The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 27All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28For the kingdom is the LORD’s: and he is the governor among the nations. (Psalm 22:26-28)
Let us pray this month that the nations of the earth will recognize the almighty God as the ‘Governor’ and that they will remember and turn unto the Lord and begin to worship Him as King of Kings.
Europe February 1-8
Immigrants continue to flow into Europe, both legally and illegally. Europe’s ageing
population and low fertility rates make immigration an economic necessity, but it is still
feared and opposed by many. By extension, multiculturalism and pluralism are inevitably if not already ensconced. The population of immigrants from outside Europe probably now exceeds30 million. Immigration accounts for the vast bulk of the continent’s population growth, and literally millions more seek merely to get entry to Europe by any means in order to benefit from the generous social safety nets available. This can be seen as a threat to traditional European identity; it can also be regarded as an opportunity for the gospel as many come from countries where Christian witness is restricted.
Pray for the Church to seize this opportunity for witness to the unevangelized.
Political integration carries on as the EU expands its borders and passes legislation to
be applied from the Black Sea to the North Atlantic. Laws that influence the daily lives of
hundreds of millions are being passed in Brussels. There is great potential strength in consistent laws and economic integration across the EU, but the removal of national sovereignty and civic and political authority from its member states carries inherent dangers.
Pray that the EU might act with wisdom and insight that ensures the long-term stability of its member states while caring for vulnerable populations in Europe and around the world.
The Orthodox Church, which in many countries of central and eastern Europe has equated national identity with specific religious affiliation. Minority religious groups are often discriminated against, harassed and subject to misleading propaganda. The Orthodox establishment’s collusion with national governments to maintain religious hegemony often intensifies the difficulties evangelicals face in attempting to worship and minister.
Pray that believers might proclaim the good news regardless of the cost. Networks that represent the Church – such as the European Evangelical Alliance – need to negotiate the shifting currents of laws and culture with the shrewdness of serpents, while remaining as innocent as doves in living out pure and blameless lives that glorify Jesus and compel others to do the same.
Afghanistan February 9-10
The status of women especially warrants prayer. They were effectively banned from
public life by the Taliban. Widows endure particularly harsh plights, and depression and
suicide are common. Worse, they have a life expectancy of only 44 years, with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Female literacy is under 20%, over one-half of Afghan brides are under age 16, only 5% attend secondary school and one-third are subjected to violence. Many still suffer the traumas of years of war and of pressures such times brought upon women in Afghan society. Although employment and social engagement can be very sensitive issues, younger girls are increasingly attending school; one-third of primary students are girls. Special radio programmes minister to women by communicating from the Bible the love and value that God holds for them.
Pray for the disenfranchised women of Afghanistan, that they might receive justice, opportunity and freedom from fear and oppression, but especially that they might find Christ amid their suffering.
The present political situation – a foreign military working with a national government that is trying to be both progressive and conservative – is far from ideal, but it is an improvement from the tyranny of the Taliban. The Taliban imposed a harsh brand of Islam on the nation and continue to be a threat to national stability and security. The power of the warlords and tribal leaders is greater than that of the government forces or the US military; currently, most of them side with the NATO/Loya Jirga entente.
Pray that the Afghan government might serve and govern with humility and wisdom.
Pray that the people of Afghanistan may experience genuine freedom and an improved quality of life.
Pray also that attempts by insurgents and warlords to destabilize the country might be thwarted and that a settlement might be negotiated.
The need for the Scriptures. After decades of work, the whole Dari Bible is finally
available (UBS); around 70% can understand this language. The NT in Pashto is available – albeit in a Pakistani and not an Afghan dialect and therefore not entirely understood. Work on an Afghan Pashto NT is underway. A full Bible translation does not exist in any indigenous minority language; pray that these might come to fruition. Praise God for translation progress in Hazaragi (Gospel of Luke), Kyrgyz (audio NT), Southern Uzbek (Genesis, Exodus and Matthew, with the full NT by 2012) and eight other languages either ongoing or beginning translation work.
Pray also for the entry and distribution of God’s Word into this closed land; the government, the Taliban and even NATO forces and NGO groups oppose it.
Albania February 11
Albania has a long road ahead to recover completely from the devastation of atheistic
Communism. Economically, morally and, in particular, spiritually, there remains much to be done to build a healthy and productive society. The anarchy, chaos and corruption of the 1990s and 2000s are outworkings of the nation’s grim past, but there is praiseworthy progress of late.
Pray that Albania’s government and business cultures might be positively impacted by the influence of believers. Biblical ethics in these contexts can be in short supply.
The religious climate is very hazy. Albanians’ pragmatic and tolerant approach (“if it
works, use it”) to religion contributes to this. The statistical figures for religions and denominations are only a guideline, since there are no reliable sources and the large majority of affiliates are very nominal in their practice.
Pray that wider-Balkan religious tensions will not begin to grow here; the three main confessions (Muslim, Orthodox, Catholic) are often uncomfortable with more recent groups.
Islam is the largest religion in Albania (some say up to 70% Muslim), but this normally
extends to an inherited cultural affiliation and little more. Moderate Sunni and the Bektashi Sufi sect are the largest groups. Despite widespread Islamization efforts from abroad spending many millions of dollars, most Albanians resist religious entrenchment. Superstition and folk Islam prosper. Pray for Albanian Muslims to encounter the living Christ.
Algeria February 12-13
Algeria has suffered deeply in the past. From French colonial exploitation to the war
of liberation to the more recent brutal civil war that cost over 100,000 lives, its people are
familiar with violence and loss.
Pray for the following issues:
a) The spiritual and psychological legacies of a land fraught with bloodshed. Fear of
murderous attacks by terror groups has lessened, but the violence has never ended. Many
people are war-weary and wish for the upheaval to end, but that seems a distant dream.
b) Democracy is enshrined in the constitution but struggles elsewhere to hang on. A single-party state more or less remains, and the freedoms promised on paper rarely materialize.
c) Human rights abuses are widespread. Change to some laws opened the door for further abuse. The Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation is more lenient to the perpetrators of civil war crimes than to the victims; few will be brought to account for the terrible crimes committed (by both terrorist groups and state security forces), and the media will be subject to greater state control. Most vulnerable are non-Muslims.
Persecution of Christians is intensifying as a reaction to unprecedented church
growth; the future of the Church in Algeria hangs in the balance. Legislation passed has
made proselytism a criminal offence. A law forbidding the “practice of non-Muslim worship” outside of pre-approved buildings was cleverly followed by a spate of church closings. Believers face threats and intimidation by family, friends, employers, Muslim extremists and now the government. The Algerian Church has grown due to bold witness and evangelism.
Pray that they will respond to these pressures with faith and perseverance.
American Samoa February 14
American Samoa enjoys a higher economic status than Samoa to its west, but
suffers the concomitant materialism.
Pray that the indigenous people (and their relatives in diaspora) may find their destiny in wholehearted commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise God for the evangelical ministries and churches making an impact for the Lord. Evangelical groups, especially Assemblies of God, have grown rapidly. There is also a YWAM base in the islands.
Remarkable growth among cults (especially Mormons) exposes the nominalism, too long entrenched, in the mainline churches.
Pray for awakening and renewal in these rapidly declining churches.
Materialism holds Andorra in a tight grip. Formerly a smugglers’ refuge, Andorra
now attracts well-heeled tourists, financiers and those taking advantage of duty-free goods.
Pray that empty materialism would be seen as the ultimately unfulfilling falsehood that it is.
Ninety percent of Andorrans are affiliated with the Catholic Church, but true
spirituality is thin on the ground, and the Church is on the defensive. Many consult
mediums, seers and astrologers for guidance and advice, usually at a significant financial cost. Few seek guidance from Catholic priests.
Pray and ask God to reinvigorate the Christian spiritual life of Andorra by the Holy Spirit and to expose and disarm the power of the occult.
Biblical Christianity struggles to retain a foothold. Catholicism has lost much of its
zeal, and the handful of other congregations where evangelicals worship grow very slowly. Praise God for committed expatriate believers and for the few indigenous Andorran believers.
Pray that all faithful disciples of Christ might have the passion and discernment that will enable them to effectively share their faith.
Angola February 15-16
Forty years of almost constant war (1962-2002) have devastated Angola. Innocent
civilians suffered the most – 90% of the casualties were civilians, millions were uprooted,
their homes and churches destroyed and hunger was used as a bargaining chip in the power play for aid. One in 350 Angolans is a victim of landmines, 70-90% of the population live in poverty, and the length of roads destroyed or damaged amounts to nearly twice the circumference of the planet. Greater than the physical damage are the psychological, social and spiritual wounds, which will require years to overcome.
a) Those seeking to alleviate physical suffering by clearing landmines and rebuilding
infrastructure, homes, hospitals, schools and churches. The six million landmines are being cleared – but over 80,000 people have already been crippled by them. Early signs of progress are promising. Many agencies are involved, including WVI, Tearfund and several consortiums of churches and agencies such as Church Action in Angola.
b) Healing of the invisible wounds. Reconciliation is a painstaking process, and the sheer
number of those hurting means that more counselling and training are long-term needs.
The Church, despite great growth, has not emerged unscathed from decades of
Much prayer is needed, specifically for:
a) Forgiveness and love in action. The Church must be at the forefront of activities aimed to overcome the longstanding tribal loyalties and partisan politics. Such forgiveness must include many who perpetrated crimes against Christians and Christians who compromised under pressure.
b) The right relationship between Church and state. Religious freedom is a blessing, but Angola has a reputation for having dangerous syncretistic cults that mix elements of Christianity with animistic tribal religions. The government attempts to encourage the work of established and reputable denominations, while limiting the effects of the cults.
c) Christ-like, holy living by followers of the Lord Jesus that commends the gospel to
unbelievers and passionately reaches out to their disillusioned, apathetic neighbors – nonpracticing Christians number in the millions.
d) Unity in the gospel. There is much new growth among Independent congregations and
groups unaffiliated with any larger body, but too much work is done in isolation and without partnership. The Angola Evangelical Alliance links 11 denominations and two Para church organizations for coordinated action. The Council of Christian Churches in Angola (WCC) also draws Christian groups together
Anguilla February 17
Anguilla is a remnant of a bygone era as a little colonial outpost.
Pray that this small island and its churches may not be bypassed by the Holy Spirit.
Pray that religious traditions might be infused with real spiritual life.
The quiet nature of Anguilla could be significantly changed by even small numbers
of immigrants; increased tourist traffic and resort size present challenges.
Pray for spiritual strength in the midst of change.
Interdenominational cooperation needs further improvement despite the island’s
Pray that Christ’s followers may function effectively as a united body.
Antigua & Barbuda
Antiguans are almost all Christian by background, including many evangelicals, but
complacency prevails in the face of serious moral and spiritual challenges.
Pray for revival that galvanizes Christians to prayer, and for involvement that impacts their society.
Strongholds of sin remain entrenched – money laundering, drug dealing, violence,
gambling and others. The recent arrest in the USA of a major investor in Antigua is
wreaking some havoc in the economic and political spheres.
Pray that righteous authorities and the prayers of the saints may break down these structures of sin; pray for wisdom and discernment for the government in handling these difficult issues. Unity among the churches is essential.
Pray for effective cooperation between the constituent congregations and agencies of the United Evangelical Association.
There are two local Christian radio stations.
Pray that Abundant Life Radio and Caribbean Radio Lighthouse might be powerful influences for the Kingdom.
Argentina February 18-19
Specific sections of the population with ministry and outreach needs are numerous.
Please pray for the following groups:
a) The estimated 200,000-strong Jewish community, mostly in Buenos Aires, is one of the world’s largest. They are highly secularized and prosperous, and their identity is being diluted as many marry outside the faith. Chosen People Ministries and ten other agencies minister to Jews. There are several Messianic assemblies in Buenos Aires.
b) The sophisticated upper class, who have been harder to reach with the gospel.
c) The urban poor. This group has grown in size and includes up to 500,000 slum dwellers, homeless people and thousands of street kids. Local churches are increasing their focus in this area, but significantly more needs to be done on every level – spiritual, social and economic. Buenos Aires is one of the world’s largest urban areas; many of those who live there do so in poverty and with virtually no meaningful engagement with the gospel.
d) University students, many living below the poverty line, number 1.2 million just in state universities alone, over half being in Buenos Aires. There are few students who actively witness.
Pray for ABUA(IFES) and CCCI – they have over 20 groups and more than 60 workers.
e) Quechua and Aymara from Argentina, Chile and Bolivia flocked to Buenos Aires, where they have become a laboring under-class. They have a small evangelical minority, but are mostly syncretized Catholics or animists.
f) South American immigrants from the five neighboring countries number up to three
million; perhaps half of them are illegal and work in low-level jobs. There are reportedly 1.8million from Bolivia and 1.5 million from Paraguay. Some bring their Christian faith with them; more import their syncretistic and animistic beliefs.
g) East Asian immigrants. Chinese (around 70,000) and the smaller Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese communities are growing. CMA is one of a few agencies reaching these.
Armenia February 20-21
The control of Nagorno-Karabakh, now functionally independent, is unresolved and
a millstone around the necks of all involved. Refugees on both sides of the conflict
(250,000 Armenians from Azerbaijan, and 530,000 Azeris from Armenia and western Azerbaijan) are still displaced. Although the armed cease-fire has held, all diplomatic solutions have failed. Both nations refuse to back down, and Nagorno-Karabakh itself refuses to accept any resolution into which it does not have direct input.
Pray for an answer that is acceptable to all and that allows each group to move forward.
Armenia was the world’s first Christian nation and enjoys a great spiritual legacy of
more than 1,700 years of Christianity.
Pray that Armenian Christians might become sources of light and blessing to the surrounding region; few peoples here have a significant indigenous church.
Armenian Christians are only now realizing the blessing of their Christian heritage and the mission responsibility that lies with it.
Pray that this movement may grow.
The Armenian Church-Loving Brotherhood, an evangelical-oriented movement
within the Apostolic Church, was formally founded in 1895. Its main emphases are Bible
study groups, personal witness, publishing and distribution of evangelical literature and Bibles, and work among the poor and needy, especially orphans. There are a couple of hundred workers in the movement, with thousands of people associated with it, particularly younger people.
Pray for this movement and its influence for good on the nation.
The growth of evangelicals since independence has largely been through the
Brotherhood and the many Pentecostal/charismatic groups popping up (in a very difficult-to-document manner). Baptists and the Armenian Evangelical Church have grown, but not as rapidly.
Pray for growth and maturity of all these groups and for unity to take precedence over short-term growth.
The evangelical presence has grown, predominantly due to the more recent arrivals.
Large numbers have immigrated from Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, but evangelical growth is not even. There are several English-speaking churches and many
congregations using Papiamento.
Pray for a greater impact on the Asian immigrant population.
Media. There are three Christian radio stations on Aruba: Radio Victoria (originally
TEAM) and two others broadcast to Aruba and the Venezuelan coast. TWR broadcasts to Bonaire on its FM station and internationally through shortwave and the Internet. The gospel is also proclaimed on programmes that appear on secular radio and TV.
Pray for the enduring fruitfulness of these strategic ministries.
Australia February 23-24
The Church in Australia faces a mighty challenge – to remain relevant. While over
two-thirds of Australians identify themselves in some way as Christian, only 10% regularly attend church, and increasing numbers have negative attitudes toward the Church’s perceived intolerance and authoritarianism. Secularism is not so much the dominant ideology as is an individualized, New Age, pick-and-choose spirituality with no accountability. Almost all mainline churches face stagnation or decline, and growth even among evangelicals has slowed.
Pray for reformation and revival of the Church, and for this to impact every sphere of society.
Evangelicals are a dynamic and diverse entity. They are strong in the Sydney
Anglican diocese and a growing minority in the Melbourne diocese. Some mainline
churches have evangelical majorities; all have at least significant and active minorities. The greatest growth is among Pentecostal/charismatic groups – put together, they would constitute Australia’s third-largest denomination. Some of this is transfer growth from other churches, but much is also from conversion growth.
Pray for the following issues:
a) Mainline churches are in varying degrees of polarization over issues such as ordination of women, homosexuality and traditional church structures, all leading to further division.
b) Christian holistic ministry – such as ministry to the disabled, to addicts, to the poor and homeless – is an area of great opportunity, since the state cannot meet all the needs and increasingly leaves such activities to charities. But increasing government legislation and controls in these areas create many hurdles that must be overcome.
c) The ideological debate with secular materialists may be the greatest battle facing the
Church. Issues of human origin, human sexuality and the existence of God are hot topics for debate.
Pray that evangelicals communicate the truth in love; pray for a bold witness to the
uniqueness of Jesus that comes through with humility and compassion.
Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Norfolk Island
The isolation of the islands and their limited resources make Christian ministry
difficult. Isolation also makes their communities’ very existence somewhat precarious –
depending on assistance from Australia, potential disaster from violent weather and a great distance from immediate help.
Pray for God to move among the existing churches to foster renewal and awakening, and for believers to reach out effectively to others, particularly to the Malays of Cocos Island and the Chinese of Christmas Island.
Austria February 25-26
Austria, a nation of culture, music, art and beautiful scenery, lies for the most
part spiritually empty. While 84% of Austrians believe in God (high for Europe), few
have met Jesus personally. Rates of suicide, abortion and alcoholism indicate the great need for spiritual foundations.
Pray for the shell of religion in this nation to be filled by the living presence of Christ.
Pastors for the multiplying congregations are a great need. Locating leaders,
training them capably, then supporting them adequately is a challenge. BAO (Bible
Training on Location), a decentralized programme of non-formal courses based in Vienna, has over 500 students receiving training and is seeking to expand further in Austria. The Evangelical Academy (EVAK) operates a Bible college in three locations.
Pray for these as well as the Evangelical Education for Austria (EBÖ) and other training programmes.
Pray for God to raise up men and women with passion for the Kingdom, for holiness and for people to be won.
Foreign migrants and refugees have flooded into Austria since WWII – fleeing
Communism up until 1990, then the Balkan strife, and now increasingly hailing from Asia.
Pray that Austrian believers may demonstrate compassion to these strangers in their midst as the Bible commands. The gospel is being shared through Bible Society material and ministries such as Oasis Christian Centre.
Pray for fruitfulness.
a) The six ethnic groups of the former Yugoslavia. There are several evangelical congregations,
but these peoples are some of the least reached of Europe.
b) Muslim Turks, Afghans, Kurds, Pakistanis. Unabated immigration, high birthrates and
poor integration stoke the fires of xenophobia from the far right.
Azerbaijan February 27
The Church faces intensifying opposition, even as it grows. Many churches find
intimidation, surveillance and obstructionist tactics increasingly common. Despite these,
there is relative freedom to share the gospel sensitively – many Azeris are Muslim out of cultural affiliation rather than deliberate choice.
Pray that Christian witness to the majority Muslim population may be with humility, wisdom and love.
Azerbaijan remains a politically volatile nation. The conflict with Armenia remains
unresolved, with both sides manipulating the suffering of many for their own advantage.
Regional tensions – involving Russia and its southern republics, Turkey, Georgia, Iran and with NATO – complicate matters further. Azerbaijani military spending is at an all-time high, and no long-term solution to any problem has been found, with most players being intransigent on key issues.
Pray for stability and a genuine will to make peace in and around Azerbaijan.
Expatriate Christians must minister with discretion, since open proselytism is
forbidden. But there are ample opportunities to demonstrate Christ’s love to Azerbaijanis,
especially via tentmaking and development work. The Azeri Church is open for foreign
believers to partner with them in ministry.
Pray for an increase of new Kingdom workers there and for their fruitfulness.
Bahamas February 28
Materialism, stimulated mostly by tourism, deeply affects all levels of society. Lowering
standards of morality see a rise in births out of wedlock, drug use and violent crime
(especially armed robbery). The staggering wealth of foreign residents and tax shelters display a different world from the average Bahamian, not to mention the even poorer Haitian immigrants.
Pray for social righteousness and a government that works to serve all strata of society.
Christian commitment is low and nominalism widespread, despite nearly all Bahamians
claiming to be Christian. Few are willing to commit themselves to the Lord’s work, and
many congregations are without adequate pastoral care. Most households own a Bible; few actively read it.
Pray for revival and for a missionary vision among believers.
The younger generation is increasingly out of touch with and alienated from
traditional church culture.
Pray for specific efforts to reach, disciple and integrate them into the larger body of Christ are needed.
Bahrain enjoys greater freedoms than almost all Gulf countries and therefore is
spiritually strategic. With greater freedoms, the accompanying vices are becoming
problems. Many Saudis and Kuwaitis visit here to enjoy the more relaxed environment.
Pray for them to meet Christians and encounter the gospel.
Pray for the king as he leads the nation forward.
Christian ministry in Bahrain has good foundations. For over a century, the American
Mission Hospital has been well known and highly regarded.
Pray that this may continue and that there may be fruit from the tactful witness of believers.
Praise God for the local believers. Some are integrated into the various churches;
others are in more informal networks.
Pray for spiritual growth and especially for unity and cooperation among these groups, as a testimony to their fellow Arabs.
I believe that every time we pray the Lord hears, for it is His desire that all nations hear the news of His extravagant love for us. Thank you for praying.
Until next month,
Lane M. Holland, M.Div.
Mission Info Bank. Used by permission.
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