By Justin Long
Join us in beseeching (δέομαι) the Lord of the Harvest this week for…
1. We pray for those caught up in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. The hospital much in the news last week was operated by Christians (founded by Anglicans, run at one time by Southern Baptists, and presently under Anglicans again—additionally, the initial report of 500 casualties appears to have been inflated; it’s possibly more like 100 to 300). Additionally, someone’s strike seems to have hit a church Thursday night, killing some. This reminds us: whatever we think of the Israel-Hamas conflict, there are local believers, Kingdom workers, and spiritually hungry yet lost people in the “grass” as the “elephants tussle.” Less reported (partially due to sensitivity issues) are the many long-term Kingdom works in the area. We are thankful that at least some aid is being allowed into the area. We do pray for justice and peace; also, this week, let’s be praying for those who are trying to be a blessing, for those who need to be blessed, for those who are suffering in the midst of the conflict.
2. We pray for many to turn to Jesus because of the wars that are presently being fought. In the past, many – especially radical militants – have become disillusioned with violence, and have left their religions. Some have come to follow Jesus with great fervor, and have brought many others to do so as well. Think of Mark 12:34, when Jesus told a scribe, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” God’s heart is that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Let’s be praying many of these now involved in violence will soon come to follow the Prince of Peace.
3. We pray the wars will not spread. The possibility of a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in the north, widening with the potential involvement of other regional players and drawing the United States in, is, I confess, rather frightening. It is not improbable. Likewise, the war in Sudan could spill over its borders. While we pray for justice, let us also pray for peace and for the spread of fighting to be restrained.
4. We pray for the many who have been orphaned by the wars–especially, this week, for the thousands in Nigeria who have been displaced and orphaned by the conflict with Boko Haram (read their story). “They found homes under bridges and… in incomplete buildings… scavenging plastic bottles to sell for cash… many fall through the cracks.” Pray for workers who will focus on reaching these young ones.
5. We pray for the many in diaspora communities that are being affected by the conflicts in Africa and Israel. An article in Turkey Recap asks, “What comes next for Hamas members in Turkey,” and while it’s mostly about whether Turkey should harbor Hamas leaders, it also reminds us that there are people in various countries (like the western suburbs of Istanbul) who have very close ties to Afghanistan, Egypt, Israel, Sudan, and the like. They are keenly concerned with what happens to their families back home. Pray for these, and pray for believers to intersect their lives and be a blessing to them, perhaps by “weeping with those who weep.”
6. We pray again for the more than 40,000 Afghanis who have been affected by a series of earthquakes. Thousands are dead, thousands more injured, whole families have been lost, and many homes have been destroyed. We praise God that some nations are sending aid, and pray that more aid and kingdom workers will be able to be sent.
7. We pray for the Tibetans. China is moving to ban the teaching of the Tibetan language (RFA). The loss of the language could lead to the loss of Tibetan culture. As with the Uighurs last week, we pray for an end to the suppression of the Tibetan people. We also pray for a movement to Christ among the Tibetan peoples that would honor their heritage and values while calling people to earnestly follow Jesus.
This is a weekly guide to beseeching (δέομαι/deomai, Matthew 9) the Lord of the Harvest for the unreached peoples and places of the world. Written by Justin Long, it’s based on the events listed in his Weekly Roundup, as well as on information received from disciple-making movements and other sources around the world. If you’re interested in his Weekly Roundup (out each Friday), you can see a sample and sign up for it here.