Thursday, May 31, 2012

Praying for Germany: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 31 (Day 152)

Today we continue to pray for Germany. Please review pages 359-364.

As in most countries, the history of the church in Germany is a mixture of faithfulness and compromise. Martin Luther hailed from Germany, and a strong Biblical faith existed here through the Reformation. Yet some of the very teachings of Luther (lack of connecting obedient responses internally with obedient actions externally), combined with theological schools that challenged Biblical inspiration and a weakneed state-funded church, led to compromise under the Nazis. Some studies estimate that 80% of the churches aligned with Hitler; the roughly 20% of pastors that comprised the "Confessing Movement" were persecuted and often killed. (For more on the German church during the Nazi era, check out the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a key Confessing pastor.)

With a religious heritage like that, it's not surprising that succeeding generations would view the church with skepticism. Anytime Christians lose their prophetic voice, aligning with the culture (political or religious) over Scripture, any fruit that is produced will tend to rot. As we pray for the German church today, let's focus on asking God to tear down the strongholds left from this era, and rebuild the church to be a biblical, loving, prophetic witness. Let's ask God for a new Reformation in Germany.

My prayer for today: Oh Lord God, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power. Nothing is too difficult for You! Thank You for the growing prayer movements and unity within Germany. Thank You for new ways of doing church that are leading to a rediscovery of the basics of evangelism, outreach, and mission. Lord, we pray for the church in Germany to be a bold and faithful witness. We pray against the strongholds the enemy left in place after World War II. We ask that Biblical church leaders will boldly proclaim the power of the Gospel and the truth of Scripture. We pray that You will restore the church to its place as a counter-culture. Give them wisdom what to accept, what to transform, and what to reject from their culture. We pray for the church to be once again seen as the relevant voice of truth that You called it to be. Thank You for You power. Bring a Reformation to Germany again Lord. Pour out Your Spirit upon this land anew. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Praying for Germany: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 30 (Day 151)

Germany. Even those with a passing knowledge of world history have some immediate associations: Nazis, Hitler, death camps. Yet Germany today is far more than the result of two world wars and tragic genocide. Germany in 2012 is a thriving economy, finally unified after more than 40 years of partition. Germany also boasts freedom of religion and strong connections with the Catholic and Lutheran churches which are tax-funded. Evangelicals are growing in prominence, yet Christianity as a whole is declining as in much of Europe.

Please learn about Germany on pages 359-364. We'll spend the next 3 days praying for this strategic nation. Today, we begin with a prayer from a woman who grew up in Germany.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Praying for Georgia: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 29 (Day 150)

Today we pray for one of the former Soviet satellite states that has been in the news for continued conflict with Russia. Please read about Georgia on pages 355-358.

My prayer for today: Lord, we are thankful for the changes since 1991 - the reduced corruption, the political and economic reform, the transition from a department of atheism to a theological department, and the growth of the church. You are so good and Your timing is so perfect. Lord, we pray for Your peace to permeate the ethnic wars throughout Georgia. We pray that Christians will set the tone by crossing ethnic lines in all the churches and truly modeling the peace of Jesus. We pray for the Word of God to breathe new life within the Georgian Orthodox Church and for renewal among its leaders. We pray for respect and understanding - and unity - between the Orthodox and other churches. We pray for provision of creative work to develop the areas where evangelicals experience almost 100% unemployment or underemployment. Lord, we pray for wisdom for the churches to know how to help in constructive ways and we pray for any outside help to truly come alongside the churches and not further dependency. We pray for You to provide for the church so they can meet the needs of the communities in which You place them. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Prayer for The Gambia: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 28 (Day 149)

Today we pray for a country with religious freedom, despite a non-Christian majority religion. Truly the generally positive relationships between Christians and Muslims in this country are a reason for praise! Paul wrote to Timothy to pray for government leaders so believers could live quiet and peaceful lives, and for the spread of the Gospel (1 Timothy 2:1-3). The connection intended is that when Christians are not fighting for their very lives, they have more opportunity to bear witness to the message of the cross. Let's pray for Gambians to do just that! Please read about The Gambia on pages 353-355. One of the members of our prayer community is a missionary in The Gambia, and she sent the following insights for our prayer time:

The Gambia, not the country of my birth, but the country of my heart. As a missionary working among the Wolof people in a rural area of The Gambia, I see a Gambia unseen by the many tourists who visit here for the sun and beaches.

I see people enslaved by the rituals of Islam, but they truly believe that they are following the way that God and their ancestors laid out for them. I see people bound by superstition and fear of the evil spirits. I see people trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty because they can only think about solving today's problems. I see people stubbornly resistant to change because they need to do things the way everyone else does them for fear of public ridicule or worse yet ostracism. My Gambia isn't a land of sun and beaches, but one of people I love enslaved by Islam (with a strong foundation of animism), poverty and the tyranny of social pressure.

Lord, my prayer for the people of The Gambia is that You would break the chains that hold them captive. Pour out Your Spirit and open their eyes to the truth about Jesus the Messiah. Give them courage to follow Jesus whole-heartedly, no matter the cost and to share the gospel boldly with family and friends. Raise up Christian men who can resist the societal pressure toward polygamy. Start a wave of people turning to Christ that will spread rapidly throughout this tiny country transforming it into a land where Christ is pre-eminent.

Thank you for The Gambia's peaceful history and stand for religious freedom. Continue to protect her from the turmoil that has devastated many other African countries. Thank you for her friendly, peace-loving people who make outsiders feel welcome. Thank you, Lord, for giving me the privilege of sharing the gospel with these precious people and being part of the the great work that You are going to do here.

My prayer for today: Lord, thank You for the peaceful lives of most Christians in The Gambia. We pray, Lord, that they will see the opportunity You have given them, develop relationships with Muslims, and then truly seek to share the Good News. We pray that these strong relationships will become truly unity in Christ as these Muslims see the deception of Islam and become turned off by the violence promoted by so many in nearby countries. We pray for unity in the churches and for nominal Christians to go deeper in knowing You. We pray for Your Word to have a prominent place in the Gambian Church and for You to raise up leaders to proclaim it and help people understand its truths. We pray for the purity of Your church in Gambia and for the completion of the tasks You have given her to do. In Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Prayer for Gabon: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 27 (Day 148)

One of Africa's wealthiest countries materially, today we will learn that Gabon has an encroaching spiritual poverty as well as a huge gap materially between the wealthiest and the poorest. Please read pages 350-352.

My prayer for today: Lord, You have seen what's been going on in Gabon. You know the growing influence of Islam, the inequities in wealth, the stripping away of resources. You also see the Church - You hold it in Your hand - and You have been working. We thank You  for the maturing church, the serious prayer, and the openness of those in the interior. Thank You for the church planting movement among the Baka natives. We pray for Your righteousness to prevail against the selfishness, exploitation, and trafficking. We pray for the church to be pure and reject the spiritist clubs and societies. We pray for the church to recognize the crucial opportunity and responsibility to reach out to Muslims and begin doing so intentionally and wisely. Lord, we pray for the purity of the Gospel, for sound teaching, and for strong leaders. Have Your way in Gabon. In Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Prayer or French Guiana and French Polynesia: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 26 (Day 147)

Today we pray for two lands tied to France by political and linguistic connections. Please read pages 346-349.

My prayer for today: Lord Jesus, Thank You that no place is out of reach for You. We thank You for the openness in the Amerindian groups in French Guiana, for the growth of evangelicals among the Creole and other groups, and for what You are doing in churches in French Guiana. We pray for Your hand to guide this country through this transition era where they are seeking to move into a new approach of development. We pray for You to reduce the availability and influence of French TV and the pornography that is tearing at the fabric of this tiny land. We pray for Scripture in their language and for leaders who know how to teach the Word of God. For French Polynesia, Lord we ask that You restore Tahiti to its former Christian strength. Remove the spirit of immorality and materialism and open people's hearts for the Gospel. We pray for missions outreach, vital personal faith, and a spiritual revolution. Bring the church here back to its first love and strengthen what remains. Guide them with wisdom to reach the unreached. Thank You Jesus that You have not left Tahiti and the other islands behind. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Praying for France: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 25 (Day 146)

Today we continue to pray for France. Please review pages 340-345, then read the further insights from our Finnish friend living in France.
  • Pray for courage and investment into missions - both nationally and abroad. Most evangelical assemblies gather less than a hundred members, hence the scarce number of sending churches. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest! (Luke 10:2) The following points exemplify different groups that the Gospel should reach in France:
  • Many native born French people are spiritual seekers having abandoned the [Catholic] faith of their parents or grand-parents. They turn to new spiritualities and sometimes to Asian religions. Each year, several New Age fairs and expos are organised in the bigger cities. Pray for these seekers to encounter Jesus. Pray for the Body of Jesus to find smooth and loving ways to meet them where they are in their spiritual search.
  • It is estimated that up to 10 % of the population has an Islamic background, and that 1/3 of them would be devoted Muslims. Pray for their eyes to open to the Son of God. Please pray especially for the following individuals living in the South of France: Jalila, Ovarda, Tamani and Tahar, as well as their respective families. Pray for courage and guidance to the ex-Muslims who are persecuted by their friends and family, especially when they visit their countries of origin (North Africa and the Middle East). Pray for the distribution of evangelistic books and DVDs at ports and inner cities.
  • There is an estimated half a million Jews in France. Pray for them to accept Jesus in their lives and really become True Jews. You might have heard the news of violences performed against Jewish school children a couple of months ago. Pray against the spirit of antisemitism in France.
 My prayer for today: Lord, I lift up France to You. I thank You for what You are doing there and for the unity that is beginning to emerge. We pray for the success of efforts toward unity and for the church to have wisdom against the spiritual strongholds, especially secularism. Lord, we pray for the churches to have a missional vision and truly seek to send laborers to the harvest. We pray for the church to have loving outreach to those involved in New Age, to Muslims, and to Jews. We pray against the spirit of antisemitism and ask You to protect those who might be victims of violence. Lord, we pray for Jalila, Ovarda, Tamani, and Tahar and ask You to watch over them. Be with Muslim Background Believers as they visit their families. Help them to maintain their testimony and have wisdom and love as they witness of You. In Jesus' name, amen. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Praying for France: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 24 (Day 145)

Today and tomorrow, we pray for one of the best-known countries in the world, a nation which boasts one of the major world languages, numerous historical and cultural sights that tourists enjoy, and a significant place in international politics, historically as well as currently. Please read pages 340-345.

Sadly, France is also known for its radical secularism. France's revolution occurred shortly after the United States', but with an extremely key distinction: While the American Revolution was based on freedom OF religion, with no religion having state dominance, France's was based on freedom FROM religion. In many ways, the French Revolution was the pinnacle of the Enlightenment and truly was about man exalting himself. The heritage in each country today continues to define the distinction: In the U.S., the general assumption is that of an "open public square" where religion is concerned (despite very real concerns about silencing many expressions, the legal rights do still exist), in France the picture is of a "naked public square". Religion is completely a private matter and not subject to public expression.

Today we have additional insights from the Finn living in France who wrote yesterday. Please read these as well, then watch the video for our prayer time together.
  • Less than two weeks ago, France got a new President, Mr. François Hollande. Pray for his personal salvation and that he would make wise and godly decisions as the head of the country and in the important position he has in the leadership of the whole of Europe. Pray that France and Israel would stay on good terms.
  • "Laïcité" or secularism is considered an important value of the Republic. People don't often wish to talk about religious convictions publicly, as they are seen as a private matter. Municipalities also have rather strict policies as to evangelism in the streets and other "religious" public events. Pray for creative and wise solutions for Christian initiatives and that missionary work would not be hindered furthermore. Pray for the Church to increasingly embrace friendship evangelism.
  • Pray for a revival and a renewal in the traditional Christian churches, both Catholic and Protestant. They need to have a freshness in the Spirit in order to win back their youth, now mostly turned to atheism or humanism. Praise God - there already are some very lively communities, born from the ashes of certain monasteries, for example.
  • Linked to the previous point: Pray for the unity and reconciliation between different churches and denominations. We believe the Global Outreach Day on June 2nd ( can be an opportunity to bring Christians together for a common cause.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Prayer for Finland: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 23 (Day 144)

Today our journey takes us almost as far away as we can get from the islands we've been at the past couple of days. Please read about Finland on pages 337-339.

Today we have special insight from one of our group members who happens to be Finnish. Operation World does an amazing job pulling together resources, but it's always an added blessing to hear from those from or in the countries we pray for. Please read her prayer insights and add them to Operation World's prayer points to fuel your prayers for Finland as the Lord leads.

Peace be with you! I am a Finn living in France as a tentmaker with my French husband. In our quiet times, we naturally continue to pray for Finland also. The following prayer points have been recently on our hearts. May the Lord bless you abundantly as you commit a moment of your day to intercede for this small but strong nation!
  • There are a lot more believers in Finland than in most European countries. Pray that more and more Christians, however, would not be believers only, but that they would whole-heartedly commit their lives to Christ and become true followers. Pray that Jesus' very words written in the gospels would deeply touch them and make them act upon their faith. We need to break strongholds of religion, egocentrism and stinginess.
  • Pray that the Body of Christ in Finland would send more and more missionaries - something it has been famous for all along its history. The doors to neighbouring countries such as Russia and the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) need to be exploited while open. Pray for young Christians to discover missions trips at early age.
  • The testimony of Jesus' "ordinary-radical" followers is vital, as a major part of Finns lead comfortable lives and don't feel they need God. Pray against 1) atheism, 2) materialism and 3) faith in science, which in the mainstream ideology amongst youth and young adults.
  • There is an increasing number of immigrants in Finland. Pray for wisdom and compassion to the Body of Christ as to their responsibilities in protecting [Christian] political refugees, as well as in reaching Muslims and people from other backgrounds with God's love. As many of them would probably never meet a follower of Jesus in their home country, we believe the Lord has led them precisely to Finland to encounter His precious Son.
 My prayer for today: Lord we thank You for the heritage and strategic place Finland plays in your global big picture, especially relating to the former Soviet Union. We thank You for the peace and prosperity of Finland  and for the legacy of missions in Finland's past. We pray for You to empower the church with a deep understanding of Your Word so Christians use their resources for generous giving and committed ministry. Lord, we pray against the apathy that leads believers to be less than completely sold out. We pray that You would break strongholds of religion, self-centeredness, and stinginess. We pray for the church to lead the way in reaching out to the world around her and instill missions visions in the children and youth. We pray for those Finns who don't see the need for a relationship with Jesus. We pray against the false belief systems of atheism, materialism, and faith in science. We praise You for the growth in the number of immigrant believers and pray that You will increase their number. We pray for the church to see the needs and unreached groups around it and have wisdom to find a path toward true discipleship in this culture. We pray for the men to be mentored and step up to be leaders in their homes, churches, and society. Thank You for working in Finland. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Prayer for Fiji: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 22 (Day 143)

Today we continue with an island focus as we pray for Fiji. This group of islands has seen more than its share of political drama, with four coups in the past 25 years. Sadly, these coups are at least partly racially motivated, and the de facto state church has failed to condemn the racism. Fiji is a great place over which to pray Ephesians 2:14: For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. Please read pages 334-336.

My prayer for today: Lord Jesus, our peace, You died to bring us into oneness with You and each other. Ethnic hostility is contrary to the truth of the Gospel. We pray for You to bring the church leaders into alignment with Your Word in this area. Lord, we pray for the Indians who see the Gospel as being discredited by the actions of those who claim to know You. We pra for Fiji to have a spirit of freedom and equality, for repentance and true reconciliation. We pray for righteousness and justice to flow in Fiji. We lift up the churches to You and pray for strong discernment and authentic fruitfulness. We pray for Fiji to recapture the missions vision of the past and reach the world within its borders as well as those outside the island. Call many Fijian Christians to be missionaries, Lord. Let the church be a transformational influence on society. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Praying for Faeroe Islands and Falkland Islands: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 21

Today we jump around the globe a bit, from islands in the North Atlantic to Islands in the South Atlantic. Please read pages 331-334 as we pray for the Faeroe and Falklands island groups.

My prayer for today: Lord, these islands bring to light how little I know about the world You created. I confess my need to know Your world better. I thank You that You care as much for the tiny islands as the huge nations; for those we never heard about as much as those daily in the news. Lord, we pray for Faeroe Islanders. Give them wisdom as they pursue more autonomy from Denmark. We ask for guidance in the decisions about the fishing and oil industries. Lord, for the church we pray for revival. We pray for a fresh move of Your spirit and for the continued impact of the Brethren churches. Lord, we pray for wisdom by the church to engage the secular, postmodern attitudes, For the Falkland Islands, we pray for continued wisdom as they move toward self-governance. We pray for cooperation and understanding between the Falklands, the UK, and Argentina. We pray for a renewal of faith in the three church groups and for believers to bear witness to other Islanders as well as fishermen, oilmen, and tourists. We pray for You to minister to the British forces and that they will come to know You through their service here. In Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Praying for Ethiopia - A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 20 (Day 131)

Today we continue to pray for Ethiopia. Please review pages 327-331. We'll focus on pages 330-331.

My prayer for today: Lord, Your purposes for Ethiopia are not complete. We know that You have done much in this land, but to finish the task the church needs strong and wise leaders. We pray for teachers who are godly and steeped in Scripture. We pray for students who wish to give themselves to serious study of Your Word and of ministry. We pray for You to work within the denominational Bible school as well as the TEE programs. Lord, we pray for You to equip the church to meet the challenge of Islam. Fight against the enemy's efforts to destroy the Christian heritage of Ethiopia. We pray for the young people to be able to attend school and find work and that the churches would recognize how vital it is to reach the young. Lord, bring churches into the fight against AIDS and guide the Christians who are already working there. We pray for strong success among the less evangelized people and those working on Bible translations. Lord, thank You for Your word and your work in Ethiopia. In Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Prayer for Ethiopia: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 19 (Day 140)

If you grew up in the 70s-80s like I did, you probably need an updated vision of Ethiopia.

When I hear the country's name, my mind immediately jumps to the protruded stomachs of the old "Feed the Children" videos - not necessarily the best approach to poverty alleviation, international development, OR awareness of helping in ways that facilitate development rather than further dependency.

Ethiopia is so very much more than those videos reflected. Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations on the earth and has an extensive written history. The northern portion was one of the world's first Christian nations in the 4th Century. It's mentioned numerous times in Scripture (sometimes by the name we now know, other times as "Cush") and was famously the home of the Ethiopian Eunuch of Acts 8 fame. Since 1991, freedom of worship and witness has prevailed.

Please read pages 327-331 to get a glimpse of today's Ethiopia. We'll focus on pages 328-329.

My prayer for today: Oh Lord, what an amazing opportunity to pray for a country with such a rich legacy, with so much history. Thank You for the privilege of praying for Ethiopia, and of gaining Your heart for this land. Thank you for the growth of the church and the unity that continues. Thank You for the huge demand for Scripture and the renewal within the Orthodox church based on bringing Your word into a prominent place. Thank You for the cracks in the the walls between Orthodox and Catholics and evangelicals - we ask for those walls to crumble entirely. We pray for the Orthodox church to find its purpose in you now that it has no political influence. Lord, despite the increased political stability we see the hostilities with their neighbors and the realities of corruption and ethnic fragmentation. We pray for You to move within the hearts of leaders to establish a righteous and just government. Lord, we pray for ways to help Ethiopia that will truly help, not hurt, and for freedom from the cycle of dependency that has come to dominate much of Africa. We pray for the continued growth of the protestant and independent churches, with a missions vision that will spread beyond the current 3% mobilized. Lord, finish the task in Ethiopia. In Jesus' name amen.    

Friday, May 18, 2012

Prayers for Estonia: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 18 (Day 139)

Estonia - go ahead, look at the map. It's not one most of us studied in school (or maybe I'm dating myself :)). Please read pages 325-327.

Part of the former Soviet Union, Estonia is rapidly emerging into a free market society and is considered one of the most successful post-Soviet economies. Estonia's story of freedom is beautiful; I highly encourage you to watch The Singing Revolution (also available as a DVD rental on Netflix).

Yet all is not well within Estonia. The country has the highest rate of AIDS in Europe, is a major hub of human trafficking, and - most grievously of all - is filled with people who by and large do not recognize their need for God. They don't necessarily follow another religion - they just have no desire for spiritual things at all.

Though only 1% attend church, there is much to praise God for. In an attempt to kill off the church the Soviets closed the churches and forced all believers to meet together instead of as separate groups/denominations. HA - talk about serving God's purposes. They became incredibly unified and revival broke out. Even today, with complete freedom of religion, the church remains tight-knit and unified. A huge need in Estonia is Scripture. There is an Estonian Bible, but it is very expensive and quite out of date. Wycliffe is planning to new translation so with God's help that need will be met quickly.

A missionary to Estonia sent the following additional items for prayer:

Estonia's young people find themselves in a world where materialism is their god. Many of them have an attitude of "no need of  or belief in a higher power". They also face a very real potential of getting HIV/AIDS as Estonia has the highest incidences of  HIV/AIDS in Europe. God is so gracious in that He has brought the small numbers of Estonian Christians into a unity that is typically unheard of in most countries

Pray for continued unity and for the next generation to embrace Christ and Christian morality. The Lord has been sending workers from all over the world in recent month.  Pray the Lord of the Harvest to continue to send the workers.

Let's pray for Estonia together today.

My prayer for today: Lord, Estonia is one of the darkest places in Europe, the new Dark Continent. We are so thankful for what You did during the Soviet days, Lord, but we fear that in the bright economic outlook the people have forgotten You. Lord, we pray for the government to maintain freedom of religion but also exemplify the need for religion. We pray for them to model righteousness and Biblical values. We pray for Your Word to be available quickly and affordably, to fight the lies the enemy is bringing in through cults and other errors. We pray for unity in the church to continue to be a witness to the world, and for the church to lead the way in helping meet the needs of the people of Estonia. Lord, let Your light shine brighter in Estonia and push back the darkness. In Jesus' powerful name, amen.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Praying for Eritrea: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 17 (Day 138)

Today we continue to pray for the overwhelming needs of Eritrea. Please review pages 322-325.

My prayer for today: Lord, my heart is heavy for Eritrea. What a tragedy. Your word says that rulers are supposed to watch over people with diligence, and that they are given to see that what is good and righteous can be done and what is evil is punished. But Lord, in Eritrea the leaders have abandoned the people. Their physical needs are so great, and they live in such fear and instability. We lift them up to You Lord. We pray for you to bring peace with Ethiopia and a miraculous turnaround in the economic situation. Enable people to be able to work. Bring rains to the land and provide adequate food. Lord, we pray for the church in Eritrea. Thank You that the church is strong, that despite persecution the house church movement is growing. Help us know ways to meet their needs. We pray for those in refugees camps or transitions to hear and believe the Gospel. We pray as the unreached move throughout the world in search of asylum they would hear the Gospel. We pray for unity in the church and for true religious freedom. We pray for open doors for missionaries to go into Eritrea to meet spiritual and physical needs. We pray for Your mighty hand to be on Eritrea. Pour Your love and Your Spirit into this dry and thirsty land, Jesus.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Praying for Eritrea: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 16 (Day 137)

In his book, The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier highlights "Why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it." While I don't endorse all his conclusions, the basic premise of his book is important to understand: One billion people live in countries that are not developed, or developing, but actually declining - countries where all standard poverty-alleviating approaches are simply failing.

Hoping to avoid self-fulfilling prophecies, Collier chose not to list the countries where "the bottom billion" live. Almost certainly, though, Eritrea is one of them. I certainly think "declining" is a mild way to describe a country where over 50% live on less than $1 a day; where the agriculture provides only a fraction of the food needed for people to live; where a Marxist president has enacted policies that forced out the UN and foreign non-governmental organizations so that the people who could help are not even welcome in the country. Operation World observes that "some development of infrastructure and of the mining industry are among the few positives." That's reaching pretty far down to try to find indicators of progress.

So I'm thrilled today and tomorrow that we are pouring our hearts out for this country. Please read about Eritrea on pages 322-325.

This simple video will guide our prayers today. It captures the need to pray for the country on multiple levels, for the persecuted church there, and for the refugees who often pay what precious money they have to be sneaked out of the country, often going through multiple national borders (some legally and some illegally) simply in order to find a country to give them asylum. Let's join these believers and seek to obtain the heart of God for Eritrea today. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Praying for Equatorial Guinea: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 15 (Day 136)

As its name suggests, Equatorial Guinea is on the equator. An African country, it has the dubious distinction of having one of the worst human rights histories in Africa. Thankfully progress has been made. Let's learn about and pray for this country today. Please read pages 320-322.

My prayer for today: Lord, we lift up this precious country to You today. Thank You for beginning to stem the tide of human rights abuse, and for the growing religious freedom. We pray for laborers to the harvest who sense a call to walk through the door you are throwing open in EG. Lord, we pray for revival within the Catholic church. Open their eyes to the idolatry of animism and the need to completely reject those old ways. We pray for the newer groups that are working in EG to be pure, fervant, and doctrinally sound. We pray for missionaries to be humble and recognize ways they can come alongside those who are practicing Biblical faith. We ask for Your word in all the languages of EG and that Your word will completely transform the church and society. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Praying for El Salvador: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 14 (Day 135)

El Salvador - the very name means, literally, "The Savior". Despite a long history of exploitation and civil war, every time the name of the country is spoken, hope is released whether people realize it or not. Please read about El Salvador on pages 318-320, then watch this video and pray for Jesus to reign in the country who name describes Him.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Praying for Egypt - A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey, May 13 (Day 134)

Please review Egypt on pages 313-317. Our prayer time today will feature this video, which will give us a glimpse into the heart of this country and the strong church that perseveres there.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Praying for Egypt: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 12 (Day 133)

For the next two days, we are privileged to pray for a country that fills numerous verses in Scripture. Please read about Egypt on pages 313-317.

Egypt looms large over the history of Israel and throughout Scripture itself. It also features prominently in church history, as numerous early church fathers were based in Egypt. In fact, the Coptic (Egyptian) church is one of the oldest churches in the world and is by far the largest group of Christians in the Middle East. Scripture promises a great turning to the Lord from Egypt - and while we've seen glimpses of this throughout history, Isaiah's prophecy shows that God has more planned for Egypt:
Isaiah 19:19-25 (ESV) - In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the LORD because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. And the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the LORD and perform them. And the LORD will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance."
My prayer for today: Lord, thank You that we have Your promises over Egypt and glimpses through history to show us what that might look like. Though today Egypt is dominated by the state religion of Islam, we know that Your purposes have just not yet been fulfilled for Egypt. We pray for the Coptic church to be faithful and strong, to accomplish all that You have for it. We pray for You to turn the hearts of the government to allow converts to change their identity papers to show that they are Christian. We pray for leadership training, for wisdom in reaching out, and for a strong vision of kingdom purpose. Lord, we ask You to fulfill every promise You have for Egypt. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Praying for Ecuador: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 11 (Day 132)

Today we are privileged to pray for a country where God has done what Operation World calls a "modern-day miracle", bringing the Gospel to the Quichua people.  Ecuador features prominently in modern missions history as the place where five missionaries were killed by tribesmen they were trying to develop relationships with. If you haven't seen the movie, "End of the Spear", and documentary "Beyond Gates of Splendor", I highly recommend both. They will encourage you, challenge you, and spur your missions vision to new heights.

There's much more to Ecuador, however. God has been at work here in many ways and the enemy is trying to stop that progress with cults, disunity, and anti-missionary propaganda. Please read about Ecuador on pages 311-313, then join this Ecuadoran believer in prayer for her country today:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Prayer for Dominica and the Dominican Republic: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey (Day 131)

Today we pray for two Caribbean islands that are often confused for each other. One thing I love about Operation World is getting to know the geography of this world God created - so today, let's learn to distinguish Dominica from the Dominican Republic. Please read pages 306-309.

My prayer for today: Lord, I thank You for the uniqueness of each of these tiny islands. I lift up Dominica to You, and pray for the continued growth of the church and the expansion of the Gospel to the Carib Indians. Lord, I lift up the pastors on Dominica who are overworked and burnt out from working two jobs. Please meet their needs and speak a fresh word to their spirits. On the Dominican Republic, Lord, we confess the exploitation of the land over the past 5 centuries. We pray for true justice to permeate DR and for You to right the wrongs that have been done to this land. We pray for the growth of the church and for wisdom of the church to address social issues. Give the church a missions vision and guidance to truly demonstrate and lead the way in Biblical ethics. Give wisdom for working with Haitians and let Christians lead the way in treating them justly and rightly. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Praying for Djibouti: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 9 (Day 130)

Djibouti is perhaps the hottest, driest place on earth, with an average temperature of 86 degrees and only 5.1 inches of precipitation annually. The physical and spiritual needs are immense. What better place for God to pour out His life-giving, nourishing Spirit. Please read about this country and its precious people on pages 304-306.

There are so many needs to pray for in Djibouti. With a 50-80% unemployment rate, widespread famine, and growing trafficking, prostitution, and drug abuse, Djibouti's spiritual dryness is evident. Thankfully God is working among some immigrant groups and there is stirring toward interest among the natives who are predominantly Muslim.

Our prayer time could go many directions today, but as I prepared I really sensed God speaking to me through David's words when he was in a desert. David knew something of dryness - both literal and spiritual - when he penned these words. Think about it: God in His sovereign creativity could have made our entire earth a temperate zone. Yet at whatever point, He allowed this earth to reflect extremes of hot and cold, mountains and valleys, oceans and deserts. When I imagine myself, like David, in a literal desert, parched and thirsty, I understand my soul-thirst for the Living Water. As we pray for Djibouti today, I want to lift up these words of David over that dry and thirsty land - a land that needs practical solutions delivered with the love of Christ so they can know the well that never runs dry.
Psalm 63:1-5 NIV - A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah. O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.  My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
 My prayer for today: Oh Lord, Jesus, fountain of Living Water, come and flood Djibouti with Your powerful, life-giving presence. They need You desperately, and many do not realize how thirsty they are. Lord, I pray for You to deliver them from deadly salt water of false belief systems, and provide them with the deep, clean, healthy water of Your presence. Let them behold You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and glory. Let them glorify You because they see Your love is better than life itself. Let them praise You mightily and lift their hands to You. Bring satisfaction to their souls and glory to Your name. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.
John 7:37-39 NIV - On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Praying for Denmark: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 8 (Day 129)

Denmark - a nation with a strong Christian heritage, a country who played out that faith in incredibly practical ways during World War II. Its population was united against discrimination and persecution of the Jews and others by Hitler, and was intentional about seeking ways to get packages into concentration camps and evaluate conditions there. While legends that the king wore a star of David are not factual, the spirit behind those legends was very much true; it has been said that if Jews in Denmark were ordered to wear the star, the entire nation would have donned the yellow mark.

Sadly, only a couple of generations later we find a Denmark that is quickly rejecting the Gospel. There is a strong core of Christian values, and yet the state Lutheran church is largely dead, crippled by non-missional theologies and a shortfall of pastors. Leadership is needed for all churches. Yet God is at work, as more Danes now confess a belief in God.

Please read pages 302-303 and then let us pray for Denmark.

My prayer for today: Lord, I thank You for Denmark's heritage. I thank You for showing Your love during a crisis in history through the people of Denmark. I thank You that the foundation of truth underpins much of its laws and values. But Lord, the people of Denmark need to know You personally. They need an awakening that only Your Spirit can bring. Please breathe a fresh work of Your Spirit across the Lutheran and Free churches. Empower the Church to be missional and intentional. Raise up Godly leaders who truly have wisdom to guide their churches to reach the seekers. Minister to the refugees with Your love, and guide the immigrants who believe to know how best to reach their brothers and near neighbors who have settled in Denmark. We pray for effective and culturally sensitive outreach to these groups. Fulfill every purpose You have for Denmark. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Prayers for Czech Republic: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 7 (Day 128)

If you've ever read about World War II history, you know the sad saga of the Czech Republic - delivered to Hitler as an appeasement sacrifice that didn't stop his bloodthirst, Czechoslovakia went on to be ruled by the Soviets for over 40 years. It has been moving out of Communism more successfully than many former Soviet Bloc countries, and today has a growing church with missionaries to Europe and the world! Please read pages 298-300. The video below will reflect our joint prayer time today as this Czech believer leads us in prayer.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Prayer for Cyprus: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 6 (Day 127)

Cyprus is one of the Biblical countries that retains the name by which it is featured in Scripture. Cyprus gave us early church leaders and was the site where Barnabas and Mark ministered after their split from Paul & Silas.

Today, Cyprus is yet another divided country. Most of the world recognizes only one government, but Turkey recognizes two. Within Cyprus' borders lie two distinct religious segments, yet there are signs of increased interaction between the communities. Cyprus plays a key role for many Middle East ministries, so peace and freedom here impacts a huge portion of the unreached Muslim world. Please read pages 295-298 and lift up both segments of Cyprus today.

My prayer for today: Lord, we see Cyprus and see the strategic role You've allowed it to play in Biblical history and modern missions. We know that the enemy wants to destroy Cyprus' effectiveness for Your work. We ask You Lord to reach down and bring peace between the two Cyprus communities. We pray for a unified future where true relationships can be built. We ask for a renewal within the Orthodox Church for Your glory; for the fruitfulness of New Testament distribution; and for unity among evangelicals and Orthodox rather than mistrust. We pray for the Muslims areas to be spiritually open and hungry to know more of who You are. We pray for understanding of the political situation by Christians and for wisdom in finding a solution. We ask for protection and wisdom for the church among the Turkish Cypriots. Thank You for Your work here, Lord Jesus.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Prayer for Cuba: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 5 (Day 126)

We so often refer to former communist countries in our prayer journey that it's easy to forget there is a communist country just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. 90 miles away from one of the wealthiest nations in the world lies a country that is indeed a different world altogether. Lacking many essentials and with an average income per person of $2300 per year, it's no wonder that so many Cubans try to make it to the US for the asylum that comes if they safely make it to land. Yet the ultimate answer for Cuba is not successful migration of its peoples; God created Cuba for a special purpose and has an intention for its people that is unique to how He made them.

Please read pages 291-294.

My prayer for today: Lord, like every land, Cuba is Yours. It's hard to see past the political rhetoric, the masses of refugees, and the immense need, but it belongs to You. We see You've been at work in the church, growing it for the past two decades and refining believers to depend upon You. Thank You for their example of radical dependence, prayer, and unity. Thank You for churches that are innovative, bold, mature, confident, and thoroughly Biblical yet fully Cuban. What an example and encouragement for us all! Lord, we pray for the needs of Cuba. We come alongside this beautiful church and ask You for political leadership that truly meets the needs of the people. We pray for a sustainable economic system and a transition from a Marxist ideology to a Biblical one. We pray for deep renewal in the Catholic church and unity with evangelicals. Lord, we ask for strong leadership in the churches and for the church to have a transformational effect. We pray for the persecuted church to experience Your grace and peace, and for healing of areas of disunity surrounding the persecuted church who have developed such distrust and suspicion out of an attempt to survive. Lord, for the Cuban refugees in the US we pray for salvation, for a redemptive influence on families and on Cuba, and for wisdom in walking out their faith in a land with so many material temptations. We ask You to use whatever resources You will to reach Cuba for You. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Prayers for Croatia: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 4 (Day 125)

Today we take a trip back in time - in a way. We're praying for Croatia, part of the former USSR and a country still recovering from decades of communism. Ethnic conflicts here led to development of the term "balkanization" as the countries fragmented more and more into ethnic regions as independent states. In a region where ethnic distinctions are clear, where dividing lines are set by virtue of one's people group, the church is in a unique role to demonstrate what Operation World beautifully calls "the boundary-breaking, universal love of God", showing the unity of the body as John 17 and Ephesians 2 call us to do.

Please read pages 289-291, then watch the video below for our prayer time today.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Prayer for Ivory Coast: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 3 (Day 124)

Today we continue prayers for Ivory Coast. Please review pages 284-288. We'll focus on points #7-14 today.

My prayer for today: Lord, we thank You for the work of the mission agencies from Africa within Ivory Coast, and pray for the success of these endeavors. We pray for congregations to understand the importance of sending and for the people's needs to be supplied. We pray for those who haven't heard the Gospel and for the wisdom to reach the underserved sectors with the Gospel. Provide ministry to the refugees. Lord, we pray for wisdom in the challenge of Islam. Help believers understand the importance of humility and love, of developing relationships with Muslims and allowing You to use them to heal the ethnic divide that often determines religious realities. Provide all that is needed in the way of literature and Bible translation. Thank You for Your work in creative media sources and we pray for more music and films to come that present Biblical truths in culturally relevant ways. We lift up Ivory Coast for Your glory, Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Prayer for Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast): A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 2 (Day 123)

Today and tomorrow, we pray for Cote  d'Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast. This country shows us the reality of the spiritual war that we are all part of whether we realize it or not: church growth and Christian unity, along with strides toward peace, exist alongside a division of religious dynamics, animism, and the spread of Islam. As you read the pages of Operation World, I hope you're coming to see that where God is most strongly at work, there is an enemy trying to stop Him. How grateful I am that He takes the offensive and moves forward! Please read pages 284-288. Today we'll focus on the Answers to Prayer and points 1-6 in our prayer time.

My prayer for today: Lord, we thank You for Your work in Ivory Coast. We thank You for the progress toward peace, the growth of the church, the movement toward stability, the unity of believers. We ask You Lord to raise up leaders who are visionary and free of corruption. We pray You will call believers into leadership positions and root them deeply in Your Word so that they can demonstrate Your love and grace to the country where You've placed them. Lord, bring renewal in the Catholic church. Turn Your followers from the bondage of animism and help them learn the sufficiency of Christ. Lord, I ask for continued success among evangelicals and especially for the progress toward Biblical literacy. Help them understand Your Word. Lord, I pray for the missions agencies to have vision and wisdom to reach this land with the Gospel. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Prayer for Costa Rica: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - May 1 (Day 122)

Before we get into today's prayer time, let me congratulate you -- as of today, we are exactly 1/3 of the way through the year! 122 days into a 366 day year - what progress! I praise God for bringing us this far on the journey. I know the road is steep at times, but it's helpful to know we are all in this together. I often pray for all of us, for fruitfulness to come from these prayers lifted up to our Father. As you pray, please join in this prayer with me as He leads you to do so!

For today, please read about Costa Rica on pages 281-283. There has been much church growth in Costa Rica, and there is a strong missions vision as well. National missions are taking off and foreign missions are scaling back, which is very exciting and challenging as well. Please pray along with this video for today's prayer time, as well as any other way the Lord leads you!