WORD MINISTRIES PRAYER COVERAGE FOR THE NATIONS
The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 10Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah. (Psalm 24, KJV)
Let us pray that the Nations of the Earth will meet the King of Glory during this season of Resurrection!
2-3: Chad: The Church needs uplifting in prayer, especially regarding the following issues: a) African traditional religions are resurgent in the country, partly as an attempt to return to African roots. Tribal initiation rites are becoming a divisive issue for Christians. Pray also for liberation from all bondages by a deep working of the Holy Spirit in every congregation. b) The deception of the sects and secret societies. Groups such as Rosicrucians, Masons and other specifically African quasi-Christian groups seek to lead Chadians astray. Pray for solid teaching that will enable Christians to discern between truth and lies. c) Nominalism is a challenge, even in Chad. Good discipleship and teaching are the antidote to this. d) Tribalism and petty legalisms cripple many congregations. Tribal rivalries and resentments (especially south-north) prevent Christian witness. e) Unity. While most Protestant and Independent groups are evangelical, unity within and among denominations is under strain. Pray for the EEMET (Evangelical Alliance) and the Pentecostal Alliance as both attempts to unite Christians. f) Vision for outreach. Ambitious, countrywide goals have dissipated, and some initiatives that had notable impact in the past have faded almost to nothing. Churches need to gain a passion for ministry that includes praying and giving as well as outreach. Pray for God to raise up catalysts who will spur Chad’s Christians to greater depths of faith and a greater commitment to the unevangelized.
4. Chile: Evangelicals face unprecedented opportunities as well as challenges. They are poised to exercise a pivotal role in Chilean society. The danger remains that goodwill and respect may be eroded by failures and squandered opportunities. Pray about these key issues: a) Fragmentation and unity. Chile holds the dubious honor of having the most divisive Pentecostal movement in the world. Churches and denominations split with alarming regularity, with already over 1,200 separate groups. The culture of division must be overcome by a solid commitment to unity – and this can only be achieved through humility, graciousness and repentance. Major unity meetings among the main Pentecostal groups from 2008 onward might point toward future progress in this area. b) Nominalism and traditionalism. Long-term growth and consolidation have generated a more formal Pentecostalism that is often without spiritual gifts and true revival. Pentecostal nominalism is rife – less than half attend church weekly, and one-third do not attend regularly at all. Outdated leadership models and ministry patterns only enlarge the problem. Pray for a new Pentecost and revival amid these thousands of churches. c) Poor leadership development manifests itself through inadequate training, lazy theology, legalism and replacement of solid biblical exegesis with personal opinions and visions. Interest in training for pastors and laity is thankfully increasing. Pray for TEE (SEAN, FLET) programs and the various theological institutions addressing this widespread need, such as the National Bible Institute of Chile, with 1,000 students in the capital and throughout the regions. d) Isolationism. Of the 18.4% of the population that are evangelical, almost 90% belong to indigenous groups that have reached many, but they do not work together locally and have no links with the global Church. This leaves the door open to theological error and abuse, and it stunts the potential for mission and ministry.
5.-19. China: Over the next 15 days we join together in praying for a Move of God in China. I chose the following section for us to pray for. (Consider visiting the OM website if you want more info/details for prayer points) God has protected and grown the Church in China on a scale unforeseen by anyone a few decades ago. Persecution designed to destroy the Church served to purify her through suffering and the power of the Holy Spirit, who inspired fervent prayer and zealous evangelism. By the 1980s, vast networks and communities of these believers met in house churches designed to withstand the harsh treatment meted out by the state. Through radio ministries, greater numbers of Christian workers in China and believers devoted to outreach, the Church saw great growth across the late 20th Century and into the new millennium. Please pray for these Specific challenges facing the Chinese Church: a) Questions of moral and ethical conduct present themselves daily to Chinese Christians, who often lack access to a Bible and adequate biblical guidance, teaching and counsel for answers to difficult issues. While there is a core of seasoned and faithful men and women – mature, wise Christian leaders and elders offering sound counsel and stability for the churches – their numbers are far too few. Pray for continued guidance from the Holy Spirit, particularly in relation to the following: i Problems within marriages and families. The generation of house church leaders absent from their families (either in and out of prison or gone for extended periods of itinerant ministry) yields, as a by-product, a number of their children leaving the ministry or even leaving the faith. In urban settings, the twin pressures of gainful employment and pastoring leave marriages and family relationships strained and in many cases broken. The increasing acceptance of extra-marital sexual relationships as a cultural norm further complicates matters. Pray that leaders find ways to model family relationships that honor God. Pray that wise counsel might be provided for struggling families and individuals, and pray that Chinese Christians might demonstrate the power of the gospel through transformed relationships with spouses, children and parents. ii Financial temptations. Economic progress creates a new set of pressures on Christians, ranging from the desire for personal or church wealth to decisions regarding the stewardship of that wealth. Growing materialism coupled with excessive corruption are cultural norms. Pray for Christians to seek guidance from Scripture as they develop principles and guidelines for living in the world while still faithful to God. b) Relations between Church and government are improving incrementally, but nearing a crucial decision point. Religious policies might be passed that allow for equality in registration of all religious groups, without requiring governmental control. Pray for a resolution that will best empower the Church to flourish, grow and bless the peoples of China and beyond. c) Persecution remains a present reality. This is a measure of the government’s fears of such a large movement they do not control and of the majority of the Church operating outside the government-sanctioned church bodies. Since 1996, persecution has increased against house churches unwilling to register with the TSPM/CCC. Arrests, heavy fines, forced closures and destruction of church buildings are increasing in some key areas; the state says this is because house churches are illegal and a potential political threat, not because they are Christian. But this does nothing to lessen the suffering endured by its victims. d) Churches need godly leaders to teach and guide families and individuals in their community. i Some TSPM groups report one trained leader for every seven thousand believers and even up to forty thousand in some areas – a shocking scale of need for trained leadership. Pray for formal training structures for the Three Self churches and for God to enable all who must lead, no matter what their circumstances. ii Younger leaders increasingly face pressures from family and society to pursue financially lucrative career paths instead of a life of ministry. Balancing obedience to God’s calling with honoring family and elders becomes a soul-rending process. iii Women constitute nearly 75 percent of the Church. This leaves leadership, outreach and care for church members mostly in the hands of women. Pray for their strength and wisdom to manage many responsibilities. Pray also for more effective outreach among men and that both men and women might jointly serve the Church. e) Bible-based training and discipleship remain crisis-level needs for all arms of the Church. i Seminaries remain too few in number and small in size to meet the needs of a growing Church, with only 18 official seminaries graduating fewer than 1,000 students per year. Pray for those evangelical professors providing biblical teaching despite the prevailing liberal theology and textbooks. Pray that practical holiness might be central in the lives of faculty and students alike. ii Bible training centers and other informal training programs are rapidly springing up across China to equip the hundreds of thousands of lay leaders. Pray for an adequate supply of Bibles flowing to and through these programs and for sound teaching and learning materials. iii A truly Chinese expression of biblical faith is essential to move the Church forward into future generations. Pray that as changes come, theology, worship and community will enhance the God-given uniqueness of Chinese culture, while at the same time avoiding an unhealthy nationalism or ethnocentrism. f) The predations of aggressive cults spread false teachings; rob the Church of many members and lead to confusion and misperceptions of biblical Christianity for many. Some of these cults verge on Christian teaching; others peddle outright deception. They often target churches to recruit new members. Christians (and leaders in particular) must be equipped to know the Truth so as to discern the lies proliferating among these groups.
20. Hong Kong: Many challenges confront the Hong Kong Church: Pray for the following: a) The continuing need for renewal and revival. Only half of Protestants regularly attend church. Many high-profile crusades have drawn much attention but little lasting fruit. The Church Renewal Movement works toward cultivating spiritual change and social impact by the churches. b) The lack of several key resources – such as capable workers, funds for the many projects and opportunities and, notably, physical space in which to hold services and do ministry (real estate is very expensive and hard to come by in crowded HK) – creates considerable challenges to growth. Because of the real estate problem, many congregations meet in smaller numbers and in improvised spaces. c) The elements of prayer and intercession are increasingly recognized as essentials for ministry. Training in these areas and establishing houses of prayer are occurring not just in Hong Kong itself but also further out into the region.
21. China, Macau: Macau was the starting point of Protestant missions to China. There, the first Chinese convert was baptized, the first Chinese Bible translated and Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary to the Chinese, was buried. There is praiseworthy freedom to enter as missionaries, but residency permits are increasingly hard to obtain (for immigration and not religious reasons). The lion’s share is from Hong Kong, with many other nationalities present as well. Workers are engaged in evangelism, church planting and discipleship as well as community work and compassionate ministry to drug addicts, the homeless and others. Teaching English is an effective and much-desired way to build relationships and share the good news. Pray for their effectiveness in this crowded and pressurized city. Macau has the dubious distinction of being the first Christian territory in Asia to become non-Christian. In 1600, 95% of Macau’s population was Catholic. By 2010, this had reduced to about 3.1%, a monumental decline. Protestant churches, while growing, have always been small. The number of Protestant churches grew from 33 in 1986 to more than 70 Chinese-speaking churches and more than 20 in other languages. Pray for believing Christians to win back this territory for the Saviour.
22.-23. Republic of China, Taiwan: Taiwan is politically open but spiritually closed. Visitors from mainland China often comment on the spiritual darkness and the hardness of people’s hearts in Taiwan. Ministry in Taiwan is difficult and fruit is hard won. Taiwan is still the only major Han Chinese population in the world where a significant spiritual breakthrough has not occurred. Only recently has Christianity started growing again after decades of stagnation; Christianity’s percentage of the population in 1965 (5.6%) was only surpassed in 2008. The major challenges to be faced by the Church are the following: Pray for the following areas: a) Spiritual opposition to the gospel is very real. Powerful opposition from non-Christian religions makes breaking away from one’s past to embrace Christianity a real challenge. b) Unity must be cultivated. There are frequent prayer events and evangelistic meetings to foster unity, but much more work must be done. A biblical view of the body of Christ must be cultivated. c) Materialism is one of the greatest barriers to the good news in today’s Taiwan. Many people are very focused on their career, on their children’s education and on how to live the most affluent life possible. There is very little time left for spiritual nourishment or ministry. Ask God to pour out His Spirit to create a true hunger for Him. d) Low levels of commitment and sanctification. Only a minority of converts become disciples deeply engaged in the life of the local congregation and active in ministry; nominalism is a problem and the dropout rate significant. Vices such as gambling and the sex industry, which sadly permeate much of Taiwanese society, are constant temptations. e) Lack of pastors and full-time workers – a long-standing problem that requires either the calling of more workers or the mobilization of the laity, or both. f) The disparity in the distribution of Christians. The majority of Christians are found in bigger cities among Mandarin speakers (or Mainlanders). There are far fewer churches in rural areas and among Taiwanese- and Hakka-speaking peoples. Minority groups, both indigenous and immigrant, are either strongly Christianized or very unreached.
24.-25. Colombia: Pray specifically for the following Unreached peoples: a) The thousands of gamines, or street urchins, in the cities. Bogotá has one of the highest numbers of street children of any Latin America city. YWAM, LAM, Tearfund and several new local ministries provide food, shelter and preparation for a life off the streets. b) The wealthier classes are small in number but control most of the economy. White rather than mestizo, they are overwhelmingly Catholic (although often very nominal) and generally isolated from evangelicals, who focus on the poor. Their wealth and ties to the circles of political and ecclesiastical power make them objects of resentment. c) The Muslim community numbers around 35,000 of Syrian, Lebanese or Palestinian background. d) Student and youth work is slow and hard. The history on campuses of Marxist ideology and then post-modern individualism hinders interest in serving others and seeking God. With more than half of the population under age 25, reaching the younger generation is crucial. Campus and youth ministries and even youth-oriented prayer movements such as Tribal Generation are all growing. Pray for their work to be creative, passionate and fruitful. Colombia remains volatile and dangerous, although a strong government has stabilized the nation in recent years. Levels of violence, kidnapping and assassination are still abnormally high. Leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries both seem to have abandoned ideological agendas and have effectively become gangs profiting from cocaine and kidnapping. Political or religious leaders who oppose such groups are targeted. Cocaine production has actually grown despite the government’s efforts to reduce it. Crop destruction has driven the rebels and coca growers into national parks and ecological reserves where they are destroying much of Colombia’s rich ecosystem and biodiversity. Christ’s lordship must be proclaimed over the spirits of violence, revenge, lawlessness and corruption as well as the occult practices that have brought the nation so low. The web of drug barons, guerrillas, paramilitaries, corrupt politicians and occult groups generates great violence against the saints through intimidation, property destruction, murder and assassination. Every year, dozens of pastors and priests are killed. Satan’s hold on Colombia must be broken by prayer. A number of key government figures have been exposed as having ties to paramilitary groups. This is a revelation that will ultimately prove healthy for transparency and accountability, but will shake many people’s trust in the government in a land where faith in state institutions is already weak. Pray for a government that will be strong in opposing violence and wise and just in moving the nation forward. The upheaval from political and drug-related violence has had a terrible human cost. Tens of thousands have died, producing many orphans and widows. Colombia has the world’s second-highest number of internally displaced people (three million). These desplazados are pushed from rural into urban areas, where there is little work or shelter, but much exploitation. Former guerrillas and paramilitaries who have disarmed under amnesty conditions find themselves ill-equipped to re-enter civilian life. Three million more Colombians who have fled the country exist largely in conditions of poverty and a precarious immigration status. Pray for all who suffer from loss, that the Lord might meet their needs and that they might find in their Creator hope and restoration.
26. Comoro Islands: Comorian believers are gradually increasing in number, although the majority of believers are Réunionese, Malagasy and French. Each Comorian believer faces a difficult path fraught with likely opposition, and yet the body of Christ grows. Response to the gospel is greater on Anjouan than on the other islands. Pray that leaders may be raised up for the increasing groups gathering for fellowship Pray for the people and resources to train and disciple them. The quiet witness of Christian medical and veterinary workers in the Republic and on Mayotte has won credit and public honor as well as opportunities to share the Lord Jesus with the people. Pray for continued and increased opportunities for witness and that such may bear fruit. There are severe restrictions on Christians. Evangelism is forbidden, and those who convert to Christianity can expect severe reprisals from the community and from their own family. Harassment and persecution have risen in frequency and intensity in recent years. Pray for courage for those choosing to follow Jesus, and wisdom for all who must walk out their faith in this hostile atmosphere.
27.-28 Congo-DRC: Christian media ministry, crippled by Congo’s woes, is beginning to be set back on course. Pray for the resumption or growth of: a) Bible translation – still a major unfinished task. The profusion of 215 languages led to an emphasis on trade-language evangelism, which limited gospel penetration and stunted the development of indigenous Christian lifestyles, music and worship. There are 94 languages in need of translation programs by Congolese and/or expatriate believers and another 29 with works in progress. The majority of these are being done by WBT with ECC churches. b) Christian literature, publishing and distribution. There is a famine of contextually appropriate and helpful literature, even in trade languages. Distribution and poverty are enormous problems. EHC has had a wide impact – six million pieces of evangelistic literature have been given away and 1,850 fellowships established as a result. The Bible Society distributes over 100,000 Bibles a year, but most areas suffer a severe lack of God’s Word; most people have never owned a Bible. c) Audio resources are extremely important due to many dialects, the oral cultures and low literacy among many peoples. GRN has Scripture and teaching available in 274 languages and dialects. d) The JESUS film has been viewed by much of the population in many areas. It is available in 47 languages, with several more in production. Pray for gifted translators for the many languages and dialects as yet untranslated. e) Christian radio’s importance has never been greater; radio ministry has great potential. Christian radio, including locally run FM stations, is setting up all over the country, frequently with the help of HCJB. Small-scale transmitters empower and inform local communities, and they enable Christian radio to be locally run and flavor
29. Congo Republic of Congo (Brazzaville): The Church needs revival and restoration. Congo has been Christianized – superficially, at least – but never truly converted. The majority of the population are Christian, but some sources claim that up to 50% are actually animists. What is undeniable is that for a vast number, Christianity is a thin veneer over traditional African religion. The upheaval of the 1990s was a major setback for many ministries. Churches need to be swept clear of flawed worldviews and false beliefs, and instead filled with the Spirit’s power and led by biblical truth. Pray for a new move of the Spirit, greater than the revival that blazed through the region more than 50 years ago Church life is a complex mix of physical need and spiritual diversity. Catholics, African Initiated Churches, mainline Protestants, Western cults, conservative evangelicals and Pentecostal/charismatics all vie for the faith of the people. Thankfully, relations are improving among denominations with strong evangelical values. But poverty and instability not only interrupt and undermine long-term ministry, but they also cause many Christian leaders to leave for other lands. Pray for a greater commitment to biblical unity and for long-term stability in which to build stronger leadership and ministry.
30. Cook Islands The Cook Islands Pacific: The strong Christian legacy of over 150 years – bordering on theocracy on some islands – is fading rapidly. Increasing numbers are nominal or even non-religious, and Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are the fastest growing groups. Pray for reversal of these trends and for new life to come to the mainline Churches. Many smaller islands have no known evangelical witness. There are evangelicals in several Pentecostal and Independent churches and small groups within the older churches. YWAM’s new base in Rarotonga could be instrumental in rejuvenating the churches of the Cook Islands and beyond. Pray for an outpouring that would see older churches revived, new churches planted and every island with the presence of active believers.
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…
Germaine Copeland & Word Ministries
Sources: Mission Info Bank. Used by permission. Copyright © 2013 Global Mapping International. All Rights Reserved Use and reproduction subject to User Agreement. © Operation World 2001 With thanks to Dawn Ministries and Operation World Hosted by 24-7Prayer.com, Edited by Eloise Armstrong This information is only about 20% of what is available in the ‘Operation World’ book and CD-ROM.