Sunday, September 23, 2012

Praying for Norway: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - September 23

Today's prayer focus is for Norway. I'm excited to share insights and a prayer from a Norwegian believer. Please read pages 653-655, then read her notes below and pray with her for her country. 

The Kingdom of Norway is a country in the Northern part of Europe and with population of about 5 million people, is one of the least densely populated countries in Europe. It is largely a Christian country and the Evangelical- Lutheran religion was the official state religion until June this year. 79.2% of the population are members of the Lutheran church (2010), sadly this number is continuously decreasing. It has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world and on a per-capita basis, it is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside the Middle East. Many think that it is the resource of oil that has made Norway rich, but there is more to the story then that. 

If we go all the way back to the beginning of the 19th century we see a country that was so poor and plagued with frequent famines that it forced the most of the population who were poor farmers to make bread out of tree bark. People were not free to meet in public or travel around the country as Norway was under the rule of Denmark that time. 

But there was a man named Hans Nielsen Hauge who because of a call from God ignored those restrictions and traveled around the whole country on foot or on skis to distribute Bibles and to teach people how to study that book and what are the principles it teaches. In addition he wrote books of religous instruction but not only that, he also wrote about how to educate children, how to create wealth through righteous commerce and other subjects he found in God's Word. 

In less then 30 years Hauge started over thousand home groups where ordinary people would gather together, study the Word of God and encourage and keep each other accountable to Bible's standards. That was a starting for a nationwide revival, farmers migrated to towns and became craftsmen, they started businesses, and even affected the government. In 1814 some of Hauge's converts were part of pursuing Norway's independence and helped to draft a new constitution for Norway. Also, Norway begun to send out thousands of missionaries and has remained as one of the greatest missionary-sending nations in the world. Clearly Norway's freedom, prosperity and peace are a result of a heritage of teaching and living out Biblical principles in every area of society.

When we come back to contemporary Norway, like many European countries it has seen a great decline in religiosity, at least among ethnic Norwegians and most Norwegians are irreligious.Also, the most recent Norwegian census shows Islam is the third-largest religion due to recent migration trends. Despite that fact Christianity is growing in Norway due to Christian immigration from Eastern Europe and elsewhere; large numbers of recent immigrants from Poland, Ethiopia and the Philippines have added to the Christian stock of the country in recent years.

Prayer-points for Norway:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1. Timothy 2: 1-4)
  • Let us pray that the nation would turn back to God and His Word. Pray that both the native and immigrant churches will reach out to the vast immigrate communities. Pray also for the prime minister Jens Stoltenberg to have wisdom in how to lead the country and to make important decisions. Also pray for the government that they could see the value of Godly principles and pray for the Christians in government.
  • Pray for the king Harald V for protection over him and his family and that he would hold on to Christian values and pass it on to the nation.
  • Pray for revival in the churches that they would become active again in discipling and preparing people and speaking truth into every area of society.
Lord, we thank you for all the blessings that you have poured over Norway as they have followed your Word and we thank you for how you have blessed other nations through them. We pray that Norwegians would again seek for and find truth from the Bible. We pray for a new wave of missionaries going forth from Norway to the ends of the earth. Lord, we pray for a fresh move of your Spirit, and that the Norwegians would be able to look pass the old traditions, and find You, their Living God.

The CIA World Factbook

Loren Cunningham, “The Book That Transforms Nations”

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