Pray for Our World: Uganda

Uganda is known as the “Pearl of Africa”.  It is a fertile and well watered land with a temperament climate.  Agriculture accounts for 80% of the work force.  The population has been reduced over the years by the many wars, tribal killings, AIDS and diseases.  Previous regimes also imposed restrictions and intense persecution of Christians.

But they now have freedom of religion.  Since 1986, there has been widespread revival and prayer movements in the churches there.  This makes Uganda one of the most truly Christian nations in the world, with church attendance high, and public prayer common even in government buildings.  There are mega churches and house and storefront churches.  Crime rates have fallen and it is estimated that half the population attend evangelically oriented services.  This is very encouraging, and a testament to the power of Christianity!

There are still many needs and obstacles they have to overcome.  Continue to pray for the people of Uganda, for their well-being, for Christian training and leadership, for youth ministry, and the ability to reach out to the increasing Muslim communities.

Pray for Our World: Swaziland

Swaziland is a small, landlocked enclave between Mozambique and South Africa. Mainly agricultural, most of the trade is with South Africa. However, the prevalence of AIDS has seriously affected their economy. It was a British protectorate from 1899-1968 and then became democratic, but the outrageous wealth of the monarchy among this poor country is a highly charged issue.

In Swaziland, the consistent sowing of the gospel over the last 160 years has led to a strong Christian community with a solid core of believers and regular church attenders. It is encouraging to see how a small, faithful sowing of the gospel over the years has reaped many benefits. Pray that they will continue to be faithful and lead others to Christ.

Pray for Our World: Pakistan

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, located between Afghanistan and India, has a complex arrangement of ethnicity, language and caste, far more than in most nations.  Public data on their economy and population is not available.  Officially their literacy rate is 56% but a more realistic estimate is 25-45%.  There is high inflation and widespread corruption.  It is common to have shortages of electricity and gas disruption in normal life.  About 20% live below the poverty line.  The fight against radical Islamist groups continues to be a huge drain on the economy, which serves the Islamist groups even further.  There is limited land and water and a crumbling infrastructure, along with decades of conflict and war.  Previous governments have pursued Islamization of the legal system, taxation and public life, as well as discrimination against all religious minorities.  Shari’a law is increasingly applied, even to Christians and Hindus, and this continues to oppress the people.  Non-Muslims and non-Sunnis must practice their faith cautiously.

I write all of this with a personal heavy heart, because I have met co-workers from Pakistan and keep in touch with them through email and social medial.  I sense the cautiousness in their responses, and they always give praise to Allah in anything they write.  They are smart and educated and independent for women, definitely a minority in Pakistan.  On the surface, their talk of Allah seems very much like the Christian God.  But once you get a little further into it, the differences become more subtly apparent, and then it becomes very different.  The Pakistani government also spreads a lot of false-teaching about Christianity and anti-Christian propaganda.  We must be secure in our beliefs as Christians so we do not become deceived.  Be a light, so that people may see the true Christ through you.  It may be the only light they get to see.

Pray for Our World: Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a large area of land between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, connecting North and South America.  It is one of the poorest countries in the Americas due to nearly two centuries of dictatorships and civil wars.  Young people have grown up in a country ravaged by war, where stable families are rare, and churches are not equipped to handle all their needs.  Despite the challenges, evangelical growth is on the increase from only 2% in 1960 to 30% in 2010.  Pray that Nicaraguans will continue to see the source of their help comes from God and a belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

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.