PRAYER GUIDE

Local Focus

GIBC

Pray for our music ministry. Pray for Pastor Shaun as he leads it. Pray for our instrumentalist as they play in the service. Pray for our vocalist who help lead in singing. Pray for our sound booth volunteers.

 

GRAND ISLAND/North Lake County

Pray for those who drive past our church campus throughout the week. Pray that God would remind them of His love for them as they see our cross. Pray that God would draw them into relationship with Him. Pray that God would give us favor with them in the community.

 

FLORIDA

Pray for the Florida Baptist Convention staff. Pray for Dr. Tommy Green as he leads the team. Pray for the Convention to steward well the resources entrusted to it. Pray for the support staff who may never be seen by churches, but provide needed assistance.

 

USA

Pray for the upcoming Supreme Court nomination process. Pray that the right nominee will end up in that seat. Pray that God would grant President Trump and the Senators wisdom throughout the process. Pray that the court would refrain from making laws, and return to their actual task: interpreting the Constitution as it was written.

 

North American Cities:
Los Angeles

Among all of California’s iconic cities, none has more influence than the largest—Los Angeles. Hollywood alone commands tremendous sway on popular culture worldwide.

The sheer size of Los Angeles calls for considerable strategy in any attempt to reach the city. The city population alone, 3.8 million, is larger than 21 states. The county is nearly 10 million, and “greater” Los Angeles in the Send City context, has a population close to 20 million.

With a name that translates “City of Angels,” Los Angeles gives an impression that people here would be focused on heavenly things, but that is not necessarily the case. The region consists of 100 cities filled with people going after the elusive California dream.

L.A. is home to some of the biggest names in show business as well as the largest populations of ethnic, cultural and language groups in the U.S. There are some 400 distinctive groups here. The world is already here.

As a Send City, church planting is focusing on five counties around the city, home to more than 18 million people. There is only one Southern Baptist for every 17,570. The estimated evangelical presence is 8.3 percent.

Throw in a thriving seaport (where a strategic church planting effort engages large cargo vessels) and world-class universities, and the complexity of the task emerges more clearly. Los Angeles is not a one-strategy-fits-all city. A church planting focus must be five-fold, and it includes: universities, inner cities, beach cities (suburbia), people groups and Hollywood. To reach the greater Los Angeles area, it will take strong partnerships with people who pray, invest, encourage and have a desire to meet needs and engage communities.

Pray for Send City Missionary-Shane Critser

Shane Critser lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jennifer, and their three kids, Chase, Chloe and Charley. Before moving to Los Angeles, Shane served as the director of church and missionary discovery at NAMB. He previously served as the mission pastor at Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nev. You can follow Shane on Twitter @shanecritser.

Send Shane an encouraging email and let him know we are praying for him: scritser@namb.net

Every Country:
Cyprus

Population: 1,221,549 
People Groups: 19
Christian Population: 89.1%
Evangelical: 0.8%

For thousands of years, the fertile plains and arid mountains of Cyprus have born witness to the rise and fall of numerous empires.  Located just south of Turkey, this third-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea has been ruled by no less than eleven world powers over the past three millennia.  Cyprus is mentioned numerous times in the Bible, and Barnabas, one of the earliest Christian missionaries, was a native Cypriot.  He and the apostle Paul traveled and preached across the island almost 2,000 years ago.

Having gained independence from Britain in 1960, Cyprus struggled to achieve stability, and a 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of the north has divided the island to this day, creating as many as 230,000 refugees.  The Republic of Cyprus, claiming authority over the whole island, is recognized internationally as the official state, while only Turkey recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which encompasses one-third of the island.  With a greater degree of interaction over the past decade, deep divisions between Greek and Turkish Cypriots have begun to soften.  While negotiations for reunification have continued since 2008, a seeming majority of Cypriots approve. Unfortunately, Cyprus also finds itself in dire economic straits, with heavy exposure to bad foreign debt and an economy largely dependent on tourism and financial services –  both of which saw significant declines during the recent global financial crisis.

The Orthodox Church is a key element of Greek Cypriot culture and identity.  While Cyprus is one of the more religious countries in the European Union, and roughly two-thirds of the population consider themselves Orthodox, those who do attend church are increasingly rural and older.  Negative prejudices against Evangelical and other Protestant churches are easing but continue to be a stumbling block to many.  The strongest recent advancement of the Gospel has been among minority communities, including Russians, Sri Lankans, Filipinos, and Iranians.  While freedom of religion exists, proselytism by these ethnic minorities is closely monitored.  Small numbers of Turkish Cypriots, over 99% of whom are Muslim, have become followers of Jesus.

  • Pray for a shattering of bitterness and prejudice between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
  • Pray for Muslims in the north to place their hope not in economic prosperity but in Jesus.
  • Pray for discipleship, spiritual maturity, and bold witnesses among ethnic minority believers.

 

Unreached Peoples:
Turkish Cypriots

Population: 217,000
224,000 Worldwide
Christian Population: 0.50%
Main Religion: Islam

The Turkish Cypriots live on the northern section of the island of Cyprus, located in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Turkey. As the descendants of Turkish Ottoman invaders who conquered Cyprus in the 16th century, the Turkish Cypriot proudly maintain Turkish customs, traditions, and language (Turkish). Today, the Turkish Cypriots make up about one-fifth of the island’s total population. Various estimates point out that at least half of the Turks in Northern Cyprus are settlers from Turkey who emigrated in the last 30 or 40 years.

The Greeks, who inhabit the remainder of the island, have been enemies of the Turks since the Ottoman invasion. Cyprus became an independent republic in 1960, a move that was supposed to end warfare between the Greeks and the Turks. However, the bitterness continued, and when war erupted again in 1963, the Greeks won economic control of the island. Turkey invaded in 1974 and took control of the northern third of the island. Today, a border separates the two peoples, whose animosity has never allowed them to come to terms with one another.

Most of the Turkish Cypriots live in rural villages and rely on agriculture and trade for their livelihood. The land primarily consists of fertile plains, the inhabitants of which are blessed with a favorable climate that nourishes lush vegetation. Crops include fruits, wheat, barley, carrots and other vegetables, tobacco, and green fodder. Men handle most of the agricultural chores, but during harvest time the whole family helps with the farming duties. Those who prefer an urban lifestyle can find homes and plentiful jobs in the towns. The homes in Cyprus are typically made of wood or stone. They usually have two stories and flat roofs. Animals share the lower floor along with storage facilities. In single story houses, the women use the living room to work in during the day; at night it becomes the family’s bedroom.

Cyprus’s excellent educational system provides free elementary education, for at least three of the five-year secondary education program, and technical training. As a result, there is very little illiteracy on the island. There are actually six universities in North Cyprus where Turkish Cypriots reside. These universities bring in people from all over the Muslim world. As a result of these universities and other factors younger generations are speaking English more and more. English is spoken widely as a second language, and many older Cypriot Turks know Greek.

Thanks to the healthy climate and well-organized health services, the people are generally healthy and the island, as a whole, is free of major diseases such as malaria and tapeworm cysts.

Craftsmen skilled in calligraphy, ceramics, and metalwork help keep the Turkish culture alive in Cyprus. Rug weaving is also an important skill because rugs are part of the Islam prayer ritual. Girls and young women are responsible for weaving the beautiful rugs.

Marriage is important in a Muslim culture and Turkish Cypriot girls usually marry at a young age. Marriages are usually between close kin, even between first cousins. Such intermarriage is common in a Muslim culture because it helps keep wealth within the extended family.

The Turkish Cypriots are Caucasians; most have dark hair and brown eyes. They are known to be gentle, courteous, and hospitable to strangers. They are proud of their ethnic heritage and remain very loyal to Turkey.

Almost all of the Turkish Cypriots are Muslims who practice Muslim ceremonies and follow Islamic beliefs. For example, they believe that death is the beginning of a new life; the dead person waits for resurrection to either heaven or hell, depending on the way he/she lived life on earth. They believe in the “evil eye,” which is the power to harm someone just by looking at him.

An extremely small number of the Turkish Cypriots are Christians. The Bible, Christian radio broadcasts, and the Jesus film are all available in the Turkish language. Strongly devoted to Islam, the Turkish Cypriots need much prayer and dedicated workers living among them so they will know that when they die, it is not how they live, but Who lives inside of them, that will bring them to heaven.

  • Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to live and work among the Turkish Cypriots.
  • Pray that God will raise prayer teams to break up the spiritual soil of Cyprus through worship and intercession.
  • Pray for effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Turkish Cypriots.
  • Ask God to anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via radio to the Turkish Cypriots.
  • Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect the small number of Turkish Cypriot Christians.
  • Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Turkish Cypriot church for the glory of His name!