Pray for Our World: Norway

Norway is a long, mountainous fjord-indented land.  It is one of four Scandinavian countries.  It has a strong and wealthy industrial state from oil, mining, fishing, forest products and high-tech industries.  Their average income is $94,000 per person which is 199% of the USA.  They are number one in the human development index, which is composed of life expectancy, education and per capita indicators.  The Lutheran Church (or Church of Norway) is the official state church.  It all sounds really nice.

Norway has had a powerful spiritual heritage over the last 200 years which is evident in their success.  But it cannot be taken for granted for the next generation.  Less than 10% of young people in Norway are committed Christians.  And while 90% of Norwegians are church members, only 4% attend church on any given Sunday.  More than half doubt or don’t believe in the existence of God.  Pray for the roots of Norway’s rich Christian heritage to be re-ignited.

Pray for Our World: Nigeria

There are over 520 ethnic groups in Nigeria.  Crude oil and gas are the main exports.  Yet most of this income has been wasted on corrupt rulers and illegal business.  They have been independent from Britain since 1960.  Preferential treatment is given to Muslims in the north while Christians in the south are discriminated against.  Violent Islamist groups have persecuted Christians resulting in hundreds of churches burned and many Christians killed.  Since 1999 Muslims have imposed shari’a law in the northern states where Islam is the majority.

Just looking at statistics alone, Muslim countries are far worse off economically and in human rights violations.  The evidence speaks for itself.  Where there are Christians, there is more aid, more help, more literacy, and better standard of living.  If you had to choose a faith based on actions and evidence, and not by name, Christianity would stand out above the rest.  Christianity at its core is about serving and loving others, where Islam is about personal power and dominance.

Pray for Our World: Niger

Niger is in the middle of the Sahara Desert in Africa.  It is one of the world’s poorest nations and near the bottom of the Human Development Index.  Most people barely survive on agriculture and livestock.  Droughts and locust plagues have devastated the land.  There is religious freedom with very little restriction on missions, but tensions are high between Muslim and Christian groups.  Many churches have been planted with an emphasis on humanitarian aid.  Yet, Muslim groups put pressure on believers, despite the aid the Christians bring.  Many believers are illiterate and have little Bible teaching available, and become isolated.  Pray for their education, their humanitarian needs, and to find fellowship and encouragement among other believers.

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: Montenegro

Montenegro is a coastal Adriatic state that is small, but mountainous and picturesque.  With its beautiful coastline, it is Europe’s fastest growing tourist industry.  It was recognized as a state as early as 1077 and became part of Yugoslavia in 1918, and separated in 2006.  With their independence, it has brought optimism and hope.  If they can avoid the ethnic/religious difficulties that plague most of the other Balkans, then they will have a chance to succeed.  Seventy-five percent of the population is Orthodox, but the Orthodox Church has many disagreements between Serbian Orthodox and Montenegrin Orthodox.  Evangelicals have been growing, as we’ve seen in many other non-western countries as well.  Foreign missions is also just beginning in Montenegro.  Pray that the missions and the churches will unite and spread the Good News to the people of Montenegro.