PRAYER ASSIGNMENTS FOR AUGUST 1-15, 2011
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.
Kenya’s long-term stability cannot be taken for granted. Droughts in the north caused the deaths of 80% of the livestock, and the decrease of pasturelands causes violent clashes among various ethnic groups claiming the resources. Fragile ecosystems, overdue land reform, widening gaps between rich and poor, increasingly scarce water, rapidly expanding urban slums and burgeoning populations of street children/AIDS orphans all point to future tensions. Many of these issues were components of the ethnic violence and political crisis of 2007-08.
Pray for peace, for wise governance and for practical solutions that can be implemented effectively.
Islam is an increasing challenge. The coast and the NW have been Muslim for
centuries. Islam is still a relatively small minority, but it is growing in size and ambition.
Muslims seek to Islamize the regions where they are prevalent, to implement shari’a law, to increase their presence in civil services and the government and to convert non-Muslims through financial inducements. Christian-Muslim tension is at an unprecedented level, and violent outbreaks are increasingly common. Although there are many converts from Islam to Christianity, they are subject to harassment, persecution and violence.
Pray for peace between the communities, for those ministering to Muslims and for truth-seekers to find the Messiah.
The once-strong Congregational Church (Kiribati Protestant) is in slow decline and losing members to other groups. The theological college in Tarawa is not evangelical. Nominalism and syncretism with traditional spiritist practices are all too common.
Pray for a return to the Bible.
The needy that require prayer:
a) I-Kiribati migrate for work on Nauru and as seafarers on foreign ships. Their remittances are a key part of the economy, but many return home with AIDS or drug problems.
b) Young people. Overpopulation and unemployment combined with increasing alcohol abuse create a difficult environment in which to grow up.
Pray for a revival among young people, for wholesome lives with godly purpose.
c) The entire nation faces eradication if sea levels rise.
Pray that this possible impending disaster would remind residents that our eternal home is in heaven and that they would live with this in mind.
3-4 North Korea:
The “Hermit Kingdom” is a repressive nightmare, where the populace are kept ignorant of the outside world and forcibly indoctrinated into the bizarre doctrines and policies of the “Dear Leader”. He has made 70 bronze statues (total value over $1 billion) – and literally tens of thousands of other monuments, towers and figures – of his father Kim Il-Sung, the Father in the twisted Cheondogyo trinity of Father, Son and Juche spirit. The nuclear threat of this rogue nation is only surpassed by the nation’s great suffering and deprivation.
Pray for the leader and his cadre that the Holy Spirit might bring them to repentance and belief.
Food shortages are often severe. With only 15% arable land, low yield from medieval
agricultural practices and regular floods caused by massive deforestation, more than three million have starved since 1994.
a) Starving North Koreans, forced to desperate measures to feed their families. This may
include theft, foraging for edible grass and plants, hazarding the dangerous passage to China or even black market cannibalistic activity.
Pray that, in some form, food might arrive to sustain their lives without their resorting to crime or sin.
b) Aid agencies, many of them Christian, have been able to offer food but never with permission to share the gospel.
Pray that this food might get to the population – much is diverted to Mr. Kim’s inner circle and the military.
Pray for wisdom on the part of foreign governments and NGOs in handling this tragic and delicate situation.
North Korea’s economy and environment are in states of disaster, the former propped up only by illicit money-spinner ventures outside the country and by Chinese and South Korean generosity, which ebbs and flows with ever-shifting North Korean politics. Yet the cost of continually propping up North Korea will eventually tally up to more than the cost of rebuilding a crumbling nation after a regime change.
Pray for a watershed moment in God’s timing that will bring thorough change, freedom and complete transformation to this land.
5-6 South Korea:
Society and culture in Korea saw great change in the last generation.
Pray for the following issues:
a) Economic growth has been remarkable in the last 50 years. But the global success of some Korean brands has exposed corruption in politics and industry. The economy is highly dependent on exports, and inequity between rich and poor is accelerating.
Pray for wisdom for leaders and justice for those most vulnerable.
b) Moral foundations appear to be eroding. This traditionally conservative society must face increasing materialism, a growing generation gap, greatly increased suicide rates, Internet addiction and, as with most developed nations, a rapidly rising sex industry, a vanity-driven cosmetic surgery industry and decreased sensitivity to violence in the media.
c) Traditional religious faiths increasingly co-exist with Christianity and modern-day
agnosticism. A spectrum of Buddhism, Confucianism, Korean shamanism and New
Religions (usually a blend of Christianity, Buddhism and Eastern mysticism) accounts for
most of the population, although the majority do not faithfully practice. In recent years,
however, there has been an awakening of religious sentiment among non-Protestant faiths, which has happened to coincide with a relative decline in Protestant growth.
The looming spectre of North Korea must not be ignored. With Seoul only 30 miles
from the demilitarized zone, any conflict would immediately affect millions. More likely
than an invasion is the collapse of North Korea’s state structure, bringing with it massive
humanitarian needs and a huge challenge to the South. Mission to the North is almost impossible, but many in the South prepare and pray for reunification and for the opportunity to share the gospel. OMS/KEHC is pursuing ministry among North Korean refugees as a first step. Other initiatives include the Open Doors prayer campaign, CCK’s SaveNorth Korea campaign and initiatives by OMF, the Methodists and others.
Pray that political and Christian leaders may be ready for such an occasion and make wise decisions for the healing of all Korea.
Kuwait’s material wealth has answered few problems. The government is divided between modernists and traditionalists. Islamist activity is increasing. Young people are frustrated and very bored. Materialism still holds powerful sway, since many have no greater vision about how to use their wealth for good.
Pray that Kuwaiti leaders and people might embrace the Savior.
Part of Kuwait’s tolerance for other faiths is based on the
reality that foreigners comprise most of the workforce. Few expatriates are permanent
residents – most are men on short-term work contracts who must leave their families back home. Poor and unfair treatment of these laborers is all too common; this, combined with loneliness, opens many to sensitive Christian witness.
Pray For The Following Expatriate Ethnic Minority Groups:
a) Arab groups. Palestinians were the largest group in the past, but Palestine’s support for Iraq in the Gulf War resulted in discrimination against Palestinians and expulsion of many. Egyptians make up for the decrease in Palestinian numbers, as do Lebanese, Iraqis and many other Arab groups. There are many nominal Christians among them all – and many opportunities to minister the love of Christ.
b) The Bidoon (literally “without”) are stateless Arabs originally from the Kuwait region, but now adrift in the Middle East. They are present in Kuwait in significant numbers. They have no known believers and almost no ministry to them.
c) Asians. South Asians and Filipinos predominate, but there are also many Indonesians, Chinese and Koreans. They are largely contract laborers or domestic servants. A large number of Kuwaiti families leave much of the child raising to the maids and nannies who are often committed believers. Increasing numbers live and work in difficult circumstances, since they are considered beneath Arabs and there are no official channels handling the mistreatment and abuse that regularly occurs. Fortunately, the situation is beginning to improve through changes to the law. Precisely because of their humble occupations, many of these Asians have amazing access to the homes and lives of Kuwaitis.
Pray for God to encourage the many believers and, through them, break into the lives of those from other faiths.
The government needs courage, resources and even miracles to right the economy and society in general. The regimes subsequent to Communism have thus far only brought about greater corruption, crime and poverty; frequent demonstrations point to widespread disillusionment, and the 2010 protests and coup were a most poignant illustration of this. The swiftness and intensity with which such fierce violence broke out points to deeper-lying ethnic, political and communal tensions in the country. Hope and optimism for the future are scant, even though some positive foundations have been laid.
Pray for a just and righteous government that will oversee the genuine transformation of the Kyrgyz nation.
The less evangelized who need prayer:
a) The rural and semi-nomadic pastoralist Kyrgyz who usually live in more remote villages. Few have heard of Christ, and the majority of the nation’s unreached live in rural areas.
b) The Fergana Valley in the south is shared with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Tajik and large Uzbek minorities (770,000 combined) are mostly unreached. This is where Islamic insurgents flow in across the borders and where Islam is more strident. The few successful church plants here are meeting significant opposition.
c) The Dungan are descendants of Chinese Muslim refugees who speak Chinese but use a Cyrillic alphabet. In 2000, a significant multi-agency effort to reach them began.
d) The many smaller ethnicities blanketing the country who have little to no specific outreach: Tatars, Chinese, Uyghur, Jews and many others.
Much of Laos remains unevangelized. The remarkable growth of the church is still
dwarfed by the size of the task remaining. Most peoples remain unreached, and the gospel has not easily crossed ethnic barriers. Buddhism and tribal religions are often blended together and prevail throughout; compare 5,000 temples to the 250 church buildings.
Pray for the gospel light to shine throughout Laos and to draw many to Christ.
The suffering Church has recognized that persecution is one factor in its growth –
persecution keeps them praying and relying on God. The situation has improved very
slightly; but at the local and village levels, Christians still find themselves to be targets. Persistent social pressure and the prevention of building new church buildings are two primary opposition strategies. Persecution takes personal forms as well, with strong spiritual opposition compounding family and social pressures to continue practicing traditions.
a) Perseverance and grace for those who must endure, especially those singled out by persecutors. Property has been seized, and ministers arrested and even killed.
b) Increased openness to evangelism, church planting and building – not illegal, yet still
obstructed by the government. Much growth, by necessity, takes place “underground” in
house groups, since the more formal congregations are watched and must be cautious.
Pray for continued boldness to share the gospel.
c) Discipleship, teaching and biblical literacy for all who respond to Christ.
Pray that believers will grow strong in faith and not fall away.
Pray also that they become salt and light in their own society, and in a way that is truly Lao.
The general social climate has changed since independence. The Soviet departure left a moral vacuum, which many negative influences rushed to fill. EU money has also brought EU-style social problems. Alcohol, drugs, a rapidly growing sex trade, high abortion rates, the world’s fourth highest suicide rate and notable corruption in government all indicate that something is not right. Despite economic growth there is a prevalent attitude of spiritual apathy, even of hopelessness.
Pray for society to awaken to this challenge and to build a nation characterized by hope and righteousness.
Unprecedented unity in the churches was caused in part by challenges to biblical
morality in society. The aggressive lobbying by homosexual and anti-family agendas in
particular elicited joint statements and coordinated activism by the churches. But more
important are the prayer and worship summits attended by the leaders of almost every
denomination and confession – these meetings are the foundation for revival in Latvia.
Pray that this unity might reverse the moral tide in Latvia, and that the laity might emulate their leaders to worship and work together for the Kingdom.
Ministry to young people is strategic – this includes campus, youth and children’s
ministries as well as summer camps. IFES and Agape (CCCI) are having an impact on
Latvian and, increasingly, international students. CEF is reaching up to 40,000 primary students every week through religious instruction in school. SU, YWAM, Latvian Christian Mission and others hold summer camps/events and minister to youth from Latvia and indeed all Eastern Europe.
Pray for more workers with the vision to reach young people.
Pray that this generation might be reached before they lapse into the irreligion or atheism of their forebears.
Lebanon’s tragic history over the last 70 years, with communal wars, foreign interventions and hostage-taking. With adequate political stability, Lebanon has demonstrated great resilience and potential to rebuild.
Pray specifically for:
a) The government and its leaders. There is a lot of disillusionment with the traditional political elite.
Pray for a government that rules for the common good, balancing traditional
values and demographic realities.
b) Full political freedom to be gained and religious freedom protected. Lebanon, for all its troubles, remains unique in the Middle East for its freedom.
c) The healing of deep hurts in communities, families and individuals. Over 80% of the
population were displaced at one time or another during the wars. All have lost loved ones; many lost homes and jobs.
d) A spirit of forgiveness. All have suffered and there are countless opportunities for bitterness and hatred.
e) The rebuilding of the South after multiple wars and occupations. Many unexploded
munitions from 2006 make rebuilding dangerous.
Pray that the Holy Spirit might do His work of reconciliation.
Lesotho faces a tough future. The nation is both protected and imprisoned by its isolated geographical location. Dwindling agricultural returns, an underdeveloped economy, widespread HIV/AIDS, urbanization, family breakdown, endemic poverty and unemployment for much of the population, and limited access to water all combine to place great burdens upon both the people and the government of Lesotho.
Pray for wisdom in leadership and for new, creative and sustainable ways to improve the quality of life of the population.
AIDS is the greatest challenge facing Lesotho. It has devastated the population with an
HIV infection rate of 23.2% (now stabilizing, but among the world’s highest), already
leaving 100,000 orphans. The 20-40 age group, so vital to the economy, is also the most afflicted. A host of agencies, missions and church ministries are answering this challenge in many ways (education, prevention, care). But the risk of reductionism is present as spiritual ministry to needy souls is at times taken over by the overarching specter of HIV.
Pray for a balanced ministry approach that brings life to the whole person.
The Basotho were Christianized generations ago, but most were never fully converted.
The social pressure against becoming bapholosoa, or born again, is wielded by traditional
religious forces, mainline churches and family members alike. All the factors have reduced the mainstream church to maintaining the religious status quo with marginal redemptive impact on society.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to sweep out impurities from the churches and bring new life.There are two issues of particular importance:
a) Traditionalism and nominalism are common in the Catholic Church and in the Lesotho Evangelical Church. The latter is the fruit of the great pioneering work by French missionaries of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society.
b) Many AIC churches compromise with African traditional religious practices and beliefs. Sometimes this is due to a lack of biblical teaching; sometimes it is a deliberate syncretization. Practices like balimo (ancestor worship), curses and charms, and the Sephiri (a secret society involving African traditional magic rites) are all an affront to the holiness of God and the purity of the gospel.
Ministry to young people and children is possibly the most strategic issue in Liberia. Nearly half of the nation is under 15 years old. This whole generation has been deeply traumatized and robbed of its family life, its chance for normality, its very innocence. Over 50,000 children were killed in the fighting.
Pray for churches and agencies seeking to minister in this difficult context. The restoration of normative family life is a crucial challenge for prayer.
Cry out to God for:
a) Former child soldiers. The 15,000 who survived have little chance of a normal life. Memories of the atrocities they witnessed, endured and committed haunt them. Over 30% have already attempted suicide at least once. As terrible as their past experiences were, the prejudice and stigma they face in post-war Liberia is nearly as bad.
b) Thousands of fatherless children of West African peacekeeping forces. Thousands more children were fathered by rebels or soldiers; they will grow up never knowing their fathers. Most of these are children of rape. They face a stigma that will be hard to overcome, while usually living in abject poverty.
c) Victims of sexual abuse. During the war, thousands of girls were taken by military troops or rebels to serve as maids, porters and, ultimately, as sexual slaves. Even in the post-war era, girls are being sexually used by peacekeepers, aid workers, teachers and others in positions of power.
Pray that the initiatives taken by the government and NGOs to stop and to prevent
such abuses would be effective.
d) Students. Not a single Liberian child was spared from the disruption and destruction war visited upon the education system. Following years of civil unrest, a strong ministry has been reintroduced among university students, who are living out the gospel among their friends. The Liberia Fellowship of Evangelical Students (LIFES) has 4 groups with 250 students.
Pray for the ministry of SU, YFC, YWAM and the churches to children and young people.
Libya’s long isolation is ending. Sanctions have ended, foreign investment and trade are increasing and the government is becoming more moderate. Libyan nationals have distinguished themselves as gracious and friendly;
Pray that they might be open to the gospel as it is shared sensitively.
Pray also for Libya’s future; its ruler will not live forever, and whoever succeeds him could shape the nation profoundly.
Large numbers of migrants pass into Libya, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa,
looking for economic opportunities. Some find work in Libya, most are trying to get
into Europe. Migration drains Libya’s coffers and human resources and often ends in
disillusionment or even tragedy for those braving the deserts and seas to find a new life. A significant portion are believers.
Pray that these tens or even hundreds of thousands would find salvation and not just earthly treasures.
Pray that they might have a powerful spiritual impact on Libyans and fellow migrants.
Libyan believers are increasing in numbers and faith and enjoy surprising freedom
as a Christian community, but they still face many obstacles to fellowship, including fear
of infiltrators. Libyans remain off-limits for evangelism, and approaches to them are risky for all involved. Continued state surveillance and family/social pressures are strong disincentives.
Pray for greater religious freedom so that more might hear the gospel and be able to follow Jesus openly.
Pray also for Libyan believers to stand firm in their faith and to find spiritually edifying relationships – including suitable marriage partners in a society where marriage is typically arranged with extended family.
May you know the joy of seeing the Lord answer your personal prayers as you sacrificially spend time in prayer for the nations of the earth. May your life be blessed this month!
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