Greetings! It is Saturday, March 14, and we are concluding our second full week of our Lent journey together! My name is Sandra and today I will be leading us in scripture, and intercession for the countries of Northern Europe.
Theme: God forgives us; his discipline ends
Scripture: Micah 7:14–15,18–20
During our Lenten journey, each weekend we are interceding 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.
This weekend, we pray for the nations and peoples of Northern Europe. The Nazarene church describes Northern Europe as Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
Nazarenes across Northern Europe have shared about the following needs and challenges in their cultures:
The societies here are highly secularized and post-Christian, and view this as a virtue of progress. Spiritual apathy is disguised as tolerance. Many view faith as irrelevant to their lives, or have not liked their church experience. That makes witness and evangelism very challenging.
Despite more than a thousand years of rich Christian heritage, people in Northern Europe have largely forgotten it. For some, historic memories of religious wars and violent conflict have resulted in cynicism or even suspicion about matters of faith.
A significant part of the population has never been to church, and remains ignorant about who God is, what the Bible says, and what it means to follow Jesus. In this vacuum, atheism and neopaganism have taken root.
Violent crime, sexually transmitted diseases, mental illness, prostitution, and addiction rates are growing in some areas. Many are economically disadvantaged, living in poverty, or are homeless.
Across Northern Europe, refugees struggle to navigate the legal systems to receive asylum. A rapid influx of culturally and religiously diverse immigrants has strained infrastructures and social relations.
Intervals of political and religiously-motivated terrorism cause fear and disruption, and some lose their lives. Differing views on political matters have created division, tension, and sometimes, outright hostility.
There are signs of hope. While mainline and established churches are declining or even closing, new churches and Pentecostal churches are growing in some areas.
Some congregations are taking risks, trying innovative new ways to reach their communities with God’s love.
We should remember that every area of concern is also an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work miracles, to catalyze a movement of people repenting and seeking God anew. Where people have never read the Bible or heard about Jesus, these stories and their truths can again be fresh and full of hope.
Let us intercede for the peoples of Northern Europe.
Our mighty and good Father, Creator of all things and all people,
We have seen in Your Word that You love every individual person alive, and in Your wise love, You judge and rescue nations.
As You judge the nations of Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Father, have mercy.
In different ways and times, Your Church has failed You, and failed its societies and nations. At times, it has failed to be the witness it should have been. Sometimes Your Church has participated in, rather than opposed, historical events of violence, racism, and war.
Today’s Church has inherited this historical burden, and as a consequence, now, many do not listen or believe as the Church preaches Christ. We repent for the part we have played over the centuries, and even today.
Our enemy would have us believe that Your Church today in Northern Europe is small and marginalized. This enemy shouts “defeat,” “irrelevance,” “failure,” and “powerlessness” to steal our sense of victory and effectiveness in our societies.
These are lies! No principality or power, whether spiritual or human, is a match for the Creator of All Things! For our God knows all, sees all, is everywhere at all times, is the source of all power, all goodness, all love, all wisdom. On the cross, Jesus, You defeated death itself! There is nothing and no one that can oppose You. In Your presence, all darkness flees. Your Church has the God of the Angel Armies on our side! Our enemy is nothing before us.
We invoke Your power over the evil Your love.
Almighty God, shatter strongholds of addiction, and the despair that fuels it. Set free those who are bound by alcoholism and drug addiction.
Be powerfully near to the refugee and immigrant – people who have fled death and violence in their home countries to establish a new, peaceful and prosperous life in Europe. Give them comfort and ease their fears as they navigate new languages, new cultures and customs, new government systems. Be close them, because often they are far from family and friends, separated from spouses, children or parents. Where some have been raised to follow another religion, take this opportunity in a new land to introduce them to believers who will love and accept them, and show them the way to Jesus.
Father, where economic deprivation or generational abuse make people vulnerable to human trafficking, intervene so that they do not fall prey to abusers and traffickers. Raise up Your people across Northern Europe to search for and rescue the enslaved, and to proactively intervene with the vulnerable before they become ensnared to traffickers.
Break through strongholds of generational poverty so that people have the opportunity to become fully who you created them to be through education, better health, and dignified employment. Give them opportunities and the desire to be generous and care for others still in need.
For all those suffering from the daily anguish and despair of mental illness, restore them to wholeness. Instill them with hope, strength, and perseverance. Where it is Your will, bring healing.
Our Father, we ask you to prevent incidents of terrorism and politically motivated violence. Disrupt the plans of those who intend to do harm and death. Help people to stamp out the seeds of suspicion, fear and hostility between people that are sown through these acts of terrorism. Usher in a new age of valuing human life the way that You do.
In areas polarized by political differences, Holy Spirit, in Your power, teach people how to do the difficult work of seeking forgiveness, and understanding, and pursuing reconciliation.
Even now, we trust that the Holy Spirit is moving back and forth across Northern Europe, calling people to You, working restoration, healing, hope, freedom, and new life. We pray You will silence the spiritual and human voices of defeat, discouragement, and powerlessness. We ask that You reveal where You are already at work, and empower us with hope, optimism and trust as we join You in it.
You have reconciled whole nations and peoples to You, at different times through history. You can do it now, today. We ask You to do it. And where You want to use us as part of your work, use us.
We pray all this with believe and hope in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Today’s additional scripture readings are from:
To watch a video about the Northern Europe Field, visit www.eurasiaregion.org.
Let’s gather again tomorrow to intercede for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Northern Europe!