In our monthly Prayer Guide we include urgent prayers for countries that fall within the Interserve "footprint". Although we do not post the entire Prayer Guide online, we post these Country Prayers in the hope that it will encourage you to keep these nations and issues in prayer.
Read archived country prayers from 2012...
Also, here are some new sites to keep your prayers for the nations informed:
BBC News: This is probably the best site to get a wide spread of international news as soon as it happens, with more in-depth coverage available as well.
Aljazeera: As an alternative to BBC, this station has certainly impressed globally with mostly sound reporting and great coverage.
Avaaz: This is a fairly new and partly citizen-driven bulletin that aims to be less negative, less passive, and give a different perspective.
December 2013 – January 2014
YemenThe issue of young Yemeni girls being married off by their families has drawn growing international concern. Some of the families are motivated by the traditional dowry system. The Yemeni Human Rights Ministry is trying to build pressure at every level of government to bring in a legally-sanctioned minimum marriage age to stop such abuse. Members of the body drafting a new constitution say they want to end child marriage and make the minimum age 18. But powerful traditional elements, including religious clerics and tribal leaders, remain opposed and say they will block this. This is an evil being perpetuated against young girls, leading to trauma and death. Ask God how to pray for these young girls, and for this society that is battling to agree to care for girls.
Syrian refugeesEgypt is host to an estimated 140,000 Syrian refugees, 47,000 of whom have registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The UNHCR anticipates 100,000 Syrians to register in Egypt by the end of 2013. Refugees arrive in Egypt traumatised and with limited resources. Although Syrians are permitted access to national education, health care, and work in the legal sector, Egypt does not have the infrastructure or capacity to meet their needs. Please pray for Syria, the refugees and for Christian ministries reaching out to these refugees.
KazakhstanReligious freedom is losing even more ground in Kazakhstan. For the first time since the country gained independence in 1991, a court ordered religious literature to be destroyed after it was taken from a believer. When Kazakhstan’s government signed a new Religion Law in 2011, its restrictions were seemingly intended to curb extremism. However, most of its resulting consequences fell on the shoulders of minority Christians. A third of all religious groups in Kazakhstan were reportedly shut down in October 2012. Please pray that the government will release pressure on Christians so that gospel work can continue. Ask the Lord to protect His followers in this country and give them boldness. Pray that the crackdown on religion in Kazakhstan will end.
The Church in EgyptIn the complex political situation in Egypt, there are often two things happening at the same time, and they can appear to be totally conflicting. In what has been seen as highly organised attacks, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have attacked, burned and destroyed churches across the country. In the Minya region alone, 12 churches have been totally destroyed. But at the same time as these events have been occurring, Muslims and Christians have been reaching out to each other. There are dramatic pictures of Muslims joining hands to encircle a church in order to protect it and its people in worship, and of Muslims offering their prayers inside a church, so that they could continue to provide protection against the mobs that were attacking. Leaders of the Church have a significant role to play in reconciliation in this broken nation. Cry out to God for revelations of Himself in Egypt that will bring hope and reconciliation. Pray for leaders of the Church to be ministers of reconciliation in society and politics. Pray for grace and courage for those who are suffering in these present events.
YemenWhile Yemenis pride themselves for their family values, widespread poverty means that hundreds of thousands of families across the country continue to rely on their children to bring in extra income, to the detriment of their education, well-being and development. A recent report revealed that 1.3 million children in Yemen were involved in work related activities. A vast majority – over 70% – of underage workers will be, to some degree, subjected to sexual, physical or mental abuse. Hundreds of children are also being sent over to Saudi Arabia by their families, sold out as cheap labour to less than scrupulous individuals. Unprotected, over worked, often mistreated and underpaid, children are easy prey: please seek God’s heart as you pray for children in this nation. Click here for a short video.
The Muslim worldFrom today (9 July – 7 August) many Muslims around the world will engage in 30 days of fasting, from sun-up to sun-down, for Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam. Fasting (including any foods and liquids, smoking, sexual relations and swearing) is obligatory for adults except those ill, travelling, pregnant, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding. While for some it is purely cultural observance, believers nonetheless seek to draw closer to God and take time for spiritual reflection, self-improvement, devotion and worship. This year, for the 20th time, many followers of Jesus from around the globe will intercede and pray daily (some even fasting in solidarity) for their Muslim neighbours, and ask God to truly reveal Himself and bring a mighty wave of revival and breakthrough to the House of Islam and its peoples. We invite you to join in. For more information visit the 30 Days Prayer Network website.
NepalAt least 13,000 people were killed in Nepal’s decade-long conflict between the government and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Fighting ended with the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, consolidating a series of commitments to human rights. Now an amnesty provision which would cover the worst possible crimes is promoted in Nepal’s new Truth, Reconciliation and Disappearance Ordinance, which would make it impossible for thousands of victims to obtain justice. While reconciliation is sorely needed, the proposed rules don’t reasonably define potential amnesties and/or the need for justice, and could mean there will never be proper healing. Join the church in Nepal in praying for true and liberating reconciliation in the face of laws which could easily set barriers against it.
North KoreaThe news has been full of the escalating tensions emanating from Pyongyang – threats of missiles and war, posturing with big guns and war games. We have also glimpsed what life is like for ordinary folk there: they are a deeply broken, impoverished, isolated and oppressed people who, like all of us, long for acceptance, love, and a better life. Please pray for God’s blessing and hope, freedom and Shalom over the land and its people – the seeds of revival are buried deep in its soul (Pyongyang was once called the ‘Jerusalem of the East’)! Call forth its destiny as a messenger of peace and Good News, as a healer and restorer of broken places, as a nation that will find its unity in God.
KazakhstanHarsh new religious laws were introduced in late 2011. A complex system of registration was established for all religious groups, and unregistered activity banned. Unregistered churches face harassment and judicial penalties; meetings have been raided and leaders and members fined or detained. Even registered churches are subject to controls and interference with their activities. Converts from Islam suffer the usual pressure from their Muslim neighbours to renounce their new faith. Please give thanks to God that His Church is growing and pray for protection of God’s people and their witness in the midst of these restrictions.
SudanPlease pray for this nation as it is descending into more turmoil and radical Islamist and totalitarian policies. Lift up the few remaining expat workers (all visas are now under threat and totally uncertain) as many workers have already been told to leave. This is creating a great deal of stress and is hard for both those remaining as well as those whose sense of call is now shattered. Pray also for the local believers – although Northerners can’t be kicked out they are facing huge pressures and persecution, but those from the now independent South have been, and are being, pushed out. But God will build His church, so let’s take a stand against the forces pitted against the Lord’s people and pray using the weapons we have been given in Christ.
North AfricaThank you for praying for our team in North Africa in January. Pray for the students they taught, the relationships that were built, and for the impact and testimony that our team members would have had on these young, emerging leaders. Pray for the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, for life changes, and for a truly better future for this broken, needy, and newly opening North African nation. Pray for the governing authorities to lead wisely and grow in positive authority, and for the rebuilding of civil society and national infrastructure as well.