Pray for Our World: Benin

Benin is wedged between Nigeria and Tongo in Africa.  One of the trends I am seeing in many of the smaller countries like Benin is that they have gained their independence within the last half of the 20th century.  Indeed the world dynamics are changing in many ways.

Benin is split religiously between Christian, Muslim, and Ethnoreligionist.  Ethnoreligionists are various faiths that are usually confined to a specific ethnic group.  It encompasses ancestor-worship, polytheists, folk religionists, cults and tribal movements.  The birthplace of Voodoo is in Benin and each year they hold a Voodoo festival.  There is another dark side as well, people-smuggling.  Tens of thousands of children are allegedly smuggled from Benin each year to work as child laborers.

Please pray for these children, that God may rescue them with the help of His people, and bring them to the loving arms of Jesus, who often spoke about not doing any harm to the children.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)  “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me, and whoever welcomes Me welcomes not only Me, but the One who sent Me.”  (Mark 9:37)   

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.

Pray for our World: Algeria

Algeria lies between Morocco and Libya in the Saharan Desert of Africa.  Most people are Arab.  There is a fast-growing economy due to the oil and gas reserves, but most of the wealth does not reach the ordinary citizens.  Freedom of religion has been dwindling and persecution increasing.  97% of the population is Muslim, with the rest considered mostly non-religious.  Christians are almost non-existent.  However there is the Church of Algeria, which is the only one officially recognized.

Most households there have satellite tv, common in this part of the world.  This is crucial because many Christian programs are able to be broadcast into their homes.  My church and the mission organizations I’m involved in both support programs for satellite tv in this area of the world.  God can use us to reach the world!

Pray for our World: Albania

Albania is part of the Balkan mountainous region on the Adriatic Sea next to Greece.  It is one of Europe’s two poorest nations.  Religion was not allowed in Communist Albania from 1967 until the fall in 1991.  A whole generation grew up with no religion.  The origins of Albania date back to the Byzantine era of the 11th century, in which they fully Christianized at that time.  After the fall of communism in the early 1990’s, the Albanian Church was reborn and has been growing thanks to evangelists in the area.  Still, about 2/3 of the country is Muslim.

Pray that the Albanians will be able to return to their Christian roots, for missionaries and the Gospel of Good News to reach them, and to lift up their economy and families as they continue to try to recover from a communist regime.

 

Pray for Our World: Afghanistan

I’m very excited about getting to the individual countries as I pray around the world.  I’ve looked at each region of the world and gained an appreciation for their culture, progress and issues.  Now I begin to look more individually, to appreciate each person and their culture for who they are and who God made them to be.

Starting in alphabetical order in my Operation World book, the first country is Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in Asia.  The majority of the people are Iranian.  There is an overall literacy rate of 28%, and only 15% for women.  The people have been shattered by decades of war and ongoing conflicts.  Yet they are a rich country in natural resources of gas and minerals.  Surprisingly though, one-third of their GDP is from opium production.  There is virtually no freedom of religion, even for other interpretations of Islam outside of the strict Wahhabist Islam.  In a population of over 29 million, there are less than 15,000 Christians, and most of them are foreign residents.

Afghanistan is one of the least reached countries in the world. There is not a single church building.  Drugs are their biggest crisis.  In Biblical times, the area of Afghanistan was part of Persia, and we know that they will also play a part in the End Times.  God is moving in this part of the world.  We now have the internet, Christian radio and satellite TV, and mobile phones in which to present the Bible and the Jesus film in their own language.  I happened to look at the country stats on my blog, and I have had one visitor from Afghanistan.  It all starts with one, and we can all be that one.  My goal is to flood the internet with as much good news as I can, in hopes that it will reach those who are seeking the truth and want to hear.  Please pray for these dear people that they will be freed from their bondage and will be able to enjoy many of the freedoms the rest of us are lucky enough to have, only because of where we were born.