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.

No comments: