Pray for Our World: Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is the ninth-largest country and dominates central Asia between Russia and China, and is a large trade route between the east and west.  They were under communist rule and suppression of all religion until the collapse of the USSR in 1991.  Today only traditionally recognized religious groups can operate freely, but there are still strong laws that suppress Christians.

The Kazakh church has continued to grow from virtually no believers in 1990 to about 15,000 in 2010.  There is a great demand for Bibles both among the Kazakhs and the Russians.  However more translations and access are needed.  Pray for the translation and distribution of Bibles to a people that are hungry for it yet do not have it.  I wish we would all have such a hunger for the Bible, especially for those of us who could walk into almost any store and pick up one for just a few dollars.

Jesus promises to all who are searching, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Pray for Our World: Jordan

Jordan is a desert region that borders the Dead Sea, and home to the famous archaeological site Petra, which dates to around 300 BC and home to many temples and tombs.  Jordan is a moderate Arab Islam state but there is free exercise of religious belief, and the Christian church does have a public presence there.

After the two Gulf Wars, around one million Iraqis fled to Jordan, and nearly half have stayed.  There has been a good response to the Christian missionaries helping them there.  Pray that the churches will continue to be able to help the refugees and other marginalized people.  Many Christian resources have been translated into Arabic and the Christian bookstores in Jordan are a central place where much of this material is sent to Iraq and other Arab nations.

Pray for Our World: Iran

The Islamic Republic of Iran (formerly Persia from the Bible) is a desert region that strategically surrounds the borders of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Iraq, Caspian Sea, and Persian Gulf.  A wealthy country in oil and natural gas, 80% is export earnings and only 20% is private sector.  28% of the young people are unemployed.  The theocratic Islamic Republic was declared in 1979 after the Shah was deposed in the Shi’ite Muslim Revolution.  It is a religious dictatorship.  The courts can impose a death sentence to male apostates, and life in prison for female apostates.

The most amazing thing that has come out of the dictator revolution is that the forced Muslim regime has left many Iranians disillusioned about the religion and more open to the Gospel than ever before.  Massive numbers of Muslims have recently been coming to Jesus.  Never since the 7th century has the Church in Persia grown so fast as post-1979, and even more amazing for a country that imposes the death sentence for doing this.  There have been numerous stories of dreams and visions, signs and wonders, happening in the underground church.  I have heard some of them myself directly from Iranians who have escaped to the U.S.  These people risk everything in search of hope and meaning in life.  One man I spoke with had literally been chased from his home with only the clothes on his back, to escape to Turkey where he could be baptized.  “I never knew that God could be my Father!  My Father!”, he exclaimed with tears of joy and relief in his eyes as he told his story.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to move in this country, to shed a light to the darkness.  Pray for the underground churches and the new Christians.  May the people know the true joy and hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.  It would be a shame to keep such knowledge from them, when we know and have the truth with us every day.  Do not take it for granted!  Do not keep it hidden.

Pray for Our World: Iceland

Iceland is a unique, volcanic island in the North Atlantic.  It is largely inhabited by Icelandic peoples (over 90%) but the immigrant and travel population is starting to increase, which brings a change to their traditionally guarded society.  Iceland’s rather new finance sector was deeply affected by the financial and banking collapse in 2008-2009.  They struggle between their traditional fishing, which previously brought a high standard of living to their fragile environment, and the new environmental controversies of energy plants and aluminum factories.

The Lutheran Church is recognized as the state church and the majority are protestant Christian, however much of this is in name only.  Biblical Christianity and a lifestyle of following Jesus Christ are alien concepts to most.  The Bible Society recently launched a new Bible translation in Iceland which was well received and has resulted in many acquiring Bibles.

Pray that the people of Iceland will turn to the Bible to learn about the Christianity that they profess.  God promises us wisdom if we ask, and God can guide the people of Iceland through His Word, to navigate during this changing period in their beautiful country.

Pray for Our World: Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe is a French-owned island in the Caribbean.  France has owned the island since 1635, and with its subsidization from France, there is little motivation for them to be independent.  However, the riots of 2009 showed some of their dissatisfaction with France in their standard of living.  There is widespread unemployment especially among youth.  The people are predominantly of African and South Asian descent.

The island is nominally Christian (in name only), but occultism and magic are large influences.  There is the grim legacy of slavery as well that has left its mark.  Before 1946 there were no evangelical churches on the island, but the Southern Baptists have helped establish a strong network of churches that have risen up in the last few decades.  There is only one Christian bookstore on the island, but the Gideons and The Bible Society help distribute Bibles and Christian literature.

Pray for the people of the island – for employment, freedom from the occult, and for the churches that they may be able to effectively reach the people of the island.