JULY 8-17 PRAYER ASSIGNMENTS
We are preparing to celebrate another birthday of this great nation of America. During this month we will remember other nations in prayer who have their independence as well as those who are still praying and fighting for a different future for themselves and their families. The Word of God is true and we pray based on its promise that:
“…If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land…” II Chron. 7:14 (Amp.)
8. Jamaica: The country has sunk into a morass of social and economic problems that appear insoluble. It has one of the world’s highest homicide rates in the world. Violence in society is made worse by the powerful drug cartels and their distribution networks in both Jamaica and North America. Over 37% of cocaine-carrying ‘mules’ arrested entering the USA arrive from Jamaica. Half the male population are drug-abusers. Pray that government and church leaders may have the courage, moral integrity and determination to turn the country back from sin and to God.
The spiritual temperature of Jamaica affects that of the whole Caribbean.
Pray that the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals may be a model of unity and cooperation to weak and struggling associations in other countries.
Pray also that the 15 Bible schools and seminaries in Jamaica, which serve the whole Caribbean, may be powerhouses of spiritual life and missions’ vision.
9-12. Japan: Japan is in crisis economically and politically because of a failure of the leadership. The nation drifts like a rudderless ship. Massive economic reforms, a shaking up of society’s structures which favour self-seeking interest groups (political parties, yakuza mafia gangs, bankers, etc.) and a new opening up to the world will need leaders with courage to tackle these in the 21st Century. Pray for such.
The less-evangelized areas and peoples of Japan that require prayer:
a) Of the 672 cities, there are still 9 without a church, unchanged in 10 years. A further 77 have but one.
b) Of the 2,568 towns of 15,000-30,000 people, 1,733 are without churches.
c) Numerous rural areas are scarcely touched with the gospel. The Japanese Church has little vision for reaching out to the many towns with minimal or no Christian presence.
d) The ruling elite have been little influenced. Pray for the Emperor cocooned in tradition and committed, by his position, to Shintoism. Pray for politicians, bankers and industrialists who have such global impact through their leadership – or lack of it.
e) Koreans, descendants of those forcibly brought to Japan between 1903 and 1945, are usually denied full citizenship rights, and are still classed as resident aliens even into their third and fourth generations. They are despised and poorly paid. The Korean community is sharply divided in their allegiance to either North or South Korea. Korean missionaries have planted over 300 churches in this community, but the percentage of Christians among them is lower than that of South Korea.
f) Chinese, 60,000 residents, are largely involved in business in larger cities. The great majority are non-religious or follow the Chinese traditional religions. There are 14 churches among them with 1,100 Christians. There may be over 70,000 illegals living as a hidden underclass. There are 90,000 Chinese students in Japan, 50,000 from Mainland China – a fruitful field for ministry and the AoG saw 1,500 conversions among them in the 1990s.
g) The Ainu, ethnically unrelated to the Japanese, first settled in north Japan. They have been partly assimilated into Japanese culture, but a resurgence of Ainu culture may require a specific Christian outreach to them.
h) Extremist groups. Cults such as Aum Shinrikyo and their attempts at mass murder, and leftist groups such as the Japanese Red Army have become infamous globally. There are possibly 1,000 right wing extremist groups with 120,000 members. All these point to a deep unmet spiritual need.
i) Exploited women. The yakuza criminal network has an active role in importing 200,000 foreign women who become sex-slaves. There are an estimated 100,000 Thai and also many Filipina women involved. Pray both for this evil system to be halted and these tragically exploited women liberated at every level.
j) Muslims have increased through legal and illegal immigration of Bangladeshis, Iranians, Pakistanis and others. Some Japanese have also become Muslims – largely through marriage. Little is being done to reach them.
13. Jordan: The Christian community has suffered a numerical freefall in the past decades, due to lower birth rates, high rate of emigration, influx of Muslim refugees and the rise of politicized Islam. From 1970-2000 Jordan’s Christian population dropped by ½ – from 5.5 to 2.75% of the population. Still, Christians are found in all walks of life and often in positions of great influence. Both the Catholic and Orthodox Christians are an important component of Jordanian society.
Pray that Christians may be salt and light in Jordanian society, and may find ways to witness to nominal Christians as well as non-Christians.
The constant loss of leadership potential through emigration is a drain on the body of believers. Lay leadership is virtually non-existent, and only 20% of churches have a full-time pastor. But through several agencies, TEE courses and the Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, more Arab leaders are being trained for service in Jordan or in the wider Arab world. Youth work and Christian camp ministries by Manara and others have been fruitful in recent years; a strategic ministry considering that 50% of Jordan’s population is younger than 15.
Pray for more Jordanian believers to be called to full-time work.
Foreign missionaries have limited ministry opportunities because of the sensitive religious and political situation. Twenty or more agencies are involved in a wide range of activities, often supporting and enhancing the national church. Jordan also hosts a language school wherein many learn Arabic for their service in the Arab world.
Pray that these expatriates’ lives may commend the Lord Jesus and gain witness opportunities.
Pray that the Jordanian church might experience growth in mission vision.
14-15. Kazakhstan: The revival of Kazakh identity. The government’s deliberate promotion of Kazakh language and culture has created some social strain, and has had only limited success. About 40% of Kazakhs cannot speak their own language, and less than half the schools teach in Kazakh. Nevertheless, there is a good measure of social harmony considering the ethnic diversity of the nation. Pray that government leaders may wisely develop their nation’s cultural identity, and that political and religious extremism and oppression might be avoided. Pray that the peace and tolerance which enables ministry might continue.
Kazakhs have been nominally Sunni Muslims since 1043, but theirs is a folk Islam strongly influenced by animistic practices. An Islamist movement is being fuelled by Muslim missionaries and money from Iran, Turkey and Arab countries. There were 60 mosques in 1991; nine years later there were 5,000. Christianity is still viewed as the religion of the Russian oppressors.
Pray that long-held prejudices and spiritual bondages might be broken and religious tyranny avoided.
16-17 KENYA: Praise God for the great freedom to preach the gospel since independence, for the receptivity of the people and for the exciting growth of the Church. Over four-fifths of the population claim to be Christian, and Christians are found in every level of society.
Pray that Christians may bring truth and moral uplift to the nation as it edges to the brink of political disaster with possible economic collapse and inter-ethnic conflict.
Pray also for peaceful change and a democratic government, responsive to the deep needs of the people.
The rising level of human rights abuses, suppression of dissent, ethnic discrimination, and corruption needs to be challenged. Some Christian leaders have sought to speak out against these, which has led to confrontations with the government. The National Council of Christian Churches and the Evangelical Fellowship of Kenya are internally divided on how to handle these issues.
Pray that all Christians in national and church leadership may both live exemplary lives and also speak out as one against wrongs in a society that claims to be largely Christian.
Lane M. Holland, M.Div.
Mission Info Bank. Used by permission.
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