Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pray for Croatia

Croatia is nationalistically a Roman Catholic country. The Catholic Church has to be credited for providing a representation and visual presence of Christianity in the Croatian culture throughout the centuries. Although the atheist in the country discount the influence of the Catholic Church the fact is they still speak for a lot of Croatians.

Let us use the Cardinal’s Christmas message and the statements of senior state officials to guide our prayers for Croatia.

Christmas celebrated throughout Croatia

25. December 2011. | 18:29    

Christian believers adhering to the Gregorian calendar were celebrating Christmas throughout Croatia on Sunday to mark the birth of Jesus Christ.

The Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanic, led Christmas Eve Mass in St Stephen's Cathedral in Zagreb on Saturday, telling the congregation to enjoy the nearness of God and not to be afraid.

"Our hearts are now illuminated by the Holy Spirit and we should not be afraid," the archbishop said. He invited the faithful to open themselves up to God because "God's love is among us."

"The history of humanity is in God's hands, or more precisely, in the very heart of God, even though sometimes it seems that it is run by the power-wielders of this world," Bozanic said.

Bozanic also led Christmas Day Mass in the Zagreb Cathedral, which was attended by senior state officials, including President Ivo Josipovic, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and Parliament Speaker Boris Sprem.

Addressing reporters after the Mass, all three officials extended their best wishes for Christmas.

"These were messages of peace and unity. That is what we will need in Croatia, to respect ourselves and others, and have others respect us, to be together in these difficult times," Prime Minister Milanovic said.

1)      Let us pray as the archbishop said, that hearts would be illuminated by the Holy Spirit and Croatians would not be afraid. Because of the economic situation, young adults are not sure of their future. Those that have saved for their security in their later days, now see that slipping away. Lord, may You take the fear away.

2)      The archbishop is trying to comfort the Croatian people by reinforcing the fact that the future is in God’s hands. He is making a statement to bring comfort. History shows that we are in God’s hands and He guards our destiny, not the “power-wielders of this world”. Lord, we recognize You have Croatia and its people in Your hands.

3)      Let us pray for a realignment of Trust in Croatia. May the Croatian people learn to trust in the Lord.

4)      So many in Croatia still look to the Catholic Church for hope. As evangelicals we tend to only see fault in the Catholic Church. So Lord, help us to pray for the Croatian Catholic priest and the archbishop, Cardinal Josip Bozanic. Lord, help them to minister Your heart to the people. Lord, use them for Your glory in the positions of leadership they have.

5)      The archbishop refers to the fact that the country is not only in God’s hands but in His heart. Let us pray that the Croatian people would truly be comforted by God’s heart. (I believe we can make a point of contact here. As we pray for Croatia, God will/is turning His heart to the people.)

6)      Prime Minister Milanovic, in his comments spoke of the need for peace and unity. He referred to the fact that peace and unity comes through respect; “…to respect ourselves and others, and have others respect us, to be together in these difficult times," Let us pray into what the PM has spoken here. Lord, let there be a return to honor. Let this start in the government. May the government officials respect the wishes of the people, may the people respect government officials as men and women positioned by God to keep peace.

The following verses are hard to swallow, especially when seeing corruption in our governments, but God promises peace.

Romans 13:1-7  Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

I want to pull up two prayers we prayed this past October.

7)      Lord, You can make Croatia a blessing for Europe. Lord, may grace be poured out through all the institutions in the land. We pray that promotions would come to the Christians in the workplace.

8)      …pray for men and women of vision to also come forth this winter. Lord, bring out Your chosen ones. Open their eyes to see Your plan for Croatia. Release courage and assurance of their calling. Let them speak with authority to the demons that stand against the Lord’s plan.

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