A NOTE FROM THE PRAYER OFFICE: IMB will be closed on Friday, April 18, due to the observance of Good Friday, so “Today’s Prayer” will not be available on that day. Thank you.
"With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
WORLD LEADERS - Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Please pray today for Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland (central Europe, east of Germany).
EUROPEAN PEOPLES - Easter celebrations vary in the countries of the Western Med Cluster. In Italy there are family meals and church processions, along with an exploding wooden cart full of fireworks in Florence and a game involving a four-kilo wheel of cheese in Panicale. Malta is famous for its elaborate processions of statues, and some Maltese even dress in white hoods and chains and walk barefoot in penance for their sins. Spain and Portugal also have richly ornamented statues and processions in the streets, and even those who do not normally attend church may participate in a Mass. Colored almond Easter eggs and the blessing of flocks of sheep are practices in southern Portugal, and people in Belgium enjoy Easter Monday as a public holiday too. In rural areas of the Netherlands, they celebrate with Easter bonfires. These countries have one common element during this holiday season: Most of the people will encounter some type of representation of the Passion of the Christ, whether through attending a service or seeing a statue paraded through the streets. Pray that these Europeans will stop and take a new look at Jesus, and see Him not just as an historical figure, but as the Way to abundant and eternal life. Ask that national believers will share with unusual boldness and make the most of every opportunity.
ARAB PEOPLES OF CENTRAL UNITED KINGDOM - Imagine row houses running blocks long, all connected by solid red bricks and with “Mary Poppins” chimneys coming out of the rooftops. On the outside it all looks “properly British,” but if you took away the architectural structures and the city park and looked at the people living there, you’d feel like you were in the Middle East or South Asia. In the past year, a few churches closed their doors, and now the number of mosques is greater than the number of churches. However, there is a small, faithful, evangelically minded church that, although they are struggling for numbers, puts on a holiday club for children in their neighborhood once a year. After Easter, for four days the holiday club will be running. On the third day, the Gospel will be clearly presented. Please pray fervently that the children who participate will grasp what grace is, when almost all of them come from a religion in which they are not taught that “it is by grace you have been saved” (see Ephesians 2:5b, NIV).
SWAHILI-SPEAKING ARABS OF EAST AFRICA (swah-HEE-lee) - Teaching English in “Rock City” is often humorous and occasionally sad. Believers have the luxury of sharing Truth in their classes whenever they want, and they often schedule stories from the Bible or discussion topics that they know will lead to Truth. But sometimes opportunities to share Truth come unexpectedly. Here are a few examples: While practicing reflexive pronouns, one teacher asked, “What are some decisions that you make by yourself?” (“Yourself” is a reflexive pronoun, in case you’ve forgotten.) The ensuing discussion landed on religion: Can you choose your own religion? The teacher shared that everyone who follows Jesus chooses for himself or herself. After much debate, the class concluded that as Muslims, they could choose another religion, but they really shouldn’t because it would cause so many problems. In another class, a lecture on blessings turned into a question about “to heal,” which was mispronounced like “hell,” which eventually led a student to ask the teacher, “Are you scared of ‘the fire of the afterlife’?” The teacher clearly shared the confidence she has from entrusting Jesus with her eternal destiny. Such opportunities occur in and out of class. Pray that believers in “Rock City” will make the most of every opportunity.
BENG OF COTE D’IVOIRE (beng) - Pray that Beng Christians will see one or more new believers added to their number on Easter Sunday this year.http://www.bengpeople.blogspot.com/
SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN PEOPLES - Missionaries Ed and Nancy Giddens are praising God for the Mwanza Baptist Seminary Branch graduation that took place in Tanzania in February. They write: “Please pray that these graduates--26 pastors and 16 pastors’ wives--will remain faithful in serving the Lord with all of their hearts. We also ask you to pray for the Mount Meru University as they consider their part in the continuation of the five Baptist seminary branches around the country. Please pray that God will show them His will for funding and for the staffing of five branch directors and the national director. Please pray also for God’s leadership in the use of any future IMB personnel for the seminary.”
ENGAGING CHURCHES - SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA - Africans are in the habit of living day to day, so planning for long-range events can be a challenge. A team from GraceLife Baptist Church in Virginia will arrive in Zimbabwe on April 22 to lead several days of leadership training for the Chimanimani/Chipinge Baptist Association. The training is being held for the seven churches that are in partnership with GraceLife Baptist Church to engage the N people group with the Gospel. Pray for safe travel and good health for the two GraceLife pastors leading the training. Pray that many people from the associational churches will be able to attend the training, and that church members will be willing to sacrifice the time and resources necessary to participate. Pray that the participants will immediately apply what they learn in ministry among the N people.http://www.imbafrica.org/engagingchurch/
NIAMEY, NIGER (NEE-ah-may) - There is one Christian radio and television station in Niamey. Praise God for the willingness of the authorities to grant the license! There is new programming on the radio station in several ethnic languages, as well as a new tower that has a farther reach. The Gospel message is now able to reach areas of Niger that are closed to expatriates and traditional methods of spreading the Gospel. Ask God to use this radio and television station to draw many people into a relationship with Himself. Pray that their ears will be open to the messages and that their hearts will be lightened and softened toward the Gospel.
SENUFO SUPYIRE OF MALI (SIN-oo-fo su-PEER-ay) - “Later this year, we will be welcoming our first volunteer team to southeastern Mali to work alongside us! One of the big needs for that time is translators to help with communication, and as of right now, we know of no one who can speak and understand both English and the Senufo Supyire language well enough for the task. We know of one young man who is currently working to improve his English, and we suppose that there must be others who would be able to help with the work. Please ask the Lord to help us locate the right people and know how to help them prepare to aid in the translation process so that even more Senufo Supyire people will be able to hear the Good News.”
HEALTHCARE STRATEGIES, EAST ASIAN PEOPLES - Last month, an incident of violence resulted in the deaths of innocent people, leaving grief, fear and suspicion in its wake. Despite this, God is drawing people to Himself--people like Brenda*, who escaped possible injury or death because she left her house five minutes late that day. Two days after the incident, she met with a friend and asked her how she could become a Christian. She knew that God had protected her so that she might receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus. Please pray that God will continue to draw people to Himself, and pray that the believers here will become bolder in sharing about Christ, making the most of this opportunity. (*pseudonym)
PEOPLE OF THE SWAN AREA, EAST ASIA - “We recently saw a calendar from our part of the world. It was not a bad looking calendar, but we noticed something rather tragic when we looked at the month of April. We noticed that Good Friday was indicated, but not Easter. We don’t know if it was intentional or if it was accidental, but it sets one to thinking: No Easter? No resurrection? No forgiveness. No hope. Jesus said over and again that He was going to be betrayed, condemned, mocked, beaten and killed. And then, three days later, He would rise. Praise our Father that it didn’t stop with the events on that terrible Friday! Praise Him for the resurrection of His Son on the third day! And pray that the people in the cities of the SWAN area--Z city, Q city, X city, L city, B city, and the others--will hear and accept the Good News. Pray in faith that many will believe!” “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5, NIV).
EAST ASIAN PEOPLES - “Lord, in every corner where Your Gospel seeds have been planted, please water them so that they will take root and sprout unto salvation. In places where Your Word has taken root, we ask You, Lord, to grow the believers into strong trees that will bear much fruit for Your name. Multiply their love and faith beyond cross-cultural and language barriers to plant churches among those unreached peoples who have been cut off from the Gospel message.”http://eastasianpeoples.imb.org/pray/
SOUTHEAST ASIAN PEOPLES - Two female workers shared chronological Bible stories and provided health lessons to a small women’s group in a floating village. Please pray that God’s Spirit will enable these young believers to grow deeper and stronger in their faith. Pray for their spiritual and physical protection.
BALOCH OF CENTRAL ASIA (buh-LOHCH) - “Please pray that God will move mightily this year to raise up new harvest laborers to join our team in reaching the Baloch long term.”http://centralasianpeoples.imb.org/
DHAKA, BANGLADESH (DAH-kah) - Last October, you began praying for Haniya*, a lovely young woman with a pleasant smile who is the only follower of Isa (Jesus) in her Muslim family. The Lord has twice rescued Haniya from marrying ungodly men, once in 2012 and again in 2013. In answer to your prayers, at last Haniya did tell her family that she was a follower of Isa and that her wish was to marry another follower of Isa. They agreed that she could choose her own mate, but Haniya’s parents grew tired of waiting, and Haniya, too, longed to marry. She left her job at a Christian ministry on March 5 with plans to sign a marriage contract with a Muslim man on March 7. She asked for permission to continue working at her teaching post for a few more months before she joined her husband after the traditional three-month waiting period. However, the ministry leadership said that Haniya couldn’t continue working there because they didn’t wish to send a non-biblical message to Haniya’s students that it was all right to marry a non-believer. Please continue to pray for Haniya. Ask the Lord to draw her husband to Himself. Petition the Lord for the salvation of their Muslim families. Pray that together Haniya and her husband will raise children who love the Lord God with their whole heart and follow Him faithfully. (*pseudonym)http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/
DEAF PEOPLES - The Chinese New Year is called “Guo–Nian,” the passing of the “nian,” which is the Chinese monster of tradition. People are to stay indoors during this night and put red signs around their door frames. The monster does not like the color red, so red signs with good wishes are placed around the door. Traditionally, this night the family shares a meal together in the home, which includes a bitter vegetable. Walking the streets around the Chinese New Year, one can see old furniture out on the curb. This is another part of the tradition, cleaning and sweeping the houses, then not sweeping at all for several days. Pray for Deaf Chinese to understand that what they really need is a “spiritual” cleaning of their hearts and to accept Jesus as Lord of their lives.
DEAF PEOPLES - M, a Deaf pastor in Russia, has been in a serious, life-threatening car accident. He is in critical condition with multiple injuries, including a spinal and jaw injury. He has been transferred to a larger, more equipped hospital, where they are evaluating him and awaiting more information on his condition. He and his parents (Deaf) have been instrumental in Deaf work and the Bible translation project. His father passed away a few years ago from a brain tumor. His mother continues to teach multiple times weekly and has discipled dozens if not hundreds of Deaf Russians. M has a wife, L, and a young daughter and new son. He is on a respirator and in a medically induced coma.
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