Isaiah 61:1-4 seems tailor-made for situations like those listed in today's requests:
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.These trends make it clear that Asia needs some good news. Its brokenhearted need some binding up, some freedom, some favor and comfort. As we pray today, let's be especially grateful that Jesus came not to just change peoples' lives, but to change their days. He truly changes everything.
My prayer for today: Abba, Father, Your heartbeat for Asia is pounding in my own chest right now. I read the trends and concerns and feel overwhelmed. But I am reminded Lord that You sent Jesus to die so that the Asian people could be free - and could experience all the benefits of that freedom in Him. You have the answers and You love them more than I ever could. Lord, I lift this continent to You. I pray for the very real needs, spiritual and physical. Lord, break the wicked structures of sin that hold so many in bondage - trafficking, totalitarianism, sexual sin that keeps the AIDS epidemic growing, selfishness that holds onto resources rather than using them for the greater good. Lord, only the Gospel will make the kind of heart-level difference that will tear down these strongholds and replace them with glimpses of Your kingdom. I pray for laborers to the harvest and for large-scale responses, and discipleship to show the people how the Gospel can make a difference in their societies as well as their individual lives. Lord, some of the issues are political and structural. The leaders need Your wisdom to guide the people through issues realated to migration, globalization, demographic shifts, economic growth, ecological issues, and technology advances. Please raise up leaders who seek the good of the people and who govern in such a way that people can live quiet and peaceful lives, evil is punished, and the Gospel is spread. Finally, Lord, last but certainly not least, there are some real spiritual strongholds to be broken in the spirit of extremism that has infilitrated Islam, Hinduism, and even Judaism, and the continued strongholds of Buddhism and ethnic religions. I pray for Christians who have come out of each of these backgrounds to hold firmly to the truth and that You will call many to minister to their own people and near neighbors, to share from within the culture the truth of Jesus. Lord, none of this is too big for You. You love and care for the poor and needy of Asia. Please step into this situation and do what only You can. In Jesus' name, amen.