Pray for (FYROM) Macedonia
While seeking out information on present conditions in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, I received the following letter from a very knowledgeable Christian worker in Macedonia. Marshall Rich’s letter can help guide our prayers for Macedonia.
Here is some general information.
Macedonia is primarily Orthodox Christian and the majority view protestant Christianity as a sect. This sometimes (or oftentimes) results in born-again followers of Christ to be persecuted by neighbors and even family members. Persecution is not physical, but often psychological persecution in the form of name-calling, rejection, and talking behind one's back can be equally devastating.
2/3 of the population is Macedonian and that translates to nearly 2/3 Orthodox Christian. 30% are Albanian which are nearly all strict muslims. There is also a large Roma Gypsy population which is primarily muslim but with fortune-telling/magic arts/superstition intermixed with their faith.
There seems to be a religious rivalry between Orthodox Christianity and Islam. They compete for bigger religious structures in prime areas and even after the war in Kosovo in 2001 some churches/mosques were destroyed by fanatics/patriots. There are cities/villages which are exclusively Albanian and others exclusively Macedonian. Tensions exist. Some cities are mixed but with separate areas of business/residence.
In this region ethnicity is tied to faith. It is expected if you are ____ then you are _____. If you are Macedonian then you are Orthodox. It is not as much as a personal endeavor as it is heritage.
The true Church is Christ is alive and present although numbers are small. Zero churches exist among the Albanians, although some Albanians attend evangelical churches of primarily Macedonian composition. There are several strong established churches among the Roma gypsies. I enjoy attending services there and appreciate strong adherence to the Bible and sound preaching. The gypsies are more open to listening to Christ but are also open to other doctrines such as the Jehovah's Witness church growing among the Roma.
A prior Macedonian President was a Methodist which had a profound effect on acceptance of protestant faiths, especially after his tragic death in a plane crash. Baptist missionaries are active in several cities. Primarily the churches are overseen by Macedonian elders, many of whom have degrees in theology. Sound doctrine. Good leadership. Excellent Biblical preaching.
Problems in the church are lack of finances. Macedonian has high unemployment and most churches are funded from foreign countries. Tithes are insufficient. Largest denomination is called Evangelical, holding doctrine like Alliance churches or somewhat like Assemblies of God. They have the most churches established and have dedicated pastors.
-Praise points: domestic leadership of the churches, nationals are pastoring, ministering
-prayer points: Albanians to come to Christ, to overcome cultural and ethnic barriers, for the church to be support itself, for Christians to work hard and be employed, for fearless testimony of Christ in the face of rejection,
Hope this helps,
Salutation in Christ,
Marshall Rich, - Read More at http://macedoniamissions.com/
1) With the Macedonians mainly being Orthodox and regarding Evangelicals as a sect, then let us pray that the Evangelicals would, with love and acts of righteousness, earn the right to speak into the culture.
2) We thank the Lord for the former president that was a Methodist and how the Lord used his death to soften hearts toward the Protestants. Let us pray for more events within the culture that can change attitudes and reveal the true motivation of Jesus and His church.
3) Let us pray for the present President, Gjorge Ivanov. May the Lord surround him with wise counselors.
4) Lord, we ask that You strengthen Your saints in their days of persecution. James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
5) Let us pray for peaceful co-existence between the ethnic Macedonians and the Albanians. May they learn how to respect one another.
6) Let us pray for the Albanian population, especially since they are mainly Muslim. Lord, protect those few Albanians that have become Christians and give them open doors to testify of Your great joy and salvation.
7) Let us pray for directed evangelism and/or acts of kindness toward the Albanian population; even involvement from foreign Christians. Raise up intercessors, senders (givers) and goers.
8) Lord, we ask that the Churches be strengthened and be a safe place for people to receive healing and enjoy their salvation.
9) The report is that many pastors and church leaders are on a solid foundation. Lord, may You continue to bless Macedonia. Lord, we ask for an economic blessing also. May barriers to productivity be reduced so prosperity can flow into the country.
10) May the Christians be blessed with wisdom to influence the culture spiritually and economically. Lord, raise up godly gatekeepers and give them wisdom and resources to bring wealth into the cities so poverty can be reduced.
More News of Macedonia at http://freebalkans.com/Macedonia.html
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Pray for Greece
Greece's gross domestic product contracted by 3.5% in the second quarter from a year earlier ... sending unemployment rates to above 12% of the work force ...
The International Monetary Fund predicts the jobless rate will reach 14.8% by 2012. But some labor experts fear that before long, one in five Greek workers could be without jobs.
1. Let us pray for a reversal of the above economic forecast. Lord if this is Your judgment, we pray that Greeks would humble themselves, repent of not seeking You and now seek Your wisdom. May they see they can no longer trust in their plans.
2. Let us pray for Greece Rev. 2:4-5 “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”
3. Lord, we pray for mercy for the Greek people. Once they carried the lamp of God and showed Europe the joy of salvation. Now Lord, they need their lamp lighted again.
4. Lord, we pray that You will light fires throughout the country. Start to move by Your Spirit in churches that have forgotten Your glory. Lord, stir the spirit within Your people.
5. Let us pray for unity among the Christians. Then Lord, release intercession in Your people in Greece. May they cry out for their nation according to 2 Chr. 7: 13“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
6. Let us pray for the Greek Orthodox Church. They have the soul of the Greek people but they are not refreshing the people’s spirits.
7. Lord we ask for the Holy Spirit to visit the schools across the country and save many children. If the homes in Greece are not honoring the Lord, may the children be exposed to the Gospel elsewhere especially the schools.
8. Lord raise up evangelist in Greece to go pour out their lives for the people.
9. Lord send out the Holy Spirit to compel Greeks to come to the cross. Let not that nation be lost to the enemy. Luke 14:23 “Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Pray for Croatia
Summer time in Croatia and many Europeans are vacationing on the Croatian coast, which is considered the eastern Riviera.
1. Vacations are great and we need them to get away and refresh. Let us pray for the vacationers visiting the Croatian coast. We pray that there will be an occasion for them to find the Lord and be truly refreshed by Him.
2. Lord, give the churches in Croatia strategies for reaching these vacationers with the Gospel.
3. Although the youth camps are mostly over with for this summer, we thank the Lord for all He has done in these camps. May the seeds planted in their lives not be stolen by the enemy. (The Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13)
4. Let us pray for the churches of Croatia. Lord, we ask that the Holy Spirit be poured out on Your people. We pray that the pastors would have special encounters with the Lord. Lord, walk with them daily protecting them from the attacks of the enemy.
5. May the pastors and church leaders know the times they live in and seek You for strategies to touch this present generation of Croats.
6. The report is that during the month of July there was a 1% rise in inflation in the Croatian economy. Lord, we pray for financial protection for the churches. We pray for financial increase for the churches also. May money for building materials come in.
7. Pray for the Catholic church of Croatia. Like a lot of European countries the people have a false sense of salvation because of the state church. People believe that because they were baptized as a child then that is all that is required of them. Lord convict the priest (the shepherds) of what Your word really says about being saved by faith, and faith alone.
8. Lord, we ask You to open the hearts of the Croatian people. May they see the real Jesus and the joy of salvation.
For the latest News from CROATIAN EVANGELISTIC OUTREACH CRKVA CJELOVITOG EVANDELJA
Kneza Branimira 11 10 000 Zagreb Croatia >>Click: email@example.com
Monday, August 09, 2010
Pray for Bulgaria
Usually before I go to the Lord concerning the Bulgarian prayer list, I have learned to check with a dear prayer warrior there named Filip. He always has fresh news and encouragement. Read what he had to share with me at http://www.freebalkans.com/FilipRashevPage.html
1. Filip ask prayer for the many political parties that are complaining about the new government. Lord, we pray that there would be trust in the politics of Bulgaria. May the parties, government workers, and law enforcers be honest with the people about government needs and benefits.
2. Lord, we know government is necessary so we can live in peace. Lord, we just ask for godly people to be positioned by You into government service. Lord, we pray for clean government for Bulgaria. Expose corruption and crime in the ruling class. Actually, there should not be a ruling class but rather just citizens that serve the people.
3. Lord, we ask that the Evangelical churches would have an open door to the government.
Another prayer warrior reports that, like in many parts of the world, the families in Bulgaria are being pulled apart. This goes back to how the communist government taught children Marxist/Atheistic ideas that went against their parents beliefs. These children that were mainly raised by the state, when they started having children, did not have good parenting skills to guide their children. However, the government is now trying to support parents as they raise young children,… One of the ways they are doing this is by increasing the mother’s paid maternity leave… In addition, fathers also receive a 15 day paid leave after the birth… Once the parent’s leave is over, the government will pay grandparents for looking after their grandchildren.
This person also shared that there is an aggressiveness in the children which is causing problems in the schools.
4. Lord, we pray for the families. The roots of any country are the strength of the families. We pray that fathers and mothers would work together to invest in the lives of their children.
5. We pray that parents would seek out godly parenting skills that disciplines and builds character in their children.
6. Thank You, Lord that the government is taking steps to help the parents. Lord, raise up legislators and think tank counselors to guide the government into futher measures to help families.
7. It is reported that students are not actively engaged in learning. Lord, we pray that as You firm up the families to properly care for their children, that they would also pass on the need for education.
Thank you for praying for Bulgaria. God want to do great things in the country and a good relationship between the people and government is important. Direct email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, August 02, 2010
Pray for Bosnia Herzegovina
Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia, is home to 400,000 people, 95% of whom are nominally Muslim. It still bears the scars of the war that tore apart Yugoslavia in the 1990s; bullet holes and bomb damage mar many of the buildings. Although much of the city has been restored, the people have not forgotten what happened. Whilst I was visiting the city in July, they laid to rest 600 bodies that had been found in a mass grave, victims of the Srebrenica massacre. The theme of the memorial service was “Never Forget” and this is at the heart of the challenge faced by the church in Bosnia.
People never forget their ethnic identity - Bosnian Muslim, Catholic Croat or Orthodox Serb. Religion and nationality are indivisible and to become an evangelical believer means turning your back on your identity, rejecting your people and betraying the memory of all that has happened. Yet people are discovering new life in Christ and becoming a part of one of the 25 churches in the country. In a country of 3.8 million people there are maybe 700 evangelical believers spread around the country. They meet in churches of 20 - 30 people, with just three larger churches of 50 believers. http://www.eurovangelism.org.uk/mainarticles/bosnia10.htm
1. The Srebrenica massacre is truly a scar on Bosnia Herzegovina that will take time to heal. Let us pray that the Lord would especially minister to the victim’s loved ones. What the devil intended for evil and division may it be turned to good.
2. May Srebrenica be a reminder to all three ethnic groups in B-H, Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, that war has innocent victims and peaceful solutions are worth extra efforts.
3. Let us pray that in Bosnia that to the “never forget” slogan would be added “but forgive”. Those that forgive will be able to go on in life and defeat bitterness.
4. The report above says there may be 700 evangelical believers in the country, a country of almost 4 million people. This needs serious intercession. Pray that God would visit that country.
5. Let us pray for the Christians in B-H. May the Lord hold them in the faith and encourage their hearts. Lord, we ask for Your presence to be in their small gatherings.
6. Lord, send missionaries into Bosnia Herzegovina. Give them strategy to plant churches throughout the country. Break their hearts for this unevengelized land. Help them to learn the language.
7. There are different levels of missionaries; Let us pray for those that will renounce their present life and its comforts to truly go live with the people.
8. Lord, we pray that finances would be raised for the churches in B-H and the pastors and elders would know how to properly apply these monies toward the kingdom.
9. Let us pray for the city Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia Herzegovina. Ninty five percent Muslim is a curse that can stiffle any city. The prayer is; Lord, give Grace to the Christians that live there.
10. Oh, let your heart burn for Bosnia Herzegovina.
If you have more prayers, concerns and knowledge of needs that you would like to add, please reply to Djerilo@yahoo.com. If you have other information about any of the other Balkan countries please share them also by replying to this email.