Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Pray for Greece

Week of July 7-13, 2014

The Church of Megalochari on Tinos island is one of the most important pilgrimages in Greece. On this holy site, the icon of the Virgin Mary was found, after a vision of the nun Pelagia. Tradition has it that the icon is miraculous and visitors arrive by thousands to pray and ask for help (usually for health issues). The church is located on a hill above Chora and pilgrims go on their knees from the port to the church entrance. Inside the monastery complex lies a great chapel and a lovely fountain with holy water.  http://www.greeka.com/greece-culture/churches/

This is an example of how traditional the Greeks have become toward religion and their churches. They are considered holy sites, the icons have special power, and mother Mary is often given honor above Jesus. The church of Megalochari is such a holy place that visitors crawl on their knees up it’s steps seeking a touch from God.

In doing research on Protestant churches in Greece the only denomination that had a significant number were the Pentecostals with an estimated 12,000 members in about 200 churches. This is very few considering among the 11 million in Greece over 90% give a national allegiance to the Greek Orthodox church. “To be Greek is to be Orthodox” as the saying goes.

A good prayer directive is from Operation World http://www.operationworld.org/gree
Ethnic Greek evangelicals are few. Please pray for:
a) Courage to witness in a society where the extreme majority claim to be Christian yet do not have a living faith and relationship with Jesus. Greek society is not just secular and post-Christian, but is subject to a faith that is syncretistic – the amalgamation of Christianity, inherited superstition, atheism, paganism and such.
b) Wisdom in outreach and witness. Greek Protestants acknowledge that proselytism is unnecessary, but that evangelism is. Greeks are more likely to experience new life in Christ through a revitalization of the Orthodox Church than through Protestants drawing Greeks away from their Orthodox background. Pray for ways that allow evangelicals to urgently communicate the need for salvation while respecting the great legacy and heritage of Orthodoxy.
c) Unity in the Spirit. Unfortunately, divisions still exist even among the various Protestant denominations; division can compromise the message they preach. The Pan-Hellenic Evangelical Alliance works as a mouthpiece for all evangelicals and challenges illegal discrimination. Pray for all believing churches to join together and for the Evangelical Alliance to represent them with wisdom and clarity.

We know the story of the jailer in Acts 16 that had an encounter with Paul and Silas in the jail. He and his whole house joyfully accepted Jesus after seeing God bring about a miraculous deliverance for Paul and Silas through an earthquake. Think of today’s Orthodox priest as jailers holding back the true message of the cross. The message is there but it is locked up.

1)    Let us pray for such a shaking in the Orthodox church that the priest fall on their faces in repentance.
2)    After the earthquake the keys in the jailers hand were of no use anymore; so let us pray that God would miraculously set free the Gospel in Greece.
3)    Let us point our finger at the demon of “religion”, and rebuke his power over the Greek people. Let us ask for the same rage Jesus had when he cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem.

Matthew 21:12
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.

[A desperate plea comes from a missionary in Greece], “We need missionaries to come long term and just love the Greek people.” With all of the biblical surroundings, “the Greek people are very close to the reality but have little real experience,” according to Creel.
Nearly 2,000 years have passed since Paul made two missionary journeys to this country. The spiritual need is as serious today as it was in the early days of apostolic ministry. Paul considered himself a debtor to the Greeks (Romans 1:14). He fulfilled that debt by preaching the gospel.
This land so abounding with biblical history desperately needs workers — missionaries and Greek nationals — to assume the role of debtor to the Greeks. http://pentecostalevangel.ag.org/Articles2006/4800_Greeks.cfm

4)    Let us pray for missionaries that will truly love the Greek people to be sent to Greece by the Holy Spirit.
5)    May these missionaries boldly go like Paul and Silas willing to suffer for His name in order the see Greeks truly set free.
6)    May the Lord raise up bold Greek believers that will proclaim the Gospel in a way that will shake off the chains of tradition.

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