Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Prayer for Kabul after explosion     Photo credit: Omar Sobhani/Reuters
Lord, today we are devastated by the atrocious terrorist attack that took place this morning in Kabul, Afghanistan. At least 90 people dead and hundreds more injured… Lord, please bring deep consolation and peace into this reeling city. Send your Holy Spirit to bring comfort into hearts overwhelmed by grief and minds paralyzed by shock and fear. Lord, be with the volunteers and emergency responders who are still removing and identifying bodies. Give them strength, courage, resolve, and efficiency. Protect their minds and hearts from trauma and their bodies from injury. We pray for hospital workers of all kinds as they attempt to do as much good as possible in the midst of absolutely overwhelmed facilities. Send qualified volunteers and blood donors to help. We pray for government and law enforcement officials to quickly ascertain how this large of an explosive device could have made it into what is supposedly the safest part of the city. May they uncover the truth and bring the perpetrators to justice. Finally, we pray for the wounded—those directly impacted physically, mentally and emotionally. Guide them to the assistance they need. Motivate special care, generosity and compassion as people serve and reach out to these hurting hundreds. May your light shine in this dark place, bringing hope despite the pain. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Prayer for Manchester's continued healing as the city moves forward
Photo credit: Getty Images
Lord, today we pray for Manchester as the city attempts to return to a semblance of normalcy. With the Victoria railway station reopened today, people will attempt to continue life as usual, over a week after the tragic terrorist attack that killed 22 precious individuals. Thank you for the powerful time of paying tribute last night, with hundreds contemplating the loss of life in this place. Lord, we do not want to forget what happened at Manchester Arena. We want to remember those whose lives were cut short, and we want this act of hatred and violence to motivate us toward personal peace and kindness. May our hearts not become bitter or callous, but may our resolve to make a positive difference in the world grow ever stronger. We also ask your blessing on British officials and Manchester police as they continue to unravel the puzzle of how this attack was able to succeed. Finally, we continue to pray for those traumatized by the May 22 attack. Please bring healing into their lives on every level. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Prayer for Eritrea - #10 on the World Watch List for persecution
Lord, today we pray for Eritrea, where the authoritarian regime attempts to control all religious institutions. Lord, we pray for President Isaias Afwerki and his government, that they would seek the best of the nation and not feel unnecessarily threatened by free speech or freedom of religion. May they lead their country with wisdom, grace and generosity. Lord, we also pray for the Eritrean Orthodox Church (EOC). May your Spirit sweep through this denomination and bring revival. We pray for EOC leaders to allow their congregants to follow you in other churches if needed, including evangelical or Pentecostal ones. May these denominations recognize the value in working together in a nation where Christians suffer, rather than persecuting their brothers and sisters who worship in different ways. Now, Lord, we pray about the dramatic mistreatment Christians often face in Eritrea. We grieve the ten-year imprisonment of the EOC's Patriarch. We mourn the deaths of those Christians who died after being locked in shipping containers. Lord, may the world's awareness of these disgraces compel the government and other leaders to allow Eritreans to worship you freely. In the midst of all of this, give your children hope, and grant them effectiveness in sharing that hope with others each day. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Prayer for Yemen - #9 on the World Watch List for persecution

These nuns were shot at the home for senior adults where they serve.
Lord, today we pray for Yemen in the midst of its war, humanitarian crisis, and food instability. Lord, the needs in this suffering nation are great. Please motivate organizations and nations to provide humanitarian assistance in the most effective means possible. Lord, we also pray for the believers there, who often live in intense fear due to threats from Islamic extremist groups. Give them peace. Protect them. Give them vivid eternal perspective. Lord, we pray for them as they are most at risk of not receiving food due to prejudice against them. Go before them, giving them favor in the eyes of those who distribute food, so that they will receive their share. Lord, we are thrilled that Christianity continues to grow—even at a record pace—despite the persecution and suffering of believers. We know your light shines brightly in the darkness. Continue to glorify yourself in Yemen. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Prayer about flash flooding in Kenya
Photo credit: MARTIN FUNDI

Lord, today we pray for Kenya, where the people have experienced the double-edged sword of drought paired with flash flooding. What an ironic trial, Lord, to need rain so desperately, but then to receive it too quickly for the land to absorb it! Please lift Kenyans’ spirits, Lord, as they face this irony. Help them focus on the positive in the midst of the challenges. On a very practical level, Lord, we are asking for Kenyans’ safety and provision. Please guide people in making wise choices as they face the flash floods. May they not risk their well-being for possessions or take unnecessary risks. We pray for those whose homes have been lost or damaged, that you would provide safe shelter and the means to find a new home when the time is right. We ask blessing for those who are hosting the displaced. Give them your peace, and may everyone get along in close quarters under sometimes intense emotions. And, Lord, may Kenyans rebuild and return to regular life quickly and effectively. Above all, of course, glorify yourself in the midst of this situation. May your children be among the very best in reaching out to those in need. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Prayer for Iran - #8 on the World Watch List for persecution
Photo credit: AP Images/Mehr News Agency, Mohammad Hadi Khosravi
Lord, today we pray for Iran and the several types of Christian groups who face persecution there. First, Lord, we pray for the historically Christian Armenian and Assyrian Christians. We are thankful they are protected by law, but grieved they are treated as second class citizens. May their identity as your treasured children far outweigh any second-class treatment they receive as they go about their daily lives. Next, we pray for communities comprised of Asian and Western Christian expatriates. Please protect them and their churches. May the government feel no desire to interfere with these non-citizens as they seek to follow Jesus in Iran. Third, we pray for Protestant Christian communities that attempt to share you with their Muslim friends and coworkers. Please bless them for their courage, Lord. They know they risk their safety and well-being, but their desire to share the hope of eternity with others compels them. May people come to you through them. Please protect them from the perils of persecution. Fourth, Heavenly Father, we pray for the largest segment of the Christian population in Iran: those who have turned away from Islam to follow you. Lord, you see the severe mistreatment and abuse they experience. You see what is taken from them, including family, other loved ones, and sometimes their very lives. Please protect them, shore up their courage, and give them supernatural strength to endure and radiate your light even in their darkest hours. Finally, Lord, we pray for a fundamental shift in Iranians' outlook. May they observe and believe that Christianity is not a threat, but rather a great benefit to their land. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Prayer for Iraq - #7 on the World Watch List for persecution
Heavenly Father, today we pray for Iraqi Christians. The world has watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled their homes or died for their faith over the past decade. A nation where Christians have lived for thousands of years is wiping out its Christian population, in large part due to ISIS and other Islamic oppressors. Lord, just thinking about ISIS deflates our spirits. What an evil, destructive organization! Lord, impede them on every side. We specifically ask that their work in Iraq weaken and fade away. Please take radical measures to remove the blinders from members’ eyes, so they realize that they are not experiencing power, but embodying evil and leaving marks on history that will bring great shame forever. Convict them to cease their wicked ways. And, Lord, please sustain your remnant in Iraq. Be their shield and rear guard. Feed them from your Word AND make sure they get enough food. May they build lives through which they can serve and love and represent you well, despite the persecution they face. In Jesus’ merciful name we pray, amen.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Prayer for Syria - #6 on the World Watch List for persecution
Lord, today our thoughts and prayers turn toward our brothers and sisters in Syria. Almost the whole world is well aware of the civil war in Syria. We are grieved over the death and destruction that have plagued this land for years. Today we pray specifically for believers in Syria. So many have already been killed. So many have been chased from their homes or felt the need to flee. Lord, be with those who are scattered abroad now, many still seeking places to settle. Meet their needs, give them peace, help them feel hope each day. Now, Lord, we pray for those Christ-followers who remain in Syria. Heavenly Father, we know their concentration in strategic areas makes them vulnerable to attack. Please protect them. Lord, give them courage as they live in a war-torn country. May they band together to support, encourage, and provide for each other. And, Lord, in the midst of the constant trials of current life in Syria, may they shine brightly for you, bringing peace in the midst of war, hope in the midst of destruction, Christlikeness toward neighbors while others seek only self-preservation. Please make your work and character evident in this shattered land. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Prayer about the murder of Miriam Rodriguez
Lord, today we pray about the murder of Miriam Rodriguez, killed in her own San Fernando home on Mexican Mother's Day. Lord, we admire how Rodriguez stood up to the Mexican drug cartel and tirelessly investigated her daughter's murder until she found her body in an unmarked grave two years later. Heavenly Father, the terroristic tactics of the drug cartels are frustrating beyond words. We pray that this silencing of Rodriguez will not intimidate others into remaining quiet when they need to speak out. We pray Rodriguez's organization, Citizen Community in Search of the Disappeared, will continue its good work. We pray for healing and peace for Rodriguez's loved ones. May they be proud of her legacy and continue to work for truth, justice and security in their communities and beyond. We seek your mercy as we pray. Amen.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Prayer for Sudan - #5 on the World Watch List for persecution
Lord, today we pray for Sudan, where the systemic persecution of Christians is reminiscent of ethnic cleansing. Lord, we pray for Sudanese leaders, that they would recognize the value of freedom of speech, religion and more. May they look out for the true good of their people. We pray against the arrests, attacks and murders that Christian communities have been unable to avoid. We pray for unity in Sudan, that its people might recognize the value of looking out for each other, rather than pitting Muslim against Christian and Arab against ethnic African. Lord, we pray especially fervently for your bold followers who are risking everything to share you with others. Keep your hand of protection on them, and may they see fruit in their labors. May people choose to follow you as the result of their testimony. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Prayer for Pakistan - #4 on the World Watch List for persecution
Lord, today we pray against persecution in Pakistan. Lord, we are thankful for those historical Christian communities that are allowed to exist. We pray that they would thrive and grow, rather than languish under the added rules and monitoring they experience. We pray for those Protestant Christian communities that experience regular attacks, that you would protect and strengthen them, and that people would grow weary of viewing your followers with suspicion. Lord, we pray for women in Pakistan, especially the Christian women who are targeted for forced marriage, rape and/or abduction. Lord, we pray for the elevation of women in that country--that Pakistanis would realize the precious value of both women and men, so they would not desire to mistreat those made in your image. We pray for helpful resources and provision for women who have already been victimized. We specifically ask your blessing on Open Doors as they provide trauma counseling and do women's ministry. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Prayer for Afghanistan - #3 on the World Watch List for persecution
Lord, today we turn our thoughts and prayers toward Afghanistan, where society agrees that no one can convert from Islam. Lord, it is absolutely heartbreaking to know that people are murdered, declared insane, or--at minimum--all their worldly possessions are confiscated upon the slightest hint of conversion to Christianity. Lord, be with your children in Afghanistan, who are so afraid to speak of you. Help them find fellowship, as well as resources to grow. Lord, we pray for miracles to happen in Jesus' name in Afghanistan, so people cannot deny your power. We pray that some of those miracles would include saving your children from harm. We pray for those who die for their beliefs to die with courage and faith, and for their testimony to draw people to you. We pray for those left behind--that you would provide for them spiritually, emotionally and physically. Again, we ask for miracles in Afghanistan, so this culture may turn from hating Christianity to considering it. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Prayer for Somalia - #2 on the World Watch List for persecution

Google images for "Christians in Somalia" and the first images that come up are some of the most disturbing you've ever seen.
Lord, today we pray for Somalia, which Open Doors deems the second-worst place in the world to be a Christian. Lord, this is a land where we need miracles. With absolutely no legal rights, your children are completely dependent upon you as their sword and shield. Lord, please do not disappoint these secret Christ-followers. Give them your peace that passes understanding, even though the most important part of their identity needs to remain secret at the very real risk of life and livelihood. We pray for your disciples to have great wisdom as they seek to share you with the hopeless around them. Help them to know when to speak and when to remain silent. Woo Somalis, and give them courage to ask questions of those they suspect as your followers, so that they may find answers. We pray for Somalis to find access to Scripture, for the purposes of both coming to know you and growing closer to you. We pray against the work of Al-Shabaab and other Islamic militant groups in this land, that participants would recognize the emptiness in violence and long for Someone who truly satisfies. Lord, we pray for this land, simultaneously beautiful and barren. Work in Somalia today, Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Prayer for North Korea - #1 on the World Watch List for persecution

Today I begin a series of prayers for those nations on the 2017 World Watch List for persecution. You may find a copy of the list here: Let us fervently and faithfully pray for our suffering brothers and sisters around the world!
Lord, today we pray for the nation ranked as the absolute worst in the world for your followers: North Korea. Heavenly Father, for those of us who worship in ease, it is hard to comprehend needing to pray with our eyes open so no one will suspect we worship the One True God. It is overwhelming to consider that friend, neighbor, stranger, government official or even a spouse or child could betray us to the dictatorial government, which would arrest, imprison, torture and possibly kill us for choosing Jesus, the Hope of the World. Lord, today we lift up our Christian brothers and sisters who are languishing in North Korean prisoners. Give them the strong sense that they are not alone, nor forgotten. May your Spirit comfort them in deep, burning ways, so they are strengthened within their cores to trust you in all circumstances. Give your North Korean children peace and hope in stark contrast to their daily oppression. And may their testimonies draw more people to you each day, even though the earthly cost of following you is so high. We pray for covert believers who are “free” from prison but shackled by secrecy. Lead them to opportunities to grow and experience fellowship. May they know when to speak and when to remain silent. And, Lord, we pray for the North Korean government to realize the truth found in your Word, so North Koreans may live freely and abundantly in you if they so choose. We plead in Jesus’ name, amen.