We made it—175 days of prayer for the nations! Since May 11, 2020, we have prayed together Monday through Saturday, lifting up the needs of missionaries, ministries that are brand new and those that have existed for years, and many unengaged, unreached peoples across the globe. Rejoice in knowing that thousands have participated in this prayer initiative and give thanks for the answers to prayer that will be evidenced in the months to come. Coinciding with this end to the 175 Days of Prayer, the Week of Prayer for International Missions begins. Today, the focus is on the Naivasha Children's Shelter in Kenya. "Hundreds of thousands of boys sleep in the streets in Kenya, rejected by their families or seeking their independence for a number of reasons. They're marginalized, beaten, sexually abused, and arrested. Many Kenyans regard them as worthless and not to be trusted. They call these boys 'trash eaters.'" Pray that God will bless the work of the shelter's staff as they reach out in love to boys who are hurting. Visit imb.org/lmco to learn more about the Naivasha Children's Shelter and the Week of Prayer for International Missions. Daily notifications will continue through this Week of Prayer.
(is-tan-BULL) - The city of Istanbul is filled with more than 50 universities. University students are currently under a lot of stress, as many of them are doing online schooling or are still waiting to hear if/when their classes will start due to COVID-19 restrictions. Many of them have left the city to stay with their families in smaller towns, and most are spending increased time at home with their families in general. This can be difficult for young believers who live with their unbelieving families and are spending less time with their Christian community. Please pray for their encouragement and for opportunities to share with their family. Recent graduates are trying to search for jobs in a struggling economy and while a lot of businesses are operating online. Please pray that this season of uncertainty and instability will cause university-age students to seek stability and truth, and ask the Father to reveal Himself to them.
(SHE-uh) - Christmas trees full of lights. Santa Claus in storefront windows. Christmas music playing in malls. These words might describe sights in the United States, but they also describe an Iraqi city where most people are Muslim. Many Iraqis love the idea of Christmas. They love the decorations and believe it's good to honor Jesus' birth. But according to their beliefs, Jesus was just another prophet whose birth must be honored. This year, while living through the coronavirus pandemic, Iraqis are becoming disillusioned and questioning many things, including their own beliefs. Pray that many Iraqis will seek and find Jesus in all of His glory and receive Him as their king. Just as the wise men from the East went to great lengths to follow the bright star in search of Jesus, the newborn king, pray that many Iraqi Shia will search and find out who Jesus is. Pray that Jesus will be worshipped among Iraqis just as the wise men bowed down in worship to him long ago. And just as the shepherds "returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them," pray that Iraqis will go on to share the gospel with their family and friends so that the name of Jesus will spread throughout Iraq and beyond (Luke 2:20 ESV).
"The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it" (John 1:4-5 NLT). Christmas in Europe will be dark and cold. Pray for the hearts of Afghan refugee mothers as they receive gifts of candle jars with Jesus' birth story. Ask that they will dream about the light of Jesus and how His life brought light to everyone. Pray that they will understand their need for His salvation. And pray for their families to be saved through the message of Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection.
This month, please intercede for the northernmost provinces of Phongsaly, Luangnamtha, and Bokeo. Pray that the believers will be strong in their faith, built on the solid foundation of the Word of God, and not swayed by false doctrine or persecution. Ask the Lord to fill them with boldness to share with their friends and neighbors and to travel to distant towns and villages for the sake of the gospel so that there can be a healthy and reproducing church in every district in the region. This December, pray for opportunities that believers will have to share with their family and community about the reason they celebrate this season. Ask the Lord to prepare hearts to respond to His good news of hope.
(bah-HEE-oh) - Pray for the families who are still reeling from COVID-19. Many pastors have lost at least one family member related to the illness. Many people have lost jobs and are still struggling to make it, financially. Pray for those who received training to conduct trauma healing as they implement this training in their respective areas of ministry. Praise the LORD that he is using COVID-19, hurricanes, and other tragedies to draw people to Himself! Pray that desperate people, who might otherwise not look to the Lord, will be able to receive these classes and be drawn to Him.
(MAH-ti-lee) - This month, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, some believers with a heart for the Maithili speakers of Nepal and India would like to highlight a different unreached (less than 2% Christian) and unengaged (absence of focused church-planting work) people group each week and ask you to intercede for them. "The first week, please pray for the 408,000 Maithili-speaking Brahmans of Nepal whose primary religion is Hinduism. The second week, please lift up the 322,000 Maithili-speaking Rajput of India who also practice Hinduism. For the third week, we ask you to intercede for the 347,000 Koiri of Nepal, who are a Hindu people group, as well. And for the fourth week, we covet your intercession for the 352,000 Turha of India, a people who have an ethnoreligion, one that is deeply rooted in their ethnic identity. Join us in praying to the Lord of the harvest (Luke 10:2) who is able (Ephesians 3:20) and not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9)."
(LAH-sah) - Coconut Island is on lockdown for the second time this year to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This means that the Lasa can't work, and often they are denied government aid because they do not have legitimate documents. The Lasa Team has opportunities to distribute aid to those who can't get it any other way. Please pray that these distributions will provide fruitful opportunities to share the gospel with the Lasa.
Mardi Gras beads, masks, and other party type items are sold on Christmas Eve in an area where college students like to congregate to celebrate Christmas. Local students look at Christmas as a reason to get off campus, have some fun, and blow off some steam. The real reason for Christmas is totally foreign to them. The church that meets in Silas* and Faith's* home is looking for ways to share the life-giving message of Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection with many of these students. Pray that God will grant these Christians creativity in how to share, boldness in sharing, and protection as they go out. Ask that God will use them so that many will repent and believe in the Savior of the nations!
(dah-KAR) - "'And try Me now in this,' Says the Lord of hosts, 'If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it'" (Malachi 3:10 NKJV). Please pray for the believers living in Dakar. Many have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, and that's making life even more of a struggle. One bivocational pastor who was renting an apartment was told last February that he and his family had to leave because the owner wanted to refurbish the apartment and then give it to his son and his son's new bride. After searching for a new place that would be somewhat close to the church, they finally found the least expensive, suitable apartment available, but it was a bit more expensive than they'd hoped, as prices have gone up a lot. Then COVID-19 hit, and after a couple of months, the pastor's wife lost her job due to closure. They are now facing the possibility of having to move again if his wife can't find new employment. (Her degree is in accounting.) Please pray for this pastor and his family, asking that the Lord will provide a job for his wife and that his work at the church will continue to be strong and unhindered. Pray that all the members of the church will remain strong in their faith, find grace to continue in their work, and continue to support the work of the church.
IMB representatves in Vienna have started a new Bible study this fall. Pray that in spite of meeting virtually, the members of the group will grow in their faith and invite others as well.
This month, a focus on the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering draws the attention of Southern Baptists to international missions. Ask God to call laborers into the harvest of Angola to fill these job requests: countrywide missionary catalyst, regional missionary catalyst, urban strategist for the capital city of Luanda, student strategist for Luanda, medical doctor and healthcare strategist for Luanda, and theological education and leadership development for Angola.