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: Hungary

Hungary has adjusted well from a socialist economy to a market economy, though the older generation struggles a little more to go from a system that cared for their needs to one which they mostly look after themselves.  Hungary is a country rich in history and Christian history as well.  In the year 2000, they celebrated 1000 years since their conversion to Christianity.  Originally Hungary was a Roman province in 8 AD, and there were Christian communities there as early as the 3rd century.  The first Hungarian translation of the Bible was prepared in the 1430’s by Hussite preachers.  Roman Catholicism came to Hungary and they helped administered schools and hospitals.  Later came Reformed (Calvinist), Evangelical (Lutheran), Orthodox, and Unitarian (first created in the 1850’s in Transylvania).

Around the year 1000, Vajik became the first King of Hungary after defeating his pagan opponent, and was baptised (pictured in the famous painting above) and assumed the name Stephen after his baptism.  Around this time, missionaries also came from several different areas to Hungary.  One of King Stephen’s first laws was that everyone should go to church.  His second law was that every ten villages together should build a church.

Hungary has contributed significantly to the arts, sciences, and literature over the ages, from middle ages, reformation, papal history, enlightenment, and the Austro-Hungarian empire.  In 1949, Hungary became communist, modeled after Stalin in the Soviet Union.  Religious instruction was abolished, monasteries were dissolved and almost 4,000 monks and nuns were deported, imprisoned or tortured.  Fifty years later, communism disappeared, and the government passed the Law of Freedom of Conscience and Religion which established the freedom of religion as a basic human right and that church activities were useful to society.

May Hungary continue to acknowledge their Christian importance in the world and keep their freedom of religion.

Pray for Our World: Haiti

Haiti is one of the most densely populated and poorest countries in the Americas.  Hundreds of thousands of Haitians have fled or emigrated, not including the loss of life from the 2010 earthquake.  It will take billions of dollars and many years of stability and sustained redevelopment to see any long-term progress.  Major sources of income come from aid and relief organizations.  Literacy is 51% and functional literacy may be as low as 20%.  Early slavery from the French, dictatorships, and earthquakes have all but left the people with little hope.  Most identify themselves as Christians, but 75% practice voodoo.

However, since the earthquake in 2010, there has been a spiritual outpouring of faith that shook not only the nation but moved the entire world.  The president called for three days of prayer and fasting in place of Mardi Gras in February 2010, and over one million people showed up.  Churches were filled and overflowing.  Pray that this spirit will continue, as there is still a lot of work to be done and it will take time.  God works miracles, changes hearts and people, and if the people will continue to look to God, there can be much hope and change in their future.

Pray for Our World: Greenland

Greenland is 85% glacial ice cap, the world’s largest island, and the lowest population density.  Total population is about 57,000.  The economy is primarily fishing and supported by the Danish government.  The culture of Greenland has been so ingrained with the inhospitable environment for so long, that it has been devastated by the change to more modern ways.  There is widespread immorality, sexual abuse, alcoholism, mental illness and suicide.  Thankfully there are some indigenous believers and missionaries that are helping with counseling, healing and deliverance through the work of the Holy Spirit.

In 1984, there were only about 20 born-again believers in the entire country.  Since then it has been growing.  Pray for more contemporary Bible versions to be available, training, resources, and counselors for the people.  Jesus offers hope to all, and it is the only lasting and true hope for all our problems.  Not religion, but knowing the living Jesus and having Him be a part of your life.

There is a restlessness within us that can only be satisfied when we rest in the presence of God. – AW Tozier

Pray for Our World: Ghana

Ghana is on the south-western coast of the Gulf of Guinea in Africa.  79% of the population earns less than $2 per day.  Yet, Ghana enjoys a rich Christian tradition.  With over 100 ethnic groups, there were only 5 Bible translations available in 1965.  Since then, the majority of Ghanaians have at least a New Testament translation and there is work in progress on every language in Ghana!  Hundreds of churches have been planted as a result of the newly translated scriptures in their languages.

May God bless the people and organizations that have faithfully worked on Bible translations over the years in Ghana.  But where God’s truth is being successfully told, there is often strong opposition.  Islam has set out to conquer Ghana.  Almost half of the population is under the age of 15 and very impressionable.  Pray for the Christian workers and churches there, that they may reach the young people for the truth and light and hope of Jesus Christ.