Displaying items by tag: prayer needs
Military Ministries International (MMI) are in various continents including Europe. In Ukraine they have been busy serving soldiers, military widows, and military families by providing daily internet prayer and Bible study times to different groups. There are several meetings with large numbers of soldiers for evangelism. MMI received food produce at the logistics centres and then distributed it to soldiers and widows. They were able to include a large group of military widows in the UN humanitarian programme this summer. A young American volunteer was baptised recently by an MMI pastor who sends a word of encouragement from the Bible individually to a few hundred people (mostly soldiers) and coordinates the ministry of the MMI chaplains. A very great encouragement for chaplains is the international daily MMI prayer through Zoom, which has been held since the war began. MMI requests prayer for God to give strength, wisdom and unity to all the military.
Attacking families is one of the best ways for Satan to ruin a nation - and in Chile, marriages are under serious spiritual attack. Domestic abuse is a social plague. Around 35% of Chilean women have suffered physical or sexual violence by a partner or spouse. The emotional and physical pain wounds all members of the family. If husbands and wives began loving and honouring one another as Christ loves the Church, it could transform neighbourhoods, cities, and even the whole nation. The Chilean people are overwhelmingly Christian in name - roughly 60% Catholic and 20% Evangelical. But church attendances are dwindling, and claims of faith tend to be based in culture rather than relationship with Jesus Christ. Crime, drug abuse, and materialism are increasing. One in seven women are mothers by the age of 14. During Pinochet’s rule the Church ignored the needy people. There will soon be an election for a controversial new constitution.
Although over half of the population is defined as Christian, most have never had authentic contact with the Gospel. Only 2% are Evangelical, and 8% regularly attend church. A staggering 50 million have no link to a church, and 80% have never even handled a Bible. Many are suspicious of organised religion. Defined by secularism, the country has separated itself from its only source of healing. The philosophies and post-modern relative truth have left many seeking meaning and purpose. Despair and hopelessness have led to Europe’s highest number of youth suicides. However, this search for meaning has also led some to seek and find Christ. Dozens of churches are now being planted each year. France stands in desperate need of a move of God: only He can bring the healing and hope this nation needs.
127 million Japanese enjoy low crime and great wealth but face changes due to population decline and ageing. By 2060 there could be 40 million fewer Japanese, and 40% of them will be over 65. Buddhism and Shintoism are soaked into the culture with widely practised rituals. But few identify as Shinto or Buddhist, preferring to be non-religious or atheist. As the population shrinks, faddish religious trends have started. Everything is mixed: Santa Claus, gospel-music choirs, Shinto shrines. Christianity is followed by 0.5% of the population; it was established by missionaries 500 years ago. The church has known 17th-century persecution and post-WW2 Protestant growth, but struggles to make an impact and battles internally with formalism and cultural relevance. But we can praise God for the Japanese Christians and pastors who persevere despite all their discouragements.
Evangelicals in Costa Rica grew to 15% of the population, and established one of Latin America’s most effective mission movements. But the Church needs prayer. Most churches are good at winning converts, but fail to disciple them well. Pastors survive on minimal incomes with little help and struggle to provide consistent pastoral care. Christians often fall away in difficult times. Pray for effective and sustainable models of doing church and making disciples. The Roman Catholic Church is deeply impacted by charismatic renewal. Some have a living, personal faith in Christ, which has strengthened them. Although 73% of the nation is Catholic, this percentage declines every year, and most Catholics are quite nominal in their faith. Pray for charismatic renewal. Two-thirds of Costa Ricans are under 30. Alcoholism, drug addiction, violence and immorality are rife.
Many of Ukraine’s refugees are women and children travelling alone. Fuel shortage means they must walk great distances in winter weather, facing risks of trafficking and violence. Ask God to give them endurance and peace as they seek safety, and to be invisible to traffickers or anyone wishing them harm. Ask God to give the volunteers from local communities strength and perseverance as they work in freezing conditions to help refugees cross borders. Pray for good communication between charities and churches coordinating transfers from the border to shelters, and the forward journey. May these networks remove the risk of refugees accepting transport offers by people traffickers. Pray for God to bless and empower those providing food, supplies, and sim cards. Pray for the IJM teams currently training NGOs in how to support people with complex trauma. Pray for the success of traffic awareness flyers being put in passports and for the authorities to quickly identify signs of trafficking.
A legacy of brokenness endures from the days of Ceausescu’s regime. Every kind of social evil came to fill the moral space left after Communism ended. People struggle with substance abuse, prostitution, human trafficking, and abuse of children. Deep corruption led to economic instability and widespread unemployment. Membership in the EU has helped push Romania further along the path of economic progress and stability. Pray for leadership that has wisdom to follow the right path, and integrity to establish right policies. Romania is one of the world’s most Christian nations by percentage, but it is difficult to see this in society. Communism’s atheistic worldview persists. Weak faith, hypocrisy, and slandering other denominations cause problems for all Christian groups. Christ is not glorified and the Church is not built up. Church members and clergy mix faith with folk religious practices or the occult. Churches neglect poor people.
North Korea’s dictatorship says Covid-19 is not a problem, but the people secretly call it the ‘ghost disease.’ North Korea has reported no Covid cases and rejected millions of vaccines. However, reports on the ground tell a different story. Covid has been deadly, especially to the many North Koreans who are malnourished. Meanwhile Kim Jong-Un promises to expand his nuclear arsenal. Behind these issues are 25 million souls living and dying without the hope of Jesus. For a North Korean to have a chance to hear about that hope, it takes an act of God, and God is moving. North Koreans are being drawn to Jesus in daring and ingenious ways - through the underground Church, Christian radio broadcasts, and even covert balloon drops carrying Scripture. No nation is too closed for God to move. Ask God to deliver the people from the regime's indoctrination and lies and for truth to reign throughout the nation.
On 25 March Parliament rose for Easter recess. Please pray that all our politicians may continue to serve their constituents and make decisions for our country, and that they will be refreshed over the Easter break. Please be praying in particular that they, as well as others across our nation, will be encouraged by the hope of the Easter story, amidst all the challenges of the last year. In this vein, Christians in Parliament have gathered together a group of Christian MPs and peers from across the political parties to share a message of renewed hope this Easter, through a recording of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Pray that this video will be a great comfort and encouragement to all who view it. The National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast on 25 June has Rt Revd Prof Tom Wright speaking on ‘Life after Covid: a renewed hope’.
Just one of the Christian prisoners in China is Pastor John Cao (60), serving a seven-year prison sentence for ‘organising illegal border crossings’ between China and Myanmar. He made many trips from America to his native China to establish schools and work among the poor before expanding his humanitarian work into Myanmar. He was detained in 2017 while returning to China from Myanmar and sentenced a year later. His defence lawyer and his mother asked prison authorities to deliver a Bible to him. They refused. His mother writes Bible verses in each letter she sends. Please ask God to bless Pastor John and keep his faith strong, and pray for healing from his various health problems. Pray that he will be released early. Pray for his witness to prisoners and guards, and that others would continue his ministry to the poor.