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)
The delicate inter-communal balance and religious stability of the country cannot be taken for granted. The Muslim community is increasingly polarized between moderates and Islamists, the latter pressing for political influence and the establishment of separate Islamist courts. Witchcraft is widespread and permeates both Christianity and Islam. Spiritual superstitions and outright occultism incur great financial expense and often result in sexual abuse or even death for the victims of such practices.
Pray that the government may be ruthless in uprooting evil and wise in fostering communal harmony and religious freedom.
Widespread and systemic poverty is both a challenge and an opportunity. Many areas
require development assistance – schools, universities, hospitals, roads, drinking water and agriculture. Half of all secondary schools are privately funded. Rapid urbanization and endemic corruption intensify the problems. Holistic ministry is necessary and a wonderful way to bring transformation to all levels of Tanzanian life. Most foreign Christian agencies at work in Tanzania already minister in this capacity;
Pray for more projects to be started and to be finished effectively.
The Pentecostal movement has flourished in the last 20 years and is the fastest growing
segment of Christianity. Although the origins of many of these groups are foreign, good
use of outreach tools combined with spiritual fervency have seen Pentecostalism grow and take root in Tanzanian culture.
Pray for continued growth, increased maturity and unity between Pentecostals and other evangelicals – essential if the church is to impact Muslims and animists in the nation.
Thailand has been an island of stability and freedom in a troubled region, but “The Land of Smiles” is also awash with difficulties.
Pray for these pressing issues and for the wise leadership and reform needed to address them:
a) The political upheaval of 2006-2008 revealed deep fault lines among various political parties, the military and the royalty. Protests brought the country to a standstill.
b) The violent insurgency in the southern areas near Malaysia has claimed thousands of lives. It is a result of some discrimination against the predominantly Malay Muslim minority and the radicalization of the same.
c) Tensions with other neighbors, including disputes with Cambodia and more notably
Myanmar, from which over a million have fled disaster and persecution into Thailand.
d) Structures of sin and vice continue to prosper, despite increasing efforts to combat them. Corruption allows unscrupulous men – in business, politics, the military and police – to enrich themselves while oppressing others. The moral blights of the sex trade, drug networks, crime syndicates and ecological degradation will remain as long as they are profitable and tolerated.
Pray for the breaking of these structures of sin by God’s power.
Thailand means “Land of the Free” because it successfully retained its freedom when
surrounding countries were colonized by Western powers. Yet the land is held captive in
a complex web of Buddhism, traditional culture, spirit appeasement and even occult practices, with a social cohesiveness out of which few have dared to come. The Buddha is the object of people’s adoration, but the spirit world is deeply ensconced in Thailand. Phra Sayam Devadhiraj, the venerated guardian spirit that protects the land, has a golden idol in the capital’s Grand Palace. For many Thai, their nationality and religious identity are inextricably linked.
Pray for spiritual breakthrough so that, in the Lord Jesus, the Thai may be free indeed.
20. Timor Leste:
Timor’s traumatic birth left deep scars. The vindictive destruction and forcible removal of many Timorese by the departing Indonesian military and its Timorese militia
allies left a legacy of hatred and trauma that will take decades to heal. Internal tensions –between Eastern and Western, disaffected armed gangs and rival political factions – cause violence and unrest to persist, despite the presence of international (mostly Australian and some Portuguese) peacekeepers.
Pray for peace for Timor, that grievances might be laid to rest and that reconciliation might begin to take root.
Timor appears caught in a descending spiral of poverty, poor health and illiteracy.
It is the poor who suffer most from the violence and destruction wrought by various
factions. With a shattered infrastructure and ill-equipped public servants, the nation needs
transformation in all spheres of life. Major investments are needed in education, job creation, health care and training of leadership. The oil and gas fields of the Timor Sea will hopefully bring the finances required;
Pray that Australia will be fair and generous in sharing the revenues, and that the income will be justly and wisely invested into projects that benefit the whole population and not just enrich a few.
Political injustices continue. The illegal appointment (by the army) of the former president’s son, the series of rigged elections and the political system tweaked to serve the ruling party all perpetuate resentment and bitterness between southern and central people clusters.
Pray for leaders to emerge who fear God, respect the constitution and serve the people justly.
Pray that God breaks down walls of enmity between the Guinean and Gur people clusters In raising up such leaders.
The economic situation remains precarious. With little foreign investment and few
natural resources, poverty is widespread and people are vulnerable to exploitation. Such
poverty makes prostitution common and drives many orphans and unwanted children into the arms of human traffickers. Rich Muslim businesses entice young Christians to work there and eventually convert to Islam.
Pray for Christians, locally and internationally, to stand firm despite such problems and to invest in creating ethical employment for the people of Togo.
Unity in the Togolese Church has made progress, under the auspices of reaching every
home and planting a church in every village in the country. But there is a long way to go.
Barriers of mistrust and denominationalism must be broken down, and the recently arrived churches must be willing to work with each other and with the more established churches.
Pray that this vision might unify the Church and call all believers to action.
Tonga’s rich Christian heritage is a blessing, but has reached the point of oversaturation. The proliferation of denominations generates competition among churches, as newer groups entice believers away. Isolation and the difficult economic situation complicate issues further.
Pray that Tongan Christians would seek ways to contribute to the Kingdom of God
rather than seeking the church that benefits them the most.
The past century has been one of spiritual decline. There is a long and sad history of bitter schisms within Methodism. Politics and Church are inextricable; even the newer denominations’ apolitical stance assumes acceptance of the status quo.
Pray for a true spirit of unity among all believers and churches
Pray for leaders who will exemplify unity with gracious and humble spirits.
22. Trinidad & Tobago:
Many social challenges face Trinidad & Tobago. Increasing crime and gang violence associated with the illicit drug trade are worsened by endemic weaknesses in the policing/justice system. Alcoholism, kidnapping, armed robbery and theft are dangerously common and a high percentage of children are born out of wedlock and to teenage mothers.
Pray that righteous and effective solutions might be found through both the public and faith sectors.
Christianity is professed by nearly two-thirds of the population, but true disciples
faithful to God’s Word are not so common. Many Christians are nominal; many others are polluted by witchcraft, Afro-Spiritist beliefs and Hinduism-influenced worldviews. Family life and morals within the Christian sphere often do not demonstrate the lordship of Christ. Greater theological training – for leaders as well as laity – is needed and a discipleship mentality must be fostered. Thank God for the minority who do live to please God
Pray that purity and passion might be restored across all denominations.
In earlier centuries the Christian Church was widespread, producing such leaders as Tertullian and Cyprian. Schism, heresy, failures to put roots deep into the local culture and to translate the Bible into local languages, foreign invasions and finally Islam brought about its demise. There are about 500 committed indigenous believers today, but only one-third of those meet together regularly for worship.
Pray that a living, growing Church might become a reality again in this land.
Tunisia is one of the most progressive and open societies in the Arab world. However,
the economic transformation is not as widespread as many feel it should be. The rapid
change to a social, demographic and economic existence resembling Tunisia’s European
neighbors (more than its African ones) is offset by the greater influences of Islam and a pan-Arab media in terms of Tunisia’s collective identity.
Pray that the advancement of both materialism and the practice of Islam might actually serve to illuminate a deeper need in people’s hearts.
The government still prohibits indigenous churches from owning their own
property and having their own bank accounts.
Pray for the government to officially recognize the Tunisian Church.
Pray for the return of buildings and land that were previously taken by the state; may these provide space for the Tunisian Christians to establish their own places of worship.
Turkey is a nation torn in different directions. Straddling Europe and Asia, neither Middle Eastern nor Western, Turkish society is secular yet Muslim. Critical to shaping the nation’s future are several issues that must be addressed.
Pray for leaders who will act justly and wisely, focused on the welfare of all who call Turkey home.
a) The rivalry between secular Turkish nationalism and Islamism. Legality of the hijab
(Islamic headscarf) has been a flashpoint for this division. While the constitution, judiciary and military are secular and notionally meant to uphold religious freedom, secular Turks can be as anti-Western, anti-minority and anti-Christian as any hard line Islamists. Wahhabist influences help to fuel fundamentalist Islam, while hard line nationalism is also strong and rising.
Pray that Turkey might steer a moderate path between these twin dangers.
b) The issue of membership in the European Union. Some strive to introduce necessary
reforms for greater integration with Europe (especially on human rights, religious freedom and Kurdish, Armenian and Cypriot issues). Others aim towards leadership of a Turkic bloc of nations and an increased role in the Middle East. The tension between introducing modernity and retaining traditional roots is difficult to resolve.
c) Challenges facing the political realm. The role of the military within the state needs
adjusting to allow for democratic functioning of the civil government. Recent moves
toward multi-cultural and multi-religious democratization have ushered this challenge to
the fore, with the resulting national identity crisis provoking a notably reactionary response. A power struggle rages between the secularists and pro-Islamic/freedoms groups. Serious failings in human rights must be addressed, and likewise for the Kurdish issue which has cost the lives of thousands of soldiers and civilians.
The new government and leadership face difficult decisions about continuing Niyazov’s legacy, about domestic policies and about the awkward relationships with Russia (its main buyer of gas), Iran, Afghanistan and China.
Pray for godly wisdom for the new leader, for a departure from oppressive policies of the past and for the respect of constitutionally guaranteed human rights and religious freedoms.
Expatriate Christians concerned for Turkmenistan continue to pray from a distance,
mobilize and prepare for the day when the country is open again.
Pray for openings for humanitarian organizations to operate and bless the people in ways both practical and spiritual. Expatriate Christians found to be doing religious training are expelled.
Pray for the small handful of foreign Christians still in Turkmenistan – that they might be delivered from harassment by secret police, that they might be able to continue to work in the country and that they might soon be joined by an increasing number of Christian workers.
28. Turks & Caicos Islands:
The inflow of immigrants – most are illegal and from Haiti. They are poised to outnumber natives, or “Belongers”.
Pray that believers might meet these newcomers with biblical love and share with them the gospel.
Poverty is an issue – 25% live below the poverty line, despite a growing economy.
Pray that God might open new opportunities for the economically disadvantaged and that any social and economic advancement would be for the betterment of the whole population.
Tuvalu faces an uncertain future. Very limited resources, possible rising sea levels and modern/global external influences make this traditional culture fragile, both environmentally and socially.
Pray that wisdom would prevail in preserving Tuvalu as a nation and culture, and that the long-standing presence of the Church would play a major role in this.
Tuvalu was first evangelized by Cook Island missionaries and then the LMS. The Congregational Church (Tuvalu Christian Church) is effectively the established church, but decline has set in on the back of nominalism. Newer works such as the more dynamic AoG see significant progress.
Pray for renewal and biblical faith for all who identify themselves as Christians.
The Church has seen both wonderful breakthroughs and immense obstacles:
a)Unity. There are numerous divisions in the Church, and the proliferation of independent and single-congregation denominations makes true unity a massive challenge.
Pray for reconciliation and fellowship among Protestant and Catholic, charismatic and non-charismatic, denominational and independent.
b) Superficial Christianity. The majority of Ugandans identify themselves as Christian, but materialistic attitudes, polygamous practices and non-biblical worldviews – all affecting lifestyle – are common. For many, being “Christian” simply means not being Muslim.
Pray for renewal that would turn nominal Christians into disciples.
c) Syncretistic practices and false teachings are multiplying even as the Church grows. The lack of biblical and Christian literature in local languages plays a part in this. The prosperity gospel is spreading rapidly. Many of the fastest growing groups have the fewest ordained pastors, the lowest training standards and the fewest accountability structures. The National Fellowship of Born Again Churches plays a crucial role in this area. The Africa Centre for Apologetics Research works to address the challenge of syncretism and cults.
Pray that the Holy Spirit might lead Christians into all truth and that all falsehood might be cast aside.
d) Training leaders for the Church. Solid biblical formation for pastors is a key issue – training that is affordable, relevant and empowering. There are numerous Pentecostal Bible schools and a Baptist Seminary. YWAM provides short-term training, and Uganda Christian University serves strategically to educate professionals using a Christian worldview.
Pray for the preparation of spiritual, godly 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!
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