Prayer Assignments for April 16th – 30th

May we continue to pray….

16: Cook Islands: Christian influence has been strong for 150 years. The integration of secular and religious leadership created what are virtually theocratic states. Church attendance is high, but few have assurance of salvation. Many smaller islands have no known evangelical witness. There are Evangelicals in several AoG churches and small groups within the older churches.

Pray for a new infusion of spiritual life.

Niue has become valuable cyber-territory for web sites because of its ‘.nu’ address. It has become a money magnet for Japanese telephone pornography, internet gambling and Russian money launderers.

Pray against these global evils, the neutralization of their corrupting influence and for God to judge their criminal perpetrators.

Migration to New Zealand for employment has given another means of bringing new life into the islands. Eighty per cent of Niueans, 70% of Tokelauans and over 60% of Cook Islanders now live in New Zealand.

Pray for the Island churches in Auckland and other New Zealand cities. Blessing there will affect the islands.

17: Costa Rica: The tragic and sudden halt to evangelical church growth in 1988 led to a decade of little progress. There are now numerous unattached Evangelicals (6% of the population) and many more ex-Evangelicals who have returned to the Catholic Church, turned to sects or given up on Christianity. The causes need to be turned into prayer fuel.

Pray for the following areas:

a) Denominational rivalry and acrimonious divisions disillusioned many. Pray for love, humility and oneness in the Spirit to characterize the leadership in churches.

b) Inflexible sub-cultures and petty legalisms discouraged many new Christians and seekers. Pray for revival.

c) Secularism, materialism, post-modern and New Age mindsets are sapping the vitality of urban congregations.

d) The moral failure of evangelical leaders – both internationally known US televangelists and Costa Rican pastors. The challenge is to restore both holy living and credibility to the cause of Christ.

18: Cote d’Ivoire: Spiritism is still strong in Côte d’Ivoire, despite apparent numerical decline. There are 4000 evangelical churches, but 5000 sacred fetish groves. Many Christians are still affected by the power of spiritism and fetishes, compromising both their witness and their own life in Christ.

Pray that all who have not fully left behind their spiritist past might be completely delivered by the power of Jesus.

Pray that believers might withstand temptation to revert to old practices.

The level of Bible knowledge and discipleship is low, partly a result of rapid church growth. Many churches accept the ‘prosperity’ gospel, and open air campaigns sometimes focus more upon miracles and healings rather than the One who is their source. However, this trend has been counterbalanced by the growth of Bible Institutes, Study Centres, and Correspondence Courses in which thousands of students are now enrolled.

Pray that students at the new CMA theological school may grow in the mastery of the Word.

Pray for the AoG’s new training institute, opening soon in Abidjan.

Pray also for the Navigators and other ministries that focus on the much needed area of discipleship.

19: Croatia: The link between ethnicity and religion for Orthodox Serbs, Muslim Bosnians and Catholic Croats has stifled any spiritual breakthroughs. The Balkan Wars since 1991 have helped some of those who have suffered most to be more open to change.

Pray for the breaking of all satanic bondages and cultural blindnesses that prevent people from repentance and personal faith in Christ.

Evangelical Christians have emerged as one of the only trans-ethnic bodies that have ministered to refugees of all communities. Hundreds of Bosnians, Croats and Serbs have been won to Christ and brought to fellowshipping together. The compassionate ministry of both foreign and indigenous church/mission agencies such as the Baptists, the Lutherans and AGAPE (the social arm of the Evangelical Church) in dispensing aid, giving trauma therapy and loving those who have suffered, has won much credit for the gospel.

Pray for these ongoing outreaches and their lasting spiritual impact.

Leadership training. The impact of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek has been great. From small beginnings in 1972 (under Communism) it has grown into an international, interdenominational school impacting much of Central Europe as well as Croatia. Many fruitful ministries have had their birth within it.

Pray for the continued spiritual fruitfulness and theological health of faculty, students and graduates – now serving in 27 countries.

20: Cuba: Cubans were highly secularized before 1959 with 61% regular church-goers. The further loss of influence of the Catholic Church after 1959 was catastrophic. Nominal adherence to Catholicism dropped from 85% in 1957 to 38.5% in 1983, and the number of priests from 725 to 200. Since the Pope’s visit in 1998, the Catholic Church has revived and church attendance has increased.

Pray that millions might come to personal faith in Christ.

The Protestant churches were decimated by several waves of emigration to the USA, a move encouraged by the authorities. Recovery and growth was slow, but out of the furnace of persecution high-quality leadership and committed membership arose that witnessed fervently. Since 1989 growth has become spectacular with churches springing up in every corner of Cuba. Evangelicals now outnumber church-going Catholics. The 1,250 evangelical congregations in 1990 has increased to possibly 4,500 congregations and a further 10,000 house groups in 54 denominations. A high proportion of the new Christians are young people.

Pray that this growth may continue whatever the political situation.

Persecution of Christians has been severe, Catholics suffering even more than Protestants. For decades Christians were subject to arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, discrimination, and any church activities were restricted or arbitrarily banned. All open witness, evangelism and literature production and distribution was made almost impossible. That persecution has diminished but not ceased, but the capriciousness of its application breeds insecurity. Applications for registering or repairing churches are routinely ignored. Discipleship is still costly but many are prepared to pay the price and shine for Jesus.

Pray for continued courage and fortitude for believers, and for complete religious freedom.

21: Cyprus: The 40-year conflict between the two communities has gone on too long. Entrenched intransigence and bitterness defy a peaceful resolution.

Pray that both sides may recognize and admit past wrongs and find a satisfactory way to bring harmony and trust into their relationship, and even allow entry into the EU as a single entity.

The Orthodox Church has long been a refuge and guarantor of Greek Cypriot survival. The boundary between politics, culture and Church is blurred. Church attendance is high at 48%, but traditionalism is also strong.

Pray for Holy Spirit renewal movements to bring many to a warm personal faith in Christ.

Evangelical churches among Greeks are few – the major ones being the Greek Evangelical and the Church of God of Prophecy. Negative propaganda against Evangelicals holds many back from considering joining one. Few workers and ministries are focused on the majority.

Pray that the barriers of history, theology, prejudice and fear may be removed and significant church growth begin.

22: Czech Republic: Though Communism is a fading memory, the transition to another social paradigm has not been easy. The entry of market capitalism has left its trademark – wealth and hedonism for a few, but increased economic stress for many. The great moral vacuum formed by decades of Communism has not been filled. The resultant moral decline in the past decade has been accompanied by an increase in crime, substance abuse, prostitution and family breakdown.

Pray that this negative spiral might be cut short by the intervention of God into this godless society.

The Catholic Church outnumbers all other denominations nearly 7 to 1, and yet is in serious decline. It had a brief opportunity to re-establish its influence after 1989, but failed due to internal dissension and insufficient action. The Church is now making conciliatory gestures towards other Christian groups and a renewal movement is active, but the leadership is old (average priest’s age is 69), and the laity is aging and decreasing rapidly.

Pray for God’s Spirit to sweep through the Catholic Church and awaken these millions to the living reality of Christ.

The recent religious freedom has been a double-edged sword. Believers are free to minister and evangelize, but openness has taken the cutting edge off of the Church. There are more denominations and missions working in the Czech Republic than ever, but also more divisions. The influx of foreign workers in the 1990’s has proved to be very helpful in some cases, and harmful in others. The Evangelical Alliance works to coordinate the efforts of member churches.

Pray that all those working for the evangelization of Czechs would do so with a unity of purpose and synergy of action.

Pray for the indigenous churches to mature into sending churches, fulfilling their vision of supporting missionaries both at home and abroad.

23: Denmark: Denmark needs a fresh visitation from God. Ninety percent of the population are members of the Lutheran Peoples Church. Church attendance varies between 1% and 4% in most parishes, yet many Danes still hold to their Christian identity (50% regularly pray).

Pray that the Spirit may make Christ real to Danish Christians who have turned to secular or New Age thinking.

Much of the Lutheran Church is formal, and the fresh winds of the Holy Spirit must blow through this institution. A number evangelical pastors are committed to renewal of the Church.

Pray for wisdom for all who seek to transform the Church and make it relevant to secular Danes.

Young people have been particularly affected by the prevailing secularism and post-modernism of society, and have become more responsive to spiritual challenges. While there is a new enthusiasm towards the person of Jesus, many seek answers in new religious movements.

Pray that the Church may be able to approach such young people with an effective message.

24: Djibouti: Djibouti, Africa’s third smallest state, is a haven of calm in a stormy region. It is also a key base for Christian witness. There are many Christians amongst the Ethiopian refugees living in Djibouti

Pray that present freedoms may not be eroded by the politics of the Horn of Africa nor by the Islamist voice which gets louder as the economic situation declines.

Ethiopian refugees are often destitute. Many are Orthodox Christian. There are also five lively evangelical congregations among them, many with a strong desire to witness.

Pray that they may be both relevant and effective in that witness.

The few Somali and Afar believers are often isolated and suffer many pressures from relatives. Most of them are jobless and some are illiterate. The Somali believers are meeting regularly for Bible study together.

Pray for effective use of literacy programmes and the Scriptures in Somali and Afar. Pray that from these believers, leaders for congregations may be raised up.

25: Dominica: Historically Dominica has been and remains predominantly Catholic, but Evangelical Christians have increased from 2% in 1970 to over 13% in 2000. The Association of Evangelicals has been providing good leadership. There has been interest in a saturation church-planting programme.

Pray for continued growth in the gospel witness.

The Carib Indians live on an isolated reservation on the northeast coast of Dominica. They are the last of the indigenous peoples in the Caribbean to survive the arrival of colonialism and subsequent waves of immigrants. Most are nominally Christian, but few have a living faith in Christ.

Pray that these socially deprived people may find their true identity and fulfillment in Him.

25: Dominican Rep: Columbus’ importation of sugar cane has been the source of 500 years of wealth and misery. It was one factor in the genocide of the one million indigenous Arawak Taino people, the importation of slaves in the past and also the present exploitation of Haitian labour. Another factor is EU distortion of the world sugar market by exporting under-priced, subsidized beet sugar.

Pray for more fair and considerate treatment of the poor by both the Dominican government and richer nations in their trade policies.

The large Haitian under-class has been the most responsive of all. The Nazarene and Christian Reformed congregations have multiplied. Haitians are immigrants, or descendants of immigrants, who are often despised by Hispanics yet needed as sugar-cane and manual workers. They face discrimination from Dominicans – even Christians, and the question of their emancipation is a major unresolved issue that must be faced by both government and people.

Pray for church leaders and their congregations to be good witnesses in this tense and inequitable situation.

26: Ecuador: The country urgently needs an honest government that gives stability and peace, yet has the courage to tackle the serious economic and social problems that have held back real progress, and confront the vested interests of the entrenched, privileged elite.

Pray for those in authority.

Political uncertainty, war and a series of natural and economic disasters over the past 20 years have broken down old feudal structures of State and Church and made Ecuadorians more receptive to the gospel.

Pray that this openness may lead to a great spiritual harvest in every part of the country and level of society.

27-29: Egypt: For over 1,000 years Egypt was a majority-Christian country – even after the Arab Muslim conquest in 640AD. Egypt gave to the Christian world some of its greatest theologians and the monastic movement. Coptic Christians are more authentic Egyptians than those who follow the religion of their Arab conquerors. Every effort has been made to expunge Egypt’s great Christian heritage from the historic records, downplay the size of the Church and marginalize its contribution to society.

Pray that in a rediscovery of this heritage many might turn to Christ.

‘Islam is the solution’ has been the popular slogan pushing for a more Islamic state as the answer to Egypt’s economic and social problems. Acts of terrorism, economic sabotage and intolerance have brought discredit to Islam itself.

Pray that many might investigate the claims of the gospel and the faith of their forefathers.

The government has to perform a balancing act between the vociferous and often violent Islamists, the silent majorities and minorities in Egypt, and criticisms from the outside world.

Pray for fair and humane laws that are impartially applied by the courts and police for the good of the whole population.

The Coptic Church is by far the largest body of Christians in the Middle East and is a strategic key for the evangelization of the area.

Pray for:

a) The leadership of the Church. They need a close walk with God and wisdom in handling the Muslim authorities, Islamist persecution and the questioning world.

b) The spiritual enlivenment of the Church in the midst of mounting pressures and communal tensions. There are many nominal Christians.

c) The biblically-based renewal movement in the Coptic Church which has steadily gained momentum since 1930. It has a strong emphasis on Bible study and a warm personal faith and many have become fervent witnesses for the Lord. Pray for the growth and effectiveness of this movement of the Spirit.

d) Christians are numerous in business, the professions and health services. Pray that their lives and witness may exalt Christ.

30: El Salvador: Recovery from the social and psychological wounds of centuries of oppression and 12 years of civil war is a priority. The web of violence, hate, suspicion, atrocities and murder will take time to unravel. At the height of the war 20% of the population fled the country and the US poured in $6 billion to shore up the government. Overall, more than 75,000 were killed.

Pray for repentance, reconciliation and a fair society based on respect for human rights.

The growth of Evangelicals in the midst of travail has been a modern-day miracle, but now the need is for consolidation of the work. There is a growing number of ex-Evangelicals that underscores this need.

Pray for effective discipling and motivation of believers for service, witness and missions.

Sections of society which are of special challenge …Pray for these areas:

a) The Amerindian population still retains many of their cultural values and traits even though they have largely lost their languages. Their treatment in the 20th Century has been horrific. Pray for effective ministries to begin and for culturally-sensitive church planting among them.

b) Over 350,000 children were abandoned during the war. Orphanages, counseling, education and job opportunities for these scarred young people is important.

c) The 77,000 university students are the country’s future leaders. IFES has a ministry among them.

Your prayers always make a difference! We’ve made it through another month. Thank you for your continued commitment to join with us as we cover the globe with effectual prayers. May you see God move for you in your personal requests in miraculous ways each and every day.