Over the last 3 years our month of prayer has had a continental theme, highlighting different nations on each continent as the focus for each day.
This year we sensed that there are many global challenges and issues which cut across nations and continents which the church should uplift in prayer. We have also taken our Mobilisation strategy a step further by first raising awareness through the daily prayer articles. Then having prayed our hope and desire is that some of you would be moved to take the next step of active involvement. We have thus presented options of how to get involved.
Let us therefore draw near to the throne of God and pray in faith, trusting that our Father in heaven hears our prayers and will answer them according to His will!
Zimbabwe is so wondrously adorned with beauty by our Creator - with tranquil rivers flowing lazily but freely around hills and mountains; white sheets of water plummeting down the Victoria Falls gorge; the genius displayed in the crafting of the Great Zimbabwe stone buildings; the beautiful sunsets over Lake Kariba, viewed while canoeing around hippos and crocodiles; and the red/orange/rust/gold colours of the Msasa trees. These are some of the compelling images evoked when one thinks of Zimbabwe.
She was once the bread-basket of Africa - a land blessed with fertile, well-watered fields and equally great weather. Complemented by a hardworking and well-educated labour force, Zimbabweans could have looked ahead to a future where the nation not only provided its inhabitants with choice bread for their physical sustenance, but also the families of the world with the living Bread, Christ. However, there are some major challenges currently bedevilling both our country and the Church. And, in order for God to use this nation to provide this physical and spiritual sustenance to Zimbabwe and beyond, the Church must rise out of its complacency and spiritual casualness, and humbly seek God’s face that He may awaken and mobilise His people.
Despite the potential of the land to produce abundantly beyond its own needs, the weather phenomenon has become increasingly erratic in recent years. The changing patterns have devastated crop yields and killed livestock in some rural areas. This crisis has not only affected Zimbabwe but other countries in the region. Pray that God might restore favourable weather so that the land might be cultivated and produce bumper harvests.
Zimbabwe’s economy began to stabilize in 2009 after years in the doldrums. Growth has been sluggish in recent years. Pray for an end to corruption, for new investments, and for wisdom and dedication for her leaders to steer the economy towards sustained growth.
Did you know that about 1.1% of Zimbabwe’s population are Muslims? Most of the Muslims are Yao from Malawi; some are members of the Indian community while others are immigrants from South Asia.
Although comprising only a small minority Muslims, nonetheless, wield significant influence in the country through foreign aid with concealed strings attached. In smaller towns and other povertystricken communities, they target impoverished people offering their children scholarships to Muslim universities, while those who receive handouts (diabolically scheduled to coincide with church services) are required to attend the Mosque on Fridays.
Muslims in Zimbabwe have also influenced virtually all abattoirs and butcheries in the countries to be certified “Halal”. Halal meat is that which adheres to Islamic law as defined in the Koran. For an abattoir to be so certified, they must employ a Muslim who must slaughter all the animals and recite a dedication prayer (known as shahada or tasmiya) to the Islamic god acknowledging him as the source of providence.
A curious eye will also notice the mushrooming of Mosques and Islamic prayer houses in towns like Chinhoyi, and elsewhere alongside the Harare-Mutare Highway and also in Harare neighbourhoods such as Belvedere, Waterfalls and Milton Park.
The Doma people of Zimbabwe could pass for peasant community in the world, yet are quite different from the rest. For hundreds of years, the Doma people hunted and gathered fruits in the Mwanzamutanda hills, west of their present village in Kanyemba. The hills where they once hunted and gathered food, however, are encompassed within Chewore National Park. As a result, the semi-nomadic Doma cannot continue hunting and gathering food in the park and have settled in the village of Kanyemba beside the Chikunda people.
Without skills or experience in living a “settled” life, they are mostly reduced to being labourers of their more experienced neighbours. They usually exchange their labour for a day’s worth of food, which they must repeat the next day to earn another day’s living.
While historically used to living as a closed society, poverty has condemned the Doma to live a secluded and secretive life where they find acceptance in their shared identity as outcasts. Their situation is worsened by the fact that some members of the group have a condition only found in their tribe - two-toed feet! This is why they’re often referred to as “the two-toed tribe” or “the ostrich feet people.” All this is a perfect formula for an outcast tribe. Doma children do not go to school, nor does the community believe in going to the clinic.
The Doma people practice the African traditional religion. Just like other tribes, the Doma look to the spirits of the dead and ancestors as intermediaries who intercede for them. They conduct appeasement ceremonies when they encounter situations considered un-natural such as, incurable disease, lack of rain, or misfortune continually befalling a member of the community. The Doma also have a great deal of knowledge on herbs for healing, and are known to cast spells against perceived enemies. Until recently, many in Zimbabwe held the view that it was not possible to encounter a Doma because, they believed, the Doma use spells to “disappear”. The disappearing antics were thought to be bolstered by the use of juju.
OM Zimbabwe can help organize an outreach for your church group. OM also mobilizes interdenominational group visits. Contact us today on how you or your church can make a difference among the Doma.
Pray: The Doma themselves have been the subject of many ministry efforts but not much change has happened. Uphold Doma leaders in prayer and ask the Lord to raise people among them who will influence others for the gospel.
1 Corinthians 12:26, “We are one body. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it”
Christians are the most persecuted religious group worldwide. Stories of beheadings, torture, rape, kidnappings, mass killings, forced starvation, imprisonment and even crucifixions show that the persecution of Christians did not end at the foot of the cross or the closed gates of the Roman Coliseum but is a present day reality.
“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God”, Leviticus 19:34
Greece has been dominating the news recently with an economy tumbling into financial failure and causing an outbreak of protests and riots.
Bordered by Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti, Eritrea occupies a strategic area in the Horn of Africa but remains one of the most secretive states in the world. By virtue of its location in the Sahel, Eritrea suffers periodic droughts and chronic food shortages hampering development efforts.
“God is dead! Jesus is irrelevant. Faith is a crutch. Christianity is something our grandparents relied on to get them through times of war, but we’re past that now. We’ve moved on, become enlightened, and evolved. I am my own god. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”, William Ernest Henley.
The waging of armed conflict with perceived enemies has brought untold suffering to the human population. In a world where natural disasters and impoverished circumstances already make daily life an unbearable activity for millions of people across the world, the church will have to add her voice to influence peace and take care of those caught up in the fighting.
“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them”, Isaiah 41:17.
Around the world, poverty can be most easily seen in the desperation of vulnerable people who cannot feed themselves. Hunger still claims enormous numbers of victims among those who, like Lazarus, are not permitted to take their place at the rich man’s table.
The Internet is just one more tool that many ministries are using to reach the world for Christ. When Jesus gave the commandment, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel,” the disciples were on foot. There was no television, no radio, no airplanes, and certainly no internet. What a difference 2,000 years can make! Or for that matter, 10 years. Today, more and more people are coming to faith in Christ by logging onto the World Wide Web.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”, “Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple”, - Psalm 119:11, 130
The Bible is an extraordinary book. It tells the story of how God can change people’s lives from death to life and darkness to light. But it does not stop there. As people read the story of the Bible, they are drawn into the story and find their lives being completely transformed. Yet many people still do not have the Bible in a language they understand?
The Pashtun are a race of warriors who live mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They consist of about sixty tribes, each with its own territory. Although their origin is unclear, their legends say that they are the descendants of Afghana, grandson of King Saul. However, most believe they probably arose from ancient Aryans intermingling with subsequent invaders.
Nearly one-third of the world – 2.1 billion people – identify themselves as Christians. Worship rises from every nation, expressed in beautifully diverse languages, cultures, and styles. This is the church of the Living God, the pillar and support of the truth. It is the Body of Christ; His bride that He loves. It is through her that God has chosen to manifest and saturate the world with His love, glory, and presence.
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble”, Psalm 9:9
The defining story of the year 2015 is arguably that of refugees trekking, having drowned or stranded somewhere. Their images filled the news reports; huddled into dangerously overcrowded boats, eking out an existence in refugee camps, desperately queuing at border posts, or travelling across dusty plains, carrying the fragments of their lives in plastic bags. And darker, even more shocking images: toddlers lying lifeless on Turkish beaches; desperate Christian captives, kneeling at the feet of their black-clad executioners.
During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, all religions were repressed. Churches, temples and mosques were destroyed, and many people were killed and tortured to turn away from religion according to Marxist principles. However, in the countryside, Christianity suddenly started to grow very quickly as Christians went around preaching from village to village. In some villages and small towns, most of the people professed Christianity. The repression didn’t stop the growth, though it was usual for churches to be destroyed and Christian leaders to be imprisoned.
Famous for its high peaks and wind-whipped prayer flags, Hindu-majority Nepal used to be a nation unreached with the Gospel. Now, however, according to the World Christian Database which tracks global trends in Christianity, the country has one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world.
The focus of the Great Commission is the preaching of the Gospel to all nations with a special focus on the unreached people groups. However, living upon the doorstep of the church in so called “Christian countries” are millions upon millions who have heard about Christ and know a lot about the Bible but won’t take part in Christian education, fellowship, service or worship.
When a modern man hears the word “slave/slavery”, what often comes to his mind is the transatlantic slave trade where Africans, displaced from their homeland, were shipped to work on farms and plantations in the United States and the Caribbean. Slavery is not simply a thing of the past but it still exists in various forms today. While there were about 4 million slaves in the US at the time it was abolished, it is estimated that there are about 20 to 30 million people who are in different forms of slavery around the world today.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you”, John 15:18.
The Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, has mounted a campaign of terror for more than a decade. In that time thousands of people have been killed and around two million more have been forced to flee their homes.
Purdah, meaning “curtain”, is an Islamic practice requiring women to be secluded from public observation by covering their bodies from head to toe. Women have to completely cover their bodies when in public; only close male family members and other women are allowed to see them out of purdah, or “burka”, as it is also known. Even when using the purdah, women are not allowed to walk in public without a close male relative accompanying them.
Anusha was 15 years old when her parents killed her. “There was a boy who came by on a motorcycle”, her father said. “She turned to look at him twice. I told her before not to do that; it’s wrong. People talk about us.” The mother added: “She said ‘I didn’t do it on purpose. I won’t look again.’ By then her mother had already thrown the acid. “It was her destiny to die this way”, she concluded.
Since the beginnings of the Church, the Great Commission has remained unchanged. Yet the environment in which the Church functions today is considerably more complex than in the days of the apostles. Not least is the fact that an enormous challenge is faced by the expanding world population.