October 2009 Prayer Assignments
We are entering the fall season here in the United States. Temperatures are dropping, leaves are starting to change and we are beginning to prepare for cooler days. It is harvest time and we look at the bounty from the land and give thanks. It is always harvest time in the Kingdom of God. There are individuals who are waiting to hear the good news of the gospel. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the whole world and redemption is available through his shed blood. Want you join me again this month as we continue to pray through the nations. Our local area suffered record breaking floods and loss of lives. We are grateful for the prayers and support that has been offered. Let us also remember the Philippines as they mourn the loss of lives and seek to recover from damaging floods.
1. Rwanda: The East African Revival began in Rwanda in the 1930s. The blessing was lost and the heritage of tribalism which was crucified with Jesus on the cross, forgotten. Many were shocked that a nation nearly 90% ‘Christian’ could sink to such barbarities. Too few Christians spoke out against the atrocities, and some even connived with the perpetrators.
Pray for a deep spirit of repentance, and for revival to sweep through the churches once more.
Pray that the Church may be cross-centered, Bible-based, supra-tribal and become truly prophetic and evangelistic. Recent suffering has increased the fervor of many.
Many Christians suffered much. Thousands of spiritual leaders were murdered. Many leaders despair of being able to cope with the desperate physical, social, psychological and spiritual damage done. Pray for all involved in reconciliation, counseling, discipling and training ministries. Bible schools and seminaries are seeking to regain lost ground in providing leaders for the future. There is a dearth of good Bible study aids.
Pray that God may raise up men and women of God fitted for Rwanda’s hour of need.
Pray also for protection for church leaders from extremists who still want to promote tribalism and fuel ethnic hatreds.
2. Samoa: Samoans have been Christian for over a century, and every village has at least one church, but the traditional class structure and pre-Christian cultural standards were not necessarily transformed by the gospel. Pride, political manipulation, formalism, ignorance, denominational rivalry and division, heavy demands for ministerial support, and compromise had already weakened the Church before the challenge presented by the influx of cults, high teenage suicide, and the need to provide a future and a hope for the next generation.
Pray for both government and church leaders of Samoa; there are committed Evangelicals among them.
The growth of Mormonism has been both spectacular and relatively unchallenged. Pray for all seeking to enlighten Samoan Christians of Mormonism’s errors and to win Mormons to Jesus. The whole nation has an obligatory quiet time for prayer and Bible reading at dusk.
Pray for renewal and revival.
San Marino: The Sammarinese are Catholic by tradition and culture, but most give only lip service to the Church and are very materialistic. The only non-Catholics are some JWs, a small group of Baha’i and several Waldensian Church families. San Marino proclaims itself “Ancient Land of Liberty”. There is freedom to worship, but not to evangelize – any outreach by evangelical believers in the past has resulted in jailing and expulsion from the country. It is also almost impossible for foreigners to reside in the country. There is only one indigenous evangelical believer reported, but no evangelical church exists.
Pray that they may have a life-changing encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Sao Tome: The vast majority of the population is Catholic, but morals on the islands do not reflect this. Ninety percent of children are born illegitimately – the world’s highest rate.
Pray that the Church may experience a renewal that challenges people’s empty religion.
Evangelical growth has accelerated since independence – mainly through the work of the Portuguese Assemblies of God and more recently through Brazilian (YWAM) and Nigerian (Deeper Life) missionaries as well as a number of Pentecostal and other denominations in the late 1990s.
Pray that these missionaries might have a great evangelistic and church planting impact on these islands.
Pray for the development of locally-led congregations with effectively trained Christian leaders. Pray also for local support for national workers and for the launching of an interdenominational training centre
Less-reached sections of the population are the Príncipe islanders, the rural Angolares and the contract laborers, with each group having its own distinct Creole dialect.
Pray for their salvation.
3.-4. Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia once had a large Christian population. They were expelled when Islam gained control 1,300 years ago. It is now one of the least evangelized nations on earth. No Christian workers are permitted and all Christian “propaganda” banned. No Christian is permitted to set foot in Islam’s holiest city, Mecca.
Pray that one day soon this land may have many Christians praising the Lamb that was slain.
Saudi Arabia probably has the world’s worst record on religious freedom and human rights. This has been achieved through a corrupt judicial system, arrogant religious police (mutawwa), and the corroboration of the government. This woeful record is regularly condemned by both Christian and secular international bodies promoting equality and freedom of conscience.
Pray for an easing of the tight control, and for freedom of religious expression.
Christian expatriates live under strict surveillance. Secret gatherings are hunted down with diligence and leaders sometimes subjected to humiliating beatings, imprisonment, expulsion, and even execution. This is particularly so for Asian Christians who have often been the most effective witnesses and whose governments have the least international clout. There are perhaps only 50,000 practicing believers, although many more would join them were the risks not so great.
Pray for encouragement and strength for the believing community. There are few opportunities to meaningfully interact with Saudis, and very few expatriates speak Arabic.
Pray that other Arabs might gain a burden to reach Saudis. Although Saudi Arabia signed the U.N. Charter, which guarantees freedom of religion, Saudis who confess Christ face the death penalty if discovered. Still, a growing and substantial number are secretly seeking and finding Him. All converts discovered in the past have been executed. Pray for the preservation and multiplication of believers, and the legalization of Christianity for Saudis.
Pray that Saudi believers may be able to meet together in safety and have access to God’s Word.
5. Senegal: Islam grew from about 45% of the population in 1900 to over 92% in 2000. It is the religion of almost all the Wolof, Fulbe and Mande peoples. Praise God for religious freedom; tolerance for other religions being a source of pride – possibly because so few Muslims have ever come to Christ.
Pray for a new receptivity to the gospel and the preservation of freedom of religion.
Christians are confined to sections of the Serer, Jola and Cape Verdian peoples. There are also some congregations among smaller ethnic groups in the south. Their influence is disproportionately great through their input into health services and education. Sadly most are nominally Catholic and from a non-Muslim background. Their lifestyle often does no credit to the cause of Christ, for few know real freedom in Christ and victory over the powers of darkness. Muslims refer to Christians as ‘those who drink’ rather than those who follow Christ.
Pray that there is a revival among these ethnic groups that will transform both their lives and their witness in the community.
6. Seychelles: The vast majority of Seychellois claim to be Christian, but the faith of many is tainted by immorality, superstition and nominalism. Gris-gris, African-based spiritism based on black magic and herbalism, permeates the lives of Christians. Too many believers lack a personal relationship with Christ, depending instead on the rites of baptism and confirmation.
Pray that the Holy Spirit may bring new life evidenced by repentance and sustained fruit.
The outer and less-populated islands are isolated and have had little challenge to a personal commitment to Christ. The youth need spiritual attention aimed at their particular needs.
Pray for effective ministries to be developed to win both groups for the Lord.
7. Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone was the first West African country to be evangelized. The first Protestant Church was started among freed slaves in Freetown in 1785. Yet after over 200 years of effort, less than 12% of the country claims to be Christian. Very few denominations have grown significantly in the past 40 years or made a lasting impact on the country.
Pray for revival, a spirit of prayer and unity, a strong desire to live for Jesus alone and commitment to holistic outreach to their traumatized fellow-countrymen.
The unchallenged power of the occult lies behind all the greed and cruelty, and also the powerlessness of the Church. Many Christians have compromised in this area; nominalism and sin are the result.
Pray that these powers may be bound, the influence of secret societies broken and that covenants made with demonic powers may be renounced.
Sierra Leone has become infamous for the barbaric maiming of innocent victims as an instrument for terror and control. Thousands of men, women and children and even babies, have had limbs cruelly amputated. Over 100,000 have been slain. Countless numbers of girls and women have been raped. Thousands of children have been kidnapped, drugged and forced to kill even their own relatives. Nearly the whole population has had experience of being refugees.
Pray that all the instigators who, for greed, have unleashed such terror would be brought to justice and even to repentance and faith in Christ.
8. Singapore: Bible training in the 16 seminaries, Bible schools and missions training schools is becoming a key ministry for Christians all over Asia. Worthy of particular mention are the Singapore Bible College, Trinity Theological College, Theological Centre for Asia, Tung Ling Bible School and the specifically missions-preparation institutions of YWAM, Asian Cross-Cultural Training Institute, Discipleship Training Centre and Bethany School of Missions. The Haggai Institute has provided stimulating short-term courses for pastors and Christian workers from all over the world, especially Asia and Africa. Some churches run their own theological training programs.
Pray that graduates of these may have the endurance and faith for long-term service at home and abroad.
Young people have been the most responsive segment of the population but there is a growing problem with alienated youth from dysfunctional backgrounds. Many youth ministries such as Eagles Evangelism, Youth for Christ, the Boys’ Brigade and others have a decisive impact. Among undergraduates, over 34% are involved with FES (IFES), CCCI and Navigators groups.
Pray for continued relevance, freshness and spiritual power in ministry to the rising generation of youth.
Pray also that all those discipled might be well integrated into local churches.
9. Slovakia: Slovakia has a strong Christian heritage, but the Catholic and mainline Protestant churches (Lutheran and Reformed) are more traditional and the majority of congregations are declining in numbers and attendance. The Lutheran Church holds an annual youth conference which draws a considerable number of young people.
Pray against a spirit of passivity and even cynicism and pray for a revelation of God’s glory so that many become enthused for the Kingdom in these denominations. Slovenia
Evangelical denominations are few and small. They suffer from a minority complex. Some congregations are growing but others are merely in survival mode. There needs to be a clear understanding and experience of the gospel within each congregation so that its truths are communicated to listeners hardened by centuries of Church history.
Pray for a clear expounding of God’s Word that results in obedience to His authority among young and old alike.
Slovakia, as a nation, needs a sense of direction after the years of foreign rule, Communist economics and the ‘velvet divorce’ from the Czech Republic.
Pray that as the economy picks up and becomes more linked with the EU, materialism and falling moral standards may not dull the present search for meaning and reality evident in many.
Training for leaders and believers alike is essential. The Slovak Evangelical Alliance is sponsoring a church planters’ training program to educate and train laity – nearly 100 have finished this course already. There is a good Bible School attached to the university in Banska Bystrica for preparing pastors, evangelists, Christian teachers for schools, etc.
Pray that many godly leaders may be formed through this program, and bring the good news to Slovakia and beyond.
10. Solomon Islands: The tragic conflict of 1998-2001 has left the country with no effective government, a severely damaged economy and infrastructure, and little prospect for a lasting peace and recovery.
Pray that all ethnic tension, vengefulness and bitterness may be dispelled and reconciliation sought.
Pray for a government to be raised up than can restore the nation’s stability and progress.
The Solomons have had a history of revivals – in SSE churches in 1935 and 1970, then in nearly all denominations in 1982 onwards. People in all parts of the country came to the Lord and enthusiastically became involved in churches, house groups, prayer meetings and outreach. Evangelical and charismatic believers have grown much in all denominations. The result was a waning of syncretistic ‘cargo cults’ and the indigenization of the gospel to local cultures. The revival is history now.
Pray that its quickening effects might restore the damaged spiritual life of the country in the wake of the violence and give strength, vigor and spiritual power to a new generation of Christians.
Inadequate training of pastors is the biggest bottleneck for the Church’s growth in maturity and expansion. There have been some damaging cases of clerical misdemeanors which have brought discredit to the Lord.
Pray for the six SSEC Bible Schools, the Anglican Theological College, and also TEE programs.
Pray also for a greater global mission’s vision.
11. Somalia: Somalia is the most lawless country in the world. In contrast, the unrecognized Somaliland has a good measure of stability and peace. After 10 years of violence and anarchy, Somalis are desperate for peace and restoration of civil order. Tentative efforts to form a government are ignored or derided by some of the warlords.
Pray that all factions may agree on the formation of a national government and that future rulers might learn from the past, govern the nation for the good of its people, respect human rights and also grant true religious freedom.
The Somali Church has been driven underground. A number of believers have been martyred; others have been publicly named as targets for execution. In 1991 there were about 500 Somali Catholics and several hundred Evangelicals – most being secret believers and nearly all in the south; with few in Somaliland. Some have since fled the anarchy, taking refuge in Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen and elsewhere. Globally there may now be 2,000 Somali Christians.
Pray for their protection, growth in the faith and boldness to witness when opportunities arise.
Pray also for Somali Christian families to be raised up – the great majority of Christians are men.
Islam has failed the people. Two powerful competing Sufi brotherhoods have contributed to present troubles. The evident greed, intolerance and lack of love have discredited Islam. Some are seeking solutions in radical Islam. Many Islamist teachers have flooded into Somaliland and Puntland where there is more stability.
Pray that Islamist plans may be thwarted and a new religious tyranny prevented. The Somali Bible was published in 1977. Distribution is only possible in refugee camps and among Somalis outside Somalia.
Pray for the wide dissemination of the Scriptures.
12.-14. South Africa: The euphoria of the ‘New’ South Africa has worn off. There are too many African examples of demagoguery, decline, corruption and cronyism for there to be any complacency. There are many committed Christians at every level in society.
Pray for all in leadership that wise decisions, fair laws and economic betterment may be the hallmark.
There is a need for ongoing healing and reconciliation. The legacy of contempt, mistrust, fear, injustice, violence, intimidation and deep hurt has scarred the soul of the nation.
Pray for a healthy balance between non-racialism and affirmative action (favoring the previously disadvantaged) in education, the economy, employment and leadership.
There is a need for effective policing and administration of justice. The escalating crime wave has shocked the nation (200,000 murders in the 1990s), limited foreign investment and restrained the flow of tourists. The major growth industry is security. Violent robberies, car-hijacking and rape are commonplace. The country has a murder rate over seven times that of the USA and few crimes end up with convictions. The police force is discouraged, under-trained and under-equipped to cope.
Pray that both this epidemic and underlying malaise might be healed. Pray for Christian ministries among children at risk, jobless young people, prisoners and the police force, to bear much fruit.
AIDS has become the primary cause of death. Daily 1,200 victims are buried. There were 420,000 AIDS orphans in 2000. Over 20% of the adult population and a third of all teachers are infected. The economy is increasingly affected through loss of skills and time off work. The age expectancy of the population has fallen rapidly and medical services cannot cope. There are dozens of Christian agencies and NGOs, as well as many churches, active in this field.
Pray that this terrible pandemic might be tamed and that Christians might be used of God in caring for the victims and raising moral and family standards to prevent its spread.
Mission work began among indigenous peoples in 1799. Nearly every major denomination in Europe and North America has played a part in their evangelization. Despite tragic mistakes, heroic efforts have yielded much fruit. The missionary force has reduced in numbers as mature churches have emerged, and most existing ministries are in church development, leadership training, youth, literature and radio ministries.
Pray for fruitful ministries for them in times of great difficulty and discouragement.
15.-16. Spain: The Inquisition is a dark shadow lying over Spain. In the name of Christ, the Catholic Church burned at the stake hundreds of thousands of innocent Spanish Jews, Moors and Protestants in the 16th century. This weapon of repression was then used throughout the Americas against the indigenous population. The Church became associated with bigotry and tyranny, and also was tainted by association with the Franco dictatorship.
Pray that this stain on the Spanish nation may be fully repented of and renounced and the shame on Christianity diminished.
The Catholic Church is in serious crisis. Its loss of numbers and influence and the widespread mistrust of it as an institution has had a demoralizing effect. Few applicants for the priesthood has caused the average age of priests to rise to 57. There were 23,000 seminarians in 1960 but less than 2,000 in 1999. The charismatic movement has grown, but is small with about 30-35,000 active members in 650 groups. Yet the centuries of control and instruction have inoculated most people against considering a more biblical Christianity.
Pray that the legacy of bondage and blindness may be removed.
There is a spiritual vacuum which is being filled by several things including drugs. There are reckoned to be 300,000 addicted to heroin and cocaine, a major factor in the AIDS epidemic. In 2000 there were estimated to be 120,000 carrying the HIV virus (0.6% of the population)), and AIDS victims are more numerous than in any other European country. RETO, REMAR (Pentecostal) and Betel (WEC-related) have had success in rehabilitating drug addicts in centers in many parts of the country. RETO has 50 rehabilitation centers and ministry in 10 countries, REMAR has communities in 165 Spanish towns and works in 57 countries. The Betel converts have planted 10 churches and have extended their ministry to over 10 other countries.
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.c) For honest, fair government for this multi-religious, multi-ethnic country. The bitterly divided Sinhala political scene prevents moves towards peace. d) 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. e) 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.
Pray for this.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Pray for the local believers and missionary team, and for their outreach through postal evangelism, radio and literature.
Let us continue to believe for a move of God across the nations of the earth.
Lane M. Holland, M.Div.
Mission Info Bank. Used by permission.
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