Prayer Alert

Estonia Prayer Guide

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

Michael and I spent a week and a half this July praying in Estonia with a team of missionaries and locals for pastors, missionaries, pastor’s families, and the nation. We want to invite you to join us in our prayers for this nation. Below, you’ll find the prayers our team prayed on the ground in Estonia. But first, a look into what was happening in Estonia during our visit:

While we were there, Estonians from all over the nation were gathered in Tallinn to celebrate their 26th song festival, which was founded in 1869 and takes place every five years. As more than 20,000 singers performed in the choir singing to an audience of more than 200,000, Estonians remembered how they have come together in song to preserve their cultural identity and to overthrow foreign occupation.

“Koit” (“Dawn”) by Tõnis Mägi

Again it’s time to stand up straight and cast off our shackles

That everything once created could together be born again

It’s dawn, a majestic blaze

Victory of the light awakes the land

Free is the horizon,

And the first ray will soon touch the land

A call to break down it all that we could freely breathe again

See, the ice has broken. Let’s join our hands, our forces

 

With wisdom, collective wisdom, with collective might we can do it all

Ahead is the only road, the road to freedom. There can be no other

 

The might, the power of light, the people of freedom, let’s go together

With a joyful cry on our lips. See, the giant has freed himself.

 

Faith leads us onward, and a heavenly beam accompanies us

So there’s only one step to victory–a short, short step

 

It’s the land, our sacred fatherland that now will be free

The song, our song of victory, will continue

And soon you’ll see Estonia free

( English translation found at http://www.ps3youtube.com/v/t-nis-magi-koit-olaulupidu-estonian-night-song-festival-20-08-2008-u4Ae3o8mpWQ )

 

Prayer Guide for Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

Pray that…

Yahweh will command his loving kindness in the daytime. In the night his song shall be with me: a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalms 42:8 WEB)

Estonian Song Festival Laulupidu 2014

Estonian Song Festival Laulupidu 2014

Estonians will know the God and Creator who gave them their voice and their song. The grace God has given them to unify the nations through song will be of spiritual and eternal significance.

The power of song through a united people in Christ will be released.

The joy and celebration that Estonians experience during their song festivals will be walked out in their every day life as they are liberated in Christ Jesus.

“Beacon of Light”

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2 NIV)

Holy Trinity Church in Rakvere, Estonia

Holy Trinity Church, Rakvere, Estonia

Pastors will pastor well, father well, husband well–and will know what it’s time for.

Pastors will spiritually father well from the knowledge and understanding of being God’s son.

Estonia has an amazing history of great unity in the churches. Pray that it deepens even more and spreads among other nations.

Churches will find creative, dynamic ways to pray and be in relationship with God, hearing His voice, responding in prayer as they read the Bible, and agree in prayer to what Jesus and the Spirit of God are praying and interceding.

The church will serve one another instead of having an attitude of consumerism or entitlement.

Churches will continue and grow in sharing resources among themselves.

Windmill at the Estonian Open Air Museum in Tallinn

Windmill at the Estonia Open Air Museum in Tallinn

The alive-but-sleeping church will wake up.

Young godly men will mentor and disciple the teenage boys.

Church leadership will discover creative ways to reach youth and young adults through music and the arts.

God will provide community and fill in the gap between the young generation and the older generation in the body of Christ.

Salvation of households — families. There are missionaries who have no family members who believe in Jesus. There are kids who love Jesus but can’t get their parents’ permission to be baptized. Pray for the salvation of whole families.

Suitcases of those sent to a forced labor camp in Siberia

Suitcases of those sent to forced labor camps in Siberia, Occupation Museum, Tallinn

Pray for the healing of hearts, memories, and eyes that have seen so much evil and pain in this world and have questioned the presence, sovereignty, power, and love of God during years and years of oppressive Soviet and German occupations.

The true reputation of God will be restored in this land.

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14 NIV)

Jesus will be exalted and made known in Estonia.

There will be a breakthrough between the thin veil that separates Estonia from the face of Jesus and the kingdom of God

The bride of Christ would not settle for an I-don’t-deserve-better attitude, but they will receive the fullness of all Christ desires for them

The foundation of Jesus will be established and rooted deeply in the ground and good soil of peoples’ hearts and of this land.

Tartu, Estonia

Tartu, Estonia

The knowledge of Jesus Christ will be exalted above the knowledge of the educational system or the knowledge of man.

Believers working in the media will take a bold stand toward holiness and the industry will follow.

Estonia will no longer be a source, transit, or destination place for human trafficking.

Nightclubs will close down due to loss of interest and the spaces will be converted to prayer rooms, Christian bookstores, church buildings, and businesses that operate in the kingdom of light.

Christian leaders and missionaries will be supported with good friendship, encouragement, family affirmation, finances, and gifts of things they wouldn’t typically buy for themselves.

God will honor and bless the Estonians desire to live in peace without war and without the shedding of blood.

Dome Cathedral of Tartu, Estonia

Dome Cathedral, Tartu, Estonia

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7 NIV)

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

Estonia will serve as a crossroads between Russia and Europe, a gate to Europe, for the glory of the Lord.

The YWAM base in Tallinn will receive more staff, especially male staff.

God will send a person to manage, teams to work, materials, tools, money, organization, and skills to begin and complete renovation of abandoned mansion given to YWAM Estonia.

Manor House at Rakvere

Manor House at Rakvere

Estonia will be the beginning of an awakening, a starting place.

The Estonian church will support their missionaries and will become good senders. The common current belief is that the receiving countries should support the Estonian missionaries and missionaries to Estonia should be supported by the sending nations.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5 NIV)

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18 NIV)

 

 

 

A Call To Prayer

Caleb praying for a friend in Central Asia

Caleb praying for a friend in Central Asia

One of the great privileges that we have in our work is meeting some amazing people who live and work in some fascinating places around the globe. While we miss these folks incredibly when we aren’t with them, we strive to maintain relationship with them even when we are in another part of the world. This week we are learning of three situations from three of our friends that desperately need prayer.

First, for the amazing family that hosted us in Central Asia this past summer. Each of the three members of this beautiful family are having health issues. It is clear that these issues go beyond physical and are nothing short of a spiritual attack on them. These folks are involved at a foundational level with one of the agencies leading the work in that particular country. Additionally, they are instrumental in aiding the church in that very closed nation to establish wholly indigenous forms of worship. In this family, the husband is in need of surgery on his shoulder. The wife is struggling with a protuding disc in her back. The daughter has a rash and some occasional bleeding.

Second, for a family that we spent the spring of 2012 with in Colorado Springs who are now serving in Thailand. This family is in the midst of a process of revisioning with God. New strategies have been given to them and they are beginning the process of walking those strategies out. The enemy clearly sees the risk to his kingdom that these new strategies are, and is attacking this family in physical and emotional ways to stop them before they get started.

Finally, for a young girl in a very closed nation in Central Asia. This young girl needs an appendectomy. However, because of the disastrous state that perpetual war will put your medical system into, it will be four weeks before she can have this surgery performed. Yet, this positions itself as a huge opportunity for God to reveal Himself to a lot of people who desperately need to see Him. It is truly an opportunity for His Kingdom–that place of orderly order–to come to a war-ravaged chaotic mess.

So, please join with us in prayer for these situations. Each one of them is poised to become a testimony of God’s greatness, mercy, and love. Each is an opportunity for Light to break into Darkness and Orderly Order to emerge from Chaos.

If, in your prayers for these situations, you are given scripture, words of encouragement, or other things from The Lord, then please email them to us at prayer@ledbytheword.com and we will pass them forward.

Thank you for standing with us for our friends.

 

All That’s Left

(Photo courtesy of Mission InfoBank)

Syria. It's a nation that has dominated the news cycles for the past few days, and has been a recurring fixture in the media for the past couple of years. I'm not even going to begin to try to rehash or explain what's going on there. Many others have done a good job doing that already (for instance, this piece from the Washington Post).

What's a Christ-Follower to do in the face of so much chaos?

Brian Zahnd does a fantastic job of helping us try to find an answer to this question by inviting us into his inner monologue.

And we would be remiss to have a conversation regarding the Middle East and a Jesus-Followers response to it without hearing from Carl Madearis. In this post from the other day, he urges us to ask, “Who would Jesus bomb?”

What do we do when we don't even know where to start?

I'm grateful for friends like the great folks over at 24-7 Prayer who help us by giving us some suggestions for how to pray into the situation.

And for Jesus-Followers like Rachel Held Evans who posted this beautiful piece on her blog this evening. As I read it, I kept coming back to something that's been hounding me for the past few months now.

What do we pray, when we don't know what to pray?

Lately, I've found myself in that position more often than not. As I see the hurts and struggles of people close to me and of those that I've never met, I find myself without words to even pray.

So, what now?

Even in writing this post, I've found myself trying to find the right thing to say and the right way to say it. As I said on my FaceBook page last night, I struggle to put my thoughts into words:

“Weighing what I want to say with what is prudent for me to say with what God wants me to say.

“Knowing that my words won't change the situation, yet feeling compelled to use my words to spark prayer, contemplation, and love from those who believe that God longs to bless, redeem, and bring shalom–nothing missing, nothing broken–to the situation.

“Finding it hard to bring hope–confident and joyful expectation in the goodness of God–in the midst of despair.”

Here is what I know: God is good. God is not the author of confusion or chaos, rather God is the Creator of Orderly Order. God's desire is for people to be blessed–not for their own benefit, but rather so that they can bless others. God longs for His Kingdom to be established on earth as it is in heaven.

His Kingdom–that place where what God wants done is done as Dallas Willard described it.

His Kingdom–where in the midst of chaos, we see orderly order emerge as John the Gospel Writer described it.

His Kingdom–where the life of God is made accessible to man, and they enter its enjoyment here on earth as Andrew Murray described it.

His Kingdom–where His shalom becomes our reality.

I'm coming to learn that all I can pray is the prayer that our Savior taught us: “Your Kingdom come.”

As I search for words to pray in regards to the situation in Syria, I'm left there. I'm left with nothing other than the words of Jesus. To pray anything else would be to pray my opinion. It would be to pray out of my own understanding. Instead, I have no cry other than “Your Kingdom come.”

It's a cry for mercy.

It's a cry for grace.

It's a cry for hope.

It's a cry for justice.

It's a cry for Shalom.

It's a cry for that which is missing to be found.

It's a cry for that which is broken to be repaired.

There's a beautiful passage in the story of the birth of John the Baptist (the one who proclaimed that the King was coming and in His coming was bringing the Kingdom–much like we are called to do as followers of The Way). It's in the prophetic prayer that Zechariah prays over John the Baptist at his circumcision. In that prayer are these words:

Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God's Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace. — Luke 1:78-79 (The Message)

And, so, all that's left is for us to pray. “Your Kingdom Come.” May Your sunrise break in upon the people of Syria. May it shine on those in darkness. May it bring life to those in the shadow of death. May it show the way–one foot at a time–down the path of peace.

YOUR KINGDOM COME!

 

What’s Been And What’s To Come

It’s been a few weeks since our last update, so we thought we’d take a few minutes to give you a quick look into the past few weeks here at YWAM-Strategic Frontiers.

I had kitchen duty.

Emily had Crazy Hair Day.

Stephanie received flowers from Jesus.

We attended a Baptism Service.

Thanks to our friend, Steve Schram, Caleb and I got to go flying in a Cessna SkyHawk.

And we’ve been learning a new language.

 

In addition to all this fun, we have had some fantastic weeks of teaching on God’s Kingdom, the Fear of the Lord, and what the Bible says about the Body of Christ. We have this week and one more week of lectures and then we head into the nations.

So, now that our Crossroads Discipleship Training School Lecture Phase is about to come to a close, what’s next?

We leave on June 25th for Central Asia. We will be spending two months working with front-line missionaries in a predominatly Muslim nation. Our work will entail serving at local Houses of Prayer, meeting with locals, assisting other missionaries in any way they need, and a variety of other tasks.

If you would like to help us financially on this journey, you can donate to this work by clicking over onto our Partner With Us page, or clicking the “DONATE” button on the right-hand side of this page.  All gifts through Get the Word Out! (our covering ministry) are tax-deductible, and any amount is gratefully appreciated.

Prayer Alert: Kashmir

I have spent the better part of today exploring the situation in the Kashmiri region.  This is an extraordinarily complex issue that goes back to the mid-sixteenth century when the region lost its sovereignty.  For the past four hundred years, they have struggled to maintain an identity that is uniquely their own, while they have been passed, traded, and conquered by nation after nation.  

The region lies at the top of India between Pakistan and China.  All three countries claim that (at least parts of) the land should rightfully be theirs while Kashmir would prefer to be restored to their own soveriegnity.  Yet, the situation goes much deeper than just border disputes.  Many will remember from several years ago that this area was the catalyst for what was nearly a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan.

There is also a religious element to the struggle.  Sufi Islam and Hinduism both lay claim to the area, and are struggling to live peaceably.  In addition to the struggles between these two religious groups, there is also widespread persecution of Christians in this region.  This persecution especially occurs when a member of the family converts to Christianity.  While the area is not closed (at least the Indian occupied area), creative means of sharing the Gospel must be found and used.

Compounding the issue is the struggles within Kashmir between rebel militants and sovereign governments.  In both the Indian-Occupied and Pakistani-Occupied regions, we find these struggles.  Each sovereign government is attempting to keep the area in line, while also keeping peace with the other soveriegn government.  

All of this has led to Kashmir being an area sitting in a delicate balance.  On one side sits the risk of war between Kashmiri religious elements, militants and sovereign governments, or India and Pakistan.  On the other side the hope for a lasting peace that seems to imply Kasmiri sovereignty.  

The bigger thing that this study has done is really generated within me a keen interest in the region and it’s future.  While, I don’t know what that means for the long-haul with our ministry, I do know there is much for which we can all pray.  

On a related note, the YWAM base which we have applied to works in this area, and there is potential that our outreach time could be in this region.  You can view a short video about some of the work YWAM is doing in among the Kashmiri by clicking this link.

So, here are some prayer points for the Kashmir:

  • Pray that the Kashmiri people would not be caught in the midst of a turf war between two powerful nuclear countries 
  • Pray that oppression on the Kashmiri by the sovereign nations will come to an end
  • Pray that if (when?) the Kashmiri regain their independence they will select wise leadership
  • Pray that if (when?) the Kashmiri regain their independence a reasonable and intelligent division of regions will occur that will help to resolve (at least part of) the religious conflicts
  • Pray that creative means of sharing the Gospel will be found and used
  • Pray for the Christians in the region that they may stand firm in their faith

 

Prayer Alert — North Korea (기도 경고-북한)

As you have no doubt heard by now, Kim Jong-Il died over the weekend.  I heard the news last night when I read a tweet from CNN.  Even though he was thought to have been in poor health the news came as a surprise.

Kim Jong-Il was a ruthless dictator.  The people of North Korea have been held in captivity since shortly after the Second World War when his father, Kim Il-sung, assumed power and turned the country into a communism-based dictatorship.

Kim Il-sung went as far as to take the Christian heritage of North Korea–a country that experienced deep revival (Pyongyang even being referred to as “The Jerusalem of Asia”) in the early 20th century–and twist it into a form of self-worship.  Essentially, Kim Il-sung has been made to replace God the Father, Kim Jong-Il to replace Jesus, and Kim Jung-solo (Kim Il-sung’s wife) as the Holy Spirit.  Citizens are required to hang photos of the three Kims on the best wall of their homes, and are required to bow and pray to these photos on a daily basis.  Failure to do so could result in being sent to concentration camps.

There are conflicting reports (guesstimates) regarding the number of Christians in North Korea.  These numbers range from a few thousand to about 10% of the population (roughly 2 million).  If one is caught practicing Christianity or possessing a Bible, then the penalty could be death for that person and imprisonment in concentration camps for three generations of the family.

Bibles are rare in North Korea.  It is almost impossible to smuggle Bibles into the country.  Very few Christians in North Korea have even ever seen a Bible.  Some groups have developed a method where they print the Gospel of Mark onto a balloon and when the wind blows form the south, they will launch these balloons and let them drift over the DMZ and into North Korea.  For many North Koreans, this is the only Bible they have ever seen.  If they are caught with this balloon, they could be killed or imprisoned.  For 30 minutes each day, the Bible is broadcast on a radio station from South Korea that can be heard in North Korea.  Again, to be caught listening could result in death or imprisonment.

Kim Jong-Il began preparing his son, Kim Jong-Un, to assume control of North Korea in 2008.  The younger Kim is in his late 20s (his actual age is unknown, but he is assumed to be 28 or 29).  This will make him the youngest person to ever control a nuclear arsenal.  He is thought to be more ruthless than his father.  However, he was educated in Switzerland and is a fan of western music, cars, and the National Basketball Association.

North Korea is a country of extreme poverty.  Nearly all resources go to support the military and the upper echelon of leadership.  Citizens are denied the right to ownership of property.  Food is scarce, and reports have been made that cannibalism occurs as a result.  The citizenry rely on aid from South Korea, China, and other countries for food.  However, much of the aid shipments are reportedly stolen by the government.

Which brings us to our prayer list for North Korea in this time of transition.

  1. Pray for God to make Himself clearly known to the people.  That the people may know and understand that Kim Il-sung is not a god.  That the people may know and understand that there is a God who loves them, and wants to feed, heal, and comfort them.
  2. Pray for the growth of the church in North Korea.  Pray that Christians in the underground church may have courage to stand firm in their faith
  3. Pray for the spreading of the Word of God.  Pray that more and more creative methods of getting the Bible into North Korea will come to fruition.  Pray that loopholes might be found that would allow Bibles to get into the country and to the pastors in the underground church.
  4. Pray for a peaceful transition of power.  Pray that Kim Jong-Un doesn’t take an opportunity to “prove himself” to the world through means of military aggression.  Pray that he doesn’t further oppress his people, rather begins to loosen the oppression that they have been under for the past 50+ years.
  5. Pray for support to reach the people of North Korea.  Pray that the aid may get to them.  Often, you can’t feed a spirit until you’ve feed the belly.  Pray that food aid would serve as a door opener for the Gospel.

Sources consulted for this post include: Operation World, Billion Bibles, and The Bible Network.