Friday, December 29, 2017

Prayer for Colombia - #50 on the World Watch List for persecution

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Photo credit: Reuters/National Police/Handout
Lord, today we pray for Colombia, which is #50 on the World Watch List for persecution. We grieve about the decades of conflict raging in Colombia, and about the criminal organizations, drug cartels, revolutionaries and paramilitary groups who control large portions of the nation. We pray for your peace to reign in Colombia. Please protect your followers, who are particularly vulnerable to these groups’ attacks. Heavenly Father, we also pray for the children of Colombia. Please protect them from recruitment as soldiers into rebel groups, such as Farc (Revolutionary Armed Focrces of Colombia). May they resist empty offers of money and shelter from these groups and choose to stay with their families. May the root issues of poverty that make these children vulnerable be effectively addressed. We pray for the Colombian government to seek you and walk with integrity. Give leaders divine wisdom in how to address the multiple, deep-seated issues plaguing this nation. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

10 most-prayed prayers from 2017

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Below are the 10 most-prayed posts from 2017. I thought you might be interested, and, more significant, I thought you would like to continue praying.

In the comment section below each post (after you go directly to the blog post--I apologize that you will have to copy and paste the links, since hyperlinks are not working), I have pasted the most recent news article pertaining to each topic.

Thank you for praying to change the world.

Lord, accept our prayer as incense offered to you, and our upraised hands as an evening offering (Psalm 141:2).

10: Prayer for missing Argentine submarine

9. Prayer for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

8. Prayer about Mogadishu car bombing

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7. Prayer about California wildfires

6. Prayer for Museum of the Bible as it opens

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5. Prayer for Otto Warmbier's family after Otto's death

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4. Prayer against corruption in Romania

3. Prayer about new Kenyan presidential election

2. Prayer about 26 teen girls found dead in the Mediterranean

1. Prayer about mass shooting in Las Vegas

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Prayer about explosion in St. Petersburg shopping center   Photo by Anatoly Maltsev/EPA-EFE
Lord, we pray for officials in St. Petersburg as they investigate today’s explosion at a shopping and entertainment center. May investigators swiftly discover all facts needed to determine who left an improvised explosive device in this heavily trafficked area. May the perpetrator(s) be quickly apprehended. We thank you, Heavenly Father, that no one was killed. We do pray for the 10 injured individuals. May they receive prompt and quality medical care, and may people rally around them to cover for any needs that may arise due to their injuries, and to provide comfort and reassurance during this time. We do not know what motivated this attack, but we do pray for whatever root issue drove this person to this crime. Help him/her turn to you for fulfillment and peace. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Prayer for Mauritania - #47 on the World Watch List for persecution

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Lord, today we pray for Mauritania, which is #47 on the World Watch List for persecution. Heavenly Father, first we pray about Mauritania’s very high level of poverty. We know poverty can lead to numerous issues, including the appeal of terrorist or extremist groups. Please grant Mauritania’s leaders divine wisdom in addressing the nation’s needs, so the welfare of the country can improve and people will no longer find themselves in consistently desperate situations. We do pray specifically against the Islamic extremist groups operating in Mauritania. Frustrate their efforts and diminish their appeal. Help people see that they are actually sources of destruction, rather than opportunities for improvement. Finally, we pray for your followers in Mauritania, who often feel alone. Help them to find fellowship as needed so they can thrive and move forward with courage and hope. May their testimony be the light that their impoverished neighbors see and recognize as a source of true life and peace. May Mauritanians come to know you during this Christmas season and in the months and years to come. In the name of the Messiah we pray, amen.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Prayer for reporters who "disappeared" in Myanmar

An altered image released by Myanmar's Ministry of Information shows two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, in handcuffs.
Lord, today we pray for the truth to come out about what is happening in Myanmar. With hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing the nation and telling tales of rape, murder and destruction, we know conditions are horrific for many. Today, Lord, we pray specifically for the two journalists (and possibly more) who have disappeared while trying to report from Myanmar. We pray for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo as they deal with their arrest and imprisonment. We ask that truth come out about their location and conditions. We desire that authorities in Myanmar share facts about these journalists’ “crimes,” so justice can be done. Please protect these men and any others who are seeking to bring atrocities to light in Myanmar. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Prayer for the Philippines after Tropical Storm Urduja

Villagers wade through a flooded street in Brgy Calingatngan, in Borongan, on easterm Samar in central Philippines on December 16, 2017.
Lord, today we pray for the Philippines, where at least 27 people have died due to Tropical Storm Urduja. Heavenly Father, our primary concern at the moment is that the missing be found. And our desire is for as many as possible to be found alive. Give any who are trapped strength and determination to survive, clear thinking, and hope. Show them the way to freedom. Direct rescuers their way. Lord, we pray for those who have lost loved ones in this storm. Give them comfort in this dark hour of deep grief. We pray for those who have lost homes. May they find shelter and have their needs met by generous people around them. We pray for the towns that are isolated due to collapsed bridges. May they function well through the entire process of being reconnected to their neighboring communities and nation. We pray that President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to the damaged areas would lead to wise, effective and prompt assistance. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Prayer for Sri Lanka - #45 on the World Watch List for persecution

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Lord, today we pray for Sri Lanka, which is #45 on the World Watch List for persecution. First, we give thanks that radical Buddhist groups have currently stopped their actions against religious minorities. Despite this, we know mobs persist in stopping church services. We pray against this activity and ask that a spirit of peace and cooperation would reign in Sri Lanka, so that people may worship you freely. Lord, we also pray about the de-militarization of the country. We know this is complicated, and that military officials want to continue their lifestyles and avoid investigation into war crimes. We pray the government would handle this with integrity and efficiency. We pray for the truth to come out about war crimes and for people to receive justice in regard to that sad chapter of Sri Lanka’s recent history. However, we pray for Sri Lankans to receive your generous mercy in terms of their spiritual well-being, and that people would come to know you and experience the abundant life you offer. Particularly during this Christmas season, may Sri Lankans be curious about Jesus and unafraid to ask Christian acquaintances to share the reason for the hope that they have. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Praise for response to the Gospel at the Love Hanoi Festival
Lord, today we rejoice in the outpouring of your love and Spirit at the Love Hanoi Festival. We are thankful for all the prayers and work that went into bringing this event to Vietnam. We marvel at the great lengths people went to in order to serve at and attend the event. Thank you for using Franklin Graham and a huge team of ministers to honor you through music, artwork and sharing the Gospel. We are thrilled about the huge response from attendees. It is thrilling to hear about these new brothers and sisters in Vietnam. Lord, now we pray for these new disciples. Please give them easy access to and keen understanding of your Word. Help them nurture these new relationships they have with you. Bring more mature brothers and sisters into their lives to help them grow. Continue wooing them to you so they may stay the course even when inevitable challenges arise. Guide them to others who can welcome them into godly fellowship, so they may find encouragement and support. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Prayer against corruption in Romania 
Photo: Reuters
Heavenly Father, we pray for Romania, where laws passed today that some believe will weaken the nation’s efforts to root out high-level corruption. Lord, it has been a stressful year in Romania as citizens have sought to end government corruption. All of us in every land desire leaders who will put our nations’ best interests first and who will govern with integrity. It is frustrating that Romanian officials are no longer obliged to regulate conflicts of interest. We pray that checks will be in place preventing lawmakers from seeking their own interests as they carry out their public service. We also pray about the new law obliging judges and prosecutors to pay financial damages for judicial errors made "in bad faith or grave negligence," that it would not weaken the judicial system, but would prevent future miscarriages of justice. Lord, we pray for Romanian leaders to govern with integrity, selflessness and wisdom. We ask in Jesus’ name, amen.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Prayer for Kazakhstan - #43 on the World Watch List for persecution  Photo credit: Reuters
Heavenly Father, today we pray for Kazakhstan, #43 on the World Watch List for persecution. We lift up in prayer those Kazakhs who have converted from Islam to Christianity and find themselves persecuted not only by their government, but by neighbors and family members. Lord, please sustain them. Help their faith to grow, despite hostile circumstances. Help them find support from each other, boosting each other’s courage and zeal. Protect them from their enemies, and may they love those same enemies, just as our Lord Jesus did. We pray also for non-traditional Protestant Christian communities in Kazakhstan. Help them to grow and rejoice, despite raids, threats, arrests and fines. May their evangelistic efforts be fruitful. We pray for persecuted believers in Kazakhstan to have very meaningful Christmas celebrations this year, whether they have to worship the Christ-child in secret, under fear of reproach, or in small numbers. Thank you for sending Jesus to save the people of Kazakhstan and the world. With great rejoicing we pray, amen.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Prayer for the loved ones of the ARA San Juan crew
Lord, today we pray for the loved ones of the ARA San Juan crew. It is hard, Heavenly Father, when our prayers are not answered the way we’d like. We wanted these 44 crew members, lost in a malfunctioning submarine, to arrive home safely. Instead, they are now counted as dead. We declare in the midst of our pain that we still trust you. We continue to place our hope in you. We take a moment to give thanks for the thousands of people, dozens of ships, and almost 20 countries that tried to find this missing submarine. We are thankful for those who still search the vast ocean floor for clues. We pray for those who are investigating whether corrupt “repairs” had anything to do with this terrible tragedy. May the truth come out and this type of accident be prevented from happening in the future. Our focus today, Lord, is on those who were left behind. We pray for the parents, spouses, children, friends and others who grieve this terrible loss. We pray for the nation of Argentina as they grieve this loss collectively. During a month when so much of the world is celebrating the Christmas season, these individuals are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Lord, meet with them in their pain. Let them experience the joy of salvation. Motivate those around them to make time to walk with them in their grief, setting aside their own interests to help another in the midst of grave suffering. Please heal hearts. Provide for financial needs. Give all who mourn the courage to face each new day and to trust in you. And remind us to keep these families and individuals in our prayers as we enjoy time with our own loved ones during this holiday season. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Prayer for imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson
Lord, today we pray for American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been unjustly imprisoned in Turkey since October 2016. We are thankful for Brunson's 23 years of pastoral ministry in Turkey. We are thankful that the Turkish government has finally acknowledged that they are holding him as a political prisoner. We are thankful they offered him in a trade for Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. We know a swap is highly unlikely, but we do thank you that this offer has again brought attention to Brunson’s plight. Lord, we know these trades are much more complicated than one-for-the-other. We pray for wisdom for all involved in negotiations. We pray that Brunson and all other unfairly-imprisoned people in Turkey will be released. Heavenly Father, in this Christmas season when believers around the world are focusing on hope and joy, may we not forget to pray for our brothers and sisters who are imprisoned and oppressed around the world. May Brunson and other persecuted believers also have hope and joy this Christmas season as they celebrate that you sent the Savior of the world! May they hold fast to your promises, focus their vision on what is to come, and celebrate that an eternity of peace and celebration awaits. As we sing tidings of comfort and joy, may our worship combine with entreaties on behalf of our brothers and sisters in dark places. In the name of the Savior we pray, amen.  

Friday, December 1, 2017

Prayer for Mexico - #41 on the World Watch List for persecution
Lord, today we pray for Mexico, which is #41 on the World Watch List for persecution. It is hard to fathom that a nation dominated by Christianity would have high persecution, but we know the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), and thus works hard to disempower Christians in Mexico. Almighty God, we first pray against organized corruption and crime in Mexico, which greatly affects the entire nation, including all Christian groups. We specifically pray for those believers who work toward community transformation and thus pose a threat to criminal groups, including drug cartels. Continue to give these believers courage and effectiveness as they bring freedom, hope and light to their communities. Next, we pray against ethnic antagonism, which affects people who convert from indigenous beliefs or mainline denominations. Help these Christ-followers remain true to what they believe, and to find the support they need from within the body of Christ in order to stand strong. Finally, we pray about the denominational protectionism that keeps Christians from supporting each other in Mexico. May your children in Mexico major on the majors and minor on the minors when it comes to their theological distinctives. May they focus on spurring each other on toward intimacy with you and good deeds. In Jesus’ powerful name we pray, amen.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Prayer about rampant sexual assaults uncovered in remote Norway
Photo: Franz Aberham/Getty Images
Lord, today we pray about the 150 cases of alleged sexual assault that have been uncovered in the remote community of Tysfjord, Norway. Lord, we are thankful that this decades-long tragedy has come to light. We give thanks that people in this isolated minority group are finding the courage to speak out. We pray that the culture of sexual assault would end as a result of this revelation and investigation. May the perpetrators of these acts repent and come to justice, and may the healing of this community begin. We pray that the entire investigation would be handled both with extreme sensitivity and tremendous effectiveness. Knowing how deeply sexual assault victims are affected, we pray for patience, courage, wisdom and grace in working with those who are coming forward. Knowing how sensitive the cultural issues and interaction has been between ethnic Sami and mainline Norwegians, we pray for the authorities to build trust, tread carefully, and build a long-term rapport that will benefit all involved. We pray for both victims and perpetrators to come forward to share their stories so reparation can begin. We pray that the fierce family and community ties will be able to not only withstand this trial, but be deepened and redeemed. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Prayer about World Central Kitchen's ongoing efforts in Puerto Rico
Photo: José Andrés / Facebook
Lord, today we take a moment to again remember Puerto Rico in our prayers. In the midst of other tragedies, such as the horrific terrorist attack in Egypt, we want to persevere in prayer for those rebuilding after 2017’s difficult storm season. Today we are especially thankful for World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that has recently decided to focus great effort in Puerto Rico. First, we thank you for their good work. We are grateful for the three million meals they have served to those in need within the last several weeks. We are thankful this organization has a vision for a longer-term effort, as the most urgent needs are lessening. We know it is a long road for Puerto Rico. Please bless World Central Kitchens efforts to continue feeding those in most desperate need, as well as restoring the agricultural industry. Continue to give them vision, wisdom, resources and enthusiasm. We pray that other nonprofits will also continue helping places like Puerto Rico, Texas, the Bahamas, and other areas that were hit during the hurricane season. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Prayer for Djibouti - #40 on the World Watch List for persecution 
Photo credit: Giacomo Pirozzi/Panos Pictures
Lord, today we pray for Djibouti, which is #40 on the World Watch List for persecution. Even though persecution is considered “high” in Djibouti, we give thanks for many positive things. We are thankful that Christianity has existed in Djibouti for centuries. We celebrate that the Djiboutian government supports Western efforts to fight Islamic militancy, despite Islam being the state religion. We appreciate the government’s openness to people from other cultures and religions settling in Djibouti and contributing value to the nation, in the form of education, labor and more. Lord, we do pray for the Christians in Djibouti who feel constricted by the Islamic culture surrounding them, that they might trust and thrive in you, and for them to be able to forgive when they are denied opportunities due to their Christian faith. Please provide for them. We pray for Djibouti to avoid radicalization and to be a positive influence on neighboring volatile nations like Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen. Bless the nation of Djibouti today. May your light shine in Djibouti. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Prayer about suicide bombing in Mubi, Nigeria  Photo credit: VOA
Lord, today we pray for those recovering from yesterday’s suicide bombing in Mubi, Nigeria. With 50 deaths already resulting from this terrorist attack, we pray that those fighting grave injuries will not join that number. We pray for all those recovering, that they would receive quality medical care, and that loved ones would provide them encouragement, emotional support, and practical help. Lord, we pray against the evil efforts of Boko Haram, credited with this deadly incident. We are disgusted by their recent lethal, “hot streak” of attacks. We are appalled that this group trains teens to kill themselves in the process of killing others, as happened yesterday in Mubi. We pray for the Nigerian government to track down and thwart these terrorists. May young people in this region see them for what they are and completely resist being ensnared in their false teaching and brutal terrorism. May Boko Haram become a small blip in history. Lord, we pray against Boko Haram in Jesus’ name, amen.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Prayer for missing Argentine submarine   Photo by Argentine Armada/EPA
Lord, today we pray for the Argentine submarine ARA San Juan, which has been missing since Wednesday. We are thankful for the seven signal pings received this weekend, which provide hope that the sub is trying to connect with others and thus that the crew may be rescued in time. Lord, we pray for the ARA San Juan crew as they find themselves in this terrifying scenario. Give them peace and hope. May they stay calm and remain productive, rather than allowing fear to cause any problems among them. Give them clear thinking, astute leadership, wise use of resources, ingenuity and anything else they need. We do pray that your followers among the crew will be special purveyors of hope and light during this time. We are thankful the British Royal Navy, US Navy and NASA have provided help for this search. Please bless their efforts so this vessel may be found and the crew safely returned home. The ocean is overwhelmingly large, but we know you can hold the waters of the earth in your hand (Isaiah 40:12). Please bring this crew home. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Prayer for Turkey - #37 on the World Watch List for persecution
Lord, today we pray for Turkey, where the persecution of Christians—particularly those converted from Muslim backgrounds—is increasing rapidly. Lord, we pray for the Turkish people to realize that national pride does not need to be tied to Islam and that Christian citizens contribute great value to the nation. We pray against Islamic extremism, and that it would be recognized for what it is: a path to terrorism. Heavenly Father, we thank you for the victory in Bursa, where the only church in the city, French Church Cultural Center, was allowed to remain open after being initially told to vacate in a matter of days. We pray that believers would be allowed to freely worship here, and that other churches would ultimately open in Bursa and throughout Turkey. Lord, we pray for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today, that he would have wisdom in how to maintain religious freedom in his nation so that Turkey can thrive. We also pray for your children throughout this land, that they would find courage, grace and hope in you each day. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Prayer for Museum of the Bible as it opens
Lord, today we pray for the Museum of the Bible, opening November 17 in Washington DC. We are excited about this opportunity for people from all walks of life to engage with your Word. We pray for efficiency of operations as this massive museum opens its doors for the first time this weekend, anticipating very large crowds. May those who manage trouble-shoot well, adapt, and stay cool under pressure. We pray for technology, lines, etc., to run smoothly. We would like as many people as possible to have the opportunity to visit this place and to have positive experiences. May guests treat each other and staff with grace and dignity. Of course, our biggest concern is that you are glorified in this place. May your followers fall more deeply in love with you and your Word, and may those who do not know you grow to better understand the Bible and find themselves open to your working in their lives. May the Museum of the Bible be a place of learning, hope, encouragement and answers. Meet with people in this place as they are exposed to your living, active Word. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Prayer about earthquake along Iraq-Iran border  Photo credit: EPA
Lord, today we pray for Iraq and Iran as they recover from 2017’s worst earthquake, which hit them yesterday. With hundreds dead and thousands injured, the grief is overwhelming in these nations. Bring your peace to people searching for survivors. Help them focus and endure; strengthen them physically and emotionally; give them success in rescuing survivors. We pray for the injured. May they get good help quickly. May qualified medical personnel reach the areas of need as quickly as possible. We pray for the people without shelter and electricity. Keep them warm. Help aid arrive efficiently. And we pray for those who represent you among the aid and medical workers, rescuers, and wounded. May they spread your love and hope to each person whose life they touch as these nations mend. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Prayer for Algeria - #36 on the World Watch List for persecution
Lord, today we pray for Algeria, which has been a constant on the World Watch List for persecution through the years. What notoriety! Lord, first we thank you that there are some churches that are allowed to operate without government interference. We pray that these churches would share your truth and hope without fear and with continued protection. May people worship you freely and enthusiastically in these places. Second, we pray for laws to improve for the sake of religious liberty. May the Algerian government realize that freedom will help its land grow and flourish, and its people reach fuller potential. We pray against the Islamic extremism that thrives in this land, including the notorious al-Qaeda. Please thwart terrorists' efforts and bring the wickedness of their purposes to light, that others might not join, even if the groups seem to offer benefits they cannot refuse. We also pray against terror within homes, knowing that almost every Christian in this land has converted from Islam, which often comes at a terrible price (yet an even greater reward). May family members respect and support each other. May those who turn to you serve as beacons of your light in dark homes and workplaces. Finally, we pray for Slimani Bouhafs, who has been sentenced to five years in prison for posting about you on Facebook. We pray for true justice and mercy within the legal system, and for Bouhafs to not have to serve these five years. Please protect his health and heart during any time he does serve. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Addressing prayer shaming

As fellow sojourners who believe in the power of prayer, I think you will appreciate this short piece on prayer shaming -- the practice of denigrating those who pray in response to tragedy.

Lord, we praise you for being the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are thankful to know that our prayers are in obedience to you and honor you. They invite you to magnify yourself on earth. Help us to continue to pray even when others doubt or taunt our efforts. May we exercise grace toward those who doubt, and may we share the right words in the right timing, as your Word exhorts us to do (1 Peter 3:15). We believe in you, and we are thankful we can approach your throne of grace with confidence. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Prayer about 26 teen girls found dead in the Mediterranean
Lord, today we pray for truth to come out about the 26 teen-aged girls who were found dead at sea yesterday. The circumstances are certainly suspicious, with a flimsy boat transporting almost all young female migrants. We pray for the survivors of this tragedy, who are dealing with great trauma. Help them to find safe places to stay and the necessary resources to recover from their experiences. We pray for them to find the most lasting of all comfort in you. We do pray for the broader issues of migrants perishing while crossing the Mediterranean, as well as the extensive human trafficking that moves through Libya. We are thankful for Italy’s willingness to train Libyans to prevent the problem of human trafficking. May the training be applied, so human trafficking can be easily identified and prevented in this North African nation. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Prayer for Tajikistan - #35 on the World Watch List for persecution

Read more about these stories here:
Heavenly Father, today we pray for Tajikistan, which is #35 on the World Watch List for persecution. We pray against religious extremism, which is leading to persecution in private, national and church spheres. We pray particularly for families in which family members follow different faiths. Lord, may the love between these family members overcome the societal pressures against Christianity. In other words, may relatives allow each other to worship freely, rather than harming each other in the name of religion. Lord, we also pray for the Christian camps in Tajikistan. We are saddened that they cannot operate freely and can be legally penalized for sharing you with children. Give the leaders of these ministries wisdom and perseverance. We pray the authorities will recognize the good things that result from these programs, and that they would also develop a firm conviction in the value of religious liberty. Finally, we pray today for Pastor Bahrom Holmatov, who has been sentenced to three years in prison for his faith. Please bless his testimony while he is in prison (and always), and please sustain his family as they operate without his presence in their daily lives. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.