Monday, April 30, 2012

Prayer for Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn, and Tokelau: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 30 (Day 121)

Today we visit another patch of islands in Polynesia - islands all related in some way to New Zealand. Please read pages 278-280. These islands may be tiny, but God still calls them to worship Him! I'm so grateful He sees not only the large masses of people, but the tiny clusters as well.

My prayer for today: Lord, thank You for the gospel translation into Tokelau. We pray it will impact their walk with You and that the rest of the Bible will be completed. Use Your Word to transform these islands. We praise You for shutting down the money-laundering offshore banking, and we pray You will raise up Christian businessmen who can help creative just and righteous work opportunities. We thank You for the Christian legacy but we pray for revival Lord. Restore Your Word to a prominent place so that they can fight the lies of the cults. We pray for those who go to New Zealand to remember their homelands and seek true development to make a long-term difference on the islands. In Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Prayer for Congo: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 29 (Day 120)

Today we pray for the other Congo - Republic of Congo. This Congo has emerged from being a Marxist state into a constitutional republic with the same president from its Marxist days. Please read pages 275-277.

My prayer for today: Lord, there is obviously much work left to do in Congo, but thank You for what You have done. Thank You for the new form of government, but we pray that it will result in true change instead of the same policies under a new name. We pray for revival for the church, for a fresh wind of Your Spirit to bring sound biblical teaching and a fully Christian worldview that will enable the people to fully leave behind spiritism and animism. We pray for Christian leaders and creative methods of training them. We pray for sound mission work and more open doors for cross-cultural missionaries. Equip the church to reach the unreached within this land. We pray for Congo to fully reflect the purposes for which You created it. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Prayer for Congo-DRC: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 28 (Day 119)

Please review pages 268-275. As you can see there is much to pray for about this country. The Lord will highlight any special emphasis for your own prayer time. Below is the prayer He put on my heart.

My prayer for today: Lord, I find the realities of Congo-DRC to be overwhelming. To think of a land only a few years removed from being a failed state; of an infrastructure so non-existent that only the presence of the churches can maintain things basic to society's existence; of the level of destruction they have faced. And yet the response is equally amazing: phenomenal growth in the church, and an incredible response by the church to have a significant social impact. Thank You, Lord, for the church in Congo-DRC. Bless their efforts and draw many to You through their loving service. What an example for us. Lord, we pray against the spiritual forces that would love to completely destroy Congo-DRC. We pray for the children that have been victims far too often. Deliver them, Lord, and deliver this land. Send Your mighty angels to fight against these demons. Continue to strengthen the church for the battle. Give them a solid foundation in Your Word and wisdom and discernment as they move forward. Lord, raise up a new generation of leaders ready to take up the challenge of being the church as Congo-DRC continues to rebuild its government. We pray for godly leaders and wisdom from above as they move forward. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Prayer for Congo-DRC: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 27 (Day 118)

Today we learn what happened to the country of Zaire. I guess because it's one of the few "Z" countries it always stuck in my mind. Suddenly it seemed to disappear from the map - but not really. It actually because the Democratic Republic of Congo (distinguished as Congo-DRC, in contrast to Congo, which is a separate country we will consider in a couple of days).

Congo-DRC has experienced conflict resulting in more deaths than any conflict since World War II. Since 2006, it has been trying to rebuild a failed state. The challenges are great, but the church has risen to the occasion - according to OW, "Many social, health and education services are now maintained by Christian groups in lieu of a functioning government." What a testimony to these believers!

Please read about Congo-DRC on pages 268-275. The video below will guide our prayer for today.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Prayer for Comoros: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 26 (Day 117)

Today we pray for a speck of island in the Indian Ocean. Please read about Comoros on pages 266-267.

My prayer for today: Lord, I thank You that while I had to look up what continent Comoros is part of, You know it intimately. You created it and formed it for Your purpose. You desire to be glorified by its people. We pray against the combination of Islam with occult practices. We ask You Lord to reveal to the youth of Comoros the futility of their ancestors and show them how they can have freedom in Christ. We pray for courage for those who follow Jesus, and for wisdom for the church. Thank You for the creative witness of medical and veterinary workers; raise up more of their number who will use their skills for Your glory and kingdom purposes. We pray for the financial needs and for truly sustainable development. Guide Comoros to experience glimpses of Your Kingdom. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Praying for Colombia: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 25 (Day 116)

"Charley, however, did not die when he was gunned down in Bogota, Colombia, but years ago when he died to self and committed his life to follow Christ." 
- Dr. Jerry Rankin, International Mission Board

I told you yesterday of the missionary killed in Colombia. The quote above was part of the comments made by his sending agency upon his death. Think about those words for a minute. Our death comes when we die to self and live for Christ. This is what Paul meant when he wrote: 

"I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me; and the life I live I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Galatians 2:20)

Paul's words to Corinth serve as a corrective against our tendency to think that dying to self and being crucified with Christ is a simple checkbox on a "list of things Christians should do": "I die daily..." (1 Corinthians 15:31)

Death to self isn't limited to missionaries. But one immeasurable benefit of moving intentionally in the direction of God's kingdom work - of seeing missionaries in action, of reading their newsletters and visiting missions websites, of praying for missionaries and supporting them financially and hosting them in our homes and churches, of all the things we do when God awakens missions vision in those of us who aren't called to directly "go" - one immeasurable benefit is that God brings across our path basic spiritual lessons that stand out dramatically against the backdrop of an environment that screams for a completely natural, understandable reaction. No one would have blamed Charley Hood for moving to a different community. He had a family - he had every reason to play it safe. Yet he chose "the road less traveled", the Calvary road of being crucified to his flesh. He died to self and lived to Christ.

I don't have to fear being gunned down when I go to the bank. I don't even really have to fear blatant persecution for my faith. At most, I might be seen as weird or a fanatic - and even then, I have a great church community and faith-filled friends who would come alongside and encourage me.

But I do have to die to self. I have to give up "my" goals and ambitions, "my" schedule, "my" preferences, "my" ways of doing things, "my" plans - for His. Every day, in my marriage and on my job and with my family and friends and even writing this blog, I have to choose the die to self and live for Him, by Him, in Him, through Him. And so do you.

As we pray today for Colombia, and move throughout the rest of this year in prayer for other corners of the world, let's always seek to learn the lessons God wants to teach us for today.

Please review pages 262-266, focusing on #6-10.

My prayer for today: Oh Lord, the missionaries in Colombia are special targets of the enemy. He has marked them out because they are part of pushing back the darkness and taking back his territory. Lord, we know they are safe in Your hands, that the worse-case scenario would have them resting safely in Your arms. Yet Father, we lift them up and ask You to give them life and protection for the sake of ministry. We pray that their ministry would not be hampered, that they would have open doors and boldness to walk through them. We pray for the patience, humility, and grace that is needed for unity, for the unity that is needed to get the task done. Lord, there are so many unreached peoples and indigenous groups; we pray for Your work among them. We pray for You to use every creative tool possible to get the Gospel throughout Colombia. Finish what you've started there. The darkness is not dark to You; night is as bright as day because YOU ARE LIGHT. Shine Your light in Colombia today. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Prayer for Colombia: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey -April 24 (Day 115)

"The safest place to be is in the center of God's will."

I first heard that sentence from the lips of a man sharing with a church about his family's ministry in Colombia. It would be the last time Charley Hood spoke at that church, his last visit to the US.

Less than a year later, he would die in his front yard as his family watched, gunned down by the druglords that are far too present in Colombia. Whether they intended him as a target for his work or whether he was just caught in the line of fire, I can't say. What I do know is that the enemy of our souls definitely wanted to stop him from spreading the Gospel. What he couldn't stop was the growth of the seeds this man planted, the word of God that doesn't return void, and the faithful witness of his family.

Often repeated by missionaries, persecuted Christians, and believers facing hard choices, this quote is anything but a guarantee of safety. Instead, it's a way to communicate a hard truth: the easy choice outside of God's will is far more dangerous than the hard choice that's in His will. Our two days in Colombia will highlight the fruit that comes from making hard choices that are dangerous to the world, but completely within God's will. Please read pages 262-266. Today we'll focus on the Answers to Prayer and points #1-5.

My prayer for today: Lord, thank You for teaching me, through this one man's death, how safety in Your will looks very different from safety in the world's eyes. You see things through a completely different lens. We thank You for the lives that have been laid down to lead Colombia in Your direction instead of the clutches of the enemy. Thank You for the progress toward stability and order, for the demobilizing of guerilla forces and the encouragement that has been to many. Thank You for the growth of the church despite Christians being targets. Thank You for the amazing story of Bellavista Prison-we pray for You to continue to have an open door there. Lord, the enemy does not like what is happening when his strongholds are destroyed, so we ask You to watch over every pastor, Christian worker, missionary and others on the front lines of Colombia. We pray for the people of Colombia to have wisdom in electing leaders and for alternative crops to cocaine so that the drug trade can be cut off at its roots. We pray for You to break Satan's power over this land and we ask You to unleash the lordship of Christ in the lives of every believer. Empower them with boldness to make a difference in their country and fight against the darkness. Guide the Catholic Church to renewal to maximize its effectiveness, and bring unity and leadership to the evangelical churches. We pray for strength for the pastors to remain and lead their flocks through the struggles they face. Empower them with Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name, amen.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Prayers for China, Taiwan: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey, April 23 (Day 114)

Please review pages 258-262 as we wrap up our time in Taiwan today. Taiwan considers itself an independent state and functions accordingly. It began with the 1949 Communist overthrow when China's leaders were sent to Taiwan and have ruled from there ever since. Taiwan has repeatedly attempted to be recognized by the United Nations to no avail.

Taiwan represents a problem missionaries often face when serving in a country - disputed territory, political conflicts, and the place of law in recognizing a society or a people, or addressing a problem. Missionaries (both foreign and national) walk a fine line when it comes to "issues" - it's crucial to identify with the people and understand their problems and enter into seeing God's kingdom revealed through justice and righteousness. It's also even more crucial to remember that the only true solutions must be Gospel-centered and that often it's the "issues" that drive people to seek truth they might have been willing to keep on the back burner otherwise. As one author wrote, the evangelical and social missions of the church are both Biblical, but evangelism must always be the leading partner. We have to stay focused on eternity and point people to Jesus.

As we pray for Taiwan, let's be sure to pray for the missionaries, pastors, and others who are navigating the stormy political waters of this country.

My prayer for today: Lord, we thank You for being at work in Taiwan and moving among the people, especially the migrant workers. Thank You for collaboration between Taiwanese and foreign ministries and missionaries, and for the emphasis on prayer, evangelism, and outreach that the churches have exemplified. We ask for You to guide the missionaries and pastors to know how to best help the people, identifying with their political struggle yet constantly pointing them to the cross. We pray for You to break the stronghold of Buddhism and folk religion, and break the bondage of opposition to the Gospel. Raise up pastors and full time workers, and guide the church in reaching the unreached groups. We thank You, Lord, for Your work in Taiwan. In Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Praying for China, Taiwan: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 22 (Day 113)

Today and tomorrow we finalize our prayers for China by praying for the Taiwan, which is considered with China due to its legal standing yet in many ways functions as a de facto independent state. Please read pages 258-262, then watch the video below and pray for Taiwan.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Praying for China, Macau: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey, April 21 (Day 112)

Today we pray for another "special administrative region" of China - Macau. Please read pages 256-258.

My prayer for today: Lord, thank You for the growth and unity of the evangelical churches in Macau. We pray for their influence to grow. We pray for Christians to win Macau back for the Gospel. Lord, Raise up solid leaders and strong discipleship. Provide Your word in a strong manner so that believers can understand the heart of discipleship. We come against the sins that hold Macau captive. Restore Macau's heritage as a Christian and sending nation. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Prayer for China, Hong Kong: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 20 (Day 111)

Today we begin 4 days of praying for the "special administrative regions" of China - areas that function independently in many ways, yet depend upon China in other ways. These three "city-states" can be seen both as stepping stones to reaching China and as countries to be reached in their own right. Today, we begin with Hong Kong. Please read pages 252-255.

Hong Kong is such a diverse and international area. An unbelievable number of peoples pass through there, including many of the unreached peoples of the world. In fact, a serious effort is underway to reach the unreachd through ministry to refugees and asylum-seekers in Hong Kong. As we pray for the people of Hong Kong, let's also pray for the people of the world who pass through her borders.

We are privileged to have insight for our prayer time today from a friend of mine who lived there for seven years. Please read her words and pray as the Lord leads you. Some photos follow that will help bring faces to the concepts she mentions.

Our family of five lived in Hong Kong for 7 years as missionaries. During our time there, we developed many deep friendships with people from all walks of life in Hong Kong. We saw God move in many ways, and saw some things that were hindrances to His Kingdom there. Here are a few things we see as important prayer points for Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong is geographically a small area, but has a population of a little over 7 million people. It's nickname is "Asia's world city", and for good reason. It is said that a plane lands and takes off in Hong Kong every minute. When you step off the plane in Hong Kong and head towards the airport train, there is a big sign that encapsulates the spirit of Hong Kong - "Don't worry, the train comes every 3 minutes." There needs to be this reminder because people would almost run each other over trying to get on the train. It is a fast-paced, "take it for myself" kind of place. 

1. Hong Kong is a very materialistic city. There is a lot of opportunity to make money, and everyone is trying to make the most they can. There are many international businesses and banks. When you step into any busy shopping area of Hong Kong (and they are everywhere), you can almost tangibly feel the pull to buy things. Everyone wants to have the newest gadget out there. It becomes a vicious cycle of working to make money in order to buy more things. Because of this, many people in Hong Kong work long hours and have little to no free time. The common answer to "how are you?" is "very very busy". When people are always busy, that leaves them with less time to think about life and how they need a Savior. Jesus can be pushed out of their minds, or never even heard of. Please pray that the people of Hong Kong will feel the true emptiness of the things of this world and search for the Only One who can fill their empty hearts - Jesus. 

2. Another prayer point is for the families of Hong Kong. Usually both parents will work long hours, and there will be a live-in maid who takes care of the children for them. Families rarely spend any quality time together. While in Hong Kong, we worked in a ministry to families, and heard first hand that families literally did not know how to talk to each other if they were in a room together for any length of time. They had to learn how to connect! Because there was a lack of time spent together, they did not know each other. This obviously means that parents cannot fulfill the mandate God has given them to teach their children God's ways. The children often feel very burdened to score well on the many exams they face in school in order to "succeed", and there is a high incidence of suicide among young people. Please pray for reconnection of families in Hong Kong, and that Christian families would be an example of unity and love in Christ. Pray that the Christian families would spark curiosity in non-believers through the witness of their family lives. May God be first in Hong Kong families!

3. Despite being a very modern city, Hong Kong is still very steeped in traditions from the past. This means Buddhism, Taoism, and ancestor worship. Our family lived in a very old and traditional village in Hong Kong, and it was very hard to speak to people there about Jesus, because they could not imagine breaking away from their ancient Chinese traditions. They worship false gods, and celebrate many festivals to them. They also worship and pray to their ancestors, believing they will help them to have better lives and more money. Please pray that the people of Hong Kong will see the reality and power of the true God, and they will turn away from false gods and idols. May they see that the only true God is Jesus, and nothing else can give them true life. May they see that they can still be Chinese and follow Jesus, because He is not a "foreign" God, but He is also their Creator and Savior. 

4. Being an international city means that Hong Kong is filled not only with millions of Chinese people, but also people from many other countries of the world. There are many people living in Hong Kong because of business from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, America, and many other places. There are thousands of women who have come to Hong Kong to work as maids from the Philippines and Indonesia. Many of these women work for little money and are treated badly. There are refugees from many countries including Africa (many countries), Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and more. My husband and I have personally ministered to and discipled people from these walks of life, and their stories are sometimes heart breaking. The amazing thing is that God works wonders in their hurting hearts and gives them hope and joy when they find Him. Sometimes I wonder if God brought them to Hong Kong just so they could meet someone who would tell them about Jesus. Later on these transformed people leave Hong Kong to live in another part of the world, and bring the message of hope in Jesus with them. Please pray for the many migrant people living in Hong Kong, from all over the world. Pray that God would draw their hearts to Him, and send someone to tell them about Jesus. Pray that they would become strong in their love and faith in Christ, and be missionaries for Him! We have seen it happen in many lives, but there are many more in Hong Kong that don't know Him. 

Thank you so much for your prayers. We will never realize the full spiritual impact of our prayers until we reach heaven, but I'm sure that it is much more than we can imagine! God is listening!

My prayer for today: Lord, You are so good to put places like Hong Kong in the world, with an impact beyond its size. We pray for the church in Hong Kong to be unified and intentional about the task. Thank You for the efforts of March for Jesus and Global Day of Prayer to unify the church. We ask You Lord for Hong Kong to play a key role for the kingdom - in reaching China and the world. We pray for the Christians who are serving so many of the schools and hospitals and social organizations. Grace them to be salt and light and have a transformational influence in society. We come against the porn and trafficking industries and ask You to bring what's done in darkness to the light and free the captives. Lord, reach Hong Kong for You in every way. In Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Prayer for China provinces Yunnan and Zheijiang: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 19 (Day 110)

Today we conclude our prayers for the provinces and regions of China by praying for two final provinces. The next 4 days will cover the "special administrative regions" of China which function separately in many ways. For today, please read pages 250-251.

My prayer for today: Lord, please watch over the people of Yunnan and Zhejiang provinces. Minister your grace and love to them as they are bound by chains of darkness in many ways. Use the Christians in these regions, especially Zhejiang with such a high proportion, to take Your word to the rest of their regions. Bring spiritual breakthroughs as you have among so many Chinese people groups. Use the Christian businessmen to reach China. Help them to be ethical and Biblical in all their practices. Send laborers to the harvest and guide Christians to trust You as they move forward for Your kingdom. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Praying for China - Autonomous Regions of Tibet and Uyghur: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 18 (Day 109)

Today's prayers focus on two autonomous regions of China dominated by two major world religions: Tibet (Lamaistic Buddhist) and Uyghur (Muslim). Both have incredible spiritual strongholds. Both need significant prayer. Both need laborers for the harvest. Please read pages 247-249.

I encourage you to seek the Lord about how He would have you involved in an ongoing basis to pray, give, or go to see one of these regions reached. I sense a burden, though, to focus our time today on Tibet. The story I share helps me relate to the Tibetan people in a unique way.

Operation World notes the Dalai Lama's worldwide influence. I experienced this first-hand last year when he visited our city. The excitement was nothing short of fever-pitch; dare I say worshipful? The intensity of interest, the distance people drove, the clamboring for tickets -- I would compare it to a famous musician, but the reality is much more serious. Repeatedly people indicated that what he had to say would be vitally important. This wasn't mere entertainment; this was a spiritual experience to many of the 25,000 attendees. And that was but one of his stops last year alone.

If the story stopped with that one day we'd have plenty to pray over. Yet sadly, I've seen the influence of Tibetan Buddhism in even deeper and more concerning ways than this. The university where I work employs a Tibetan Buddhist monk as a professor; his classes are always full and students take seriously the principles he proclaims to follow. Annually a sand mandala is created - the turnout for the ceremony to empty it into the local water supply (a spiritual tradition for Tibetan Buddhists) is always well-attended by campus and community alike. Even those who don't subscribe to Buddhism find it beautiful symbolism and respect the teachings - including a highly prominent local minister. Tibetan Buddhism has a stronghold in this town in some obvious and not-so-obvious ways.

Yet I've seen God work in dramatic ways, coming against the powers that are trying to permeate our city with Tibetan Buddhism. I personally saw significant prayer go up the day the Dalai Lama spoke - and I saw God answer very specific prayers that his words would fall to the ground when the acoustics turned out to make hearing him very challenging! A spiritual heaviness lifted at the exact moment his speech finished (as I would later learn - I didn't know it at the time). Students who have taken the monk's course reported to me feeling like the teaching was inconsistent and didn't really make a difference in their lives. And most significantly, the unity of campus ministers has grown over the past 16 years to the point that the ministries now have joint worship services and are intentional about reaching campus with the message of Jesus. In fact, the fruit for the kingdom is far greater and has been longer-lasting than the fruit of Tibetan Buddhism.

Which brings me back to today's prayer points. Through this experience I know just a glimpse of the spiritual strongholds in Tibet today. I understand better what the missionaries and small church there face. We need to pray for the influence of the Dalai Lama to wane and for the people to be dissatisfied and see the inconsistencies in their belief system. We need to pray for the Christians to be unified. We need to pray for the fruit of the Gospel to be greater and to remain. We need to pray for the advance of the kingdom into Tibet and remember Jesus' promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church as it moves forward with the message of who Jesus is. Tibetans need to know Him. After they do, nothing else will compare.

My prayer for today: Lord Jesus, nothing or no one compares to You. You alone are worthy of all of our praise. You are the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end, the one who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. Release the Tibetan people from bondage to lesser things, Lord. Open their eyes to see You! Peel back the layers of darkness that surround them like a death shroud and let in the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus. Use the small church to have a disproportionate impact. Call laborers to the harvest. Multiple the effects of every prayer like this one to become a holy roar, a waterfall cascading with Spirit-filled power into a dry and thirsty land. Transform Tibet, Lord. Deny the enemy the victory of Tibetan Buddhism; may its influence die worldwide including in my city. We can ask nothing greater than for You to show Yourself Lord of Tibet. In the name of Jesus, name above all names, we pray, amen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Praying for China province and municipality Sichuan and Tianjin: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey, April 17 (Day 108)

As our time praying for China proper draws to a close, I hope you've enjoyed learning as much as me about the diversity of this country. It's so great to have the time to gain a close-up view!

Please read about Sichuan and Tianjin on pages 246-247.

My prayer for today: Lord, we thank You for the door You opened through the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan. Thank You that Christians stepped up with Your love and for those who came to know You through their compassion. Thank You for the unity TSPM and house church believers showed. We pray for complete reconstruction and development. We pray for Christians to grow in unity moving forward. We ask You to bring laborers to the harvest in Chengdu and use this portion of China to reach so many of the minorities who are unreached. Lord, for Tianjin we pray for wise leadership to turn around the history of poor planning. We pray for growth and openness to this region as a seaport. We pray for young people to take up the mantle of leadership and be trained for the task at hand. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Prayers for China provinces and municipalities: Shandong, Shanghai, and Shanxi - April 16 (Day 108)

Every city has a purpose in the eyes of God. Today, in addition to a couple of provinces, we will pray for Shanghai, the largest city in China and the largest city proper in the world. It's a great reminder that all belongs to Him, and that He has so much left to do in this city - in every city - including our own. Please read pages 244-245. I've included a video below - I encourage you to watch this as part of your own prayer time, specifically regarding Shanghai.

My prayer for today: Lord, I lift up Shandong to You and ask that You start here the awareness that there are cultural traditions that keep Chinese people from knowing and loving You. We pray against the stronghold of Taishan and ask that You reveal that even this mountain belongs to You. Lord, thank You for the Jesus family and their deep heritage within the house church movement. We pray for protection for those persecuted, for discipleship to equip believers to know truth, and for leaders who can teach others how to follow You. Lord, we thank You that You are not done with Shanghai. We pray for hearts to be alive, with praise for You and love for You, and that Your glory will shine here. We pray for Shanghai's future to be stronger than any portion of its past as relates to the kingdom. And Lord, for Shanxi we pray for hope for those who have a sense of hopelessness due to the worst aspects of industrialism. We pray for the TPSM church and house churches to be faithful and love You and others well. We thank You for the growth of the churches and pray against the strongholds of the mountains. Demonstrate Your sovereignty and build Your kingdom here. In Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Praying for China regions and provinces Ningxia Hui, Qinghai, and Shaanxi: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 15 (Day 107)

Today we continue to see God's heart for diverse corners of the world as we pray for 3 more provinces of China. Please read pages 241-243 and we'll pray for Ningxia Hui, Qinghai, and Shaanxi.

My prayer for today: Lord, we thank You for the turning to Christianity that is seen in Ningxia Hui. We praise You that You are at work among this Muslim people group. We pray for Christians who are serving the poor and for churches to form for these new believers to grow deep into Your Word. We pray against violence and for the Hui to understand that becoming a Christian will not mean they are no longer Hui. Help them to understand that You love their ethnic distinctiveness. Guide Hui believers to know what aspects of their culture can be redeemed for Your glory. For Qinghai, we pray for full recovery and development from the 2010 earthquake. We ask You to break the fatalistic worldview of the Tibetan Buddhists - give them a since of Your hope and the plans You have for them, according to Jeremiah 29:11. And for Shaanxi, Lord, thank You for birthing Christianity here. We pray for the church to grow deep in Your word. Raise up leaders who will give solid discipleship. Bring the students here to faith in You and help them learn how to integrate it into their life after graduation. In Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Praying for China provinces of Jiangxi, Jilin, and Liaoning: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey, April 14 - (Day 106)

"I know your" ...

With these words in Revelation 2-3, Jesus identifies that He has personal knowledge of the unique strengths, weaknesses, battles, and victories of each church. He reveals to the church in all ages and at all times that while the world may look upon them with disdain, with hatred, with curiosity, or see them as a bloc to be mobilized for its purposes ... He sees them as His bride. His intimate knowledge of them is always for their good.

I'm reminded of that this morning because, sitting here halfway around the world from China, it's easy for me to miss the nuances of China. Operation World has done a great job breaking down the regions and provinces of China, but it's still a challenge to feel like I'm not praying the same thing every day. As I started to write today I asked God to help me have a fresh look, to not be rote or unthinking as a pray. The reminder of Jesus' personal awareness of the churches is also a reminder that whatever struggles I face due to distance or lack of personal engagement in a portion of the world - HE sees them personally. Once again I am praying for His heart, today for the provinces of Jiangxi, Jilin, and Liaoning in China. Please read pages 240-241.

My prayer for today: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your intimate knowledge of the peoples in Jiangxi, Jilin, and Liaoning. Thank You for knowing the details of the challenges and opportunities facing the churches there. Thank You for Your heart for these peoples that I've never seen or probably would never know about apart from this book. Thank You for touching my heart with Your great love for them. Lord, I lift up Jiangxi province to You. Break the power of the communist heritage here. We pray against every force here that opposes You. Strengthen the church to complete the evangelization of Jiangxi. For Jilin, we thank You for the strong church and the influence of Korean believers. Bless them Lord with unity and strong attention to Your Word. We pray for You to help them fight the fight of truth  against the cults that are prevalent. Embolden Christians who are playing such an important role with refugees from North Korea. Make seeing eyes blind, Lord, to allow this important work to continue for Your kingdom's sake. Bring these North Koreans into faith and into community. Prepare the church here for its future role in developing a free North Korean. And Lord, we also pray for Liaoning's role in the spiritual war involving North Korea. We pray for continued growth, unity, and peace in the churches so they can continue to minister to North Koreans. Protect the women who cross the border from trafficking. We pray for the Church to have deep discipleship and solid evangelistic efforts. Be glorified here, and bring change to North Korea in part through the prayers and love of these people. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Praying for China Provinces and autonomous regions Hunan, Inner Mongolia, and Jiangsu: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey, April 13 (Day 103)

Today please read pages 237-239, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, and Jiangsu.

As we pray for China, it's helpful to put real faces to the Christians there. Please watch the video below and  grasp a bit of the heart of this worshipper from Inner Mongolia. My prayer for today follows the video.

My prayer for today: Lord, thank You for this believer and his message of putting You in front of us so the world can see Love. You are Love, and You Love the Chinese. We pray for Hunan province to experience a spiritual breakthrough based on Your love. Raise up leaders for the church so they can be prepared for the harvest. We pray for Inner Mongolia to experience the blessing of having Your word in their language. May the presence of Scripture lead to more and more coming to know You as Your word does not return void. And for Jinagsu, we thank You for church growth and ask You to continue to build Your church. We pray for protection over Nanjing and ask You to bless it for the blessing it is to so many. We seek You for the good of this city, Lord. In Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Prayers for China Provinces Heilongjiang, Henan, and Hubei: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 12 (Day 102)

Today we come to some regions that have been profoundly influenced by Christianity. Please read pages 235-237, Heilongjiang, Henan, and Hubei provinces.

My prayer for today: Lord, thank You for what You have been doing in Heilongjiang province. Thank You for the freedom and for the success of the churches. We praise You for the harvest and ask for spiritual growth for those who follow You. We ask You for the indigenous peoples to be part of the harvest. We pray for laborers for even the smallest of these people groups. In Henan, Lord, we pray for the vulnerable populations who have already suffered so much. We pray against the evil of abortion especially sex-selective abortion. Protect the girls, Lord. We thank You that You have turned this atheist region into a dynamic place for the church and we pray for the church to take up the challenge of reaching the unreached. Give the church wisdom in the next stage of its growth. For Hubei, Lord, we ask You to shatter the chains that bind the people and pray for You to make more and more disciples. We pray for laborers for the unreached. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Praying for China provinces and regions Guangxi Zhuang, Guizhou, Hainan, and Hebei: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey, April 11 (Day 101)

Today we focus on four more regions: Guangxi Zhuang, Guizhou, Hainan, and Hebei. Please read pages 233-235.

The largest minority population in China is the Zhuang. Highly rural, their language is completely unique to the rest of China. They are very intentional about preserving their traditions, which include their language, beautiful singing, agricultural traditions -- and ancestor worship, animism, and spiritism. They have no Scripture in their language and 75% have never heard the name of Jesus - yet they have shown openness to the Gospel. Today the video below will lead our prayer time together in focus on the Zhuang.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Praying for China Provinces & Municipalities: Fujian, Gansu, and Guangdong

We continue our prayer focus on China's provinces. Please read pages 230-232 (Fujian, Gansu, and Guangdong.)

My prayer for today: Lord, we ask You to pour out Your Spirit upon Fujian, Gansu, and Guangdong. Thank You for the history of Christianity in Fujian and we ask for openness to share the Gospel with the rest of the province. Lord, we pray against the revival of Buddhism and Daoism -- we ask that instead of these ancient influences resurging that the Christians in Fujian would lead the way in influencing others for Your glory. For Gansu, we ask for You to raise up leaders for the churches and pour out the gift of discernment to protect from aberrant sects. Send laborers to the harvest among the Dongxiang and Bonan, the Hui, and the Tibetan peoples. We pray that the one Tibetan church would be faithful and missional.  And for Guangdong, we ask for increased openness to the Gospel and the breaking of strongholds of synretism and spiritism. Lord, we pray that You would guide the people to see that economic success does not matter in eternity; that they need to think of what happens after death. Draw many of the Overseas Chinese to You and cause them to be a blessing spiritually to Guangdong. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Praying for China Provinces & Municipalities Anhui, Beijing, and Chongqing: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey -April 9 (Day 100)

Today we begin praying for specific provinces of China. It's important to realize that there is much diversity within China, and we'll have the opportunity to pray for both urban and rural China, for the China that is atheist and the Muslim regions, for unreached peoples and strong Christian areas. Today, let's focus on the introductory comments on "Provinces of China" (P. 227) and Anhui, Beijing, and Chongquing (pages 228-230).

My prayer for today: Lord, we thank You for the amazing wisdom You have given the Operation World researchers to diligently prepare these province reports for us. We pray for You to use this information to fuel our prayers, and for Your Holy Spirit to light a fire in our hearts over the next couple of weeks. Today Lord, we pray for Anhui province and its needs for economic development. We thank You for the strong number of Christians here and ask that they be a part of blessing the poor in Anhui. Give them a heart for not only evangelism but for meeting tangible needs with Your love as they become Your hands and feet. We pray for unity among the churches so they can best fulfill Your purposes and for faithfulness in the face of persecution. Lord, for Beijing we pray for the leaders of China to rule in such a manner that Christians can live quiet and peaceful lives in godliness and dignity. We pray that You would raise up Christians to positions of power and influence and that they would hold firmly to You. Father, we ask for Chongqing to develop in a way that is fair for all, responsible for Your creation, and has an eye to the long-term. We pray for those displaced by the Three Gorges Dam project to encounter Christians in their "involuntary going" and find more than they ever knew they were looking for. We ask You to continue to grow the church not merely numerically, but in maturity to serve Chongqing for You glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter Sunday Prayers for China: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey, April 8 (Day 99)

Ji-du fu-huo-le! Zhen-de Ta fu-huo-le! 
(He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed - Mandarin Chinese) 

Today unites believers in Jesus Christ around the globe. Despite cultural and theological differences, the common ground of the Resurrection is a defining Christian doctrine. As Paul said, without it we believe in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2). But with it - we are assured of the power of God working in us and through us until our feet cross the threshold of heaven and we behold Him face to face. Indeed, He is risen!

Today we wrap up our overview of China by learning about the "Supportive Ministries" on pages 224-227. The heart of this focus is how missionaries and other ministries are supporting the church in China. As we pray for them, let's also lift up the church in China as it matures and continues to grow. Following my prayer is a song of praise for us to celebrate Easter together today - wherever you are. For we unified in Him. Hallelujah!

My prayer for today: Oh Lord, how grateful we are that You live. How thankful we are that You are at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the day He tells You to go get Your bride. How precious to be part of that beautiful bride in her array of diversity. We thank You for the church in China and its place in Your body. Thank You that they, too, celebrate the resurrection today. Lord, we lift them up to You and ask You to teach and encourage and strengthen them. Guide them to go deep in Your Word and to have wisdom and discernment in all things. Lord, we pray for the support ministries. First Lord, we thank You for these faithful laborers. We pray You will give them wisdom how to truly come alongside the church in China as a support role. We pray for the missionaries who serve in creative ways - in business, in universities, in community development, and even as tourists and guests. Continue to give them boldness and help them stay focused on the purpose for which You called them to China. We ask for Bibles for every language in China. Raise up translators and protect the printing presses of the churches within China. Give wisdom to those wanting to get Bibles into China to work with these churches to benefit the press workers and also maximize the success of Bible distribution and other Christian materials. Guide those working in radio and other electronic media. Use it all for Your glory, Lord Jesus. We love You Lord. Show Your resurrection power to China today.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Prayer for China: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 7 (Day 98)

Today we zero our prayers in on a place Jesus has told us specifically how to pray - the waiting harvest. Please read "The Less Evangelized" on pages 222-224 in light of Jesus' words to His disciples as they waited at the well after the Samaritan woman went back to tell her neighbors about Jesus:

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." (Luke 10:2, ESV)

As you see in the reading there are so many areas of China, so many groups to be reached. In every case, the answer starts just as it did in Samaria: with one person convinced of the truth of the message who just can't stop talking about Jesus. Whether that person is a missionary or a native, God is glorified. 

Since God has given me a special heart for Muslims, my prayer focus today is on the Muslims of China. I hope that the video below will help you understand more about how to pray for one of the many people groups in China that desperately need laborers for the harvest.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Prayer for China: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 6 (Day 97)

Today we continue to pray for China as a whole. Please glance through pages 214-226, focusing on pages 217-222 ("General" and "The Church in China").

Today we are blessed to have a special guest blogger, a missionary whose name and location are not mentioned for security reasons. Otherwise except for some minor typo corrections and bolding for emphasis, I'm posting what he sent just as he sent it. You'll notice he uses the asterisk (*) on occasion for certain words - that helps protect him from the internet filters and government censors. Please prayerfully read through his insights which add depth and understanding to the section from OW on the church in China. Then, for today's prayer time, please watch the video below and enter into prayer with this Chinese woman praying for her country, along with however else God leads you to pray over the section we are focusing on today. 
I’ve been in China a few years and lived in 3 cities.

Firstly, from my limited experience, I would say for China in general: there is a need to pray for what is sometimes called the urban ch*rch movement. In the past the Chinese ch*rch has been split between the official “Three Self Patriotic” [ie government-sanctioned] Ch*rch (3S) and the “underground” house ch*rches (HCs) which refused to register under the early days of Communism and from which the famous and exciting stories of the Chinese ch*rch (Brother Yun etc) have emerged.

Whereas in the old days the lines were quite distinct, and in some cases the 3S was involved in persecution of the HCs, this dichotomy is largely becoming out of date. Simply there are good HCs and probably some bad HCs and good 3Ss and probably some bad 3Ss. In my limited experience, the 3Ss tend to be more conservative and the HCs more charismatic, but they are both in the most part evang*lical (unlike a lot of the “mainstream” ch*rches in Europe for example). However there is an emerging generation of educated students and professionals which in a lot of cases find it hard to relate to the 3S, which they may find too formal (for example, many of the hymns they use are translated versions of Western hymns from before the Communist takeover), or the HCs which have mainly thrived in the countryside among the uneducated. So they gather together in informal groups, some big, some small and are often more based on Western style  charismatic small group / ch*rch models. They are not part of a wider network in the sense of the traditional HCs, nor for the most part are they registered with the government, but they are kind of independent.

So it’s exciting seeing a new generation of young people seeking to express their faith in the context of the emerging Chinese affluent and urban scene. But they also need direction and leadership (for example any paid full time worker would be entirely supported by congregations and other than in the official 3S no position would be a recognized job) and a vision that they may reach this new generation for Him, plus wisdom and the ability to relate positively to the rest of the body. With a country that is now nearing half the population in urban centers, I think this new movement is one of the keys to the future. Amongst these young people in China, in my experience evang*lism is relatively easy, discipl*ship is harder. Often people are willing to study, even make some sort of commitment etc but following this up with a life of discipl*ship seems to be a challenge in the light of the pressures of modern life in China. So pr*y for this movement to really take off and be a powerful witn*ss to the emerging generations of Chinese.

Secondly for China in general, pray for the men. The churches (3S and HC) are dominated by mainly older ladies and I’ve found more often than not it’s the women taking leadership positions, since the men in China seem to be often more interested in making money or getting on in the world.  Pray that men would rise up and take on their leadership positions.

Thirdly, in my area in West China, there are a number of minority groups which are pretty unreached:

Amdo Tib*tans, although there is quite a lot of focus on them and there are the beginnings of a CP movement among them.

Mongolians and related Buddhist groups such as Tu, and Yugur (not Uighur, that’s a much larger group in Xinjiang). Not sure of the details on these groups in this area; there has been activity in some of the areas where these groups are based but there still needs to be established  strong ch*rchs among them

Hui Musl*ms, there are a number of b*lievers among them, but so far there is not a strong distinctly Hui movement among them, b*lievers would often just join a Han majority Chinese group and become more like the Han Chinese.

Other smaller Musl*m groups such as the Dongxiang, Salar and Bonan, a few b*lievers among some of these groups, but not yet a strong indigenous movement.

The challenge for many of these groups (with the possible exception of Amdo Tib*tans, although that movement’s in it early stages) is rather than ones or twos coming out of the groups and just joining the  Han ch*rches, for there to be distinct (although of course not exclusive) indigenous movements amongst the groups.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Prayer for China: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 5 (day 95)


Just uttering the word brings a flood of thoughts - the political transformations that have occurred in the past 150 years; the social changes; the numerous international students; the faithful missionaries who pioneered the way for today's laborers; the suffering church; the underground church; the dynamic church. Names like Hudson Taylor, Gladys Aylward, Watchman Nee, Brother Yun. China yields itself to generalizations and broad brushstrokes.

That's why I'm glad that Operation World spends a full 2 weeks on China proper, and another few days on the Chinese territories. All told we will spend the next 19 days immersed in China. This country is one example of how I hope this blog can be helpful to us as we seek to pray through Operation World. I hope to help us truly learn more about China's nuances and to see all its beautiful hues. To give you an idea of where we're going, today we'll focus on an overview and the "Answers to prayer", then spend 3 days on the general prayer requests. After than, from the 9th to the 19th we'll break down the Provinces of China section, learning about just a few each day. Finally, from the 20th to the 23rd we'll address the territories. So don't be overwhelmed - just jump in, share what you know, and see what we can learn together!

For today, please read pages 214-217 (the blue box overview is especially helpful for a country this large). Praise God with me for what He's been doing in China!

My prayer for today: Lord, thank You so much for what You've done in China! What a surprise and blessing it was to discover the church had not only survived, but thrived during the closed years. Thank You for the amazing growth and the faith and commitment of these believers. Lord, thank You for their faithfulness in the face of persecution. Thank You for the Christians at every level of society, for the underground churches as well as the state churches that have genuine believers. Lord, thank You for the wisdom You have given them in engaging in social causes and for the missions vision of the church. Thank You for their growing unity and for the presence of Christian media. Thank You Lord for the positive changes in the government. Lord, You are good and You do good. Thank You for China. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Prayer for Chile: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 4 (Day 94)

Today we learn about and pray for a country that has experienced much transformation over the past century. Please read about Chile on pages 210-213.

I hope you are blessed, as I am, by reading about countries like Chile where God is moving and where missionaries are going to the rest of the world! Chile is one of several countries where God is moving in strong ways, making what is sometimes called the "Global South" the strongest site of numerical growth in the global church today. We talked about it some in the earliest days of Operation World, but as you read the statistics and the prayer answers and challenges, I hope that the concept is coming alive for you. Missions teams all over the world are made up of people from diverse backgrounds - and more and more often, the westerners are the minority. Praise God for the rainbow that is His church!

My prayer for today: Lord, thank You for what You have been doing in Chile. Thank You for the transition to democracy and the stability of the state. Thank You for the great growth of evangelicals and the zeal that they have, maturing to minister to the poor and work in unity. Thank You for the missionaries they have throughout South America and Europe. Lord, we pray for Chile to completely move beyond the Pinochet regime into a place of deep forgiveness and grace. We ask that the church be equipped to model that grace. Lord, we pray for the changing social structures in Chile that are bringing some elements of moral decay. We pray for the Gospel to transform Chile's moral fiber. We pray for the Catholic church to take Scripture seriously and that Catholics would be able to renew their faith in a real and deep way. We pray for leadership development for the churches and for churches to work together with each other and with the global church. Lord, minister to the poor and guard them from false prosperity teachings.  Give the church a strong missions vision for Chile and for the world. Guide missionaries to Chile to serve the church in truly coming into its own in every way. In Jesus' name, amen. 

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Prayer for Chad: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 3 (Day 93)

Today we continue to pray for Chad. Please review pages 205-209.

It's great to get an inside perspective from someone on the ground. Today we have a video from a church planter who is working with one of the unreached people groups. It will give insight not only into Chad but into what it's like to be on a church planting team. If God is calling you to be involved in missions to unreached people groups, either through praying, giving, or going, I encourage you to check out Pioneers.  Following the video and my prayer are some additional links for Chad that one of our group members compiled. As always, if you have special experience in or awareness of a particular country please let me know; I would love to pray with you about how we can utilize your expertise within this blog family! 

My prayer for today: Oh Lord, thank You for this church planting team and their work in Chad. We pray for the success of their efforts and for the full Bible to be available in Chadean Arabic and in the heart languages of the unreached people groups. Lord, we pray You will do battle against the enemy's efforts to take Chad captive to lies and false belief systems. We pray for Christians to stand boldly against the temptation to tribal initiation rites and the bondage of spiritism. Lord, bring unity to the church across tribes and denominations; remove all legalism and replace that energy with the energy to unite around a common vision for outreach. We pray for an understanding of the need for leadership training  and for the resources and time to spend on the process. We pray for the success of field and extension-based studies that will allow leaders to learn "on-the-job". We pray for You to finish the task in Chad in every way. In Jesus' name, amen.

Chad resources:  
Status of Bible Translation for Chadian Arabic
Pray4Chad this website has prayer requests for the unreached people groups of Chad   
Article on Chadian Arabic from Wycliffe

Monday, April 02, 2012

Prayer for Chad: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 2 (Day 92)

Our journey for the next 2 days takes us into the heart of unreached Africa. Chad has more unreached people groups than any other African country. The need here is great, and the laborers are faithful but few. Please read pages 205-209.

Chad isn't a nation that makes the news regularly; it's simply one that is struggling on many basic level and where 80% of the people live below the poverty line -- and keep in mind that the average income per person is $863 a year, so the poverty line is unthinkably low. Lest you think that the cost of living is probably also low, please think again; Xpatulator (a site to help assess international cost of living) ranks Chad's capital 160th out of 768 places. That means it's in the top 20% high cost-of-living locations.  This reality is compounded by Chad's recent droughts which have critically hurt the 80% of the population that depend on subsistence agriculture. And yet the people of Chad suffer in relative anonymity from the rest of the world.

Yet God has seen and heard their pain. Even here, God is at work. Freedom of religion continues to be a reality. Missionaries can openly work despite the Muslim majority. And among those Muslims - God is moving and creating worshippers for Jesus. Concentrated prayer is going on and many are open to the Gospel for the first time. Let's praise God and pray for Chad today.

My prayer for today: Lord, we praise You for Your work in Chad. We thank You, God, that You have seen the need in Chad and sought to meet that need in the best way possible -- with Yourself. Lord, thank You for the religious freedom in Chad. We pray that You would bless the leaders of Chad so that Christians can continue to share their faith and maintain Godly, quiet, and peaceful lives in the dignity of faith. We pray for Muslims who are turning to You with their questions to find deeper answers than they ever dreamed. We pray for the outreach to the unreached - we ask that every one of those people groups will be adopted and prayed over until they are reached. Lord, we do pray for conversion of key leaders so that the government can be stable and just, and corruption can be stopped. We pray for wisdom in dealing with the threats between north and south. Lord, minister as only You can in Chad. In Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Prayer for Central African Republic: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - April 1 (Day 92)

Before we begin our prayer time today I want to congratulate you on being more than 1/4 of the way through our journey! That's right, we've completed a full quarter! I hope that the daily prayers are becoming a habit and that this group effort is making the task of praying through Operation World much less daunting! And if you're just now joining us - feel free to pick up where we are and catch up on the earlier portions of the book after we complete it. We love new travelers!

Please review pages 201-205, and let's continue to lift up the Central African Republic before the Lord.

My prayer for today: Lord we lift up the young people of CRA. We pray for churches with vision and workers to develop a structure, for faithful teachers to mentor children and youth, and for a Godly heritage to be passed on to the next generation. We pray for completion of Bible translations and wisdom in using the existing translations with oral cultures. We pray for the work with the Muslims and those unreached among the forest and northern areas. Lord, those places seem dark when we read about them but Your Word tells us that the darkness is not dark to You - for You are light. Lord, shine Your light throughout CRA today. Be glorified in the efforts of missions agencies and guide them to work in a manner that supports the churches in every way. In Jesus' name, amen.