Welcome to the Lent journey podcast. My name is Sandra, and we are so glad to have you walking with us for 40 days in prayer and fasting, as we prepare our hearts for Easter. Today is March 8, the second Sunday in Lent.
During the weekdays, we are focused on personal renewal. On the weekends we are interceding for a movement of God among the nations of Eurasia, and for His renewal in our church.
Scripture reading: Romans 4:1-5, 13-17.
During our Lenten journey, each weekend we will pray for a different field of the Eurasia Church of the Nazarene. A field is a cluster of several countries where we have churches, and there are seven fields within the Eurasia Region. You can find out more about our fields and regions at www.eurasiaregion.org.
The CIS Field is made up of nations from the former Soviet Union across Eastern Europe. There are Nazarenes present in Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Latvia, Georgia, and one additional country we will not name, for security reasons. But God knows it.
Yesterday, we prayed for God’s salvation to come to the people of these nations. Today, we will intercede for our brothers and sisters in Christ within these nations, as they courageously follow Jesus and proclaim His name.
– Believers face a variety of challenges as they seek to live out their faith.
– Economic difficulties across a number of the countries mean that many educated people of working age emigrate west for better opportunities and to provide for their families. This can drain churches of their leadership.
– Increasing government restrictions on ministry, evangelism and new churches make it difficult for Christians to share their faith with others, conduct evangelistic outreach beyond their church doors, or to register new congregations. Often, the presence of missionaries is illegal.
– Some congregations are not able to meet stringent legal requirements to register with the government, and thus take risks when they gather for worship, discipleship, or compassionate works in their communities.
– Evangelical Christians are sometimes misunderstood or face pressure from mainline denominations and churches, who perceive them as sects. Small in number, many evangelical churches meet at great distances from other churches, and may feel isolated or marginalized in their communities.
– The danger of syncretism – the blending of Christianity with animistic or tribal religions – means that theological education and biblical discipleship are crucial to maintain the Christlike integrity and maturity of churches and their members.
– Yet, each challenge is also an opportunity for the church, and for the Holy Spirit to demonstrate God’s power over all earthly obstacles, principalities and powers.
Let us pray for our brothers and sisters across the CIS Field.
Our Father in Heaven, Creator of All things,
No human obstacle, no earthly forces, no plans of the enemy are a match for You. Jesus promised us in Matthew 16 that You will build Your Church, and we take You at Your word. We cling to Your promise and ask You to build Your Church across Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Latvia, Georgia, and one unnamed country.
Father, lead believers here to repent of anything that may have gained a foothold in their lives and obstructed Your power. And then assure them with peace and joy that You have given them clean hearts and restored them to right relationship with You.
Holy Spirit, just as You came in power upon Jesus’ disciples after He rose to heaven, we ask You to empower Your people in the CIS with boldness and confidence, with Your Word, and with compassionate hearts for their families, communities and nations—and for their enemies.
Jesus, bless Your Church with unity. Bring reconciliation and deep love among believers where it is needed, so that as You say in John 13:35, their communities and nations will recognize You and Your power because of their love for one another.
Out of their renewed unity and surrender to Your Lordship, grant Your Church victory over the dark powers of isolation, conflict, spiritual defeat, pessimism and fatalism, marginalization, secularism, and atheism.
Open Your Church’s eyes to opportunities to minister to the poor, to the sick and addicted, to the lonely and neglected, to broken families, to orphans and widows, to the unemployed and homeless, to the economically rich who are poor in spirit, to those who have been trafficked and abused, to government officials and leaders of institutions and businesses. Through Your church’s renewed love for one another and their communities, let all peoples of the CIS Field open their hearts to You and give You praise.
Raise up mature, wise and godly leaders who will remain in their communities and nations to serve and lead Your church. Make it possible for these leaders to multiply themselves by discipling others into leadership.
In Your abundant heavenly resources, please increase the availability of theological education and discipleship, so that all believers grow unshakably rooted in your Truth, and are transformed by Your Word.
You alone can do these things, and we put our hope in You alone to see transformation of the families, peoples, communities and nations of the CIS Field. We know You are already doing them. Please open our eyes to where You are working, and how we can join You in Your mission to reconcile all peoples and all nations to You.
We ask this in the wonderful name of Your son, Jesus, Amen.
The additional scripture readings for today are found in:
Watch a video to learn more about the people and church across the Commonwealth of Independent States.
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