Pray for Our World: Cambodia

Cambodia lies between Thailand and Vietnam.  It is a fertile, forest-covered state on the Mekong River.  It is also one of the poorest countries and heavily dependent on foreign aid.  Years of war and genocide and corrupt government have hindered their development.  The sex trade is also common here.  Buddhism has been the national religion since the 15th century.  The Khmer Rouge (Cambodian Communists) sought to eradicate all religion in the 1960’s.  90% of Buddhist monks and most Christians perished.  The genocide of 1975-1979 killed nearly two million people and most of the population over the age of 30.  Since 1990 Christians have been allowed to worship openly with some limitations, and there has been significant Christian growth.  Please pray for the young people who have suffered the most, that they will have hope and a future that most of the rest of us take for granted.

Pray for Our World: Austria

Austria in Europe is surround by Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland.  It is 91% Germanic.  A beautiful country of culture, music, and art, they have given us many contributions to the world – Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Strauss and many more.

Austria is considered more religious than most European countries, but they too are struggling with sharp church declines.  Young people seemed to be more open to the gospel here than in previous generations, but the churches are poorly equipped for youth ministry.  Pray for resources, people, and the right tools for the churches in Austria.  We have such an abundance of these in America.  If you live in America and have the opportunity to give to foreign missions, please do!  You will make an impact for our world and eternity.

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: Pacific

The Pacific region only consists of 6.3% of the world’s land surface, as compared to the other regions we have been praying for: Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe.  Yet it has more ocean space than Africa, Asia and Europe combined.  It is comprised of Australia, New Zealand and Papau New Guinea, and 25,000 other small islands scattered about, including Christmas Island, Midway Island, Fiji, French Polynesian and many others.  Most of the Pacific Islanders are of European descent and the rest are mostly Asian.  Based on the strategic location, there are several military bases there.

The Pacific was one of the first areas to be evangelized in the modern missionary era, though missionary casualties were high to due disease, violent death and even cannibalism.  Today, the islanders face many of the same problems of the rest of the world – crime, unemployment, lack of opportunity and education, disparity of incomes, and a general decline in interest of traditional forms of Christianity.  The gap is being replaced with atheism, Mormonism, Islamism, and Baha’i-ism.

Just like the popular European phrase, “mind the gap”, we should be praying that in all of our world, people will find the truth and joy that Jesus spoke of to fill the gap in their lives.  We should be showing them what Christianity is – a place of hope, truth, real love and forgiveness.  When you get to know the real Jesus, you will see the same attractiveness that His followers first saw in Jesus.  It doesn’t need to be fancy or showy.  The truth is attractive enough.

Pray for Our World – Region of Asia

I remember stepping off the plane in Bangkok a few years ago.  I had never been to this far-reaching and culturally different region of the world called Asia and did not know what to expect.  What I did know was that it was less than one percent Christian and held the majority of the world’s most ancient civilizations, a stark difference to my American Southeast culture.  But I’ll never forget the young Thai girl I met in one of the shops.  She had a framed picture of Jesus on one of her store shelves, and the store was noticeably lacking of any of the numerous Buddhist statues you would see in any other shop.  She had the most beautiful smile, and beamed with radiance when she proudly told me in broken English, “I am Christian.”  Later that night in my Sheraton hotel, where the locals treated us like celebrities because they thought we were rich, I found a Gideon’s Bible tucked away in the desk drawer of my hotel room.

God is everywhere, and God loves the people of Asia.  It is God’s plan for all the world to know Him, and to know about His Son Jesus that he sent to this region of the world 2000 years ago.  Asia spans a wide geographic area from the Middle East in Western Asia to China, India and Japan in central Asia, to Southeastern Asia of Philippines and Indonesia.  Asia is where the birth of the church started with Peter and Paul, and it is where the End Times is prophesied to take place.  The last 100 years have shown a remarkable resurgence of Christians in the area, increasing by over 150 million. Lands that were previously cut off from Christianity have been opening up, and there is an increase in Muslims responding to the Gospel.  There are many stories of Jesus appearing to Muslims in dreams and visions, which is the only way Muslims believe God can talk to you.  God is meeting them where they are.

It is in the individual acts of the missionaries that have gone before us, the Gideons, your prayer and donations to missions, Satellite tv, and internet Gospel, that has continued what Peter and Paul started in this area of the world.  It has given this one young Thai girl and many others the hope of a Savior and has shown them the Light of the World.