August 16-31 Prayer Agenda
In the closing days of summer and vacations we here at Word Ministries take time to say thank you for being willing to spend a few moments each day alone or with your prayer group covering the nations in prayer. We believe part of our mission and vision is to see the whole earth filled with the Glory of the Lord. We pray that the Lord of the Harvest will continue to send forth laborers into the darkest parts of our world and that the light of Jesus Christ will penetrate the hearts of men, women and children.
16-17. Morocco: Missionary work, as such, is no longer openly permitted, and former mission centers were closed in the late 1960s. There has been a renewed attack against NGO’s and Christian workers in this nation. Many have been expelled over the last year. Christian workers are able to take up various types of employment, share their faith and encourage believers. Give thanks for those who are living in this country – may their lives radiate the life of Jesus, and may they have a tactful boldness and faith for a harvest despite surveillance, pressure and discouragements.
Pray for those who have been expelled from the country that the Lord will heal their hearts and give them direction for the future.
Pray for more to be able to master Arabic and the Berber languages.
Pray also for the way to open for Christians to enter this land.
Praise God for a widespread and growing interest in the gospel, though every advance is contested by the enemy of souls. Pray specifically for protection of enquirers and national believers from informers, compromise and from internal dissension. Pray also for greater freedom for, and recognition of, Christians. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion – but this does not extend to freedom to leave Islam.
Pray for all who have taken this step and for boldness in witness
18.-19. Mozambique: This nation emerged broken and wounded from colonialism and three decades of civil war. In 1995 it was reckoned to be the world’s poorest nation. The government has worked hard to open up the economy, lay true democratic foundations, grant religious freedom and bind up the wounds of the past.
Please turn these major challenges it faces into prayer:
a) Continuing natural disasters – much of the infrastructure of the more developed south was destroyed in the cyclone and flooding of 2000.
b) The danger of regional disaffection – the more heavily populated north feels neglected.
c) The growing calamity of AIDS with nearly 14% known to be HIV+ and 310,000 AIDS orphans. Medical services are rudimentary for the vast majority.
20.-21.Myanmar: These are the Challenges facing the Church in Myanmar that need prayer:
a) Fortitude and faithfulness under persecution. There is much freedom yet also there are many imposed restrictions – on buildings, proselytizing, job opportunities and importation of literature. There have been many cases of Christians being forced to build Buddhist temples and to renounce their faith.
b) Liberal theology in some of the older, ecumenical seminaries is creating a church leadership that scorns evangelicals and the message of new birth.
Pray that the Bible may retain its rightful place in the affections of both leaders and church members.
c) Nominalism among third- and fourth-generation Christians is widespread.
Pray for revival.
d) Most Christians are from minority groups which are embroiled in military actions against the central government.
Pray that this may not cause bitterness, hatred of other peoples, compromise of their faith, or blunting of a missions vision.
e) Reconciliation and unity among Christians is a serious need. The causes of division are various – ethnic, political, passivism or military activism, and doctrinal.
Pray that the Myanmar Biblical Christian Fellowship and the Myanmar Evangelical Christian Fellowship may effectively promote unity.
22. Namibia: Namibia for long had the highest percentage of Christians for any country in Africa. The early labors of German and Finnish Lutheran and then Anglican missionaries gave birth to large denominations. The influence of liberal and then black theology eroded that spiritual heritage, and true discipleship and holy living are now in short supply and nominalism widespread. There is a noticeable turning away from Christianity and a lack of openness to the gospel.
Pray for a unity, based on Scripture and bathed in the Spirit, that will bring reconciliation and revival.
22. Nauru: The wealth of Nauruans contrasts markedly with the relative poverty of surrounding island states. Materialism has sapped the people of spiritual concern. Church life is at a low ebb. There are few evangelical believers. This isolated island paradise of materialism, where everything has been free, may end with the exhaustion of the phosphate deposits. There is low life-expectancy because fresh food cannot be grown locally.
Pray that these realities may cause a turning to God.
23.-24. Nepal: Religious freedom has increased, but is still only partial. Persecution from the authorities was greatly reduced in 1990 with the advent of democracy. All Christian prisoners were released and all pending court cases against over 300 Christians were dismissed. Over the 1990s there have been a number of Christians who have been arrested, imprisoned or even murdered in custody for seeking to preach to Hindus. Increasing Hinduist persecution of Christians in India is impacting official attitudes. Militant Hinduists in Nepal are targeting Christians with virulent propaganda and violence which aims to drive all Christians from the country.
a) Full religious freedom to be both guaranteed in the constitution and upheld by the authorities.
b) The thwarting of the designs of the extremists and for their eyes to be opened to the Lord Jesus.
25. Netherlands: Young people’s ministry has become harder through indifference and an interest in non-Christian religious experiences. Christianity is perceived as irrelevant, yet many young people are searching for answers in a society that has lost its direction.
a) Parents to see the need to witness to their children, and bring them to faith in Christ.
b) Schools to provide adequate Christian education.
c) Churches to gain the interest of young people by addressing their felt needs.
d) Street evangelism, coffee bars, camps and outreach to drug addicts through YWAM, Agape (CCCI) and YFC.
e) University students who live in a high-pressure ideological battle zone where it is hard to stand for Jesus.
Pray for Navigator and IFES groups on many campuses. About 2,500 students are affiliated to over 40 groups linked with the latter.
f) A challenge to missions and outreach that will give young people a cause for which to live and die. The cost of commitment is too high for most. Triennial Europe-wide youth missions conferences hosted in the Netherlands have had a significant impact on young people.
25. Netherland Antilles: Christian radio is a significant ministry which involves most of the Protestant missionary force. TEAM concentrates on local Papiamento broadcasts from Radio Victoria. TWR, from their powerful station on Bonaire and by satellite, concentrates on Latin America and the world in English (52 hrs), Spanish (33) and Portuguese (26) as well as two Amerindian languages.
Pray for the TWR missionary community of 54 expatriate workers on Bonaire who maintain the radio ministry, often with little visible encouragement, yet much fruit.
26. New Caledonia: These are the less-reached that need prayer as do those who will cross social and cultural barriers to bless them with the Gospel of Christ:
a) Nearly half the population has been alienated from exposure to the gospel and has no meaningful link with anything Christian. A whole new pattern of ministry needs to be developed. Alpha courses for seekers are proving one fruitful approach.
b) The highly secularized cities. Amsterdam has become a byword for godlessness. Over half the population claims no religious affiliation. The large drop-out population and the moral collapse hamper witness to the unconverted. Over 75% of the Arab, Asian and Southern European migrant population lives in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. A number of churches and agencies have ministry to these sections of the community, but most such work is on a small scale. Notable are the efforts of international movements such as YWAM, Agape (CCCI), and OM, as well as Dutch agencies. Pray for the turning of the tide of permissiveness in these cities.
c) Migrant ethnic minorities are increasing in numbers and by 2015 will comprise 17-18% of the population and speak over 140 languages. Many form an urban underclass with high unemployment, involvement with drugs, and crime. A number of congregations have been formed among the Ghanaians, Indonesians, Antilleans, Chinese and other groups. Pray that these may be spiritually effective and vigorous in outreach to every culture.
d) Muslims will soon be one-tenth of the population, but come from many cultures. Specialized efforts and committed friendship are needed to reach them. Pray for those seeking to reach them, such as SVEOM, Gospel for Guests, YWAM in Amsterdam and various churches. Only a few have come to the Lord, and lack of nurture and care means a high casualty rate. Pray specifically for:
i) The Turks and Kurds among whom are now several groups of believers.
ii) Moroccans – many being Berber Rif and Shilha.
iii) Iranians and Afghans.
e) The Chinese, many of whom are Buddhist. There are over 10 churches among them (COCM).
f) The Hindus – mainly Suriname Asians and Sri Lankan Tamil (Christar).
27. New Zealand: The lack of meaningful interfacing between Christians and the secularized majority is giving concern. New initiatives sparked by Willow Creek, use of Alpha courses and special seeker services are helping, as is the Christian schooling network.
Pray for relevance, authenticity, vibrancy, and winsomeness in witness for believers. The decline in the welfare state has also given churches more awareness of opportunities to help the poorer sectors of the community with local food banks, budget counseling, etc.
Pray that these avenues of community ministry might bear spiritual fruit.
28. Nicaragua: Rapid growth of Evangelicals in an impoverished and dysfunctional society has exposed weaknesses and problems.
Pray for resolution to:
a) The deep trauma suffered by so many who are coming to the churches
Bereavement, family break-ups, material losses, etc. About 70% of church members are jobless.
b) The divisions among the churches – on Liberation Theology, the work of the Holy Spirit, and interpersonal conflicts.
c) Involvement in politics. Evangelicals are now one-fifth of the population, but do not agree on how to be effective and prophetic – inside the present corrupt political system, or outside it?
29. Niger: These are the significant prayer challenges:
a) Many believers are isolated, often illiterate and rarely have systematic Bible teaching available.
b) There are not enough mature leaders – there have been a number of denominational splits.
c) Leadership training – the EERN (SIM-related) runs two middle-level Bible schools and two basic Bible schools. There are also many small Bible training schools in the country, run by six different denominations.
Pray for effective ways to train more leaders and give further training to those in pastoral work.
30.-31. Nigeria: Christian leaders are under great stress in today’s Nigeria – economic and political pressure, but also for those in the north, real dangers from Muslim extremists. Many have an internationally significant ministry. Pray for:
a) A multiplication of leaders well versed in the Scriptures, spirit-led, skilled in disciple-making and steeped in the knowledge of God and the power of prayer.
b) The 160+ seminaries and Bible schools in Nigeria and a growing number of missions training schools. There are also a number of TEE courses. Churches and ministries need to team up more together to avoid duplication of effort in training. Six evangelical seminaries offer postgraduate degrees. Nigeria is one of the continental bases for the Accreditation Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA) which is a vital instrument for improving theological education all over Africa. The major lack is for more non-denominational Bible schools geared to give biblical training to founders and pastors of independent groups.
c) Mentor leaders to be raised up. One-man ministries, dictatorial leadership, empire-building and unwillingness to delegate responsibility to the upcoming generation are common weaknesses. The gap between older and younger pastors is often large.
d) Improved cooperation and fellowship across denominational boundaries. Pray for evangelical bodies such as the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and the Nigeria Evangelical Fellowship as well as those representing a wider spectrum – CAN and the Christian Council of Nigeria.
Lane M. Holland, M.Div.
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