It’s Sunday, March 29. And we are beginning our fifth week of Lent by interceding for our brothers and sisters in Christ across Central Europe.
My name is Sandra, and I’ll be leading you today in our scripture reading and prayer.
Theme: “I will cause you to rise again”
Scripture: Ezekiel 37:1-14 (Living Bible)
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.
Last weekend we interceded for Eastern Mediterranean Field. The weekend before, we prayed for Northern Europe. On the second weekend, we covered Commonwealth of Independent States with our prayers. The first weekend, we prayed over the nations of the Western Mediterranean.
This weekend, we will pray for the nations of Central Europe.
The Church of the Nazarene includes in this field: Denmark, Norway, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Kosova, and Albania. There are also Nazarenes present in Serbia and Finland, meeting for worship or establishing new work. The countries are grouped together because the Church of the Nazarene in each nation is judged to be at similar levels of development, making resourcing, support and leadership to them together more seamless.
To watch a video about the Central Europe Field, find the link in today’s transcript on our website at www.lentjourney.org.
In all of these nations, Nazarenes are adapting quickly and creatively to the new restrictions and needs created by the global spread of the corona virus. The district superintendent over Norway, Finland, Poland and Denmark asks for prayer that Nazarenes there will hear God’s voice and be the church, embracing community even as they must do so through physical separation. Also, he asked that God would show the church concrete ways to respond to the needs that arise, and the growing sense of loneliness that some experience.
Ask that God will use His people to spread encouragement, helping people overcome fear and anxiety. Pray that hearts will open to God, and that the Church will share the hope, peace and joy Christ offers during trials and difficulties.
Nazarenes across these countries have shared their following additional prayer requests:
Denmark— Pray for the Holy Spirit to bring revival among the many Christians who have become disillusioned by the institutional church. Pray for biblical thinking to replace the secular, postmodern worldview prevalent among youth. Pray for financial support for full-time pastors and teachers who are anchored in the truths of the Bible. Pray that believers will find ways to share the gospel and disciple immigrants from other cultures who have traditionally identified with other religions. The Nazarene coffee shop in Greve closed on March 14, and some of the international volunteers returned to their home countries. Pray that God would provide the coffee shop ministry resources to continue after quarantines are lifted.
Finland—Please pray for a Korean Nazarene church that paused its physical meetings in February to slow the spread of corona virus. They now meet through video conferencing. Pray that God would actually bless and expand their influence and ministry as they shift to gathering via technology.
Poland— Poland is fast becoming an international hub for foreigners seeking stability and employment. Please pray that Churches will unite and reach out to this new demography. Pray for Polish Christians to resist the temptations of materialism, secularism and affluence to remain passionately committed to following Jesus and sharing Him with others. Pray that God’s people will receive favor from other denominations and church leaders, from their neighbors and communities, and from government authorities. Please pray that church workers will have fresh wisdom and develop an effective strategy in engaging the unchurched.
Norway— Pray for a movement of the Holy Spirit among the 86% of the population who are church members but do not attend worship. Pray for vibrant churches to be planted among immigrants from other faith backgrounds. Pray that Norway’s long missionary history would lead to a missional outreach toward its own people. Pray for the Portuguese-speaking Nazarene church in Norway to continue growing and ministering during corona virus quarantine measures.
Romania— Pray for our established Nazarene churches in Romania, as they continue to minister in their local communities. Pray for our national pastors and their families, as well as our mission team members, as they work together to disciple new leaders, plant new churches where we are already ministering, and share Christ with incredible passion and conviction. Ask God to bless the compassionate ministries that are being the hands and feet of Jesus to marginalized groups in this country: the survivors of human trafficking, neglected children, those with special needs, the elderly, and the poor.
Albania—Pray the Body of Christ will grow in unity, and become more robust in discipleship and maturity. Pray for God to show the church where there are people whose hearts are open to the gospel. Pray for an outpouring of God’s abundant resources to enable the church to meet the needs of people around them, and to facilitate expanding ministry. Ask God to bless the church with mature, theologically-rooted Christian leaders and pastors, and that He would resource them with all they need to provide for their families while serving the church and their communities.
Bulgaria— Please pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit bringing new boldness and power to the church, filling it with God’s love and grace. May God lead the congregations in a new hunger and thirst for righteousness and holiness. Pray that the communities will see the love and light of Christ shining through them. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ to embrace Christian education and discipleship and work for maturity in Christ.
Croatia— Please pray for the country of Croatia while so many Croatians leave their homes and try to find employment and life resources elsewhere. Pray that believers will remain in their communities to lead the church and preach the gospel to neighbors and family members. Please pray for Christian churches in Croatia to be united in their faith and mission, especially while they are trying to meet the needs of utterly discouraged and poor people. Pray for the church to be a strong source of peace and hope to others, especially in the midst of aftershocks from a recent earthquake, that are complicating national efforts to stem the spread of corona virus.
Slovenia—Pray that God would breathe a spirit of Pentecost into the Church in Slovenia, empowering them to boldly preach the gospel and compassionately meet the needs of Slovenians. Ask God to deeply root His people in the Word and the power of its truth.
Kosova—Pray for the small remnant of faithful believers in Kosova, that they would find opportunities to confidently share their faith with family members, neighbors, classmates and coworkers. Pray for open doors to minister to others’ needs. Ask God to bless the church with mature, theologically-rooted Christian leaders and pastors, and that He would resource them with all they need to provide for their families while serving the church and their communities. Ask God to grant favor to His people from their families, communities, civil leaders and government authorities. Pray for a spirit of unity among all God’s people across the country.
Serbia—The Church of the Nazarene joined forces with local and national groups to serve refugees pouring into the country from the Syrian civil war and other regional situations of violence or persecution. Pray for the country of Serbia as they work with the refugee situation and integrate people into their lives and culture. Pray for the church to be present and connecting with local Serbians as well as those integrating to grow the Kingdom and glorify God. Pray for new Nazarene missionaries to Serbia as they prepare and transition to living and serving in Belgrade, Serbia.
Our great God
Thank You that You are now and always at work with Your people in Kosova, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Poland.
In some of these countries, Your people experience poverty, or must work hard all the time to provide for their families to stay out of poverty and debt. This limits the time they can give to ministry and church leadership. Others are marginalized by oppressive and aggressive secularism. Some are actively opposed by restrictive government legislation that refuses to recognize their churches or limits their worship and outreach. Many are faithfully swimming upstream against societal forces of spiritual apathy and atheism. Believers in two of these nations are in the religious minority, and because they love You, they endure discrimination and persecution from their families, neighbors or employers, and larger societies. Your people often and everywhere suffer from lack of unity as the Body of Christ.
Our father, we stand with our brothers and sisters of Central Europe in prayer. We pray that You would breathe Your Holy Spirit into Your followers, just as You did the disciples on the first day of Pentecost. Empower them with boldness and victory in Jesus over all the forces that oppose them, and try to weaken and discourage them.
In many areas, Your people are fractured by differences over theology or tradition. We pray that You would ignite a revival rooted in repentance for past failures to faithfully be the Church as Christ envisioned us. Please reconcile Your people across their differences, so they find unity in their love for You, Jesus; an unshakable unity that will unleash the full power of Your Holy Spirit to transform and heal their nations.
We ask that You would raise up hundreds of Christian leaders and pastors, and anoint them with Your Holy Spirit. Please secure them in the theological truths of Your word. Help them to grow in Your wisdom, discernment, compassion, and humility, so that they can lead Your people with integrity, courage and love. Please continue to expand systems and resources for discipling pastors and lay people to deepen their maturity and faith. Provide the financial means and opportunity for many to pursue quality theological education.
Where there are refugees and asylum seekers making a new life in these countries, please use this opportunity to introduce them to believers who know You personally. Invigorate Your people with love and a burden for immigrants who, for the first time, have the freedom to investigate Christianity and to have relationships with Your people. Open doors for a revival among immigrants across Central Europe.
As the nations of Central Europe are affected by the COVID-19 virus, please give Your people a spirit of creativity and flexibility, so that they can rapidly adapt worship, prayer and discipleship through available technology and other means to gather differently. Lord, please use Your Church at this time of crisis as lighthouses in the storm, shining brightly throughout their nations so that many realize they can exchange their fear for peace and hope in You. Enable Your people to minister to the most vulnerable and the weak.
Father, we pray that You would grant Your people with favor from governments and community leaders; that restrictive laws would be loosened so Your people have greater freedom to worship and to minister to others.
Lord, we know that only You can achieve such great miracles, and yet doing so would take no effort from You. You have all the power, all the wisdom, and You love each person in each of these nations. Please, Holy Spirit, continue to call the people to You, and to defeat our enemy wherever he opposes You. We believe You can do all these things, and we pray this in the wonderful name of Jesus. Amen.
The additional scripture passages for today are from:
Gina looks forward to starting a new week of Lent with you on Monday, as we give time each day to gather in the presence of Jesus, preparing ourselves for Easter.