Saturday, March 31, 2012

Prayer for Central African Republic: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 31 (Day 91)

For the next two days, we are praying for the Central African Republic - a landlocked nation that truly is in the center of Africa. With a president who came to power through a coup and then was elected in fair elections, poor infrastructure, repeated rebellions, and a wealth of underdeveloped resource potential, CRA is a boiling pot for problems. But God is at work, and we see a church growing stronger. Let's pray today for the impact the church can have in this country. Read pages 201-205.

My prayer for today: Lord, we thank You for what You are doing in the Central African Republic. We praise You for the emerging national church in CRA and that You are using it for service and witness. We praise You for the Bible translation efforts and ask for their success. We ask for wisdom in the strategy for missions and evangelism that crosses denominational lines, and we pray for unity among the churches as they reach unreached people groups. Lord, within this nation the physical needs are real and seem overwhelming. Use the church to be catalyst for peace, for meeting economic and health care needs, and for demonstrating to CRA what it looks like for Your kingdom to come, Your will to be done on this earth. We pray for the church to be pure, free of syncretism with strong leaders and unity. Thank You Lord, for Your work in CRA. Show the church how they can join in with what You are already doing.In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Prayer for Cape Verde and Cayman Islands: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 30 (Day 90)

Today's journey takes us from one of the largest countries in the world (Canada) to two of the tiniest islands - what a reminder that He is Lord of the land and the seas!

Psa 24:1-2 The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

Please read pages 198-200. The information and prayer lists may be short, but the needs are real. Cape Verde depends on imports for 80% of its food supply. Its tourist and fishing potential are underdeveloped, and like many islands it is one natural disaster away from tragedy. The Cayman islands are affluent, with a Christian heritage, yet materialism and hedonism have found their way into the islands along with tourism and tax shelters. As we pray, let's seek God to truly impart to us His heart for the people of these locales.

My prayer for today: Lord, You are good and You do good. Your glory extends from the mountains to the valleys, from the coastlands to the islands. There is not a square inch of earth that does not belong to You for Your glory. Lord, we ask You today for the needs of Cape Verde and Cayman islanders. We ask You to give us Your heart for them and to see Your purposes in their existence. Lord, we pray for the economic concerns of Cape Verde with its poverty and underdevelopment. We pray for provision of food and resources. We pray especially for spiritual provision - bring about a true understanding of the Gospel and equip the believers to not mix their faith with other practices. We pray for the Caboverdians living abroad to be spiritual and economic blessings to the people back home. And Lord for Cayman - we thank You for the Christian heritage and the reference to Psalm 24 on the flag. We pray for Your power to be acknowledged, for all corruption and greed to be rooted out and for the wealth of the islands to be used for Your glory. We pray against materialism and hedonism and ask You to interrupt the tourists who visit Cayman with Your purposes and Your presence. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Prayer for Canada: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 29 (Day 89)

Today we continue to pray for Canada. Please review pages 193-197.

My prayer for today: Lord, we lift up Canada to You and ask for revival! Let a fresh wind of Your Spirit rush over this country that has such a heritage. Lord, we pray for Christians to be a strong and loving witness in the face of antagonism from the popular culture and the media. We pray for the church to be what You created the church to be. Give the church in Canada a passion for your glory. We pray for the outreach efforts and the new vibrancy in Catholicism to have a beneficial impact on Canada. We pray for the Bible institutes to have a positive influence throughout the country. Lord, We ask for those who need a fresh witness or to hear for the first time - for Quebec, for the First Nations, for the Inuit and the immigrants. We pray for the missionaries within Canada and those they have sent abroad. We pray for them to fulfill the unique roles You have called them to. Be glorified in and through Canada. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Praying for Canada: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 28 (Day 88)

Beautiful sweeping scenery. Wide open spaces. Arctic cold, high mountains, and blue oceans. This is Canada. Canada has a spiritual heritage as well - shaped by Christian leaders, the country actually has a higher proportion of Christians in Parliament than in the population at large! Yet overall the country has been in spiritual decline, and the number of non-religious are growing. Please read about Canada on pages 193-197.

Today's prayer journey features a video tour of this lovely country and a young Canadian believer leading us in prayer. Please take the time to watch this video, hear her passion and her heart, and pray with her.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Praying for Cameroon: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 27 (Day 87)

Today we continue our prayers for Cameroon. Please review pages 189-193.

My prayer for today: Lord, You see all the needs in Cameroon and You are the answer to each of them. We pray for the churches in Cameroon today - lift them above the spiritual poverty and syncretism to a place of deep repentance, revival, and unity. We pray for solid discipleship and for discernment about false teachings. We pray for Biblical engagement throughout the society and for solid leadership to establish strong bases of truth throughout the country. We pray for the success of Cameroon for Christ as they seek to reach the Muslim North. We pray for love and not fear when it comes to engaging Muslims. We trust You for all the unreached in Cameroon to hear the Gospel - help the churches in Cameroon to be faithful to the Great Commission and keep advancing for Your glory. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Praying for Cameroon: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 26 (Day 86)

For the next two days we are praying for Cameroon, an African country that in many ways represents the tensions within Africa. Please read pages 189-193.

Though a majority-Christian population, Cameroon has a large Muslim presence in the north and interfaith tensions are growing. Though it has held free democratic elections, the current president promoted and won an amendment to allow him to run again and is considered by some as a dictator since he has essentially ruled for two decades now and has strong unilateral powers. Cameroon has one of the world's highest literacy rates - and one of the highest corruption rates. Cameroon has come a long way in development and has great potential, but that is hindered by global economic forces and an overvalued currency.

It's one thing to read about a country. It's another to get a first-hand account. The following prayer requests come from a friend of mine who is a student from Cameroon studying in the US. Let's join with him in prayer today.
I would like to begin by thanking you sincerely for dedicating two days of prayers to Cameroon. I would be extremely grateful if you pray for our leadership and those in authority. There is relative calm at home politically speaking but people are so frustrated with the government in power. Our government only serves the needs of the elites and the masses is left out completely. I would be extremely grateful if you pray especially to eradicate corruption in my country. Corruption is like a canker worm that has eaten down deep into the fabric of our society. Above all, pray for peace and prosperity and that the word of God should spread to every corner of my country.
 My prayer for today: Lord, we thank You for what You have been doing in Cameroon - for the guarantees of religious freedom and the strong Christian population, for the growth of evangelicals and the conversion of significant leaders to Christ. Thank You for the prayer meetings surrounding parliament and for the use of media for Your purposes. Lord, we join with this Cameroon believer to pray for those in authority in Cameroon. Give them an understanding of true justice and righteousness, and for those who are Christians we pray that the fragrance of Christ will permeate everything that they do. We pray that the Gospel will work throughout society to eradicate corruption. Lord, allow Your truth to permeate every corner of Cameroon so they can experience the peace and prosperity that comes only in You. In Jesus' name, amen. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Prayer for Cambodia - A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 25 (Day 85)

Today we continue to pray for Cambodia. Please review pages 185-189. Today we are blessed to have some insights from a worker on the ground in Cambodia, who remains nameless for security reasons.

The religion of Islam is rapidly growing in Cambodia; it's more than Christianity now. Please pray over the CHAM Muslim people here. There are only few missionaries are working amongst them. Human trafficking is also one of the problem. Please pray for the workers as well that they may find wisdom and supernatural strength as they minister to the patients/victims. Corruption is worse too.

Pray for the MK2021 [Mission Kampuchea year 2021] This is the movement here - the goal is to do church planting to each village around Cambodia. This is response to the the mission of Islam to saturate Cambodia to be an Islamic Nation in year 2021.

If God has stirred you to pray regularly for Cambodia, I strongly urge you to email and request the document "The Peoples of Cambodia". It's a 55 page  PDF document rich with information to guide you the pray with awareness.

Cambodia provides an important reminder that the need for prayer continues long after a season of war or violence ends. The church growth in Cambodia, accomplished mainly by indigenous evangelists, and church planters, is a result of many prayers poured out for generations. Yet the needs in Cambodia are extensive, and a deep healing is needed from the genocide that occurred in the late 1970s. Praise God that He is Jehovah Jireh and can provide healing at levels we'll never see! Let's pray for the church in Cambodia as they seek to be His hands and feet in the healing process.

My prayer for today: Lord, we thank You for bringing the church through the horrible genocide years and equipping them for the church growth that followed. We pray for them now, as they seek to make the most of the open door of ministry by meeting practical needs and offering spiritual hope. We pray against the spiritual darkness in Cambodia and ask You to intervene in powerful ways where people are most vulnerable, such as the sex trafficking victims and the child laborers.Lord, raise up leaders for the church who can step into the places left by those who fought the battle in the last generation. Bring unity and strength to the Cambodian church. Meet the deep needs of the nation as well. Lead the church to be fully holistic in meeting needs. We ask for this worker and her team, Lord, to have divine wisdom, strength, and direction. We pray for the CHAM people group to hear and respond to the Gospel and we ask for laborers to the harvest among them. We pray, Lord, for the success of MK2021 and pray for more church planters to meet head-on the challenge the enemy has thrown down. We know that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church's advance - we just need boldness to DO IT. Thank You, Lord.  In Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Prayer for Cambodia: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 24 (Day 84)

If what you know about Cambodia is from the movie "The Killing Fields", I hope you are prepared to be encouraged over the next two days! Please read pages 185-189.

What God has done in Cambodia is truly amazing. Even among the Khmer Rouge, a move of the Spirit has led to many coming to Christ. I highly recommend Don Cormack's book, Killing Fields, Living Fields for an inside look at the Cambodian church. I was gripped with their passion for the word of God - the author describes how Cambodian believers read the Bible carefully, deliberately, mouthing every word even when reading alone silently. What a lesson for those of us who sometimes breeze through familiar stories, rather than cherishing every word like the precious pearls that they are. 

Please watch the video below and join in prayer for Cambodia today.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Prayer for Burundi: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 23 (Day 83)

Today we remain in Africa and travel to another country where God has been moving to bring freedom, peace,and the Gospel. Please read about Burundi on pages 181-184.

While the civil war and genocide in Rwanda has garnered international attention in the years since it occurred, struggles between the same ethnic groups in Burundi have not been as visible to the rest of the world. Thankfully God has been at work, bringing stability and even a Christian president.  While the growth of the church is not as exponential as that seen in some countries, significantly the church has realized that "nominal, shallow Christianity is inadequate" and the church today is intentionally holistic and growing deep in the Lord. As you watch this video, please join in prayer for Burundi today.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Prayer for Burkina Faso: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 22 (Day 82)

Today we continue to pray for Burkina Faso. Please review pages 177-180.

Did you note the explosive growth among evangelicals - from 10,000 to 1.44 million in only 50 years? I had trouble wrapping my mind around that until I looked at it this way -- the evangelical church in Burkina Faso doubled, on average, every 7 years. To put that in perspective, roughly 30% of Americans define themselves as evangelicals. At this same level of growth, every person in the US would be considered evangelical in less than 14 years! That's just an unfathomable level of growth.

Of course, as we all know from our own lives and our own churches, there is still much spiritual growth left even after believing the basics of salvation and embracing the truth of Scripture. 1.44 million believers only equates to less than 10% of the overall country's population, so much mission work remains. And the societal needs of Burkina Faso remain significant, including the importance of reducing dependency and developing in a truly sustainable manner. Let's pray for all this today.

My prayer for today:  Lord, we thank You for the growth of the church in Burkina Faso. We thank You for empowering Your people there to witness so boldly and faithfully over the past 50 years and for the move of Your Spirit that has led to this massive growth. We know Lord that You are still working among the church in Burkina Faso today, strengthening them and shaping them through the process of sanctification. We pray that You will remove all vestiges of spiritism and syncretism from the lives of believers. Help them understand the supremacy of Christ in their lives. We pray for unity among the churches, and thank You for the progress that has been made. We pray that they will fully unite to reach the many unreached in their own country, including the 27 unreached people groups. We ask You for wisdom for the missionaries there to know what role they should take and how to best partner with the BF churches. And Lord, for the nation itself we see such needs. We pray for the church to take a lead role in leading Burkina Faso to truly sustainable development that decreases dependency on the West. We pray for the church to set the bar high for meeting practical needs of the poor around them. We pray for You to demonstrate through the church in Burkina Faso what full obedience to the Gospel looks like. Bless Burkina Faso through its churches, Lord. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Prayer for Burkina Faso: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 21 (Day 81)

Our journey takes us to Burkino Faso for the next two days. Please read pages 177-180.

I know you will be blessed by this video of a Burkina Faso believer praying for his country. I was especially touched at how many times he says "We know You love Burkino Faso" and that because of that "we know everything will be OK." Oh, that we may learn from this man to rest in the love of our Lord and Savior! Please watch and pray with him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Praying for Bulgaria: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 20 (Day 80).

Today we pray for a precious country emerging from a generation of Communism, yet filled with hope and excitement for the future. The church is growing, and God is at work. Please learn more about Bulgaria from pages 173-176.

My prayer for today: Lord, thank You for Bulgaria - for its heritage and its life, for the freedom and independence it now enjoys. Thank You for the church in Bulgaria. We pray for its continued growth and strengthening. We pray for a move of the Holy Spirit within the Orthodox Church. We pray for unity between evangelical churches and also between evangelicals and Orthodox so that the full richness of Your body may be seen and enjoyed in Bulgaria. We ask that You empower the churches to be witnesses of true racial and ethnic unity, witnesses of the peace that comes between people when we are one in Christ. We pray for training of church leadership, discernment, and a broad vision for the country that will include reaching all the unreached groups, the ethnic minorities, and those from other religious backgrounds. We pray for Your power to flood the church in Bulgaria and Your presence to be clearly evident. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Praying for British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, and Brunei: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 19 (Day 79)

Today's journey hops across a couple of small islands and rests for a bit on a tiny Asian state. Please read pages 169-173.
While our prayer focus for today will be on Brunei, it's important to see through the British Indian Ocean Territory (Diego Garcia) and the British Virgin Islands the significant impact that a larger nation's decisions can have on smaller locales, whether for military reasons or simply tourism. The answer isn't isolation -- from the earliest days of humanity the movement of peoples has resulted in important exchanges that can benefit all. Isolated people groups ultimately either engage or disappear. However, we do need to be aware of the global impact of our decisions and seek wise policies that truly demonstrate loving our neighbor in a global sense. And from a kingdom perspective, we can be aware that the movement of peoples yields very important missional opportunities. These have been divided in four broad categories:
- Voluntary Going: Think of Paul & Barnabas being sent out in Acts 13, or any of the thousands of missionaries since. Other examples include Christians who go to another land as students or businesspeople with a kingdom mindset.
- Voluntary Coming: Think of the mass of peoples who went to Jerusalem for Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles -- and found themselves present at the first Pentecost Sunday. Other examples of voluntary coming include immigrants all over the world - some of whom hear the Gospel for the first time and end up being voluntary go-ers back to their own country.
- Involuntary Going: This includes believers fleeing war or persecution, such as the believers in Acts 8 who didn't want to leave Jerusalem and yet carried the message of Jesus with them when they were forced to do so. Daniel and his friends involuntarily went to Babylon, and yet had a profound impact there. Naaman's slave girl was another involuntary go-er who chose to maintain a witness to her God in a foreign land. Other involuntary goers include refugees who often are exceptionally open to the Gospel.
- Involuntary Coming: One of the best examples of involuntary coming resulting in kingdom impact is the story of the Vikings. No one invited them to invade - and yet they were so amazed with the ethics of Christianity that they ultimately followed Christ.
What's the bottom line lesson for us as believers? Whatever situation we are in voluntarily or involuntarily, we carry with us the treasure of the Gospel in these earthen vessels that are our bodies. We are always a witness to who Jesus is and what He has done. And as we interact with others who are moving for one reason or another - literally around the world or figuratively through transitions in life - look for God-given creative opportunities to meet needs and show His love. He'll open doors to tell of His greatness anytime our desire is to "know Him and make Him known."
Now, to Brunei.
Brunei is not poor materially, but there is much spiritual need. It's what is often called a "creative access" country because missionaries are not openly allowed and even getting materials into the country for more than personal use is forbidden. Believers there could be gripped with fear because they are often infiltrated by the government for monitoring - and yet they are not. They have come together in unity and birthed a holy determination. We might say that they have chosen to make the most of the "involuntary coming" of the government agents, and increased their witness for Christ. Praise God with me for their example, and let's pray today for this country.
My prayer for today: Lord, Thank You the believers in Brunei are not hiding but instead are standing strong with a unity and determination that can only come from You. We pray, Lord, that You will raise up leaders for the churches in Brunei. Raise up pastors and Bible study leaders and evangelists and missionaries and all those who are needed to guide the church toward significant active engagement in this land. We ask You, Lord, to give creative ideas to those trying to get in to assist the church and we pray for true partnerships between the mission agencies and the churches. We pray for those government agents hanging out in the churches to fall under conviction and submit to the truth of Jesus. We pray this will happen so much that the government will realize the futility of monitoring the churches. We pray for the King of Brunei to see the loving, selfless acts of Christians and be intrigued to the point of hearing the Gospel for himself, and believing in You. We pray for the impact Brunei will have on the kingdom of God. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Praying for Brazil: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 18 (Day 78)

Today we conclude our prayers for Brazil. Please review pages 162-169, with a special focus on #9-12.

My prayer for today: Lord, we ask Your forgiveness for decimating the people that You placed in the Americas, and for continuing to allow their destruction by not loving them with Your love. We pray that You would change hearts and minds in Brazil to honor and love the indigenous population. We pray for wisdom in protection and guiding them to be full members of society - not isolating them but engaging them for good and not evil. We pray for more Bible translators and for quick work to complete the task. We pray for the younger generation - raise up ministry to children and young people. We pray especially for the children who are prostitutes and homeless. Lord, intervene in their lives and give Christians boldness to raise awareness about these issues and address the root causes of the problem. Lord, continue to guide those missionaries in Brazil to truly serve the Brazilian church rather than take a lead role. Let Your kingdom come, Your will be done throughout this lovely land. In Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Praying for Brazil: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 17 (Day 77)

Today we continue to pray for Brazil. Our focus will be points #5-8 on pages 166-167. Please review Brazil and as we have before, ask God to give you His heart as we pray together.

My prayer for today: Lord of the Harvest, we thank You for sending laborers for the harvest from Brazil. Thank You for the passion and enthusiasm they bring to the field and for their unique giftedness. We pray Lord for good wisdom for the preparation process. Raise up more training opportunities for Brazilians who intend to be missionaries. We pray for those missionaries from Brazil who are serving to be well-supported, fruitful, and wise. Teach their churches to be good senders and guide them to have expectations that are realistic and helpful. We pray for solid support teams for every Brazilian missionary. And Lord, we pray for the needs within Brazil. Guide churches to strategize and work together to reach every corner of Brazil, as well as every immigrant population. We thank You that there are so many opportunities within Brazil; awaken the church to see her role in every aspect of ministry. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Praying for Brazil: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 16 (Day 76)

Today we continue to pray for Brazil. Review pages 162-169. Today our focus will be on the Answers to Prayer and on challenges #1-4.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, we thank You for Brazil and the mighty work You have been doing there over the last half century. Thank You for the growth of the evangelical church and the missions vision of Brazil. We thank You for the example of Brazilian prayer movements and meetings and for the large turnout celebrating You when opportunities arise! How encouraging and convicting that so many are turning out to build bridges of unity and be a witness to their nation. We can learn much from this simple faithfulness. Lord, we lift up the challenges in Brazil today. We pray for the government as it fights corruption, poverty, crime, and racial concerns. Lord we know that Jesus is the answer to each of these and we pray for a large-scale revival in Brazil that would turn these trends around. We pray for wisdom to get at the root of the issues in each case Lord and for leaders with the boldness to address the problem. Lord, we pray that the spiritual openness will lead people to You but that all false belief systems will be exposed. We pray that You will tear down the high places and the spiritual strongholds that distract many from simple, pure devotion to You. We pray for the Catholic Church to have dramatic growth in the Bible circles and that this would be a transforming influence in the Church not only in Brazil but throughout Latin America and the world. We pray for the evangelical church to truly make disciples and not focus on numbers and prosperity. Raise up leaders and give wisdom in training leaders. Bring about true, lasting unity. In Jesus' name, amen.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Praying for Brazil: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 15 (Day 75)

Today we begin 4 days of prayer for Brazil. This large and beautiful country plays a key role on the Latin American peninsula, and its ethnic diversity gives it a truly global influence as well.

For today, gain an overview of Brazil by reading pages 162-169, and then watching the video below. We will pray together for specific aspects of Brazil over the next few days.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Praying for Botswana: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 14 (Day 74)

God has done some great things in Botswana! Economic stability, a multiparty democracy, complete freedom of religion ... Botswana provides glimpses of God's kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven". Through the example of Jesus and the apostles, we see what is sometimes called the "two-handedness" of the Gospel ... a Gospel that offers temporal help and eternal hope. Gospel actions that are never separated from the message, but the two are truly inseparable.

And yet Botswana has much need today. The enemy is trying to utterly destroy it with AIDS - it has the second highest prevalence of AIDS in the world. Remarkable, "Not a single church exists whose membership is unaffected by AIDS." There is much opportunity for help even now. Let us learn about and pray for Botswana today. Please read pages 159-162 and then watch the video below as we pray together with this Botswanan believer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Praying for Bosnia and Herzegovina: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 13 (Day 73)

Today's prayer emphasis takes us right into the heart of the Balkans. If you want to understand the motivations, challenges, and impacts of balkanization, you need look no further than Bosnia and Herzegovina. If you're my age, Bosnia wasn't on any map you studied in school. You may remember the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia - a country that no longer exists. Sarajevo is now the capital of Bosnia, a nation that is so divided that international powers remain in place trying to foster some sort of workable solution in the midst of significant ethnic differences.

Spiritual balkanization is pervasive in Bosnia Herzegovina as well: ethno-religious hostility largely keeps individuals locked within the faith tradition of their births. Yet there is hope even here: Jesus died to bring peace between all ethnic divisions - to tear down walls not only between Jew and Gentile, but between divisive balkanizations of all stripes.The picture of every tribe, tongue, nation, and people group joined together in praise to God is the very opposite of balkanization!

A few years back I heard a short poem that I has stuck with me because of its profound assurance of hope. I believe the author was Thomas Merton, though I could not confirm that and my memory has failed on that point:

I hear a sovereign talking in my arteries
Reversing with His promises all the things that now go on with fire and thunder
His truth is greater than disaster
His peace imposes silence on the evidence against us.

The hope is there, as point 4 highlights; evangelicals are having some success at bridging the fault lines. The hope of the Gospel, the hope of unity in Christ, the hope of worshipping around His throne as one body, unity in diversity, is the promise that will reverse the fire and thunder of balkanization.

Today, please read pages 157-159, and then watch the video below. This video along with any other ways God leads you to pray for Bosnia will be our prayer for today.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Prayer for Bolivia: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 12 (Day 72)

Please review the prayer requests for Bolivia on pages 154-156. We'll conclude our prayers for Bolivia today.

My prayer for today: Lord, thank You again for what You've started in Bolivia, and today I pray that You will finish the task. Raise up churches who take up the call to the upper classes as well as the rural villages. Train churches in urban ministry. And Lord, I ask You especially for ministry to the young people - college students, youth, and children. Lord, I ask You to raise up advocates for the poor children, especially those who have been homeless or street kids and subject to such abuse. Let the churches be in the forefront of solving this national problem. We ask for more of Your Word to be distributed and to take hold in Bolivia. Raise up the churches to be prepared to send missionaries both within and outside Bolivia. Lord, use whatever resources You will to reach this land. In Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Prayer for Bolivia: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 11 (Day 71)

Today and tomorrow we pray for a beautiful and diverse country. Please read about Bolivia on pages 153-156, then return here for our prayer time.

My prayer for today: Lord, thank You for the growth of the church in Bolivia and for the seriousness with which the churches take the challenge of poverty. Continue to pour forth wisdom and willpower to overcome the poverty and enable people to live at a sufficient level. Lord, we pray for peace in and around Bolivia especially between the rich and poor, and between the native populations and the Latin population. Lord, we pray that You will provide justice for all. Tear down the advance of the coca-leaf industry and give wisdom with how to replace that income, so that the drug culture both in Bolivia and elsewhere is broken. Awaken the church to the enemy's influence in so many areas. We pray for transformation and harvest. Bring those in the Catholic church to a deep and abiding faith in You, and strengthen their understanding of Your word. Guide the evangelical churches in Bolivia to teach Your Word in a strong and consistent manner and to be fully engaged locally and globally. Raise up more and more leaders within the churches and raise up creative ways to teach them. Bring unity to the Bolivian churches. In Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Prayer for Bermuda and Bhutan: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 10 (day 70)

Today's countries pose an interesting juxtaposition: almost on the other side of the world from each other, one has complete freedom of religion and the other is one of the most closed countries in the world. Both need a touch from the Lord. Please read about Bermuda and Bhutan on pages 150-153.

Has God placed unreached people groups on your heart? Does your heart, like mine, burn with a desire for those in "closed" countries to have freedom and release from darkness? Do you sometimes get discouraged when doors seem closed for generations? Then take heart: by praying, you are opening doors in a mighty way. There are untold stories of walls that have fallen due to prayer; in my lifetime alone we've seen the fall of the Iron Curtain and the opening up of the Communist countries in a largely peaceful manner, attributed by Eastern European Christians to prayer alone. More recently, the Muslim world has experienced a huge awakening to Christ, largely through dreams and visions to the point that missionaries find that when they arrive they are running into people all over the place who are simply waiting for someone to tell them what their dream meant. Many estimate that more Muslims have come to Christ in the past 20 years than in the entire existence of Islam previously. What made the difference? In the early 1990s, prayer walking became an emphasis in missions in the Muslim world.

The first time I heard of Bhutan was through an International Mission Board video - the country was a focus for a particular week of prayer. It was thoroughly closed. We knew about the country but didn't even see much of it in the video. Today, Bhutan demonstrates a few doors slightly cracked open, letting in the tiniest bit of light. That's ok. It's all that's needed. I rejoiced at the video below, because I love to see video from within this country where only a few years ago it would not have been allowed. It's a great reminder that the last verse in Acts tells us that Paul "proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!" The last word of the Greek sentence is literally "unhindered." Paul, though a prisoner, was unhindered. We too, holding the treasure of the Gospel in these earthen vessels, march forth unhindered. Those borders we cannot physically cross we can tear down through our prayers.

Be encouraged today as you pray for Bermuda and Bhutan. I'll let this video take the place of my prayer. 

Friday, March 09, 2012

Praying for Benin: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 9 (day 69)

What a blessing it is to read of Benin - of its openness and peaceful leadership transitions. While there is much need for prayer in this country, it's a beautiful reminder that as we walk across a continent or a region, the broad brush strokes we saw early in our journey take on nuances and details that are rich and lovely. Please read about Benin on pages 147-149.

Today's prayer point #2 uses the phrase "structures of sin". If you've never heard that phrase before, you might be a little confused at this point. "Structures of sin" is simply a way of referring to those formal and informal systems of society - the "structures" - that allow sin to flourish. While we are all called to fight sin in our own lives on a continual basis, and corporately within the body of Christ, sometimes we are also called to fight against sin within society - not merely the sin of individuals, but the structures of sin that allow that individual sin to flourish. This is why Amos prayed for justice that would flow over Israel, and why the authors ask us to pray for justice in many of the countries we will read about. Until the root causes of sin - in individual hearts and in society - are eradicated, patterns will continue to repeat themselves. Let's pray for Benin to experience that freedom today!

My prayer for today: Lord, Thank You or what You are doing in Benin - the free and fair election of a Christian leader; the freedom of worship and ministry; the growth of churches. I pray for the continuation of these trends and for the president to be filled with wisdom, courage, and integrity. Help the churches maximize the opportunities You provide through a free society. Lord, I pray for the very real needs in Benin. I pray that You would root out the corruption and raise up individuals who are truly servant leaders that seek the best for the country. I ask You to tear down the strongholds in Benin and expose the structures that are propping up trafficking and the black market. Reveal the truth of child labor and exploitation for others' interests. Lord, we ask You to send justice that will roll like a river, righteousness like the waves of the sea. Transform Benin from the roots upward Lord. We pray for the church in Benin to have wisdom in reaching the unreached among them. We pray against the power of animism and the syncretism in the churches. We ask for a pure church, one with no compromise and filled with the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank You, Lord, for what You are doing and will do in Benin. In Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Praying for Belize: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 8 (Day 68)

Today our reading is short and our country is small, but the need for prayer is significant - and in some ways we've not seen. Please read pages 145-146.

Belize is an interesting missiological study. It has been nearly over-saturated with foreign and short-term missionaries. It's not that the need isn't there - as you read, syncretism (the blending of contradictory belief systems) is common and there is much legalism in the evangelical church. But the sad reality is that for all the good that has been done, "the never-ending presence of mission-trippers creates dependency, which actually undermines the national Church." (point 3).

At the beginning of our journey I mentioned that there would be some lessons along the way. Belize provides some good studies: the importance of a wider missional strategy beyond what's easy to get to (both short-term and long-term) that incorporates people group thinking; the intentionality and purpose of short-term trips; the need to work with the local church in ways that equip and support rather than substitute; and most of all, learning to discern When Helping Hurts.

Covering all of these in-depth is beyond the scope of our purpose (the links I've provided will give you a great start in doing your own research), but I did want to touch on these lessons from Belize. At this point in our journey, if God hasn't already called you to active engagement in fulfilling the Great Commission by praying, going, or giving, it is likely that the concerted prayer you are putting forth will result in an increased awareness of such a call. I can't encourage you enough to be prayerful and wise; prepare for your role in what He is doing globally with all the seriousness such a task deserves. Wherever you fit into His big picture, you are ultimately a soldier in an unseen spiritual battle. He will guide you and strengthen your heart for what lies ahead.

My prayer for today: Lord, I lift up Belize to You. God, I am grieved that a country so over-saturated with missionaries still has such syncretism, such black magic and legalism. Lord, it's hard to even comprehend what it means to be over evangelized, but I'm reminded that You called us to make disciples, not converts. I pray for the church in Belize, Lord - for the pastors who desperately need training yet lack time and finances; for the unity that is slow in coming; for the church that needs to find its own footing and serve its own people; and for those unreached despite all the mission efforts. Lord, enable Belize believers to stand on their own feet. Help them to know Your call on them and to become truly missional. Bind them together with cords that cannot be broken, for Your kingdom purposes in Belize. Help them know they are ready to reach their own country. Equip the pastors to equip their people, Lord. We pray that You will raise up shining examples of faithfulness that others can follow. Fulfill the task in Belize we pray, in Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Praying for Belgium: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 7 (Day 67)

Reading about Belgium's history and outlook is a reminder to me that behind every circumstnce is a God who is working all things together for His kingdom purposes. Almost invariably, this principle is true: There is more going on beneath the surface than we will ever imagine.

Have you ever watched the 60's show Hogan's Heroes? The basic premise of the show focuses on a handful of prisoners of war in a German POW camp. These Allies from England, France, the U.S., and occasionally Russia volunteered for an unusual assignment when they were captured: Rather than escaping at the first opportunity (the norm for POW's), they committed to not escape and instead use whatever means available to help other prisoners escape and undermine the German war effort. Hogan's Heroes built an elaborate underground structure - tunnels containing storage areas, radio rooms, fake printing presses, even food. In every show, the enemy Nazis walk on top of these tunnels daily, usually without suspecting a thing.

Similarly, what God is up to in the world is beyond anything we can fathom. He is orchestrating the movement of nations and people, the minute details of life and the big picture of the world, for His glory to open doors for the Gospel to all people. Habakkuk never could have imagined the kingdom purpose God had for Babylon surrounding Israel - but God was definitely at work. Habakkuk 1:5; 2:14 "Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days - you would not believe if you were told....For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." As Paul noted to the Romans (Romans 11:33) "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!". When the enemy prowls about like a roaring lion, He has absolutely no idea what God has planned just under the surface of what's going on.

Please review pages 141-145 and then let's continue to pray for Belgium.

My prayer for today: Lord, thank You that despite the obvious challenges in Belgium we know You are working. Strengthen the church and work through them Lord. We pray for all false belief systems to be exposed and for Your truth to shine forth in its beauty. Strengthen the church connections and equip them for maximum service to Your purposes. Lord, thank You that the Bible is again present in Belgium; we ask that it take root deeply within the fabric of society. We pray churches will teach it clearly and that people will not take it for granted, remembering the pain of having experienced a famine of Your Word. We pray for leaders in the churches. Raise up more people who will give and support full time leaders. We pray for many to hear the call to pastor churches. Lord, we pray that You would guide those who are working toward ministry to French speaking children, prayer ministries, and missions. Lord, we pray for Your light to shine in this place where it has been intentionally squelched. We pray for You to call many to Brussels for Your amazing purposes. Continue to reach all of the areas that have special needs and Lord, let the Belgian church be willing to learn from the international churches that are doing so many things well. Do what only You can in Belgium. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Praying for Belgium: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 6 (Day 66)

Imagine a country ravaged by wars, experiencing losses of such magnitude that it provided material for famous poetry.

Imagine a country that currently sees a potential breakup as a very real possibility.

Imagine that in this country, the Bible was discouraged and even banned for centuries by the dominant church tradition.

Imagine that that country today has full freedom of religion, yet is filled with a large majority of people for whom religion is largely irrelevant.

This is Belgium.

Yet Belgium is more than the heaviness of its history and the apathy of today. Belgium is also filled with numerous immigrant believers and growing unity, with a solid growth among evangelicals. God is working in Belgium. Let's join Him today and tomorrow with our prayers. Please read pages 141-145.

My prayer for today: Lord, we thank You for working in Belgium. The history of this country and its modern outlook are grim. Yet we see that even here what You are up to under the surface goes far beyond what is seen. Thank You for the immigrant believers and for the growth of the evangelical church. Thank You fo the unity that has happened in a very short time. Thank You for the steps toward ntaional repentance that have been taken related to the Congo. Lord, we ask You to continue to work in Belgium. We ask You to heal its divisions. Give wisdom to the leaders and allow the church to be an example of unity, reconciliation, and peace. We pray that healing from fear and damages of war will be complete. We pray for revival within the Catholic church. We ask You to continue to be at work in countless seen and unseen ways. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Praying for Belarus: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 5 (Day 65)

Today our journey takes us into the heart of eastern Europe - to a country that spent much of the 20th century ravaged by war, fought over by Nazi Germany and Communist Russia, and then trapped behind the Iron Curtain of Communism. The Belarus of the 21st century enjoys a measure of freedom yet remains very much an example of Communism and struggles with the after-effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster which impacted it most severely.

Yet this country, also called "White Russia", is filled with beauty and glimpses of God's grace. Opposition and persecution have not stopped the growth of the evangelical church; missionaries from Belarus to other countries are an increasing reality. Let us pray for Belarus today. Please read pages 138-141.

My prayer for today: Lord, we thank You for working within the church in Belarus, empowering them as they meet despite difficult circumstances. Thank You that the church is finding her voice and growing deep as well as wide. We pray for Belarus today and ask for Your grace in a special way on those impacted by Chernobyl. We pray for those dealing with physical and emotional after-effects. Give them wisdom and hope. We also pray for true justice to occur within Belarus; raise up leaders who truly want the best for the people. We pray for the church in Belarus, a part of the body of Christ I am especially eager to meet one day. We pray for wisdom as they face persecution from other "Christian" groups that have closer ties with the state. We pray that You will bring a special awareness to these other groups of the unity of the body of Christ. We pray for a patient, overcoming faith for the church in Belarus and for unity among the registered and unregistered churches. May the church develop in Belarus in such a way that it's obvious it's not a "western" church but that it is truly the heart of why You created Belarus. Be glorified there Lord Jesus, amen.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Latest on Pastor Youcef - 3/4/2012

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Still Alive – Hanging Reports False American Center for Law and Justice ACLJ

Prayer for Barbados: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 4 (Day 64)

Today's journey takes us from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the most prosperous island states of the Caribbean. In contrast to Bangladesh with its persecution and undercover churches, Barbados enjoys complete freedom of religion and a Christian heritage. Yet even here, you will see that much prayer is needed for the legacy of slavery and current challenges to the Gospel.

Please read pages 137-138, then return here for prayer.

My prayer for today: Lord, we thank You for the Christian heritage of Barbados and the growing unity of the church there. We thank You that there is spiritual freedom and economic security. But Lord, we know that the enemy will not leave Barbados alone. We pray for complete healing of the scars of slavery - thank You for the acts of public repentance and we pray that true forgiveness will follow. Lord, we come against the current attacks of the enemy in the form of materialism, violence, crime, false cults and other religious systems, and the weakening of truth in some sectors of the church. We pray for spiritual renewal for the church in Barbados - for complete unity and a commitment to prayer and the Gospel. We lift up the young people, Lord, who need to see the Gospel lived out and to understand that what You offer is better than the lies of the world. Thank You, Lord, for Your work in Barbados. In Jesus' name, amen. 

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Prayer for Bangladesh: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 3 (Day 63)

Persecution. It's a reality for believers in much of the world, especially in the 10/40 Window where we see the greatest number of unbelievers. For every Youcef Nadarkhani we hear about, there are literally hundreds, even thousands, that will remain nameless and faceless until we meet them in the throne room and worship Jesus together for eternity.

Today, though, we have the benefit of getting a rare glimpse into the reality that much of the body of Christ faces. The author of Hebrews exhorted us to identify with those who are persecuted. This video from Open Doors allows us the chance to hear firsthand from a Christian in Bangladesh - to learn his story and hear from his lips how he would have us pray. Please watch the video, then review pages 132-136. My prayer for today follows the video.

My prayer for today:  Thank You, Lord, for the church in Bangladesh. Thank You for the creative ways that You are reaching these people and the creative guidance You are giving the church. Thank You for the ministry of Open Doors and others who are seeking to meet the needs of the persecuted. Lord, the persecuted in Bangladesh are part of the body that is hurting. We are not complete without them. We hurt because they hurt. We pray for this man, Lord, to stay strong in his faith until he dies, just as he asks. We pray for a deeper faith and commitment to You. We pray for the suffering church in Bangladesh - Lord, take what is meant for evil and turn it to good, so that many would be saved. (Genesis 50:20). Send angels to minister to them. (1 Kings 19:3-9). Open their eyes to see the spiritual forces at work, and the power God has unleashed on their behalf. (2 Kings 6:15-17). Deliver them to show His supremacy. (2 Kings 19:1-19). Defend the cause of truth and rescue Your oppressed. (Psalm 74:21-23. Let them live to proclaim Your power to the next generation. (Psalm 71:18) and to praise God in the presence of the saints once again (Psalm 116). Give them a strong sense of Your presence (Isaiah 43). Calm any doubts and fears, and show them the evidence that You are who You say You are. (Luke 7:18-23). Help them be aware just how strongly You identify with persecuted believers (Acts 9:1-4).Let the church in Bangladesh be strong in prayer, united, and bold; let this cause nominal believers to be "all in" and false members to be revealed; let this be a strengthening, purifying, unifying time for the church (Acts 12:1-5). Deliver those leaders who are in prison for continued fruitful labor with their congregations (Philippians 1:19-26). Let Your Word speed ahead and be honored in Bangladesh (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2). In the mighty name of Jesus, amen.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Prayer for Bangladesh: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 2 (Day 62)

Over 200 years ago, William Carey left London to minister in India, becoming the "Father of Modern Missions". While mission work was going on among Catholic friars in the "New World", with only a few exceptions Protestant churches had largely focused on denominational development and doctrinal distinctives rather than fulfilling the Great Commission. William Carey eventually became the first person to translate the Bible into Bengali - then after the work was destroyed in a fire, he completed it again. (For more on Carey, see Christian History magazine #36.)

Yet today, the Bengali remain the largest unreached people group in the world. The fallow ground that Carey helped to break up still needs to be planted and watered, and the need is great for laborers to the harvest that will come from this part of the world.

Today, please review pages 132-136, then let's pray together for the things that God has put on our hearts about Bangladesh.

My prayer for today: Oh Lord, my heart cries out to You for Bangladesh. The depth of the need is so great there, Lord - and yet we know that You are more than sufficient to supply. Thank You for the progress in the fight against poverty and the growth among believers. Thank You for the creative means You are using to communicate the Gospel relationally. We pray, Lord, for both the Muslim and Hindu background believers to be strong in their understanding of Your Word and diligent in holding firmly to You as Lord. We pray for the large unreached Bengali population throughout the world - we ask You to use all the creative means available to reach them. Please call out laborers for the harvest - from among the Bengali believers, from among similar people groups, and even from among the larger body of Christ throughout the world. Lord, my heart is especially burdened for those who follow You from within their original cultural and religious contexts - those who are in "Jesus Mosques" or follow You in a Hindu context. Lord, guide them with amazing wisdom and discernment. I cannot begin to know all the implications of this decision, Lord, but I do know that You are with them, that the darkness is not too dark for You. Shine the light of Your truth into their worlds and let them be bold witnesses for You. Give them grace and strength to face persecution and to resist compromise. Give them special wisdom to know the difference between something that is simply cultural and something that would lead to compromising the Gospel. Continue to teach them and give them leaders who can discern what You are saying to the church in Bangladesh. Lord, I pray also for unity among Christians from Hindu and Muslim backgrounds - You have torn down the dividing wall, and Jesus You are our peace. Let them exemplify that reality today Lord. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Latest on pastor Youcef ... please continue to pray!

Iran Report Cites Youcef Nadarkhani's Faith While Denying Execution Order, Christian News

Prayer for Bangladesh: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - March 1 (Day 61)

What comes to your mind when you think of Bangladesh? Do you see floods and poverty, hunger and need? Do you think of signs of hope, such as Bangladesh students studying in the US and the Grameen Bank's efforts at microfinance? Do you know a lot, or a little, or nothing, about this tiny country?

We are privileged to be able to spend three full days getting to know Bangladesh, its people and its needs. Often one of the most important triggers to fuel our prayers is simply personal awareness - moving from the theoretical and abstract to the tangible and personal. Most of us can't just decide to go meet someone from Bangladesh this week (though if you know someone or live in a city where you might meet someone, this is a good time to develop a deeper relationship by asking questions about their country). But we can all make the decision to seek God for His heart for Bangladesh over the next 3 days. As we begin our time together today, please join in the prayer I've prayed - that He would make Bangladesh real to me through this virtual journey, and give me a piece of His heart.

After praying, please prayerfully read about Bangladesh on pages 132-136. As you read put a star next to any points that particularly struck your heart - those thing you found yourself really identifying with or feeling on a personal level. For the next 3 days, really seek to zero in on those aspects of Bangladesh for your prayer time.

Today our joint prayer time will come from the video below, which also serves to put faces to the Bengali people and unveil a bit of the beauty and tragedy of this country. I pray that God will use this to help you connect to His heart for Bangladesh on a personal level.