Below are the Prayer Guide country prayers from 2012. Follow the link to read the 2011 country prayers, or return to the 2013 country prayers.
December 2012 / January 2013
ChinaIn mid-November the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party convened to usher in a major, once-in-a-decade transfer of power. While we were all fascinated by the US election soap, the outcome of this leadership change could have at least as much, if not more, impact around the world. All but two members of the politburo standing committee – China’s top ruling body – will step down to make way for a new generation of leaders, headed by new President Xi Jinping. China is facing massive challenges in the areas of corruption, environment and pollution, freedom of speech and faith, and the need for political reform. Please pray for the new leaders and the factions of others aligned to each, that the Lord would impact their decisions, grant wisdom, and help to govern well; and that He further grow His church to be a leading light and influence for blessing.
North and South KoreaOur IS Korea ND and his team are currently visiting NZ: they represent our fastest growing contingent of mission Partners. Please pray that their visit and sharing here (amongst the Korean Diaspora) will be very successful and anointed, and that their own nation would indeed see the blessing and encouragement of God as so many walk faithfully and completely dedicated with Him. Also lift up the people of North Korea, who have endured many decades of autocratic and oppressive leadership by a small elite. Pray particularly for the church there, in what was once described as ‘the Jerusalem of the East’ – a place of revival and hope. May God re-visit and powerfully break through!
Pacific Islands nations and diasporaAlthough these are not part of our geographical footprint, would you please join us in praying for the vast Christian populations of Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and other islands – both at home or here in NZ and in Australia – that God would stir up from amongst them a whole new wave of mission workers who would be sent into the Interserve world. These Pacific Islanders could be powerful ambassadors for Christ in Asia and the Arab world - please pray that the obstacles that impede them will be overcome, whether they are family issues, financial constraints or lack of encouragement and support. Please pray for a mission revival and for ways in which Interserve can come alongside and connect, support, send and care for them.
BangladeshBangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world, with about 150 million people in an area comparable to the South Island. The religious mix is predominantly Muslim (85-90%), with 10-14% Hindus, .5-1% Christians, and a few Buddhists. For several years the nation had the dubious distinction as most corrupt nation (Transparency International). Even the church is weakened by in-fighting between and within denominational groups. IS Partners work in seminaries, business, an international research hospital, and with LAMB (a rural health and development programme). Please pray for Spirit-led relationships with local people, and for Partners to model biblical, contextual ministry approaches. Pray for unity of purpose and mutual support amongst Christian churches and denominations, NGOs and business leaders. And pray for our three Kiwi Partners in Preparation (Steve & Juan, Hannah), for them to be able to raise sufficient support and prepare well for deployment later this year.
LibyaThe recent elections produced a more western-leaning, albeit Sharia (Islamic) law embracing majority for the newly constituted parliament which will govern and be tasked to produce a new constitution. This is somewhat bucking the trend of other nations nearby where parties with clearly Islamist agendas where the outright winners. Pray for these new parliamentarians, many of whom would have spent the last years/decades under Gaddafi in jail. Pray that wisdom from God would be given to govern justly and well, to discern right from wrong, good from evil, shame and honour from truth, and the ability to implement that which will build up their nation and civil society. Please also pray for openness towards the gospel, and the small and disrespected Christian minority. Pray, too, for the plans we have to send in a team next January, to teach English to young intellectuals and build positive, respectful and God-prepared relationships.
LaosA small and often overlooked nation wedged in between Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, China and Cambodia. The political elite clings to a form of socialism which has more to do with control and power than social concern. These days it is a favoured tourism destination, particularly with individual travellers, but is desperately poor and underdeveloped, and spiritually quite oppressive. The Christian (often tribals) minority is very vulnerable and often at the receiving end of persecution. The nation is in need of real breakthrough, please pray for God’s rains of revival and blessing to fall. If you are interested in joining a prayer team to Laos in 2013, please contact Johannes at the IS office. The request has been brought to us repeatedly by local workers and believers – ‘Come over and help us’ (in prayer, on location).
TurkeyAs the Turkish church grows and diversifies, pray for humility and commitment to unity among the church leaders. Pray for discipleship in the churches. The response to internet, radio and television evangelism over the last few years has been breathtaking but there aren’t enough disciplers to walk with those who have responded. Pray for those who carry this burden and for more workers with a heart for discipleship. Also pray for a Partner working with a group of 25 local and expat counsellors to help adult victims of childhood sexual abuse, and another Partner working with local churches to develop small group discipleship materials using Turkish writers. Lastly, please lift up all the workers in Turkey, that they can continue growing as a team.
Tank Christian Hospital, PakistanTank is on the edge of Waziristan, a remote location, and the hospital provides a very significant witness in a dark area. However, the staffing level is critical, so please pray for more staff (both national and expat). The staff are facing one challenge after another - they have water and electricity shortages, some have significant health issues, and a patient has made a serious allegation against a staff member. Pray for: protection of staff and the witness of the hospital; more medical staff; a solution to the water supply problem; and for the individual expat and local staff members and their work and witness. Also, give praise for the return of some former staff members, and for the ‘Dr Ulla Schmitz Memorial School’ just opened for all staff children and Christian children from the locality.
SudanPlease pray for Sudan and the turmoil this nation is experiencing. After releasing most of the South into independence a little while ago there has been a hardening of the government’s position on some of the regions bordering the South, where unrest and appetite for independence is high, but where the North has tremendous interests at stake with regards to oil. The civilians, as always, suffer – please pray for the tribal folk that get caught in the crossfire, pray for the leaders of both North and South to walk in wisdom and grace, and to seek peaceable ways to settle their differences; and pray for the Christians in the North who mostly have been dispossessed and stripped of their citizenship, losing jobs, homes and livelihood, and often stranded without shelter and with nowhere to turn. Pray that their plight would be turned and their suffering end; pray for grace and real witness in the midst of much tribulation.
TibetPlease pray for the work that the Father is doing amongst Tibetans. June 3rd was the international prayer day for Tibet, so let us add our voices to that chorus before the throne. While outwardly there are times when it seems darkness is so triumphant – and in Tibet that so often seems to be the reality – we hear wonderful stories where the Spirit is moving amongst these precious people, opening hearts and minds to His good news and healing, renewing, and bringing to salvation. Next year there is a proposal to take prayer teams to strategic locations around Tibet, please pray and see if you should be a part... or adopt Tibet in 2013 for daily, ongoing prayer. May His kingdom come and His will be done on the High Plateau!
Arab worldPray especially for the nations of Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain; each is in turmoil and the people experience various forms of oppression despite 18 months of demonstrations, uprisings, and voicing their discontent and desire for change. Egypt and Tunisia have held elections but are really no further on the path towards freedom, and violence and bloodshed have marked the uprising in Syria, while there is ongoing, horrible oppression in Bahrain. Please pray for the many who long for true freedom, for Jesus to open their eyes and ears. Pray for the Islamic parties that are emerging as the new powerbrokers, for moderation, consideration, and a positive relationship with the Christian minorities in their nations. Pray for the believers, for new life and passion for God, for grace, wisdom, freedom from fear and oppression, and courage to share Jesus.
Central AsiaMost of the Central Asian republics have autocratic and self-serving leaderships that are more concerned with the pursuit of power rather than the well-being of their people. There is a lot of tension between ethnic groups, and a growing dominance of Islam, both radical and as state doctrine. Churches are often weak and isolated, and restrictive religious laws have really impacted them. Pray for real spiritual hunger, both in the church and wider society, and for more opportunities to serve in Christ’s name.
Turkey25 April is ANZAC Day. There is much shared history between Turkey and NZ, and the ANZACs have a special place in Turkish hearts. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the commanding general and leader of the Turkish revolution that gave birth to the modern Turkish state, gave words to this when he said that the mothers of the fallen Kiwi soldiers should no longer grieve, that they were sleeping in friendly soil, and that they were regarded like their own sons (paraphrased). Please pray for God to open Turkish hearts, and that Kiwis would go and express His love and grace to the Turkish nation. We are thrilled to be sending a wonderful couple to Turkey this year, please pray for them to be anointed and fruitful ambassadors for Christ. Pray that many NZ pastors would sign up for our re-scheduled pastors trip to Turkey in April 2013. And pray a blessing of encouragement, unity, and healing upon the fledgling Turkish church as well – may Jesus be glorified in these ancient Bible-lands…
LibyaThe ravages of the recent Civil War are mostly over, but the country is far from being at rest. Many different interest groups, tribal factions and religious factions are still vying for power, while the people attempt to rebuild their lives, communities and country. Please keep praying for the Shalom of God, the restoration and renewal of the Libyan people unto the One true God. Pray for openness to the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the church to grow and be a blessing.
TibetOver the past months an increasing desperation has marked the situation in these areas under Chinese governance. Monks and nuns (latest count 19, and growing) have publicly burned themselves in protest at the ongoing exclusion of the Dalai Lama from their homeland and its leadership. Street protests are now all-too-common and are usually met with brutal force, and whole counties and regions (particularly in the eastern Tibetan areas) are virtual no-go zones for outsiders – a sharp turn-around from the last few years. However, at the same time, stories of Tibetans being touched by God, healed, seeing miracles, and coming to faith are increasing, and there is a new, more culturally sensitive movement of Chinese housechurch believers reaching out to their neighbours, in humility and compassion. Please pray for God’s anointing and an extraordinary outpouring of His Spirit on this dry and thirsty land; for more reconciliation through the involvement of Han Chinese; and for the Church of Christ to be powerfully rooted in each dialect and language group.
AfghanistanThe likelihood of a renewed civil war between the various Afghan factions is a distinct and near possibility. Please pray for the peace of Afghanistan, for the wholesome Shalom where all – the rich and powerful, the poor and exploited, the various ethnic groups, Muslim and non-Muslim, religious and secular – can live together in harmony and mutual respect. Pray for openness to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the church to grow and be a blessing.
North KoreaAfter Kim Jong-il died in December, he was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-un. There are various theories about how able or even stable the new regime is, but God’s word says that the hearts of the kings are like water in His hands. So let’s pray and commit the North Korean people to the Lord, that He may break the strangleholds of deception and domination, of exploitation and fear; and that a new dawn would break forth on the Korean Peninsula – a time of awakening and true, holistic transformation.
Arab worldIt is a region still in upheaval and transition, with every country and situation different; some are in sharp deterioration (like Syria) whereas others have already held elections but are facing a very uncertain future under untested leadership. Keep praying for these peoples, their leaders (old and new), their direction and ambitions: may they encounter the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob this year; may the Isa ben Miriam whom they call a prophet (peace be upon His name) become more than a prophet, become their deliverer and the hope and salvation of their nations.