Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa. 25-50% of the population fled the country following the economic and social meltdown, and scourge of disease. Independent from Britain since 1965, it was followed by intense guerrilla warfare and government fraud and corruption. The church has grown amidst these trials as a refuge and to help meet the many desperate physical and social needs of the people. Pray for the strength of these churches, for desperately needed resources, and the healing of their country.
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This is the last country (alphabetically) in a year of prayer around the world. This is the final image too. If nothing else, I hope you remember this picture. It is a real part of the world we all live in, that we all participate in.
Someday, God is going to ask each of us, “What did you do to help?” Jesus’ direction to us was very clear: “Love God, love others, and tell others about Me.” For those of us who believe in Jesus as our Savior, we are completely covered in His grace and forgiveness, so we should act like it. Go out and do things for God, and then you’ll worry less about all the “don’ts”.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
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.
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.
Anguilla is a British Dependency in the Caribbean. With only 91 square miles, it is just a dot on the map. It is a remnant of a bygone era as a little colonial outpost.
Here is a statement from their government website regarding the recent tragedy of Hurricane Irma. They genuinely seem to be very humble and grateful people. May we all remember those who are less fortunate, that we are all beautiful people created by God, and may we all be so humbled and helpful to our neighbors.
The Government of Anguilla is grateful for all the good will expressed worldwide as a result of the devastation the island has faced during the passage of Hurricane Irma. The challenges faced are not insurmountable, but will demand a concerted effort locally, regionally and internationally.There have been many offers for donation of relief supplies, building materials, technical expertise, and many other items vitally needed to rebuild the country. The Government of Anguilla welcomes these offers and expresses its appreciation to those who have already committed to help in various ways, and would like to also express advance words of thanks to those who will assist in the future.
As I continue around the globe in prayer, starting with the African continent, I now come to the Americas. These are two continents made up of three main areas of North America, Caribbean, and Latin America. They have a lot in common between the 53 countries that make up this region, but there is also great diversity – from the indigenous Intuit people of the Arctic to the Fuegians of South America. There are blessings and challenges to this region, which is sometimes referred to as the New World.
The United States has the majority of the population, and then Canada. North America is the wealthiest continent with 99% literacy rate, 77% Christian and 18% non-religious. The past has been plagued with ill-treatment of indigenous peoples and slavery. The present is plagued with drug-trafficking primarily coming from the south. The balance of world power is changing in the United States, as the world perceptions and roles are changing.
The Caribbean is largely Hispanic and African-Caribbean, with 82% literacy and 83% Christian. Their main economy is tourism. Latin America is largely Hispanic and Brazilian, with 90% literacy and 92% Christian, which is mostly Catholic. Their main economy is export of natural resources.
Overall these statistics look pretty good, and many answered prayers have been a part of it. In the Caribbean and Latin America, there has been a shift toward more democracy and away from military regimes, and a new vitality in the Catholic Church based on new reading of the scriptures and evangelical teaching. There have been many great evangelists, missionaries, writers, speakers, pastors, and trainers that have come out of North America, and North Americans are most generous with missions and good causes. In the area where I live (Southeast United States), I am fortunate to see this played out every day in my church, friends and co-workers.
But there are also a few large areas of prayer needed for this region of the world. Drugs, poverty and crime are certainly on the list, but the one that really stuck out to me when studying this region is the Church. The past brought many solid leaders and teachers from the church but today’s American church is changing.
There is a decline in influence. Pray for moral purity and spiritual development of our churches.
Consumeristic attitudes have led to shallow thinking and teaching.
There is a lack of Biblical understanding as many churches move away from teaching the Word of God to more self-help sermons.
False teachings are on the rise, with pluralism (more than one truth), secularism, new age trends, and spiritism (such as voodoo).
Pray for our youth and university students, those who face these obstacles constantly. Just the statistics alone on our youth are staggering. Pray for the immigrant communities, who come from every major world culture to this area of the world – seeking hope. And pray for our poor and oppressed – sex trafficking, drugs, and those who go without in an area of plenty and over-abundance. And don’t just pray – God wants us to help, to get involved! As an American, I pray, “May God have mercy on us and help us return to God, so that we don’t waste what God has blessed and purposed us with.”