May 1 is a special holiday in Russia. It is a day of parades, celebrating the coming of spring and the end of a long winter. Russians typically spend this day with their families, enjoying spring in the city, working in their gardens, going out of town, etc.
As we celebrate, we also ask you to remember May 1 as a special day of prayer for the peoples of Russia, asking the Father to push back the darkness with his light in the lives of people across the vast country. There are three main areas of focus for this day of prayer.
“Remember May 1 as a special day of prayer for the peoples of Russia, asking the Father to push back the darkness with his light in the lives of people across the vast country.”
1. A Spiritual Void
The average Russian has been brought up with the idea that spiritual matters are very private and should not be discussed with others. As long as he has not murdered someone, the average Russian doesn’t see his life as sinful. Most believe they are saved by their good works, and they have no interest in personally knowing the God of the universe.
And yet, among the crowds of indifference, there are always a few who are looking for hope and truth. Believers talk with as many people as possible to find those who want to know more about the gospel, encouraging them to read the Bible one time, and then another time, and more after that. Pray for these things:
- Pray that the Holy Spirit will draw many Russians to him.
- Pray for the believers in Russia to be bold, trusting in God as they share the gospel with people who come into their lives.
- Pray for churches all over Russia that are dreaming about, preparing for, and starting churches. Moscow has over fifteen million people and around thirty Baptist churches. That’s a church for every five hundred thousand people. There is need for hundreds, if not thousands more churches.
- Pray for believers as they study the Bible with seekers.
2. Unreached and Unengaged Peoples
Russia is home to many unreached or marginally reached peoples. It is a multinational state with over 186 ethnic groups designated as nationalities. The Russian Baptist Union is emphasizing work among the Kalmiki, the Komi, the Udmurts, the Mari, the Chubash, and the Tuvintsi. Some of these groups have a million people in them, and others are small. The vast majority of them have no access to the gospel in their language.
- Pray that the Russian Baptist Union and others will send people to work with each group.
- Pray for the Scripture to be translated into the heart language of each group.
- Pray for churches to be planted in their heart language.
- Pray for native leaders to be trained to reach their people in their heart languages.
3. The 2018 World Cup
The 2018 Soccer World Cup is taking place across Russia from June 14 through July 15. People from around the world will gather in the main cities of Russia for the games. There will be ministry opportunities in over a dozen cities in Russia, providing a rare opportunity for hearts to be opened to Christ. It is exciting to see Russia open her doors to people from all over the world.
“There will be ministry opportunities in over a dozen cities in Russia, providing a rare opportunity for hearts to be opened to Christ.”
- Pray for believers as they meet people in the parks during the games and share Christ with them. The city has created greeting and meeting areas in parks near every stadium. It is the perfect place to share the gospel.
- Pray for four students from a Baptist university who will be here for eight weeks before, during, and after the World Cup. They will be meeting people and sharing the good news with them. Another team from the United States is going to work with a new church here that is also evangelizing during the World Cup.
- Pray for local church teams, volunteer teams, and local believers as they spend time with those gathered in the parks.
- Pray for local churches as they seek ways to follow up with contacts from the World Cup visitors and residents. We are hoping to connect seekers with believers all over the world.
Great doors will open over the next few months. Please pray that the bride of Christ will share the Savior with thousands and thousands of people. Thank you for your partnership in this great endeavor.
Kimberly Grogan and her husband, Nolan, were appointed with IMB in August 1996. Along with their daughters, they have served in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Despite a brief return to the US for Nolan’s cancer treatment, the Grogans have been able to return to their work in Russia. They are sustained by the truth that life is hard, and God is good. God has truly carried them through this time.