Pray for Our World: New Zealand

New Zealand is composed of two mountainous main islands 1600 km southeast of Australia.  There is a high percentage of the people living overseas for work.  The majority come from British roots.  There is freedom of religion but no established church.  Their biggest religious threat to Christianity is not from other religions but from unbelief.  In 1951, only 1 percent of the population was non-religious.  In 2010, it has increased to 41 percent.

Why?  Have Christians become so legalistic that it is no longer a better way?  Is the church too divided among themselves?  Are we not embracing the message of the gospel which is forgiveness, love, hope and joy?  Are we too burdened by things that do not matter?  Prayer is the Christian’s strongest defense.  In prayer, we have direct access to God, and we are inviting the presence of God into our lives.  May we continue to pray – for others, for our world, and for our own actions.

Pray for Our World: Micronesia

Micronesia is a UN Trust Territory that is overseen by the United States.  It is a sub-region of Oceania (Australian continent) composed of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean.  There are four main states: Marshall Islands, Northern Marianas, Palau, and Moldova.

These are isolated islands where their only source of income is tourism and agriculture, and therefore they rely heavily on US aid.  Most of the people are Protestant and Evangelical, but there are strong ties to magic from their ancestral culture.  Transportation is a problem, along with unemployment and alcohol abuse.  This causes many to seek work abroad, but this comes with risk of exploitation.  Moldova has the largest numbers of young women lured abroad into human trafficking.

The Salvation Army (a US based ministry to the poor) is very involved there with assisting the people.  Organizations like The Salvation Army and The Gideons quietly do so much good around the world.  Christianity often gets bad press, especially here in the US, but most people are unaware of all the charity and good work that has been done and continues to be done in the name of Christ all over the world.  Evil is still strong in the world, but I shudder to think of what the world would be like without Christ.  

Pray for Our World: Australia

Australia faces many of the same issues I have read about in other developed countries.  There is a cultural and religious shift like we have not seen before in recent generations.  Australia, like many other countries, faces increasing pluralism and secularization, a decline in church attendance and striving to remain relevant. While two-thirds of Australians identify as Christian, only 10% regularly attend church.  To add to that, Sunday School is declining in churches and children are not being taught as they once were.

Alternative methods for reaching younger generations must be found.  The problem is not in the message itself, but in the relevance and authenticity of our methods.  Jesus’ message is still the answer.  But the world is watching closer now than ever before.  We must show them Jesus’ message of love and unity and forgiveness.  Jesus attracted crowds wherever he went.  He exuded joy and life.  Many Australian Christians are becoming more dynamic and strategic in their message, and a transition is becoming visible, but there is still a long way to go.  We must show the world once again the attractiveness of Jesus and his message.