The Ebola virus outbreak that began in December 2013 is by far the worst in history, claiming over 11,000 lives in West Africa. While we praise God that the rate of infection is abating, the disease is not eradicated, and its after-effects are far-reaching. The three epicenter countries of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone are the hardest hit, but the entire region must cope with the effects of Ebola.
This very second the Earth is spinning on its axis, exposing parts to the new day’s first rays of light and shrouding others in the darkness of night. In the same way, the praises of God’s people are lifted up in a never-ending stream that circles the globe daily. From mega-cities and rural villages, from mountains and valleys, from jungles and deserts, the LORD Almighty is continuously worshipped in the name of Jesus.
Despite birthing many of the earliest Christian churches, the Middle East and North Africa have endured centuries with little or no access to the Gospel. Today, four of every five Muslims – 20% of the world’s population – have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is estimated that only 10% of missionaries are working among Muslims, with some estimates as low as 1%.
We hate the darkness and underlying evil. Yet Jesus still says, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). God’s love reaches not only those suffering under this oppression, but it reaches even into the ranks of Islamic State. Just as God transformed Saul into Paul through an encounter with Jesus, so can He transform today’s persecutors into tomorrow’s evangelists.
It reads like the book of Acts: an unreached, unengaged people group is contacted with the Gospel, and within two years there are 68 churches and over 4500 new believers. God intervenes dramatically in many lives, healing the sick and liberating people from demonic oppression. Indigenous leaders are raised up to engage ever-widening circles of people with the Gospel.
There are over seven billion people in the world. Over 5 billion are not followers of Jesus and roughly two billion have never even heard the Gospel. Most of them won’t ever hear unless somebody goes to tell them.
At the same time, roughly 130,000 people are dying every day without having a relationship with Jesus - their only hope for salvation. The problem is both MASSIVE and URGENT.
Polio was feared around the world prior to Jonas Salk developing a vaccine in 1952. It rose to pandemic levels across Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand in the first half of the 20th century. The highly infectious disease primarily attacks children, and it has crippled and killed many over the years. Polio strikes its victims suddenly, and some are left permanently paralyzed.
This prayercast features Psalm 67 set to music. It is based on the cry for God to shine His face upon His people that we, in turn, might be a light to the nations.
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
If we stop and let the reality sink in, it’s both mind-boggling and heart-wrenching. Worldwide, there are approximately 42,000,000 voiceless victims of abortion each year, priceless children created in the image of God. No wonder it’s called the Silent Holocaust. Abortion is not confined to one region or people group.
It is no understatement to say that our world is at war. Global Security lists 42 ongoing conflicts today, 11 of which have been started in the past 5 years. And many more conflicts are on the brink of war. The hatred runs deep, the tensions high, and the anger wide. As Christians, how engaged are we? How many of the 42 on-going conflicts can we name? How many do we pray for?
There are 7.2 billion people in the world today, and 2 billion have never heard the life- saving message of the gospel. When numbers reach into the billions, they seem to lose meaning; they are simply too big. However, if we shrink the world’s population down to a village of 100 people, perhaps we can start to make sense of the dire needs that crush the global population, and more.
God reigns and is moving today in every corner of the globe! Yet the evil in our world and its prominence in news reports can sometimes make us lose sight of this. When we forget His sovereignty, we can easily slip into despair and hopelessness. As we look back over 2016 we recognize and rejoice that He reigns “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title…” and that “all things are under His feet” (Eph. 1:21,22).