"Perhaps there is no year in recent memory that so many people have been ready to say goodbye to and leave behind than 2020!" writes the Theological Education Team. "Many are ready to embrace the new year of 2021 with renewed hope. As the people of Botswana search for security and meaning amid the difficulties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, we need to pray for biblical guidance to be provided by pastors. We do not want messages from the prosperity gospel to cause confusion and false hope. Please pray for pastors who seek to correctly interpret Scripture and to shepherd their flock. May they commit to a renewed commitment to theological education to inform their preaching. Pray that millions of people across the continent of Africa will embrace the source of all hope, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!"
Shamanism is a belief in gods, demons, and ancestral spirits. It was the religion of ancient Korea and is still one of the major religions in South Korea. In the 1970s and 1980s, the South Korean government set anti-superstition policies that forbade traditional religion. But recently, shamanism has resurged and grown in popularity. Related to shamanism is fortune-telling, or divination, which includes tarot cards, gwansang (fortune telling through facial characteristics), and saju (the prediction of one's future based on birthdate). Tarot card and saju readers can easily be found in the regions of Hongdae and Sinchon, where Korean young people commonly hang out. Please pray for the young people to seek the Lord, who has a great plan for each of their lives. Please ask God to open their minds and hearts to the gospel this year so that they will hear, believe, and love God. Pray that Koreans will be redeemed for His inheritance and possession.
(beng-AHL) - Paschim Bardhaman and Purba Bardhaman are districts in West Bengal. They are famous for their place in India's coal industry. Pray that people in these districts will have access to God's Word through radio, television, and a personal witness. Ask God to raise up new laborers for the harvest who will go to these villages to teach, preach, and heal with compassion the harassed and helpless (Matthew 9:35-38). Pray for people to find emptiness in their daily routines and rituals and to desire a personal relationship with the God who created them and sent His Son to die for them. Ask the Spirit to work in the hearts and minds of holy men and priests who work each day at local temples and minister to people. May God draw these men to Himself, and may they lead others to follow Him. Pray for a new chapter in the rich heritage of the people in these districts. Ask God to write His name upon hearts, and pray that many will experience new life in His Son (2 Corinthians 4:16).
The people who live in the Melting Cities are mostly college educated. They live in high-rise apartments and often drive to work or take public transportation. They work hard to reach economic stability and are constantly busy. There is great variety in their levels of income and occupation, but one thing they have in common is language. They speak a common language and have Scripture available to them in their heart language. However, only 4.52% are believers. This may be due to family traditions, repression by authorities, or materialism. There are millions who have simply not yet heard the good news. There are churches in the Melting Cities, some of which are sanctioned by authorities while others are not. The task of reaching the millions is a God-sized task and will begin with prayer. Please pray for the salvation of people in Melting Cities, East Asia.
(mah-LONG) - "'We must teach truth to the Malong people or they will not believe,' said Sam.* And that is just what he does. Sam is trained at teaching, and his faith is far deeper than that of most believers his age. He begins everything with prayer. Before he commits to things he is asked to lead in or before taking on responsibilities in the church or going into areas where the largest unreached group lives, he spends time praying. Sam wants to know where God is at work and join Him there. He has prayed for the Malong people for years and has traveled to various Malong communities on the island on which he lives. He has cared for their sick and has taught their children. In all things, Sam points them to the One who is able to change their life. Will you pray for this humble young man who wants to see Malong people believe in truth? Pray for his direction to be clear and for his provision to be made so that he can continue to teach Malong people. And let his example challenge all of us . . . let us pray first." (*name changed)
The Israeli Jews celebrate the peace recently obtained in several countries. Many are now talking about travel and making plans. Believers around the country are celebrating with them and taking this exciting time to teach about the biblical narrative of their forefathers, the gospel, and how this historic occasion ties in with their own religious teachings of ancient times. Some are very interested and have asked what this means for them in the future concerning the end times according to believers in Jesus. Please pray for Israeli Jews of Israel as the Bible comes to life in front of them so that they will realize everything in the Bible is true and was written for them so they can truly know God.
(i-RAY-nee-uhns) - As the global coronavirus pandemic continues, foreigners, particularly refugees, are the first to lose their jobs. Unemployment rates continue to rise for Iranians living in Turkey. Please pray for Iranian brothers and sisters in Christ as they struggle to provide for their families in these days. Pray for peace-loving employers who will be kindhearted and compassionate and who will continue to employ them whenever possible. Ask for these brothers and sisters to be strengthened in their work. May the Lord bless the work of their hands while they labor so that their light will shine in such a way that their employers will strive to keep them on the payroll. Pray for the Lord's favor to be evident in their lives.
"Please pray for our teammates, Jeremy and Crystal Nelson, as they return to Madrid and renew friendships and make new contacts with neighbors. They will face challenges with limitations on gathering sizes and a general fatigue of meeting virtually due to Spain's coronavirus restriction guidelines. Please pray for creative ways to begin and in some situations continue with discipleship and mentoring groups. We've seen time and time again that there is an openness to the gospel during times of high stress, trauma, and crisis. Pray that our team will press on in sharing the gospel of hope and encourage local believers to the same."
Southeast Asian Deaf believers Andre* and Wayne* have been meeting with a Deaf man who wants to learn more about Jesus. This man has explained part of his story of how he has been praying at the mosque and talking to Allah but finds nothing there. Pray for this man to understand the truths of the one true God and surrender his life to Jesus. Pray for Andre and Wayne to be faithful to share God's stories. (*names changed)
(KAYP town) - The South African government signed the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agreement, but the country is overwhelmed by the number of displaced people seeking asylum. More than 60,000 displaced people reside in Cape Town. To legally work within South Africa, a person must have a visa or refugee status documents. To get refugee status, a person must have had an asylum-seeker document consistently for five years. Getting the asylum-seeker document for five years is next to impossible within the bureaucracy, so displaced people who don't possess refugee status must become entrepreneurs or beg from non-governmental organizations and people. The 30% unemployment rate in South Africa makes it even harder for displaced people. With the COVID-19 lockdown, people who had jobs lost them, and now every refugee student of missionary Gail Davis owes back rent for six months or more. These people express their faith in God's provision. Please pray for the refugees to have adequate shelter and for their faith to grow during this time. Ask the Father to keep them from becoming anxious. Praise God for what He's going to do, and thank Him that none of the refugee students or their families have died from COVID-19.