"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure." (Ps 147:3-5)
The Creator God with all power to fashion the stars also promises to heal the broken, hurting hearts of His people. God knows and sees the hurts in this world and He will act justly. Some of the nations at this World Cup are struggling from a war-torn past, or even with disunity and injustice in the present. Other nations are at the pinnacle of technological development, but still find that technology still can't heal broken hearts. We all need the Lord. Pray that the gospel will go out into the world!
Pray for Australia
Did you know that the name "Australia" is actually derived from the Latin term "terra australis incognita", which means "the unknown south land"? Despite such a name since British colonial times, God has always known every single part of his creation, and he has been faithful and gracious to bless Australia with many beautiful places like the Great Barrier Reef and Ayer's Rock, as well as the gospel; Australia is traditionally a Christian nation with freedom of religion.
That being said, the people of God in this land have been facing increasing ideological struggles and persecution as debates and arguments intensify over topics such as sexuality. It is difficult to face persecution, and even more so to respond to persecutors in humble love. Furthermore, as in many developed nations, the church in Australia has been increasingly plagued by spiritual lethargy and even division due to discord concerning thorny issues. Pray that God may continue to strengthen his elect exiles who are in this land, providing them with all they need to be humble but powerful witnesses of the gospel to those around them as one body of Christ. Pray also for the unreached people groups in Australia that constitute about 11% of the population. Pray that God may send more workers to reap the plentiful harvest amongst these people groups.
Pray for Peru
There is much to give thanks to God for as he has lifted the country out of an oppressive military regime, many dictatoships and 15 years of guerilla war. Peru is an emerging economy with many growing industries such as fishing, coffee and tourism. The church is also growing, with an estimated number of 4 million evangelicals. However, Peru is still plagued by the aftermath of years of violence and economic instability. Countless children are abused and exploited, while cocaine is still a key source of income for many poor farmers. Political reform to deal with things like corruption, flawed taxation and inequality is still sorely lacking. Pray for God to continue working powerfully in this nation, blessing them with leaders who implement policies in line with his will and providing comfort and hope in the gospel (and nothing else) for all the poor and oppressed.
Praise God for sparking a spiritual revival of sorts among the Quechuan and Amerindian peoples to counter the syncretistic and superstitious beliefs of many of the natives that come from traditional Catholicism and Andean paganism. Pray that God may supplement this work with the speedy and accurate translation of his Word for the many unreached tribal groups. Pray for more faithful workers to be raised up in this field. Pray also that God may lead and sustain his church there to provide for the poor and destitute of this nation.
Pray for Denmark
Denmark is often lauded for its extensive welfare system and a stable market economy. The 5.5 million Danes enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world despite proportionally high taxation rates. Due in large part to the centuries old and state supported Evangelical Lutheran Church, Denmark's laws and social values are firmly rooted in Christian principles and traditions.
However, many Lutherans have become disillusioned due to factors material comfort and the onslaught of secular cultural ideas that seem more logical among other factors. Nevertheless, in recent years, God has been working to cause, amongst many Danes, a growing spiritual awareness, prompting more churches to be planted and more ministries to be set up to reach them. Pray for God to continue providing such growth, particularly amongst the youth and the disillusioned Lutheran Christians. Pray also for practical needs of faithful pastors and teachers to be met, such as the costs of training and the basic costs of living.
Pray for France
When one thinks of France, one would probably call to mind its splendid art, magnificent architecture and lovely cuisines. France has inspired reform and even revolutionary ideas throughout different periods of history. Today, France seems largely defined by secularism despite its many beautiful cathedrals. It is also not uncommon for there to be strikes against economic reform. There is also a tangible sense of inter-religious tension, particularly in the wake of the cases of Islamic extremist attacks in recent years.
Yet, insofar as the philosophies of atheist existentialism and post-modern relative truth have left many seeking meaning and purpose, resulting in a sense of despair especially among the youth, God has not abandoned France and has been working to plant churches every year. Pray that healing and hope may be brought to France once more through the faithful preaching of the gospel. Pray also that the love of Christ may affect the hearts of the locals to cause the irreversible removal of bitterness between the different faiths.
Pray for Nigeria
Nigeria is one of many nations that, though developing, is still plagued by violence. Notably, the Islamist extremist group, Boko Haram, has mounted bloody insurgency for more than a decade. Among those who have been targeted by Boko Haram are also Christians who have refused to adopt their ideology. There has also been growing violence by armed Fulani gunmen on farming communities in central Nigeria, claiming the lives of over 500 people in two months.
Pray for God's mercy and grace to be showered upon this nation. Pray for a quick end to the violence that God may be given all the glory. Pray for the church there that has been facing persecution, that God may strengthen them and provide them with comfort through his Word. Pray also for the leaders and the civil servants of this nation that have been struggling with much setbacks, that they may come to rely on the wisdom of Christ and lead in accordance to his sovereign will.
Pray for Argentina
Argentina's people are highly educated and predominately urban. As the second largest country in South America (after Brazil) and the eighth largest in the world, Argentina boasts many climate variations and stunning scenery, including the Patagonian Andes Mountains. God has used Argentina to bless the world; the public bus, the ballpoint pen and the coronary bypass all come from Argentina.
Unfortunately, Argentina has been rocked by much political infighting dictatorships. Economic recovery from has been tangible but slow as the income gap between the high-income households and the low-income households remains large. There is definitely cause for thanksgiving as Argentina slowly recovers politically and economically, but prayer should be made for the Argentinian church in particular to provide for the nation's poor while reaching out the many unreached souls who are living in the urban areas of the country. Pray also for the leaders of Argentina, that they may lead with a humble heart for the people and eventually come to recognise the absolute sovereignty if Christ Jesus, into whose hands all authority has been given by the Father.
Pray for Iceland
Iceland is a volcanic island in the North Atlantic. It is mountainous and largely barren with many beautiful glaciers. About 90% of the population identifies as Christian, though the number of those who have had a truly life-changing encounter with Jesus is far smaller. Interestingly, the two key unreached people groups in Iceland are those of the South Asians and the Thai people. Pray that more workers may be led by the Spirit to be sent there so that these groups may come to hear the gospel and receive Christ as their personal saviour.
The Bible Society launched in 2000 a new Bible translation in Icelandic, which was well received. The 2007 release of The 100-Minute Bible in Icelandic resulted in many acquiring Bibles. The Christian-based Radio Lindin, which can reach about 90% of the population, remains on air and is a blessing to believers. And it has been used to bring some unbelievers to faith. It is also available via the Internet.Pray that many would come back into contact with the transforming Word of God.
Pray for Croatia
Shaped like a boomerang, Croatia is one of the many Eastern European states that has suffered much from communism and the aftermath of the Cold War. Ethnicity and religion are often seen as inseparable, creating a massive barrier for the spread of the Gospel. Yet Evangelicals are one of the few who bridge the ethnic divide, with Bosnians, Croats, and Serbs worshiping side by side. Though the Evangelical church only represents about .4% of the population, it is growing, with churches spreading throughout the nation. The spread of the gospel in Croatia is definitely an account of God's work among the nations that should lead us to behold our God in reverent awe and wonder; he brings healing to even the most desolate parts of the world through his Word.
Yet there remain quite a few areas with very little Evangelical presence. Pray for lasting reconciliation among Bosnians, Serbs and Croats after centuries-long rivalries and hatred. Pray that ethnic identities may be eclipsed by the surpassing worth of knowing Christ, which brings about the identity of being a child of God and removes the divisions between Jew and Gentile, between Bosnian, Serb and Croat. Pray also for God to work miracles among the populace that has been entrapped in drug addiction by replacing their source of rest and pleasure with the one who brings ultimate rest and pleasure, Christ Jesus himself.