7 Days of Prayer: Sunday, 31 December 2023

By Justin Long

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Join us in beseeching (δέομαι) the Lord of the Harvest this week for…

1. On this New Year’s Eve, we pray the prayer of Jesus in Matthew 9:36-38: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, the harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” We pray  2024 will be a year in which many more workers will move into the harvest fields of the unreached. Many Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Sikhs, even agnostics and atheists are spiritually hungry. They seek the Way, the Truth, the Life. God is calling hearts with dreams and visions of Jesus, and using the trials and tribulations of this sinful world to shake people out of the spiritual slumber. Let us pray for more workers to reach out to these spiritually destitute and starving.

2. On this New Year’s Day, we pray for the many who are enduring the shaking of  war in Sudan, Israel/Gaza, Ukraine, DR Congo, the Sahel, Myanmar, and elsewhere. They endure a nightmare of displacement, abuse, genocide and massacres—traumas that have sown seeds that will be reaped over generations. We pray for an end to the violence, and for peace. We pray for the healing of the physically, emotionally, and spiritually wounded. We pray for the justice, grace and reconciliation that God will bring. We pray for churches, believes, and workers who will be a blessing to the wounded, their families, and their futures. We pray that in the midst of the wars and rumors of wars, the kingdom will be proclaimed to the nations (Matthew 24).

3. We pray for the families of the Christmas massacre in Nigeria. Suspected Fulani militants attacked 20+ villages over 7 hours, burning homes and killing just under or around 200 people (Release International, CNA, Persecution.org, CT). It appears that those killed were Christians; Muslims apparently were left alone. We pray for those who have endured this traumatic event; for the Nigerian churches to be a blessing and help to them; for justice to be done and those who perpetrated the attacks to be detained; and for the Kingdom of God to spread in the region. We pray for the Gospel to spread among the Fulani, and “for many Sauls to become Pauls.”

4. We pray today especially for China, once the world’s most populous nation and now 2nd most, where many hundreds of millions are out of reach of the Gospel. The spiritual field of this great country has been made more difficult to reach in the last few years, as China seemed to wall itself off. There appear to be some changes in this trend of isolation; one example is Beijing’s professed plan to invite 50,000 young Americans to China for exchanges and studies in the next five years. Another is the simplification of visa applications for Americans (link). We pray that similar easing of restrictions between China and other nations will also follow suit – and that from all over the world, workers will come and partner with and serve the Chinese church in a wide work spreading the Kingdom.

5. We pray today especially for India, which claimed the crown as the world’s most populous country from China, and where likewise hundreds of millions of people are out of Gospel reach. India is experiencing waves of nationalism and religious conflict. The most public example is the widespread campaign to demolish mosques and expel Muslims (see this Economist analysis as a case study). The religious conflict is touching Christians too; there is widespread persecution, mob attacks, arrests, and the like. This is not new, but it has intensified. Nevertheless at the same time there has been much recent Gospel advance—including spiritual fruit reported by DMM approaches and traditional mainstream church approaches. We pray for the endurance, boldness, and discernment of the church in outreach this year, and for continued growth even in fields that seem spiritually dark.

6. We are thankful for the many underground schools seeking to continue the education of women in Afghanistan in spite of restrictions from the Taliban. We pray likewise for the many underground churches in Afghanistan that seek to spread the Kingdom. The last few years have been a time of great turmoil and hardship in that nation. While many sit in great darkness, however, in many places light has dawned. We pray for the boldness of underground believers. We also pray for the diaspora outside of Afghanistan, that they will feel a spiritual emptiness and hunger, and that they will encounter believers.

7. We pray for the spiritual transformation of Turkey. This ancient nation was the home of the earliest church, the home of Christian rulers, and now of course a significant center and force for Islam. Yet today it is also a connector, transit route, and gateway between Europe and Asia. Spiritual centers in Turkey along the routes could impact not just the various peoples of Turkey, but also all those passing in between. We pray for the Kingdom of God in Turkey to grow and spread, especially into the less-reached East. Like China, Turkey is lifting visa requirements for many nations (incl. USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE—see link).

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Where do these prayer requests come from? 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. It is based on the events listed in my Weekly Roundup, as well as on information received from disciple-making movements and other sources around the world. If you’re interested in my Weekly Roundup (out each Friday), you can see a sample and sign up for it here.

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