Several key cities in the New Testament are located on Asian soil. Yet on their second missionary journey, Paul, Silas, and Timothy faced an intriguing hindrance to their plans:
For reasons Scripture doesn't specify, Paul didn't get to proclaim the Gospel in Asia. (This is almost certainly just a portion of Asia, a specific province of Rome also called Ionia, that at the time had Ephesus as its capital.) At the time, God's plan for Paul was to hear the Macedonia call and take the Gospel into what is now Europe. We know that the Gospel did reach this area, because the 7 churches of Revelation are seven key cities of Ionia. Having the door shut in this portion of Asia obviously wasn't a permanent hindrance to the expansion of the church there. As we will see over the next few days, God's Spirit has been strongly at work throughout Asia over the centuries.
Today, join me in learning about Asia by reading pages 56-59 (Asia map, country list, and blue-boxed statistical information), then return here to begin praying for God's heart for this amazing continent.
Please notice especially the religious demographics: "Asia is the only continent where Christianity is not the largest religion." It also has the most persecution - and the most prominent Christian growth. As OW says, "Asia remains by far the most significant challenge forworld evangelization." There is much work to be done, and so for the next week, please commit to seeking God's heart for this huge portion of the world. When you finish, please watch one or more of the video diaries "Along the Silk Road" which cuts through the heart of Asia to help us connect to these precious people.
My prayer for today: Oh sovereign Lord who sits enthroned in the heavens, thank You for looking down upon Your world and getting involved in a very personal way. Thank You for Jesus and the blood He shed to bring ALL tribes, tongues, nations, and people groups into Your kingdom. Thank You for Your heart for Asia, You love Asia more than we ever will. But Lord, we ask You to give each of us part of Your heart for Asia for the next week. Anoint us with a spirit of prayer for this vast continent with so many unreached people groups. Guide us to understand more about how to pray effectively. Help us see with Your eyes Lord. And for those of us whom You're calling to a deeper commitment to Asia through praying, giving, or going - help us be sensitive and obedient. Only You can meet the vast challenges of Asia. We know You are at work there. We only ask that You allow us the blessing, the privilege, of joining You in Your work. In Jesus' name, Amen.