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.

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