Sunday, 13 August 2023

By Justin Long

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

1. We thank God for the relative peace (so far) in Niger, despite the coup, and praying for the peaceful resolution of the coup. Some reports indicate those who live in Niamey, the capital, do not favor the return of the former president; but they represent less than a fifth of the overall population. The coup leaders have been digging in and entrenching their power. Whatever government is established, pray for the true King of Kings of Niger to be revealed. There are a number of Frontier People Groups (<0.1% Christian) in the country, with the Tuareg and Fulani being the largest among them. Pray for efforts to spread the Gospel among the unreached of Niger. 

2. Continue to pray for efforts on the part of believers to minister to the refugees fleeing the war in Sudan. Over 4 million have been displaced, mainly across the borders to the neighboring countries of Egypt and Chad (with others going to S Sudan and elsewhere). Violence and devastation of all sorts has touched virtually every person in Sudan, and those in the refugee camps have suffered severe trauma. While it is nearly impossible for aid agencies to work inside Sudan, many ministries are trying to help the refugees. Pray for more teams, workers, resources, and networks for this effort.

3. Pray for discernment for believers in the midst of new open doors in Saudi Arabia. The nation is trying to refurbish its identity by playing peacemaker in Ukraine and Sudan, investing hundreds of millions in sports, and seeking to open doors for investment, business, and tourism. This latter has led to a surge in evangelical Christian tourism as people want to visit the alleged site of Mount Sinai inside Saudi territory. All of this is making the country easier than ever to enter, so pray for wisdom and discernment on the part of those who do, and on those who have been there a long time and now see the situation changing.

4. Pray again for peace in Ethiopia. Violent clashes between the national army and the Amhara (97% Christian) have been escalating. At the same time, the World Food Program has been slowly resuming food aid to Ethiopia. In this national context of uncertainty and need, many ministries are laboring amongst far less-Christian, less-reached peoples. Pray for wisdom and protection for their work.

5. Pray for believers being persecuted in India. While Hindu vs. Muslim violence generally, and the Manipur Muslim vs. Christian violence in particular, gets a lot of headlines, there are daily incidents where believers are attacked by violent mobs. They usually have very little recourse. Pray that believers will be able to forgive, that attackers’ hearts will be softened and they will come to the truth, and that the Gospel will spread despite this persecution.

6. Pray for believers to find innovative ways to access China. Over the past several years, between pandemic response and resurgent nationalism, the borders of China have become harder to cross. Many agencies have found their workers without access. Now, with a sputtering economy, there are a few signs that China may, in certain instances, loosen its grip to encourage “the free flow of investment and information.” At the same time, the government is encouraging many college students to look for jobs in rural areas, and many college graduates are returning home to the countryside. Each of these are small indicators of openings into the country, and flows within the country. Pray for more laborers for the harvest–both cross-cultural and internal to China.

7. Pray for churches and church leaders in Japan. Every country in Eastern Asia is in the midst of a severe downturn in the birth rate, and the societal leaders are aging. Few young people want to take their place–whether at the head of businesses or churches. Churches in Japan know that in the next two decades they will face severe challenges in finding successors and new leadership. Ask God for wisdom for churches in Japan–and indeed, throughout East Asia–in this struggle.

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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.

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