Pray for Our World: United States of America

USA is the world’s third-largest nation in area and population. It is the only industrialized nation with large projected population increases, largely due to immigration. There is an estimated 11.2 million undocumented immigrants and 1 million legally naturalized annually.  It is a nation of immigrants, a place of refuge and a place of freedom.  It has the greatest ethnic-origin diversity of any nation in history.  58% are caucasian, 15% latin-caribbean, 12% african-american, 6% eurasian, 1.8% jewish, 1.6% east asian, 1.4% arab, and less than 1% each are Filipino, South Asian and North American Indigenous.

USA holds 25% of the world’s GDP and 50% of the world’s military spending. It is the world’s most entrepreneurial economy and society.  Freedom of religion, which is written in the constitution, is principled on the separation of church and state, and intended to protect both. There is no doubt that a strong Christian history shaped the new country over 200 years ago. The country’s principals are the epitome of Christianity – freedom, charity, love, grace and equality.  Today, about 77% claim to be Christian and about 17% non-religious. Protestant and Catholic make up the majority of Christian denominations.

21st century America is changing, the world is changing, and the world’s perception of America is changing. History has shown us this before as we cycle through eras and empires. Yet I hope America has not missed its opportunity and greater purpose. We have an opportunity to show the world, many who cross our borders every day, of who Christ is. To show a world, many who have only known of hate and war, what is love and charity, the very reason people come here to begin with. Our freedoms are for all and should remain that way, but we should also be a nation for God.

History shows us this very well. The Israelites in the Old Testament stood out among all of their neighboring pagan nations. They were they only people who worshiped the one true God, and did not sacrifice their children to the gods and perform many other terrible pagan practices. They were set apart to be different, and to carry the story of God to the rest of the world. Foreigners were allowed to live among them, and were treated remarkably well, but they also had to respect the Israelite’s laws and rituals. They did not allow pagan religions within their nation, as it would diminish the meaning of God for future generations to come.  When the Israelites obeyed God’s commands, they were blessed beyond measure. No enemy could infiltrate them. King Solomon built a glorious temple of gold like none other. But when they strayed and started worshiping the other gods, the people were reduced to poverty and exiled from their land. The evidence and statistics of a nation that follows God is very strong. I pray that the United States does not repeat this history.

For the Lord gives wisdom,
from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up success for the upright,
He is a shield for those who live with integrity
so that He may guard the paths of justice.
Proverbs 2:6-8

Pray for Our World: Oman

The Sultanate of Oman is on the southeast coast of Arabia and the strategic tip of the peninsula that dominates the entrance to the Arabian/Persian Gulf.  The majority are Arabs but approximately 25% are expatriates.  Oil production is the primary source of revenue.  There is a high degree of personal freedom and political stability for the region.  The majority of Christians in the country come from expatriate workers, and it is illegal to try to evangelize the Muslim community.  The internet and mobile phones are the best tools to help reach the people about Christ.  There are Christian radio broadcasts in the area, as well as many people who study abroad in other countries who may hear about Christ.  Pray that you can be a witness to Christ wherever you go and whoever you may meet.  You never know how that message may travel.

Pray for Our World: Mongolia

Mongolia is a country squeezed in the middle, with China to the south and Russia to the north.  It is subject to extreme climates.  Mongolia was unified as a nation in 1206 under Genghis Khan, and became the greatest land empire ever known.  It was foreign dominated from 1368 to 1911, then Russia installed a Marxist government in 1921.  After the fall of USSR, Mongolia has struggled with poverty and finding employment, and many have moved abroad.

While it seems sad to see the changes governments have imposed over hundreds and thousands of years, God seems to be working quietly behind the scenes in many of these countries at this time.  Many changes have taken place over the last 50-100 years around the world that we have not been seen before.  In 1989, there were only four Mongolian Christians.  Today, there are over 40,000 believers in hundreds of churches and groups, meeting in most parts of the country.  The greatest challenge for the churches and missionaries to this part of the world is that they must shed their foreign-ness and become truly Mongolian and yet still remain Biblically centered.  Jesus came for all people, and His message is for all people, and we must not try to westernize Christianity and force others to fit that mold.  Jesus’ message of belief and repentance is not culture-specific.  It is only our rituals that are culture-specific.

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: Malta

St. Paul’s Bay at the island of Malta

Malta is an island in the center of the Mediterranean Sea.  The Apostle Paul shipwrecked on the island during his missionary journeys, and it became one of the first nations in Europe to embrace Christianity.  Can you imagine seeing Paul swimming to the shore or climbing out of his shipwrecked boat onto the island, and then beginning to tell the islanders about Jesus Christ?  Even to this day, the bay is named after him – St. Paul’s Bay.

The Phoenicians in 1000 BC occupied the island, and it has since had many seizures from Romans, Arabs, Normans, Ottomans, French and British, yet it has maintained its Christian heritage ever since Paul came.  Today, most are Catholic.  Pray that they will remember their heritage and continue to stand in their Christian identity.