayer houses and fellowships – which have been a source of good in promoting Christian schools, theological education and foreign missions. The State Church has been polarized by the efforts of some bishops to bring in new freedoms for homosexuals within the Church. Pray that this large Church and its leadership may be committed to biblical theology and faith.
Pray also for revival once more.
Young peoples’ ministry has been stimulated by the impact of the new charismatic youth movement Jesus Revolution and the older IFES movement.
Pray for growth and lasting impact in lives and in new and old churches.
4. Oman: Rapid social change since 1970 has transformed Oman. Oil wealth, rising education levels and the opening up to the wider world have broadened the minds of Omanis. The younger generation in particular is outward looking and interested in new ideas. Though slavery was abolished many years ago there still remains a ‘spirit of slavery’ in attitudes, creating another obstacle to the gospel in the hearts of Omanis.
Pray that many may become receptive to spiritual change too. The entire Muslim majority is a big challenge. There are no known believers among the Mahra of Dhofar, the Baluch of the eastern coasts, the rural population or the Swahili speakers.There are perhaps a handful of indigenous believers, none professing Christ openly.
Pray that they may grow and begin to meet with other believers.
The Christian professionals and workers are in need of prayer.
Pray that they might boldly share the gospel effectively through exemplary lives.
The Reformed Church in America has had a good witness here since 1890, when Samuel Zwemer, the famous missionary to Muslims, began his work in Oman. Their hospital, clinics and missionary workers have been incorporated into the government health service. Christians also have a strong presence in the education and business sectors. Pray that by all means the gospel may be proclaimed through a pure lifestyle and fervent witness.
Pray that their numbers may be increased through the calling of others.
Pray also for perseverance and tenacity.
5.-8. Pakistan: Islamism has severely damaged the economy and social cohesion of society. It has trampled on the constitutional rights of women and minorities subverted the judicial system and brought fear and violence to this nation. The growing network of Islamic schools is poisoning the next generation with hatred for India, the West and Christians, and extolling a willingness to die fighting for Islam.
Pray that this ideology might be so discredited that its influence may be broken.
Christians who come from a Muslim background are particularly under threat with the implementation of shari’a law. There are possibly thousands of secret believers, but only a small, yet increasing number have confessed Christ and identify openly as Christians – for it could lead to their martyrdom. All too often such believers have the double trauma of rejection by their community and then non-acceptance by the Christian community.
Pray for protection, multiplication, and for good integration into culturally appropriate Christian fellowships.
Christian missions have been working in the land since 1833. Christian standards and institutions have had a deep impact on the country – a fact which Islamists want to ignore. Presbyterians, Anglicans, Methodists and, later, Salvation Army missionaries pioneered the work. There was a great turning to the Lord from among six of the 30 scheduled Hindu castes between 1890 and 1930. This was accompanied by revival in 1904. Other missions, predominantly evangelical, entered Pakistan around the time of independence. There are few Muslims who would think of becoming Christians. Most despise the humble origins of the church here which first reached the Hindu ‘untouchables’, or Dalit of the Panjab, or tribal peoples of the Sindh.
Pray that these barriers of culture, religion and history may be broken down.
Pray for more effective partnering between groups in their ministry.
Persecution and intimidation have become a growing reality since 1991. Christians are barred from some professions and the most menial tasks are reserved for Christians alone. They have been politically marginalized by voting on separate electoral rolls. Their testimony in court is half the value of a Muslim’s – meaning there is little redress in the courts and little publicity in the press for violence and blatant discrimination against them. Beatings, imprisonments and even some cases of murder go unpunished, as well as the destruction of property and churches. There are a number of incidents where Christian girls have been abducted, raped, forced to become Muslim and, even when their abductors are taken to court, charges against them have been dismissed. In 1998 a whole Christian village of 30,000 was razed by a Muslim mob on the basis of a rumor. Fear and dismay have gripped the Christian community.
Pray that these sufferings may draw Christians close to the Lord and strengthen them in faith and courage so that they may bear a pure testimony to those who oppress them.
The Church has grown despite many social disadvantages. Many Christians live in deep poverty and on the margins of society but the last two decades have shown a distinct improvement through the emphasis on education with more embarking on professional careers.
a) Revival. Lack of teaching, poverty and illiteracy has hastened the lowering of spiritual standards, nominalism, corruption and the practice of occultism among those who profess to be Christian. There has been little significant conversion growth for several decades except among the Mawaris and Koli in the Sindh desert.
b) Spiritual leadership in the churches. There has been a tragic history of leadership struggles, court cases, factionalism and divisions in some denominations.
Pray that they may be models of spirituality and godliness.
c) Courage to share their faith with non-Christians. Everything conspires to make Christians fearful, introspective and silent, yet despite the negatives, there is a considerable degree of freedom to openly share the gospel. Only a few have a burden for reaching Muslims. OM teams have challenged many believers to become involved in outreach –
Pray that this challenge may affect whole congregations.
d) Unity. PEACE is the Pakistan Evangelical Alliance formed to encourage mission and evangelism.
Pray that it may also bring about greater unity.
e) A missionary vision. Some Pakistani believers have started fellowship groups in a number of Middle Eastern lands, some with an outreach to non-Christians but there is much fragmentation in the work.
Pray for those involved in such ministry, which is often at considerable personal risk.
9. Palestine: Pray for solutions to these major issues:
a) An equitable settlement of the land issue, and the future of the Jewish settlements in the Palestinian areas. Both sides feel they have strong legitimate claims to the land.
b) A fair apportionment of the water resources – Israel uses 115% of the land’s renewable water and makes little available to the Palestinians.
c) The future of Jerusalem – claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians, each as their exclusive capital.
d) The unresolved future for the Palestinian exiles who make up 55% of all Palestinians. Two million live in 61 refugee camps in surrounding lands.
Pray not only for the peace of the land, but that Jewish Israeli and Palestinian Arab may meet the Prince of Peace, through whom alone any meaningful reconciliation can come.
Christian Palestinians trace their roots back to pre-Islamic times. The antagonisms of the conflict have provoked many to immigrate to Western countries, and their numbers have declined dramatically from around 10% in 1940 to 1.4% in 2000. Many see the Christians as having been the glue for, and a bridge in, society.
Pray that Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians alike may stand for and witness to the Truth, and be protected amid rising levels of intimidation by their Muslim neighbors.
Arab Evangelicals number about 2,000 in 30 churches, of which 20 are on the West Bank. They feel rejected by Jews, Arabs, traditional Christians and even Western Evangelicals and thus isolated. Those from a Muslim background have been specifically targeted by Islamists. The loss of leadership through emigration is serious. Bethlehem Bible College is a key ministry with 80 full- or part-time students.
Pray for these brethren to stand steadfast and immovable in the Lord.
Panama: Panama is a nation of great diversity and great potential. Because of its strategic location and the canal, Panama has become a melting pot of many races. The country’s motto is ‘Panama, Bridge to the World, Heart of the Universe’.
Pray that this unique nation may bless the world.
Panama is slowly developing into a sending nation. The missionary conference, Latin America 2000, drew in an attendance of over 5,000. There are already more than 7 Panamanians working full-time in the 10/40 window. YWAM, OM, AoG, SOMEP (Evangelical Panamanian Missionary Society) and CMP (Panamanian Missionary Cooperation) are working to equip, train and mobilize the Church into world missions. Pray for the Church to catch the vision and send out an army of missionaries.
10.-11. Papua New Guinea: Over the past 120 years the gospel has spread throughout PNG, first along the coast and then inland, and finally in the past 40 years into the Highlands. Nearly all the tribes have been reached. In some there have been mass movements to Christianity. Today over 96% claim to be Christian. Praise God for the presence of an alive, vibrant church today. But the ready acceptance of the gospel has resulted in a superficial Christianity of the majority without a radical transformation of basic values and beliefs. True discipling is an urgent need. In some areas there is already disillusionment and a turning back to traditional customs, drunkenness, gambling, cargo cults or other syncretistic groups.
Revivals have occurred in many areas (e.g. East and West Sepik, New Britain, North Solomon’s and Highlands’s areas) but follow-up discipling in these situations is greatly needed. There is also vigorous growth in Pentecostal and charismatic fellowships in many areas, especially the towns.
Pray for revival and deep repentance which will result in true disciples and transformed cultures.
Leadership training is a priority. Many small Bible schools are run by churches and missions. There are a number of denominational theological colleges. The well-known interdenominational Christian Leaders’ Training College (CLTC), with 120 full-time students and an international faculty, trains leaders for churches from all over PNG and the Solomon Islands. Churches are recognizing the value of TEE as a tool for training the many marginally-literate rural pastors and church workers who have received minimal grounding in the faith.
a) Men and women called of God to full-time service as pastors, missionaries, etc. The lure of highly paid secular jobs is strong for those with good education.
b) Bible teachers who can impart a love of God’s Word to students and the desire to apply its truths to their own cultures.
c) The provision of mature, articulate Christian leaders who will significantly influence the spiritual life of the nation, and establish the church on biblical foundations.
d) Specialized urban training programmes to prepare leaders for urban ministries (CLTC Centres in Port Moresby and Law; Baptist Urban Pastoral Training Centre [BUPTC] in Port Moresby).
e) The excellent TEE programme in English run by CLTC to serve PNG and the Pacific, and development of more TEE programmes in Tok Pisin in the country.
12. Paraguay: Paraguay still suffers the effects of two centuries of tyranny, war and government incompetence. Occasional internal political strife and a lack of strong moral leadership hinder the country’s progress.
Pray that godly men would emerge from this Christianized nation to lead with wisdom and uprightness.
Most of Paraguay’s Protestants are German-speaking Mennonites and Lutherans, Ukrainian Baptists and Pentecostals and Korean Presbyterians. These immigrant communities are often culturally isolated from the mainstream of national life, and therefore lack outward vision. Nominalism is also a common problem – pray that these communities might experience a renewal of spiritual vigor and the birth of a vision for a transformed Paraguay.
Evangelical Christian leaders are increasingly working together to promote large evangelistic crusades and the evangelization of the country.
Please lift the following great needs up in prayer:
a) Leadership development – an essential ministry. Bible Colleges for most of the Protestant denominations and an Evangelical University provide improved training for the growing number of theological students.
b) A lifestyle set by leaders as an example to their flocks marked by holy living, prayer, right use of Scripture, and bold evangelism.
c) Unity in the church. An association of pastors is working to promote united strategies for the country’s evangelization and for the care of pastors of small or isolated churches.
d) The impartation of a missionary vision to the Church – the formation of a National Committee for Missions (CONAMI) was a solid first step. Pray that Paraguayans may see themselves as responsible for, and capable of, the evangelization of their country.
13.-14. Peru: The Quechua and Aymara peoples, the descendants of the Incas, have begun to emerge from centuries of oppression, cultural deprivation, grinding poverty and isolation. Quechua was recognized as an official language in 1975. The Quechua Church has grown rapidly as Christianity at last becomes indigenized in Scriptures, structures, worship and music. Whole villages have been turning to Christ.
a) Millions of mountain Quechua and Aymara who are still bound by superstitions of pagan and ‘Christian’ origin. Many migrated to the cities during the war.
b) Bible translation which has been a major factor in the Quechua renaissance and church growth. The Cuzco and Ayacucho languages have the whole Bible and 3 other Quechua languages the NT (UBS, SIL, IEP, SBC); a further 12 languages are being translated. Pray for translation and literacy teams as they make these vital Scriptures available and understandable.
c) Breaking down centuries of pain, resentment and prejudice between Quechua and Spanish-speakers and a unity at the Cross of Christ as brethren.
The Catholic Church is in a crisis. Over 80% of its clergy are foreign. It is polarized between the traditionalists and those who espouse liberation theology. The charismatic movement has had a deep impact, but those touched have often formed autonomous groups or joined evangelical churches. There has been large loss of numbers to indigenous movements and foreign sects, as well as to the Evangelicals. Only 15% of Catholics are regular in church attendance; the great majority are highly syncretistic Christo-pagans. Pre-Hispanic religions are being revived and new religious movements multiplying.
Pray for many to come to the light and liberty of the biblical gospel.
Peru needs an effective democratic government with the courage and strength to deal with the real issues.
Pray for the strengthening of:
a) The fragile peace. Major societal change is needed – corruption, racism, religious freedom and an unfair judicial system are endemic. The problem of terrorism has not ended.
b) The tentative economic recovery. Some have benefited, but the majority have not been positively affected. The massive slums ringing Lima are little changed. Over 200,000 rural Peruvians are involved in cultivating narcotics.
15.-17. Philippines: The great potential of the Philippines has not yet been realized despite being rich in natural resources and having a well-educated population. Failures by successive governments to deal with the serious economic and social issues (see above) have held back development, and kept half the population in poverty. Pray specifically for:
a) A government that actively pursues justice and righteousness. There are key Christians in major posts of leadership – may they decisively influence the nation for good.
Pray for the Fellowship of Christians in Government which exists to fight corruption and promote biblical standards.
b) A change in the political culture that deals with the endemic greed and corruption, ends cronyism, and also initiates long-delayed land reform (70% of farmers are landless) and improves the health and prospects of the poor by investment in the basic infrastructure of the country.
c) Peace in Mindanao between the marginalized, resentful Muslim population and the government and local ‘Christian’ majority. Extreme Islamist factions are unwilling to compromise and claim four provinces, two with Muslim minorities, for an Islamic state.
Pray for a fair, workable solution that will end the cycle of violence, kidnappings and suffering.
Pray also that the centuries of perceived ‘Christian’ oppression may end with a freedom and respect for the gospel.
Filipino Evangelicals have multiplied – but so too have the challenges.
Pray for the spiritual health of the Church and a facing up to dangers:
a) Rapid growth with inadequate discipling. Damaging splits in denominations, erroneous teachings, syncretistic worldview and superficiality are the result.
b) Complacency and second-generation nominalism. The successes of the 1980s were not fully repeated in the 1990s. The hype about growth should be counterbalanced by recognizing spiritual shallowness at the grass roots.
Pray for new vision, new direction from God for setting biblical priorities and goals, and renewed momentum for growth in the new millennium.
c) Poverty in many congregations. The availability of foreign funds and an expectation that foreigners take charge can lead to passivism and dependence on man rather than on God.
Pray that these believers may be spiritually enriched by a greater dependence on God. Pray for a spirit of generosity for those whose economic situation has improved.
Pray also for a loving sensitivity to this on the part of foreign workers and donors who seek to help them.
18.-19. Poland: The literature ministry continues to grow. Christian commentaries and books are being translated into Polish and printed in increasing numbers. Areopag, a publishing company, and Logos, a ministry affiliated with SGM, are developing indigenous Christian literature ministries. CLC are opening Christian bookstores around the country. The Bible Society is publishing a new Bible translation endorsed by both Catholics and Protestants, and plays a vital role in Poland and surrounding lands.
Pray that these burgeoning ministries might remain financially viable while blessing many with God’s Word.
Dreams of instant wealth from capitalism have proved elusive and hollow. Crime, violence and immorality are on the rise – particularly in the younger generation. Pray for the stability, progress and freedom that allow the good news to be preached. Pray that the Polish quest for material advancement might be subordinated to the search for God.
Bible training for church leaders, a much needed ministry, is developing fast. There are about 25 Protestant institutions ranging from seminary level to part-time or correspondence Bible schools – remarkable for a land with so small a Protestant presence!
Pray for biblical faithfulness, spiritual power and mission’s vision to be the hallmark of the ministry of graduates.
Young people and students, while skeptical of organized religion are receptive to the good news of Jesus. The Christian Students Association (IFES) has groups in almost all of the 30 universities. SU focuses their ministry on younger students. Summer camps are a major ministry for nearly all evangelical denominations and agencies. May this generation which first tasted political freedom also be the first to know en masse the freedom found only in Christ!
Pray for the strategic work of Youth Forum, which is an alliance of Polish Christian youth associations.
20. Portugal: Religious and political freedoms gained in 1975 have transformed the nation, but the ancient heart-bondages remain. The veneration of Mary is a ‘Christian’ veneer over the old paganism and an estimated 90% of the population consults spiritist mediums and witches. To this are added the new bondages of materialism, self-centeredness and alcohol and drug abuse. The teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and New Age philosophies have gained a wide hearing.
Pray for many to be released and for discerning Christian leaders able to effectively expose these false doctrines.
Evangelical growth accelerated in the 1990s, especially among Pentecostal and charismatic groups, but is also hampered by weaknesses which constrain that growth.
Pray for the following areas to see the intervention of the Holy Spirit:
a) Serious divisions.B> Many denominations have suffered acrimonious splits – especially some Pentecostal denominations. An over-emphasis on prosperity teaching has divided congregations and brought confusion and disillusionment to many.
b) The need for a united vision. The Portuguese Evangelical Alliance has gained in stature and influence in recent years.
Pray that God may grant wisdom, unity and faith for advance together to Portuguese Evangelicals.
c) The lack of concern for world evangelization. The Portuguese Church has a unique role to play because of the wide use of their language. There is too little involvement in missions in many evangelical churches – the exception being the Assemblies of God, the Mana churches and several individual congregations. YWAM’s King’s Kids ministry and Discipleship Training Schools are challenging young people for missions.
21. Puerto Rico: Societal problems cry out for Christian involvement. The incidence of AIDS, alcoholism, drug addiction, corruption, crime and poverty are some of the highest in the Americas.
Pray for humility, repentance, spiritual unity and burden for the lost among Christian leaders.
Over-population and unemployment have forced over 3 million Puerto Ricans to immigrate to the USA. About half live in and around New York, where they form the lowest income group. Some live in Hispanic ghettos, where frustration has driven large numbers to violence, drugs and immorality.
Pray for all specifically ministering to this community.
22. Qatar: There were no Qatari believers before 1985. Several have come to the Lord outside the country, but have suffered much for Him.
Pray that they may become the nucleus of a Qatari Church.
Expatriates are drawn from many nations by the high earnings in Qatar but Christians are restricted in their witness because of the tight control of the authorities. Believers have long met together informally, but in 2000 the Emir granted land for a Christian compound to be built for the purpose of holding services.
Pray that this development may foster unity and cooperation between the diverse groups of believers.
The Christian impact on society.
Pray that the small groups of believers among Indians, Pakistanis, Egyptians, Filipinos and Westerners may bear fruitful witness to their own communities.
Pray also that there may be opportunities to share with non-Christians of all peoples in the country.
23. Reunion: The dark legacy of slavery which was abolished in 1848 overshadows the present. The Creole population is descendants of those slaves. Poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, dysfunctional families and high illegitimacy have marginalized this large underclass. A deep work of healing and laying to rest the legacy of the past is still far from complete.
Pray for the whole population to come to terms with the past – only really possible through faith in Christ.
Although Catholicism is the professed religion of over 80% of the population, the Malabar religion – a synthesis of Hinduism and African witchcraft – is the real faith of half the population and probably 90% are involved in some way. Since Vatican II, Bible reading has been promoted in the Catholic Church, and there is now a vigorous charismatic renewal movement.
Pray for the eyes of many nominal Christians to be opened to their need and to the Savior.
Pray for the impact of Christian media through:
a) Christian literature and Bible distribution. There is only one Christian bookstore, nevertheless much literature has been distributed around the island.
b) Radio. There are private radio stations run by the Catholics, SDA and AoG. There is an encouraging response to FEBA’s daily broadcasts in French from Seychelles.
24.-25. Romania: The burden of a tragic past lies heavily upon Romania. The moral vacuum left by Ceausescu’s Communists has been replaced by every kind of social evil. Substance abuse, prostitution and violent crime are all on the increase. Romania has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. With freedom has come wealth for a few, but grinding poverty for the majority. Many spend most of their income on food.
Pray that the nation’s leaders might boldly and uprightly address the many problems with wise solutions.
Pray that this disastrous legacy might be replaced by one of peace and righteousness.
Religious freedom is a treasured, but threatened gain. The government, at the urging of some Orthodox leaders, has set tight restrictions for the registration and activity of other religious groups. Some groups in the Orthodox Church, reacting to what they see as Protestant predation of the faithful, are violently opposing evangelistic outreach. Millions of Romanians have grown up as “Christians”, but with no meaningful exposure to the gospel – only 2-4% of Orthodox believers take their faith very seriously.
Pray that there may be full freedom for the proclamation of the gospel and that there may be respect and trust – in all directions – between the major Christian bodies.
The Romanian Church is awakening to its responsibility to play its part in the Great Commission. It is also beginning to address the great social needs surrounding it. A national interdenominational sending agency was founded in 2000. Romanians can easily access fields which Westerners cannot. However, the economic situation in Romania is a challenge for the churches and those they would send.
Pray for the removal of every barrier to the full flowering of an indigenous missions movement.
The church is not evenly spread throughout the nation.
Pray for these less reached portions:
a) The Roma (Gypsy) community. Many live in ghettos and isolated villages. They are despised and neglected. Hundreds of thousands have fled Romania, only to meet harsh treatment in other European countries. But outreach to Gypsies is on the increase, and large numbers are turning to the Lord. Many Christian Gypsies now have bold vision to reach their own. The recent completion of the Kalderash Bible is a boon to the Gypsy believers.
b) The Muslims, who are predominantly Turks, Tatars and some Bulgarians. Most live in the southeast province of Constanta. Very little has been done to reach them, and Islamists from Turkey are becoming very active amongst them.
c) The south-east regions. There are three times more evangelical churches per capita in the north-west than in the south-east. There are 7,000 villages without an evangelical church in the south-east.
Pray that believers might be burdened for these less reached areas and bring the light of the gospel to them.
26.-30. Russia: Russia is a proud but despairing nation. It has been systematically plundered and looted by the very ones who once deceived it with the morally destructive Communist ideology. Democracy appears a farce, economic progress an illusion and capitalism another form of banditry. The hopes of spiritual renewal of the early 1990s have been dashed by the failures of both political and Church leadership.
Pray that Christian values of loving, sacrificial service and moral integrity might dispel the corrosive impact and legacy of Communism on both society and the Christian Church.
The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) survived Communism and remains the one major symbol of Russian identity. Its liturgy and teachings continue to mould Russian culture. Openly professing Orthodox increased from 30 million in 1985 to 60 million in 2000. The Church is using every possible means to regain its exclusive spiritual dominance lost nearly a century ago.
Please pray for:
a) An enhancement of the good – an emphasis on the beauty and greatness of God and on the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ.
b) An ending of intolerance. The ROC’s claim to be the one true apostolic Church and that all other faiths are invalid or sectarian stimulate attitudes of repression, tyranny and bigotry.
c) A facing up to compromise under Communism. Many of today’s leaders have been exposed as tools of the atheists. Compromise brought deep divisions that still remain unaddressed years after Communism’s demise.
d) A rooting out of a culture of corruption in the ROC. While attacking Western materialism the ROC has gained a dubious reputation for bribery, simony (awarding church posts for money), smuggling alcohol and tobacco, tax evasion and money laundering.
e) True spiritual life. The ROC claims to speak for all Russians, but only 3% are actively involved and 7% go to church once a month, though 50% claim a nominal allegiance to the Church and may have been baptized. There continues to be a disastrous neglect of the youth of Russia. Passive belief needs to change into a life-changing faith.
f) Renewal movements within the ROC. The traditionalists are the more powerful but are out of touch, clinging to a Slavonic Church liturgy which few understand, and grasping for political power. The reformers are often persecuted but are more Bible-focused, open for change and tolerant.
Pray that future leaders may come from this more spiritual movement.
g) Theological education.B> This has long been neglected but the 5 Orthodox theological institutions of 1988 had become 51 in 1995.
Pray that there may be true spiritual life in these.
A Missions vision. For years, Russian culture and language dominated and those of ethnic minorities were suppressed. Over 18% of the population is non-Russian and speak nearly 100 languages. . Ukrainians have been far more active than Russians in cross-cultural outreach in Russia.
Pray for a mission’s vision in the Russian church and ability to bridge the cultural and social barriers Russian missionaries face.
Pray for the launching of many more Russian mission agencies.
Once again we have traveled the globe on our knees. We continue to pray believing that our prayers are heard in the courts of heaven and … “…the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea…” (Hab. 2:14 KJV)
Lane M. Holland, M.Div.
Mission Info Bank. Used by permission.
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