PRAYER ASSIGNMENTS FOR NOVEMBER 1-15
Thank you for your faithfulness to take time each day to pray with us as we cover the nations of the earth. We continue to believe that:
“…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16b)
Spain’s modern transformation is not all positive. Secular materialism brought religious freedom and economic advancement, but it has also struck a crushing blow to traditional foundations of society and created a spiritual vacuum that is being filled with many dangerous elements.
a) Morality, and values in general, have suffered. Decadent behaviors and hedonistic lifestyles, combined with increased material possessions, cause greater degrees of depression, addiction, debt and lost direction. The younger generation rejects the idea of absolute truth.
Christianity might still be able to provide a moral compass and demonstrate moral authority.
b) Spiritual confusion. False beliefs are quickly multiplying – a natural consequence of the rapidly formed vacuum left by departure from religious faith. Spaniards flirting with occult practices is common. New Age deceptions abound. Marginal cults such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons have a large presence, augmented now by the arrival of new foreign sects and other religions.
c) Drugs are a blight on Spain, one of the world’s heaviest users of cocaine, heroin and
marijuana. Around two million take drugs, most of them young people. Cocaine dominates the drug trade, but heroin wreaks particular havoc on the health of users. As yet, there are no signs of drug abuse or addiction abating.
d) Gambling addiction remains a problem for the nation as well. It is estimated that 15% of net household income is spent on betting, possibly one of the highest proportions of any nation in the world. Bookmakers and gambling companies press in harder on the lucrative Spanish market, well aware of the breadth of addiction.
e) Sexual ethics and behaviors are a battleground, since immorality, prostitution and
abortion are common. Children are sexualized at ever younger ages, while an “anything goes” mentality characterizes young people especially. The Spanish have all but stopped having children – they have one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, lower still if excluding immigrant families. All of these will have devastating future consequences in terms of disease, social attitudes and demographic pressure.
Pray for Spain to wake up to the lies that have blinded it to the truth of the gospel.
Pray for social renewal, and that those working for the salvation of the Spanish might be endowed with love, power and wisdom.
4.-5. Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka has suffered much in the past generation. From the constant threat of the Sinhala-Tamil conflict to the tsunami of 2004 to the civil war’s bloody conclusion in 2009, over 100,000 people have lost their lives, over 900,000 (mostly Tamils) emigrated or fled and over one million are displaced.
Points for prayer:
a) A resolution of the long-term conflict between Tamils and Sinhalese.
Defeating the LTTE as a force means little if enmity, resentment and rebellion are still brewing. Key players are the Sri Lankan government, the former LTTE core members, the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora and even India and China. Power sharing may be the only way to long-term peace. A new constitution is being considered, one to resolve ethnic antipathy and return the nation to a more secular status with no religious favoritism.
Pray that wise heads may prevail, and that peace, reconciliation and freedom for religious minorities might take precedence over ethnocentrism, prejudice and pride.
b) A government that will work toward transparency, justice and the fair representation of all communities and their civil, economic and religious rights. Corruption and nepotism are too common. Post-2009, courageous decisions have been and will need to be made to oversee the healthy stewardship and development of this nation.
c) The handling of immense human needs in the aftermath of the civil war. Former LTTE fighters need to be reintegrated into society, the many injured and maimed government soldiers must be rehabilitated and given new vocations, orphans and widows must be cared for and half a million who were displaced need to be returned to their homes to rebuild their lives.
d) The fight against the many growing social ills:
i The plight of children – malnutrition, selective abortion/female infanticide or abandonment, abuse (including sexual abuse) and child prostitution (including sex tourism) are evils that are sadly making names for themselves in Sri Lanka.
ii Sri Lankans working abroad, especially in the Middle East and Gulf regions, are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, especially since most of them are female domestic helpers. There are up to 700,000 such women willing to endure the risk in order to earn enough to send remittances home. Their absence is often very difficult on the children they leave behind.
iii Threats to traditional Sri Lankan culture include alcoholism, suicide, casual violence and rape.
6. St Barthélemy:
This island caters to the uber-rich, trading on its sophistication and isolation for its exclusivity. There is little interest in spiritual things. Pray that amid the boutiques, cafés and villas there might awaken a hunger for spiritual reality and the opportunity to know God.
Pray also that the few churches on the island might minister meaningfully into this unique context.
6. St Helena:
Emigration from St Helena increases as jobs become scarcer. Much of the employment
occurs on the communications and military bases of Ascension and the Falkland Islands.
Pray for an effective witness to those working on these bases.
Pray also for those leaving to find work elsewhere; failure to approve building an airport deflated many hopes for St Helena’s development.
The Christian heritage of St Helena is strong but islanders’ committed to faith are
decreasing. Most Christians are nominal, and church attendance continues to decline. A
critical mass of evangelicals on the islands is needed to generate spiritual momentum.
Pray for Baptists and the Salvation Army, where most evangelicals can be found, and for the Anglican Church – the largest group, but spiritually dormant.
6. St Kitts and Nevis:
The shift in economy, from sugar to tourism and offshore finance, has borne unwanted fruit in attracting, along with the money, undesirable elements.
Pray for personal and social righteousness to combat this trend.
There is no lack of churches or other ministries on these islands, but their impact is limited.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to revive, empower and embolden believers for Kingdom effectiveness.
Pray especially for ministries that draw together the diverse denominations, such
as the Evangelical Association and Youth Impact Ministries.
Women lead 45% of households. Teenage mothers account for 19% of the total
number of live births nationally.
Pray that God might work to restore the strength of family life in this nation.
6. St Lucia:
Evangelically oriented churches have multiplied – as have divisions. The Fellowship of Gospel Preaching Churches is working to develop that unity in practical terms.
Pray for true unity amid the increasing diversity so that churches can offer a united front for the gospel’s sake.
The majority of St Lucians speak a French Creole. The NT, recently translated into
Creole, is being used for literacy projects. CLC has a Christian bookstore in Castries.
Pray for the Word of God to be acquired, read and applied in the lives of St Lucians.
7. St Martin:
The tropical location and French liberality combine to make this a playground for the
most wealthy. Exclusive hotels, clothing-optional beaches, designer-clothing boutiques and cafés typify the island’s culture. There is little room for or interest in a life of service to Christ.
Pray that in the midst of this elegant but hedonistic paradise, people might gain a hunger
for an eternal heaven.
The St Martin United Ministerial Foundation seeks to provide a platform for united
action among evangelical Christian leaders on both the French and Dutch sides of the island.
Pray that God might use this fledging organization to powerfully impact this small island.
7. St Pierre & Miquelon:
These isolated islands and their people have long been Catholic. Traditions are strong
and change has come slowly, despite the economic downturn when the fishing industry
all but disappeared. There are no longer any evangelical groups. The Baptists and AoG have both withdrawn from this hard field. While there may be a few private believers, there is no longer a formal evangelical or even Protestant presence in the islands.
Pray for people to find hope in a living relationship with Christ.
7. St. Vincent:
St Vincent is a religious country, but most are not related to God through a
personal faith in Jesus Christ. There is a crisis of holiness, lack of spiritual fruit and
growing apathy, especially regarding missions.
The smaller Grenadine Islands suffer a lack of churches due to their more isolated nature. Groups such as the Methodists, Pentecostals and Baptists seek to plant more churches in the Grenadines.
Pray for revival and for restoration of a biblically-based, Spirit-led Church.
Sudan has known only war for its entire modern history. Violence is rife throughout
Sudan, which is regarded as one of the world’s least stable nations. The belligerent government/military waged war against restive populations in the south, west and east at massive human and economic cost to its own citizens. With such religious, ethnic and linguistic diversity added to civil conflicts and hostile relations with neighbors, peace is nearly impossible.
Pray for sweeping change at the highest levels and throughout the land – for repentance,
restitution and rebuilding of communal life.
The persistence of slavery in Sudan is a serious issue, again made prominent in the
1990s during the civil war. Almost all slaves are from the south and the Nuba Mountains.
Northern militias are the main perpetrators, but inter-tribal raiders and even the SPLA also take captives for enforced labor. Their lot – whether slaves, abductees or POWs – is misery. In the north alone, an estimated 40,000 to 100,000 (or more) southerners are now held as chattel. The controversial buying back of slaves by Western NGOs frees some and raises awareness, but probably exacerbates the problem.
Pray that all such wrongs may end, and pray that world leaders may prevail upon all involved to end this wickedness. Shari’a law in the north and the impunity with which northern militias act help perpetuate this barbarism.
Persecution of the Church, persisting over most of the last 60 years, has been most
intense since 1985. Deliberate attempts to eliminate a viable Christian presence are
extreme and include bombing of Sunday church services, destruction of churches, hospitals, schools, mission bases and Christian villages, massacres and mutilation, and murder of pastors and leaders. Persecution is especially severe in the Nuba Mountains. Whole areas have been laid waste and lands seized and given to Arabized northerners.
Pray that Christians may bear good witness to their persecutors in these sufferings and become spiritually strong as a result.
Pray also that the sufferings of Christians might become widely known and that peace, justice and religious freedom may be firmly established.
Nearly half the population professes to be Christian, but many have little understanding of their faith, and Christian belief is often mixed with spiritism. In the larger Catholic and Moravian denominations, growth has been incremental, but recent Pentecostal and charismatic growth has been rapid.
Pray for new life and dynamism to replace traditionalism and syncretism practiced by many.
Pray for increasing trans-denominational cooperation to continue in Bible related
ministries and outreach to every ethnic group in Suriname.
Suriname’s post-independence existence faces challenges old and new. While more
stable than in the troubled years of coups and dictatorships, the nation remains largely
compartmentalized by race and religion – polarizations that cripple political and social
development. The sudden and seemingly unstoppable rise of a criminal economy through drug trafficking and gold smuggling requires both wise and concerted action.
Pray for the emergence of godly leaders and for a spiritual awakening in this young nation.
The impact of HIV/AIDS cannot be overstated – it has devastated the population. Life expectancy plummeted to age 32 in 2008 (according to some reports), and 26% of adults (up to 40% in other reports) are HIV-positive. Sixty-one percent of all deaths could be attributed to HIV/AIDS. The pandemic has denuded society of a young adult workforce, and many households are orphaned and led by the oldest sibling. All talk about ministry and evangelism is irrelevant if this issue is not addressed.
a) Treatment of those afflicted. Anti-retrovirals are available for free, but there is a severe
shortage of adequate care facilities. Widespread poverty exacerbates the suffering.
b) Sexual morality must be restored. Until purity and fidelity are practiced as a social norm, this scourge will never be defeated. Polygamy and a lack of holiness among Christians contribute to the problem.
Pray for marriages and families to function as God intended; that in itself will
be a great victory against AIDS.
c) Christian response. Genuine Christian love, demonstrated in practical and gracious ways, has the potential to win many to the Lord. No church trying to be relevant can afford to ignore the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of AIDS sufferers. Training pastors to address this challenge is a strategic key.
The Church of Sweden is no longer the State Church. Its size, political influence and
social impact are large, but on the wane. Liberal theology and practice dominate the
Church, from endorsing same-sex marriage to universalism and rejecting the divine authority of Scripture. Politicians (often without any clear faith in Jesus) are frequently chosen to sit on parish councils. Unsurprisingly, the Church is in numerical decline and attendance is between 1-2% of membership. On the local level, there are a number of evangelical congregations, pastors and members, but the national structures are dominated by a liberal agenda. Movements such as Taizé, Oasis and Pilgrimage are having a positive and inspirational influence on the Lutheran Church.
Pray for God to shake and refine this Church.
The spiritual decline of Sweden is apparent on many levels. Only 23% of people
believe in a personal God. Nearly every religious group faces dropping numbers of
members and attendees. The number of active Christian youth and of missionaries sent from Sweden drastically declined in the last 30 years. Society, especially the younger generation, is so effectively secularized that any discussion of the gospel must involve a painstaking amount of pre-evangelism. Materialism, hedonism and individualism are among the most cherished of values, and adherence to absolute values or truth is regarded as “intolerance”.
Pray for a new awakening for this spiritually struggling nation; recent signs are that young people are moving back toward more traditional values.
Missionary outreach from Sweden, traditionally strong, has declined markedly in recent
years across several mission agencies. The Swedish Mission Council serves 36 organizations in coordinating and encouraging mission. A number of agencies and national churches (including World of Life and Light in the East) train workers for ministry among the unreached. The Institute of Bible Translation in Stockholm carries the vision of publishing the Bible in every non-Slavic language of Russia and the CIS; pray for its strategic work.
Pray also for a new wave of mission’s vision and workers to come out of Sweden and out of Scandinavia generally.
This exceptional nation now struggles with the same social and spiritual malaise shared by its neighbors, despite its traditional policy of neutrality and its relative isolation. Spiritual decline is mirrored by political apathy – in this direct democracy, election/referendum turnout is now 40%, down from 80% a century ago. Low birthrates and a rapidly growing aged population pressure the pension system and require high levels of immigration, in itself a huge social issue. Over 22% of the population are foreigners, many from Muslim backgrounds. Integration of these groups is often a problem, as is the reactionary presence of far-right political groups. Yet, tensions such as the Minaret referendum in 2009 cause many to consider again Switzerland’s Christian heritage.
Pray for wisdom for leaders who must attempt to preserve Swiss identity while guiding the country forward.
Renewed vision for evangelicals is bubbling up. The Swiss Evangelical Alliance, Free
Churches and other agencies are working on a renewed vision for the evangelization of
Switzerland. Most Christian non-profit groups have united as a more audible voice within
society regarding religious freedom, evangelism and mission, aid and social responsibility, environmental issues, media, youth and others. While church planting remains an important goal, they see renewal and Christian testimony within society as equally important.
Pray for increasing numbers of congregations as well as for renewal of many existing ones.
Pray for newer groups, such as the International Christian Fellowship (ICF) and the house church movement, that are reaching people outside of traditional church structures.
Changes within the country point to a potentially dangerous future. The Iraq situation created possibly 1.8 million refugees to add to the 600,000 Palestinians in Syria. They are now beginning to move onward, either to Western countries or back to Iraq. Traditionally
moderate Sunni Islam is shifting toward more fundamentalist expressions just as the exploding youthful population find themselves jobless and without prospects. Water issues grow more significant in the region.
Pray for God to use the uncertainty to draw people to seek the truth more urgently.
Syria’s role in the Middle East has been a troubled one in recent decades. But a new
and younger president, economic difficulties, nervous minorities and, above all, shifting
political fault lines in the region put Syria’s own stability at risk. Lasting peace in the Middle East cannot be achieved without Syrian participation in any solution.
Pray that God might somehow use this nation to bring peace to the area.
Syria’s Antiochan Church was instrumental in initiating mission to the Gentiles (Acts
13). Today, Christians must exercise caution and wisdom in relating to the state and to
Muslims. Evangelicals in particular must discern how to effectively share Christ without
proselytizing. Biblical training and a loving attitude toward Muslims are essential.
Pray that believers might rediscover the zeal and faith of the NT Church of Antioch.
The Christian population has been massively reduced by emigration. It was and remains largely Russian Orthodox. The civil war and its aftermath drove out the majority; most of the remainder are cultural/nominal Christians with little desire to share the gospel with indigenous peoples. While multi-ethnic congregations exist in a few cities, the bulk of the rural majority remains unreached.
Pray that such a vision might be awakened.
Pray also for contextually sensitive outreach efforts and for church structures that will reproduce in rural areas.
Freedom of religion exists, but barely. The government, to prevent the growth of
extremism in Islam, introduced many restrictions that place a stranglehold on Christian
ministry. Religious teaching, publishing and proselytism is made very difficult if not illegal. Registering churches is also very difficult.
Pray for the gospel to spread and Christians to find ways to teach and minister despite these harsh restrictions.
Emigration is a major social challenge. As many as one million Tajik men are
working abroad, mostly in Russia. This is a huge proportion of the population and
especially of the male population of working age. Entire villages are denuded of the younger generation. One additional difficulty this creates is the constant drain on church leadership; many Christians move away for financial reasons.
Pray for job creation within Tajikistan generally and, in particular, for churches to be able to hold onto their leaders.
We know that the Lord is faithful to hear the cries of the intercessor for the nations. Let us continue to believe for a move of God across the nations of the earth in the coming months. Jesus Christ is Lord!
Germaine Copeland and the Staff of Word Ministries
Mission Info Bank. Used by permission.
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