Please continue to pray for us. As the Lord opens doors, the adversary tries to close them through diverse machinations. The creation of the one-thousand-voice choir and three-hundred-plus intercessors team to promote reconciliation, forgiveness, etc through singing, praying, etc are initiatives that the Lord laid on our hearts to help redirect the country spiritually, politically, etc. Our folks are slowed to pick up - they can be more individualistic than collective. It's hurting the church and purpose of the nation.
That's why we wanted to bring a cross-church-group team that could have gotten re-oriented and energized for such initiatives. Time is of an essence. Christian Liberia believes God has a special mission for the nation. They believe that the church is supposed to birth that mission. In fact, many believe the timing is coming when the next leader of the nation could come directly from - the support of - the church. It's a cry, yearning, etc - that Liberia will return to its roots.
That's why a group of young ministers solicited thousands of signatures last year to lay groundwork for a petition to revert the Christian nation phrase into the national Constitution. We also did one for homosexuality not to be legalized in the country. Those two efforts have scared a lot of people.
But aah! Libeeerians! They, or we need prayer. In 2014, we hope we can expose church leaders to effective potential of prayer that your initiatives present. Please continue to pray for us - and groups like the council of churches that has a lot of sway on the country but is threatened by a lack of spirituality, etc. This is my desire!
An Encouraging story from Liberia
That's what they called him: Milton Blahyi, a satanic high priest, cannibal, warlord and mass murderer in the Liberian civil war. He admitted to being personally responsible for the death of more than 20,000 civilians. He and his men fought naked to obtain "spiritual protection," which earned him the nickname of "General Butt Naked." Dedicated to satanic worship from his early childhood, he sacrificed humans on a regular basis as the high priest of his Krahn tribe. One day - with the blood of a child who had just been sacrificed on his hands - Jesus Christ appeared to him saying, "My son, why do you live as a slave?" And he called him to repent.
After a series of miraculous circumstances Milton Blahyi bowed his knees before Jesus Christ, who, out of the indescribable depth of his mercy and grace, saved the satanic warlord. Joshua - as he called himself after his conversion - later turned himself in to the Liberian war commission and confessed his crimes. Due to the special Liberian situation and his obviously changed life and positive influence on society, he was not convicted.
For more than 10 years he has now been working as a pastor and evangelist ministering especially to former child soldiers and seeking to establish reconciliation with his former victims and their families.
Joshua's heart is to reach his fellow Africans who are still living in darkness as he once did - including the numerous people who are still sacrificing human beings and practicing cannibalism. After hearing about G.O.D., Joshua was extremely excited about the opportunity to reach the whole of Liberia with the gospel. He is now working as one of our local G.O.D. coordinators and preparing the mobilization of churches all over the nation for a joint gospel outreach. We will be supporting that outreach by printing one million gospel tracts and providing training material for Liberian Christians.
We are very excited about what the Lord is doing in Liberia! The war-torn country still has so many open wounds and bleeding hearts - the message of the true Healer is urgently needed. Joshua's story reveals how God's incomprehensible love can reach even into the deepest darkness.
Believing that "with God all things are possible", a prayer initiative is an internationally coordinated, united prayer effort for the holistic transformation of a nation or city. It is holistic in that informed prayer is focused on the unique needs of a society whether they are in the social, political, economic, ecological or spiritual realms. Such needs may be ethnic conflict, war, political oppression, economic corruption, exploitation of the poor, religious persecution, or the need for spiritual renewal due to laxness or division in the church. As people come together to seek the Lord for their nation, He promises to bring healing, forgiveness and restoration (2 Chronicles 7:14, Is. 41:17-20, Ez. 36-37, Rev.22:1-3).
Prayer initiatives normally combine an on-site visit by an international team of prayer leaders in a conference or seminar with local leaders from the churches, para-church organizations, and prayer networks. If appropriate and possible, it is valuable to include representatives from other spheres such as the business community and government. During the conference, local leaders present the current situation in the nation with key concerns for intercession. Members of the international team give teachings on strategic intercession, as well as case studies and stories of how God brings healing, reconciliation and restoration through prayer. All of this happens in a dynamic, free flowing sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and what He wants to do to bring transformation to those who participate and to the wider society.
In addition, prayer networks around the world are alerted in advance and given specific information on the initiative for that nation, so they can provide the informed support of many thousands of gifted prayer warriors. With this mixture of both a locally and internationally coordinated prayer focus, we have seen the hand of God breaking through in numerous previous initiatives, often with supernatural demonstrations of His power and direction as well as bringing tangible changes reflected in the newspaper headlines. The way He does this is always fresh and unique to that particular nation.
Prayer Initiative/Seminar Program
"Uniting in Prayer, Transforming Our Nation" 2 Chronicles 7:14
I. Prayer and Social Transformation (International Team)
Discussion- "What are the key issues for prayer for the nation?"
Political/economic situation (local speaker shares key prayer concerns)
United prayer in small groups or twos and threes
II. Reconciliation and Identificational Repentance (International Team)
Church and its mission situation (local speaker share key prayer concerns)
Time of prayer
III. Building a United Prayer Movement (International Team and/or local facilitator)
Discussion and time of prayer
IV. Process of National Deliverance and Restoration (International Team)
Discussion: "How can restoration come? How can we pray and work together?
V. Local conflict with spiritual powers of evil (local speaker shares key prayer concerns)
Conflict with Spiritual Powers of Evil (International Team)
VI. Establishing a United Prayer Network (International Team and/or local facilitator)
Discussion: Planning for the Future
VII. Commissioning as Intercessors
Note: all presentations will be interwoven with times of intercessory prayer, discussion and response to the work of the Spirit among us. Our team and the local leaders will together submit ourselves to one another and to the Lord for direction throughout the initiative. This is only a rough draft for general direction and communication. It can be modified if necessary as the local leaders and international team confer together.
"The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." - James 5:16
In December I emailed you asking you to pray for Christians around the world who often experience increased harassment and attacks because of their faith over the Christmas period. Sadly, this increase in violence happens so regularly at this time of year that it is almost to be expected. But I've got some encouraging news: after you prayed, Christians worldwide experienced a more peaceful Christmas than in previous years. Thank you so much for standing in prayerful support with them! Unfortunately we did hear reports of attacks or other persecution in some parts of the world. Please pray for the following situations:
Five Christian converts were arrested as they celebrated Christmas in a house in Tehran, the capital, according to Mohabat News. Another convert in the Karaj region was sentenced to one year in prison on evangelism-related charges. HoweverThat said, Farshid Fathi, an imprisoned church leader reported that Christians in his prison were reported to be celebrating Christmas with "joy in Christ
The Christmas period was quiet in Nigeria; however, this did not last through the new year.
Two people were killed and sixteen severely injured when armed Fulani Muslims stormed a New Year's Eve service at a church in Maikatako village, Bokkos, Plateau State. Another person was killed in the Manguna area of Bokkos. The following day, 16 more were killed in attacks on villages.
On Monday 6 January, 33 people were killed during an attack on Shonong village in Bachit District, Riyom, in Plateau State. Victims were given a mass burial the following day. There have also been similar attacks on villages in Kaduna State - all a continuation of events last year.
While Christmas was mainly peaceful in large, urban areas, we received reports that some rural villages in the Central Highlands were being surrounded by officials threatening to arrest any Christians discovered celebrating Christmas or even praying in their own homes.
We didn't ask you to pray specifically for Sri Lanka, but sadly there were three attacks on churches on Christmas Eve. No one was reported to be hurt in the attacks, which largely consisted of mobs throwing stones at the windows, and demanding the services stop. During December another pastor was shot at, and yet another had petrol bombs thrown into his home. Again, thankfully no one was hurt, and police protection was subsequently provided.
The Christian community was greatly encouraged when We were delighted that Egypt's interim president, Adly Mansour, recently visited St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo. However, a Coptic man was shot in the head outside Mar Girgis Church in Cairo on New Year's Eve, and died in hospital. There was a significant police presence for the Coptic Orthodox Church's celebration of Coptic Christmas, which falls on 67 January.
Central African Republic
Although Christians were able to meet on Christmas Eve, continued fighting in the capital city Bangui prevented people leaving their homes on Christmas Day. The continued targeting of Christians by the Seleka rebel coalition has led to the fourth consecutive Sunday where churches were unable to hold meetings. Christians have instead been gathering together in small groups in homes across the capital.
Over the Christmas period, a group of 180 Protestant Christians were finally able to return to their village in Altamirano, Chiapas, thanks to the intervention and mediation of local Christian groups and government officials. The community had been forcibly displaced because of their religious beliefs for almost three years. However, a number of Catholic priests were forcibly disappeared, one was beaten to death and another is in a critical condition after being attacked with a baseball bat. Two more were murdered in another state. It is believed that these are all crimes committed by large criminal groups which are increasingly targeting religious leaders who refuse to cooperate with them.
Please don't be discouraged by what you've just read. Remember that generally we have just had an unexpectedly peaceful Christmas, and we serve an awesome God who has his hand over the whole world. Thank you again for your prayers.
As every in Christ,
Mervyn Thomas, Open Doors
In view of the serious developments subsequent to the recent raid by the Islamic authorities of the state of Selangor (JAIS) on the Bible Society of Malaysia, where sixteen boxes of Alkitab and Bup Kudus Bibles were confiscated,
PU is calling all Christians and churches to come together in concerted and vigilant prayer for the following:
1. Uphold the church leaders in prayer. Pray for unity, wisdom, courage and strength as they work towards resolving this matter with the authorities, and in their exercise of God's call to leadership in the Malaysian Church at such critical times.
2. Pray for the national leaders, the government and relevant authorities involved in dealing with the delicate race and religious issues. Pray that they will discharge their duties responsibly, with integrity, justice, and a genuine concern for the well-being of the nation.
3. Pray for the police that they would be fair and just, properly upholding law and order. Pray that the police will protect and defend the rights of minorities in this country, and not be compromised by those who are seeking to use the law improperly for their own agenda. Pray that they will always act to ensure the safety and security of church members and the sanctity of all places of worship.
4. Pray for the Church to be strong in the face of systematic pressure, intimidation and orchestrated attacks. Pray that Christians in this country will continue to be a peace-loving people who will not allow themselves to be easily provoked but actively seek to be agents of peace and reconciliation instead, committed to loving those who treat them unjustly.
5. In the words of the CFM Media Statement, pray that "all Christians will be vigilant, both in standing up for their constitutional rights and in prayer, and remain calm in the midst of these trying times. We call on Almighty God for good sense and wisdom to ultimately prevail in this beloved land of ours."
6. Finally, please uphold the Catholic Church's leave to appeal which will be heard by the Federal Court on Feb 24, 2014. Pray also for the Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill and the SIB Sabah cases which are also up for mention in the High Court.
Joint secretaries ~
Rev Andy Chi (NECF)
Chrisanne Chin (CCM)
A much anticipated prayer initiative with Iraqi leaders, has just finished a couple days ago (Feb. 6-9). We are believing for His breakthrough for the healing of the land so scarred by war, violence and idolatry for millennia.
This is the area where human civilization began around 4000 BC with many great cultural achievements. However, it is also the place where Satan first encountered humanity and subverted our devotion to God in the Garden of Eden, which is also thought to be here in Iraq. With the rise of civilization came deep bondage to idolatry and false gods as well as perennial invasions and wars that have claimed multiplied millions of lives. It is a cycle of destruction that continues into the present.
Many thousands of Iraqis died last year and 733 last month alone. Most were innocent civilians caught in the fighting and suicide bombings as Al Qaeda-related Sunni forces battle the Shiite-controlled government for control of the nation.
Would you join your hearts to ours and please pray with us for the following?
1) His anointing, unity, guidance, and protection for the Iraqi leaders as they seek to build a united prayer movement in the nation once again. That a strong, united, ongoing prayer movement will develop through the training and times of repentance, reconciliation and prayer so that this land and people that God loves can be set free and experience His transformation in every sphere of society.
2) Spiritual discernment and boldness to deal with the wounds of history and the defilement of the land through ancient, pervasive idolatry (Babylonian, Sumerian, Assyrian and so on for thousands of years) and through massive shedding of innocent blood through successive invasions, including the two Iraq wars that the USA and its allies conducted.
3) The conversion or overthrow of terrorists and their networks. As our team joined the Iraqis in authoritative prayer, we got word that quite a number of terrorists had been removed. Though we do not rejoice in anyone's death, the Lord will deal with them as He thinks best as we agree together for the binding of spiritual forces of darkness that want to destroy masses of people through those that have given themselves as agents of destruction and death.
Thanks so much for your help in this way.
Updates: * 2014 is the year for the Biblical epic in theatres. Keep praying for the upcoming films that point people to God's stories and His truth. The first one to open is Son of God, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. Let's ask God to use Mark and Roma's influence to point people to Jesus as they promote their film around the country and in Hollywood.
* It's awards season for the film industry, starting with the Golden Globes which aired this past Sunday night, followed by a list of other televised awards shows, culminating with the Academy Awards on Sunday, March 2nd. Please keep praying for the nominees and the winners, as everyone in our industry prepares for some of the biggest nights of their careers. May they find their identity in Him and not in the awards they win, as they angst over these competitions!
NEW PRAYER REQUESTS: * HPN wants to start the year with a commitment to UNITY. We ask that you join us wherever you are in the world in the spirit of unity and not to let yourself or others talk against Hollywood or the people here. Remember to ask the Lord to bless the people in the entertainment industry, touch their hearts, bring loving Christians around them to share His hope, and to build up the community of believers here. Let's start here, as Actress Meagan Good has publicly asked the Christian community to love Kanye West.
* The Winter Olympics are coming up! They begin in three weeks in Russia from February 2 - 23rd, 2014, and the American telecast will be on NBC. The Olympics are a major part of our culture, so let's pray for the people involved in the airing of the events. May they give us a balanced view of all of the competitions and great inspirational stories about the contestants, and may the games bring hope to everyone, especially young people all over the world. As you're watching, remember to pray for the contestants!
* The 2014 TV Pilot season has begun. Most of the networks have chosen what pilot episodes they want to invest in, and the casting and pre-production are under way. Would you pray for the writers, producers, casting directors, agents and network executives as they produce the shows that are contestants for this fall's new TV season? A Nielson report states that "The average American over the age of 2 spends more than 34 hours a week watching live television." May these new shows bring beauty, truth, love and hope into our culture!
* Every project that gets produced and distributed is a MIRACLE! The average feature film takes 10 years from conception to opening day in theatres and most TV series don't make it past the pilot episode. Let's pray for the people involved with creating the faith-based children's messages in the
VeggieTales TV series that is now being produced by Dreamworks. VeggieTales has gone through a 20-year journey from Phil Vischer's Big Idea, through bankruptcy, then two other corporate purchases, and now to Jeffrey Kassenberg's Dreamworks Classics.
ACT ONE Writing for Hollywood is offering the Writing for Film Online Program. To register or for more information on how to sign up for their spring online writing course, offering premium writing training from home, click here.
In his grip Karen, Lisa, Daniella and our new intern Taylor!
Continue to hold Ken Bae up in your prayers (an American missionary imprisoned in North Korea). While there were some hopeful signs that the North might be thinking of releasing him soon as part of their seemingly increased conciliatory stance toward South Korea, the latest indication is that the official line has not changed. He must serve out his fifteen year term in prison. He was permitted a press conference recently where he appealed to the U.S. government to help him. Pray for his health and that he will be released soon.
Signals out of North Korea continue to be mixed with the North asking to renew visits between families divided by the Korean war, then agreeing with the South as it responded but being reluctant to set a date as the South sought to move forward and began to press for it to happen soon.
Even as the North is trying to build up its external image, the ramifications of the execution by Kim Jong-Un of his uncle, Jang Song Taek continue to ripple out with reports of the recall and execution of his close supporters and family members. So far their has been an official list sent out to foreign embassies that 16 people have been executed but other reports indicate that the purge may extend far beyond that. In any case, their appears to be a heightened sense of insecurity in the North. Ironically, Choe Ryong-Hae, the new second-in-command who may have the downfall of Jang, is now finding that his situation may not be so secure. As all of this is happening, North Korea's economic situation is also taking a hit as China has imposed a partial embargo on fuel.
In the face of this, North Korea is acknowledging the need to improve the economy and improve things in relation to South Korea because of that. This includes sending teams to the Asian Games to be held in Incheon, South Korea later this year.
They continue to crack down on the border jamming cell phone service and using more sophisticated equipment to catch callers; however, human ingenuity and need constantly find ways around including the use of international calling cards.
As you pray for the people in North Korea facing all of these pressures, remember the chronic shortage of food and the bitter cold. Also pray that international leaders, especially South Korea, China and the U.S. exercise great wisdom in their dealings with the North.
The national situation of Pakistan is deteriorating rapidly. Bigger and bigger suicide bombings and terrorist activities are taking place. The Prime Minister was allowed to come into office because of agreements made between the Punjab Taliban and himself. The Prime Minister continually talks about peace talks with these Taliban, who have no intention of making peace with him. He is fearful to say anything against them for fear that they will turn on him just like they have made some major attacks on the military. Talks with the Taliban will not work. It only puts the Taliban in a position to be able to do more of what they want to do.
Is there hope that these talks will be stopped? PRAY to this effect. Local people are getting fed up with constant attacks. An unheard-of thing happened this week when a Shia leader was killed. Sunnis joined in demonstrations with them against the government across the country. The Prime Minister this week was called before Parliament by many in his own party to give an account of why terrorism is growing at such a rapid rate. Many were calling for war against the Taliban rather than negotiations.
Demonstrations against the government have taken place in most major cities. Electricity was promised within a month after the elections last year. Both electricity and propane gas have deteriorated to only six hours a day in many major cities, resulting in the closing down of many businesses and making hardships for families.
PRAY people would join together in calling for the government to stand up against the Taliban, and for their own rights.
PRAISE there have been no further major bombings against Christians in the last couple weeks.
PRAY for UNITY Not without reason Christians are fearful and sometimes they are even fearful of each other. Pray for unity in this difficult time. Their only hope of true survival is to come together as one body in Christ so that God can protect them. Pray to this end.
TALIBAN we have talked about three major Taliban groups.
1. Afghanistan Taliban - led by Mullah Omar
2. Pakistan Taliban - (Northwest) led by a new ferocious leader Mullah Fazlullah.
3. Punjab Taliban - led by Malik- growing so fast that they are sending many warriors to some of the most troubled places in the world.
PRAY for God to bring confusion between these groups, and to deal with their leaders.
PRAY for preparation and needed papers for prayer teams going into both these countries this spring.
On the other side, persecution and hardship are increasing for Christians. PRAY for their protection. We praise God that the Christmas holiday season is over with no attacks. Keep praying for a WALL OF PROTECTION "...and he has given us a WALL OF PROTECTION in Judah and Jerusalem".
An encouraging story:
One brother who had participated in a prayer seminar shared what God has done in his life. He said, "You gave me a verse and said God was going to change me and use me as an evangelist. The power of God came on me like never before. I began to go out witnessing." He went on to say, "I have just come back from X city (known as a hard satanic place) where I have made several trips. Five non-Christian families have come to Christ. You taught us to first teach them to pray. Now we have a small prayer group there. We are praying against satanic strongholds and seeing God answer."
He went on to say he lives in a city on the edge of the desert where there are 40 born-again Christian families. They have organized themselves into 24/7 prayers that continue throughout the whole week. During the day on Saturdays and on Sunday afternoons they organize into evangelistic teams that go out into the area. WOW! No wonder they are seeing lives changed all around them.
"In the seminar you taught us to teach our children to pray. We have small children's prayer groups." He told me that as soon as his four-year-old daughter gets up in the morning, she prays. Throughout the day she prays for many people. "Suffer the little children to come unto me.... Pray with faith as a child..."
SIGNING OF AGREEMENT NEEDED: President Karzai still refuses to signs a very important agreement between him and the US government to allow NATO keep a limited number of troops in Afghanistan after most troops pull out at the end of this year. It would be crucial for the stability and the future of the country that enough troops would be left to support the Afghan Army and Police in their fight against the Taliban. If Karzai does not sign it soon, it would mean that all troops will pull out and there would be a great possibility for the Taliban to return. It is now known that he has been conducting secret talks with the Taliban.
Here some of his irresponsible statements and a statement of one of the generals:
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has reiterated his refusal to sign a key US security pact until a peace process is under way with the Taliban. "Afghanistan will absolutely not accept or sign anything under pressure," he said at a news conference on Saturday. Mr. Karzai added that if he were to sign the deal, he would become responsible if US bombs killed Afghans. He called on the US to be a friend not a rival, but then compared them directly with colonial Britain in the 19th Century - imposing deals on Afghanistan that ultimately led to war, the BBC's David Loyn, in Kabul, reports.
The US government is increasingly considering the zero option and recalled all troops from Afghanistan after this year, our correspondent says.
Last month, the head of Afghanistan's ground forces, Lt Gen Murad Ali Murad, told the BBC the army would struggle without US support.
"Without the foreign forces we will have challenges and problems when it comes to the equipping and training of the Afghan national army," he said.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN KARZAI & US/NATO: President Karzai continues to verbally attack the US government and the NATO troops and makes irresponsible accusations against them. He seems to be bitter and even confused. This is very dangerous. Pray that he would stop his attack against those that have come to help his country and government and that he would make the right decisions for his country.
KARZAI FREES dangerous Taliban:
Afghanistan set to free 37 Bagram prisoners - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English
Some excerpts from this article:
News of the release on Monday came after a weeks-long row between Kabul and Washington, which categorised the detainees as "dangerous".
In a statement, the United States Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) condemned what it deemed an "extra-judicial release" of detainees.
According to the statement, issued on Monday morning, "40 percent have participated in direct attacks wounding or killing 57 Afghan citizens and security force members and 30 percent participated in direct attacks wounding or killing 60 US or coalition force members."
ELECTIONS IN AFGHANISTAN.
The presidential elections will be on the 5th of April. Presidential candidates have been nominated and the election campaigns are starting.Please pray for the right person to be raised up, an honest, godly, capable man that can unite this country and build it up and bring stability.
LOCAL BELIEVERS: that they would become a strong spiritual force in the country. There is training going on of local believers and pray that they would be strongly equipped and united and filled with His power, courage and wisdom. Pray also for their protection.
LIKEMINDED EXPATS: that are working in the country: for their protection, unity and courage. There are a number of good regular pr meetings and pray for increase of the prayer activities and a great anointing to stand in the gap for the land and push back the Powers of darkness in prayer. Nearly every organization there needs more workers.
They will hold again peace negotiations with the Terrorists: We must pray that the government would realize that this will not work and has no worked before. It seems that the government DOES NOT HAVE THE COURAGE TO TAKE THEM ON AND THIS IS DANGEROUS (see article below)
BBC News - Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif seeks Taliban talks despite attacks