Pray for Our World: Jordan

Jordan is a desert region that borders the Dead Sea, and home to the famous archaeological site Petra, which dates to around 300 BC and home to many temples and tombs.  Jordan is a moderate Arab Islam state but there is free exercise of religious belief, and the Christian church does have a public presence there.

After the two Gulf Wars, around one million Iraqis fled to Jordan, and nearly half have stayed.  There has been a good response to the Christian missionaries helping them there.  Pray that the churches will continue to be able to help the refugees and other marginalized people.  Many Christian resources have been translated into Arabic and the Christian bookstores in Jordan are a central place where much of this material is sent to Iraq and other Arab nations.

Pray for Our World: Israel

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, but it is not recognized internationally.  The land is regarded by Jews, Christians and Muslims as their Holy Land.  Israel became a nation again in 1948 after almost 2000 years.  The northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria in 722 BC and the southern kingdom (Judah, capitol Jerusalem) by Babylon in 586 BC.  After 70 years of Babylonian exile, they returned to their land in Jerusalem and rebuilt King Solomon’s temple.  After Christ and the subsequent fall of Rome in 70 AD, the Jewish temple was destroyed, the nation dispersed and Jews scattered around the world, all fulfilling the prophecy from the book of Daniel.  The bringing together of a nation again after almost 2000 years fulfills another major prophecy before the second coming of Christ.  The temple must also be rebuilt a third time before the remaining prophecy can be fulfilled.  The original temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem was built by Solomon, King David’s son.  The second rebuilding of the temple in the same place was instructed by God after the Israelites returned from exile, and the third rebuilding has yet to be done.  There are currently preparations in Israel for all the materials needed for the temple so that the Jews can be ready when the time comes.

Israel today is modern, sophisticated, and well developed in high-tech, bio-tech, chemical and agricultural sectors, and the only democracy in the Middle East.  This is evidence from their history, as a people who were chosen to be separate from other pagan religions, and as a people chosen to carry the story of God to the world.  God patiently waits for them to return, and in the end times, they will once again lead the way, this time with Christ.  God promises to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel.  Like any parent with wayward children, we would want them to be cared for until they return.  The population of Messianic Jews has increased over recent years, and I have had the opportunity to listen to many of their stories.  Messianic Jews are rich in family history, and they take claim to their Jewish Jesus with pride!  Pray for the salvation of Israel.

If we believe the Christmas story, and if we believe the prophecy that told of Jesus’ coming the first time just like the Wise Men did, why wouldn’t we believe the prophecy of Jesus coming a second time?

Pray for Our World: Iran

The Islamic Republic of Iran (formerly Persia from the Bible) is a desert region that strategically surrounds the borders of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Iraq, Caspian Sea, and Persian Gulf.  A wealthy country in oil and natural gas, 80% is export earnings and only 20% is private sector.  28% of the young people are unemployed.  The theocratic Islamic Republic was declared in 1979 after the Shah was deposed in the Shi’ite Muslim Revolution.  It is a religious dictatorship.  The courts can impose a death sentence to male apostates, and life in prison for female apostates.

The most amazing thing that has come out of the dictator revolution is that the forced Muslim regime has left many Iranians disillusioned about the religion and more open to the Gospel than ever before.  Massive numbers of Muslims have recently been coming to Jesus.  Never since the 7th century has the Church in Persia grown so fast as post-1979, and even more amazing for a country that imposes the death sentence for doing this.  There have been numerous stories of dreams and visions, signs and wonders, happening in the underground church.  I have heard some of them myself directly from Iranians who have escaped to the U.S.  These people risk everything in search of hope and meaning in life.  One man I spoke with had literally been chased from his home with only the clothes on his back, to escape to Turkey where he could be baptized.  “I never knew that God could be my Father!  My Father!”, he exclaimed with tears of joy and relief in his eyes as he told his story.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to move in this country, to shed a light to the darkness.  Pray for the underground churches and the new Christians.  May the people know the true joy and hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.  It would be a shame to keep such knowledge from them, when we know and have the truth with us every day.  Do not take it for granted!  Do not keep it hidden.

Pray for Our World: Egypt

Egypt is mostly desert.  Only 3% is arable land.  92% of the people are Arab-speaking Egyptians, some who claim to be descendants of the ancient Coptic-speaking people of biblical times.  The church there has endured nearly 2000 years of discrimination and persecution, yet the last 20 years has seen an increase.  It’s hard to forget the 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded on the beach in Egypt a few years ago for refusing to deny Jesus.

Coptic Christians follow the Greek Orthodox Church and are the largest ethno-religious minority in Egypt, making up about 10% of the mostly Muslim population.  They are probably more closely related to the original Egyptian civilization than the Muslims.  The Apostle Mark first brought Christianity to Egypt soon after Christ’s resurrection, and there was a large and influential Christian movement in Egypt prior to the Arab Muslim conquest in AD 640.  Egypt likes to downplay their Christian heritage but the church still survives there, despite many recent bombings, including the Christmas day 2016 bombing in Cairo.

Pray for the church and Christians in Egypt, that they may continue to persevere in this important and historical area of the world.