September 18-30 Prayer Assignments
Vacation days are almost gone and we now enter a new rhythm for the next season. We will soon start to see the beginnings of fall here in the United States. But for many of the people we pray for, every day involves some level of struggle just to survive. For others it is a repetition of sameness even in the midst of evident prosperity. And for others it is a hope of peace and a safe dwelling place. How wonderful it is that our prayers can interrupt their lives with the promise of peace, hope and joy through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Seasons may change but our God is always faithful. May we include these nations in our prayers during the coming days.
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.” (Isaiah 52:7-8)
18.-19. Poland: Young people and students, while sceptical 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.
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.
20. Portugal: There remain pioneer challenges despite recent church growth.
a) The seven northern and north-eastern provinces which are strongly traditional Catholic; relatively few evangelical churches exist. Brethren, Baptists, AoG, Missão Antioqía, GEM, TEAM and ECM have church-planting programmes in the area.
b) The four provinces in the south which are poor, with few people ever going to church. Attendance at mass by people in Beja province is less than 3% of the population. Evangelical churches are few.
c) The 316 counties, 69 of which still have no evangelical congregation. In these counties live 800,000 people.
d) The 4,400 localities. Only 768 have a resident evangelical witness.
e) Madeira Island (273,000) which has only 13 small evangelical churches, and the Azores (253,000) with a further 26, most being Assemblies of God and Baptist. Four of the nine islands have no churches.
f) Ethnic minorities – there is little specific outreach to the 50,000 or so African and Arab Muslims or to the Hindu Goanese or Macau Chinese.
21. Puerto Rico: The Church needs new vision:
Pray for the following issues:
a) Locally for effective discipling and a return to the Scriptures. The 1997 DAWN saturation church planting conference was one catalytic beginning.
b) Globally for effective support and nurture of missions vision. A new interest in missions is developing in churches after decades of negativism. Pray that this interest may lead to greater impact on the world’s unreached. There is much interest in unreached cities in Spain. Over 200 Puerto Ricans serve in indigenous movements such as AMIES International and in international missions such as YWAM, OM and WBT. Pray for the effective training and support of new mission ventures. COMIBAM is bringing together interdenominational (and denominational) mission agencies for fellowship and cooperation for world evangelization.
c) For students. ABU (IFES) has a growing work with groups on some campuses – pioneering work is needed for other campuses with an inadequate student witness.
Over-population and unemployment have forced over 3 million Puerto Ricans to emigrate 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.
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.
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.
23. Réunion: Pray for the following areas:
a) Christians in the churches – that they have high standards of holy living and that spiritual leaders for the future might be raised up.
b) The disadvantaged – the gap between them and the sophisticated, educated youth is widening. There are many challenges for reaching them effectively.
c) YWAM have a good ministry in motivating youth for evangelism and missions. CEF have a significant ministry to children through camps and Good News Clubs.
Pray for impact 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 church in Romania has developed well in the few years since the fall of Communism. A strong foundation has been laid for leadership and many types of ministry. Still, there are many needs which warrant prayer.
The challenges facing the Church to pray for:
a) The transition from severe persecution and restrictions, to freedom of worship and witness has not been easy. Pray for flexibility and vision for the leadership; legalism and isolationism still threaten progress. Church structures can no longer function as in the days when the Church was underground. Pray that spiritual discipline and commitment may not be compromised.
b) Ethnic divisions infect Christians too. The poisoned relationships between Romanians and Hungarians and condoning the shameful treatment of Gypsies need an application of the Cross of Christ to heal these breakdowns. Denominational difference have intensified the issue further.
c) Materialism imported from the West has damaged spirituality. Westerners displayed a lack of wisdom in Romania by creating division and jealousy with their well-publicized material assistance. The deep spirituality of long-suffering churches was adversely affected as some agencies brought their Western values. Pray that outside assistance might be offered in an attitude of humility and service to the Romanian Church.
d) Meeting the needs of Christian youth. Few are able to minister meaningfully to young people.
e) Nominalism among the German and Hungarian Protestants. Many of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches need renewal. Most Protestant and evangelical growth is offset by losses in these ethnic groups.
f) The Evangelical Alliance (EA) formed in 1991 brings together the main Protestant and Independent bodies. Romanian Evangelicals suffer from a lack of unity and cooperation between denominations and para-church ministries. Pray that effective unity, cooperative evangelism and bold vision be promoted.
g) A saturation church planting movement is developing in Romania, as are several prayer movements. Pray that these movements might flourish despite government restrictions intended to thwart them.
26.-30. Russia: The government faces a daunting task. The election of President Putin brought a ray of hope that the catastrophic decline of the 1990s might be reversed.
Major issues for prayer:
a) Political wisdom in balancing the need for strong government but with democratic accountability and respect of basic freedoms. A new tyranny is likely to arise if the present system fails.
b) Economic stability. Much must be done to set up the legal framework and financial accountability to successfully privatize industry, make services work and encourage investment. The poverty of the majority and their hopelessness has stimulated crime, drug abuse, alcoholism, family breakdown and suicide to alarming heights. Many ordinary people live for months without wages.
c) Justice. The economic levers of society have fallen into the hands of criminal networks that have crippled business initiative and subverted the bureaucracy. There is no chance of change for the better without confronting these dark forces which make a mockery of legislation that cannot be enforced.
d) Building a multi-cultural nation after centuries of imperial and Communist tyrannies and, at times, ethnic genocide. The Chechen war is one manifestation of the feelings of ethnic minorities having suffered injustice and mistreatment not only in the Caucasus but also the Urals, Siberia and the Arctic. Russification policies deprived minorities of their land and wealth and suppressed their languages and cultures. There is an ardent Russian nationalist movement which jeopardizes any move towards fair multi-culturalism and is virulently anti-Semitic and anti-foreign. Such attitudes threaten the integrity and survival of the Russian Federation. Inflamed nationalism severely hinders the progress of the gospel.
e) Upholding constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion. An alliance of the Russian Orthodox Church (hostile propaganda and misrepresentation), the Press (biased reporting) and the local and regional authorities (imposing arbitrary restrictions on religious minorities) all threaten it. Such has been the pressure that the 1997 legislation with its punitive restrictions on religious minorities was passed despite its violation of human and constitutional rights. It became a bureaucratic nightmare involving the re-registration of all churches. Non-Orthodox have been made into second-class citizens, or even strangers in their own land. Pray that this legislation may be nullified and repealed, and true religious freedom re-established. Recent positive court cases and presidential recommendations have eased the pressure since 1999, but the battle is far from over.
f) Health. The combined effects of the collapse of funding for health services, the availability of free abortions for birth control and a general sense of communal despair is causing accelerated population decline through family disintegration, alcoholism, TB, AIDS, high infant mortality and emigration. Pray for improved funding, morale to be restored and Christians to play a greater role in health care.
g) A facing up to present and looming ecological disasters. Many thousands of square kilometres have been made uninhabitable by nuclear disasters and weapons testing (Chernobyl 1986, and parts of the Urals, Kazakhstan and the Arctic) and chemical/biological poisonings. The oil industry has massively polluted vast areas.
Thank you for the time you give in daily intercession for the nations of the earth. We continue to believe that they will have a visitation from the presence of the Lord. As you have prayed for others may the Lord answer the prayers of your heart.
Lane M. Holland, M.Div.
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