Sunday, January 29, 2012

A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey -January 29 (Day 29)

You may not realize it, but if you are a western Christian, you are increasingly a minority in the global church. More and more, the rapid church growth on other continents outpaces the stagnation or decline of the western church. That shouldn't be surprising, since we have a faith that will eventually be embraced by some from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people group. What it does mean, though, is that we have to look outside our culture if we want to truly see "the church" on a global scale. These individuals from very different backgrounds are just as much a needed part of the body of Christ as our own churches.

Today and tomorrow our focus is the church in Asia. We are going to split this into two days to help us better understand the Asian church, which is diverse in its own right. For today, please read pages 65-66 numbers 1-2 "The Church in Asia - Middle East/West Asia" and "Central Asia."

Many believers from this area of Asia come from Muslim Backgrounds; others have been historically Christian or come from minority religions. This area of Asia saw the birth and early expansion of the church, yet today many of its countries have a declining Christian population due to emigration. Other countries do not allow public meetings by Christians. Christians from all backgrounds need special prayer for the persecution that is prevalent. All these countries need prayer for God to loose the chains of spiritual oppression that keep the majority of the people from following Jesus. (If this area is especially on your heart, I highly recommend Brother Andrew's ministry to Secret Believers and the persecuted church.)

My prayer for today: Lord, You chose a tiny corner of the Middle East to witness Your birth. You walked the soil of Jerusalem and Galilee. Your followers spread the Gospel throughout much of this part of the world, and yet today so few here follow You. Many have left out of fear or financial need. Lord, I lift up to You the church in the Middle East/West Asia. I echo Brother Andrew's prayer that You "strengthen what remains" and that the churches there will be renewed and emboldened to reach out. I pray against fear that would keep them from reach out to their neighbors. I pray against lukewarm faith; help them be on fire for you and "all in". I pray for unity, strength, and revitalization for the churches. I pray for wisdom for MBB's to know how to share Jesus with their families and how to walk out their faith. Raise up individuals who can train leaders, especially in underground and MBB churches. Lord, within central Asia the church is growing but face pressure from every side. I pray that You would guide those who seek to separate the church from "western" forms and make it truly reflect the unique cultures within central Asia. I pray for the expatriate believers to have courage and wisdom in their partnerships with national believers. I ask You Lord for the remnant in the countries that press down the hardest to remain faithful and true to You. Lord, set the church free from these evil men who don't believe, so that they can more effectively share the Gospel. Thank You for Your love for the church in the Middle East/West Asia and in Central Asia.

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