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Middle East Call To Prayer

How did the area of the world known as the birthplace of civilization and later Christianity become a place so hostile to the followers of Jesus? Explore some of the history of Christianity in the Middle East, the current decline in Christian population and the glimmers of hope that are visible if you know where to look. And as you study the scenario from a spiritual perspective, use the prayer ideas to guide you as you talk to God about the Middle East.
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Devotional: Explore Your World
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<p><a href="https://missionexus.org/middle-east-call-to-prayer/"><strong>Middle East Call To Prayer</strong></a><br />How did the area of the world known as the birthplace of civilization and later Christianity become a place so hostile to the followers of Jesus? Explore some of the history of Christianity in the Middle East, the current decline in Christian population and the glimmers of hope that are visible if you know where to look. And as you study the scenario from a spiritual perspective, use the prayer ideas to guide you as you talk to God about the Middle East.</p>

Personal Reflection
Imagine being a misunderstood and mistreated minority. Imagine living every day within earshot of a mosque and the regular calls to prayer. What would it be like to be a believer in that setting? What would it take to reach out to those around you when persecution is such a common part of life? These are the realities in the Middle East. Consider what you see in the media through this lens. Then ask God to guide your prayers for the Middle East as a whole and the believers who live there in particular. So many times we want to “fix it” but with challenges this big, have you considered focusing your time on prayer for the persecuted? Well, you have a unique opportunity in the coming weeks. November 2nd and 9th are the two days set aside as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Please visit www.idop.org for more details.

Engaging the Church
Every church prays as a body. You also are continually reminding those in the congregation to make prayer a priority. But it is tough in a busy world to break through the clutter and pray. Sometimes it takes dramatic situations to mobilize people for prayer. The situation facing the Middle East as a whole and Middle Eastern Christians particularly is one of the moments that could mobilize your church to prayer. How can you present the need in a holistic way throughout your congregation? Consider asking the youth group to lead out in prayer with some times of prayer during their meetings and in the weekly service. Ask small groups to dedicate weekly time to pray for the Middle East. Consider how you might utilize the www.idop.org International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church as a momentum builder. If you have a church email list, consider sending out sample prayers and key prayer points to help your congregation pray for the millions that don’t know Jesus and the small remnant that represent Him.

Organizational Application
For those of you working in ministries who serve in the Middle East, what role does prayer have in your efforts? So many times it can be tricky because the details cannot be shared with others. You have praise reports or serious prayer requests but are unable to give out the information widely. Don’t let the security concerns keep you from finding creative ways to call believers globally to prayer. What imagery or ideas could you use to focus people’s attention? How can you guide people’s prayers to focus on more than what is in the news? What are the opportunities and signs of God’s Spirit moving that you can share? How can you be part of communicating to the believers in the Middle East that millions are praying for them? What is your role as a conduit between the global Church and the Middle Eastern Church?

Good information is key for any individual or ministry. For more insights look at missiographics.com.

Sources

1 Mandryk, Jason, Operation World 2010, p. 803
2 Mandryk, Jason, Operation World 2010, p. 315
3 Mandryk, Jason, Operation World 2010, p. 313
4 Mandryk, Jason, Operation World 2010, p. 830
5 Mandryk, Jason, Operation World 2010, p. 528
6 Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2014. Based on Pew Research Center World Religion Database. Estimates for 1900 populations based on existing borders in cases where the country or territory didn’t exist in its current form.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/on-middle-east-visit-pope-will-find-a-diminished-christian-population

-1400795635

7 Mandryk, Jason, Operation World 2010, p. 132
8 Pew Research Center’s Global Christianity report (2010)
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/05/19/middle-easts-christian-population-in-flux-as-pope-francis

-visits-holy-land/
Based on Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Syria.

9 Pew Research Center’s Global Christianity report (2010)
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/05/19/middle-easts-christian-population-in-flux-as-pope-francis

-visits-holy-land/
Based on Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Syria.
Note that Orthodox includes Coptic Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and other Orthodox strands.

Evangelicals are included within Protestant in this data.

10 World Watch List 2014, Open Doors http://www.worldwatchlist.us/
11 Pew Research Center, June 2013, Arab Spring Adds to Global Restrictions on Religion. Restrictions as of December 2011.

http://www.pewforum.org/2013/06/20/arab-spring-restrictions-on-religion-sidebar1/

12 Garrison, David, A Wind in the House of Islam (WIGTake Resources, LLC, 2014).
13 Global Media Outreach
http://gmo.globalmediaoutreach.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/2013-annual-report.pdf
Note that accurate counts of Christian populations in the Middle East are elusive. A study by Markus Tozman for World Watch list notes the political difficulty in accurate counts. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/how.many.christians.are.in.the.middle.east.reliable.numbers.are

.elusive/33519.htm

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