Advent

Advent

Advent

Advent is a period of spiritual preparation in which many Christians make themselves ready for the coming, or birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Celebrating Advent typically involves a season of prayer, fasting, and repentance, followed by anticipation, hope, and joy.

Many Christians celebrate Advent not only by thanking God for Christ’s first coming to Earth as a baby, but also for his presence among us today through the Holy Spirit, and in preparation and anticipation of his final coming at the end of the age.

The Meaning of Advent

The word advent comes from the Latin term adventus meaning “arrival” or “coming,” particularly the coming of something having great importance. Advent season, then, is both a time of joy-filled, anticipatory celebration of the arrival of Jesus Christ and a preparatory period of repentance, meditation, and penance.

https://www.learnreligions.com/meaning-of-advent-700455

A Meaning-full Advent

The greatest gift we all have to offer during this season of advent, in equal measures, regardless of our wealth, health, position, or status, is PRAYER.  What a wonderful gift of love, solidarity, and compassion

In the same way that we so eagerly open our advent calendar every December with a gift, a sweet, or a word for the day, let’s make an advent prayer-calendar this season, praying for the marginalized, vulnerable and persecuted.

Every week will focus on one nation with a prayer request for every day.

A Prayer-full Advent

1 Corinthians 12:26 and 27 reminds us that we are all Christ’s body, and each one is a part of it.   It comes with a glorious promise that if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness BUT it also requires an uncompromising commitment:  “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it!

 The suggestion is therefore that you set your alarm for 12:26 every day (1 Corinthians 12:26) and simply “open your advent calendar” with the prayer request for the day.

  • Week 1 will be from 21 November to 27 November
  • Week 2 from 28 November to 4 December
  • Week 3 from 5 December to 11 December
  • Week 4 from 12 December to 18 December
  • And Week 5 from 19 December to 25 December, Christmas day – a perfect time to enjoy your Christmas meal and pray for the marginalised, persecuted, and vulnerable.

We will publish the nation-of -prayer and the prayer-requests every Monday and you are welcome to download, share and use as widely as possible.

Prayer Advent – WEEK 2

PAKISTAN

POPULATION:  225,2 Million

RELIGION:          

  • 47% Islam (official)
  • 14% Hinduism
  • 27% Christianity
  • 9% Ahmadiyya
  • 02% Others

CHRISTIANITY

Christians in Pakistan face extreme persecution in every area of their lives. Believers who have converted from Islam face the greatest levels of persecution, but all Christians are considered second-class citizens in this strongly Islamic country. They are given jobs perceived as low, dirty and dishonourable, and can be victims of bonded labour. There are some Christians among the middle classes, but they are still considered inferior to their Muslim counterparts and often face severe workplace discrimination.

Christian girls are at risk of abduction and rape, and are often forced to marry their attackers and coerced into converting to Islam.

Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws are used to target Christians, and Islamic extremist groups vehemently “defend” these laws, including attacking or killing those believed to have contravened them.

Christian churches do exist, but those that are active in outreach face severe persecution from society.

https://www.opendoors.org.za/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/pakistan/

Pakistan is home to more than 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees, many of whom entered the country some 40 years ago, after the Soviet invasion in 1979. https://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/2021/afghanistan-refugees-karachi/index.html

PRAY

 

28 November

Pray for courage for Christians in Pakistan to speak about their faith, despite their fears that their words may be used against them. Pray for wisdom for them, and that God will give them the right words to say.      

 

29 November

Pray for protection over Pakistan’s churches, especially around holidays such as Christmas and Easter, when terrorist attacks have happened in the past.   

 

30 November

Pray for protection for young Christian women and girls. Pray for those who have already been abducted and forced to convert and marry, that God will comfort them and give them strength. Pray that they will know His love, even in their terrible circumstances.

1 December

Pray for evangelists who face harassment when preaching the gospel.  Pray for the strongholds of Islamist extremism and terrorism to be demolished and rendered powerless.

 

2 December

Pray for Bible-translation work focused on minority people groups with little access to Scripture.  Pray for the Church to multiply in the power of the Spirit as persecution intensifies.

 

3 December

Pray for outreach efforts to minority groups like Hindus and Shiite Muslims. Pray for the spiritually oppressed in remote areas to encounter the Gospel.

 

4 December

Pray for urgent humanitarian assistance – food security, nutrition programme for adults and children, health and social services, water, sanitation, hygiene and education while planning for resettlement for millions of refugees.

 

 

Prayer Advent – WEEK 1

AFGHANISTAN

POPULATION: 39 million

RELIGION                                                       

  • Muslim:    97%             (Sunni 85-90%, Shia 10-15%)
  • Christian: <0.03%

CHRISTIANITY

Christians have historically comprised a small community in Afghanistan. The total number of Christians in Afghanistan is currently estimated to be between 10,000 and 12,000 according to International Christian Concern, and almost all of them are converts from Islam. 

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan does not recognize any Afghan citizen as being a Christian.   Afghan citizens are not legally permitted to convert to Christianity; although there are no explicit laws which forbid evangelizing by non-Muslims, many authorities and most members of Afghan society view its toleration as contrary to the practice of Islam.  There is only one legally recognized Christian church building in Afghanistan, the Catholic chapel at the Italian Embassy which has been operational since the 1930s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Afghanistan

Afghanistan remains the second-highest country on the World Watch List of Christian persecution, and persecution is only very slightly less oppressive than in North Korea. All Christians in Afghanistan are extremely vulnerable to persecution.

ISIS and the Taliban continue to have a strong, violent presence in Afghanistan, with the Taliban now in control of the nation.  There is no safe way to express any form of Christian faith in the country.  It is impossible to live openly as a Christian in Afghanistan. Leaving Islam is considered shameful, and Christian converts face dire consequences if their new faith is discovered. Either they have to flee the country or they will be killed.

https://www.opendoors.org.za/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/afghanistan/

THE CRISIS

Warnings of humanitarian crisis engulfing Afghanistan. The World Food Programme warned this week that 23 million Afghans, in a country of 39 million, are now facing acute hunger. Of those, 8.7 million are in a state of emergency and more than 3 million children are malnourished.

Speaking to the BBC’s John Simpson, the WFP’s executive director David Beasley said the situation was about to become “the worst humanitarian crisis on Earth”. Around US$10 billion of Afghan foreign reserves have remained frozen since the Taliban took power while foreign subsidies that funded almost 70 % of the government budget in the past have ended. Along with shortages of food and essential supplies, the healthcare system is under acute strain, with malnutrition adding to the caseload for hard-pressed staff.

This week, the UN development agency, UNDP, and the Global Fund paid nearly $8 million in salaries to 23,500 health workers across the country. Another $7 million went to buying basic medical equipment, essential drugs and supplies.

https://www.unhcr.org/afr/afghanistan-emergency.html

PRAY

21 November

Lord almighty, our Shepherd and our keeper, we pray that You will protect your small flock of Afghani believers. We pray that those who put their faith in you will find refuge in your presence and solace in your purposes.

 

22 November

Lord Almighty, our rock and our fortress, we pray that your Spirit will transform fear into boldness and anxiety into peace.  May your Church be strengthened and encouraged in their faith and may they have the courage to serve as witnesses in the presence of death.

 

23 November

Lord almighty, Father of compassion and Lord of comfort, we pray that those who are despised and broken will discover You in their times of need.  Be their comfort we pray.  May you be enough, when all else fades away

 

24 November

Lord almighty, Abba Father, we pray for the countless children who are seeking love in a nation of hatred.  We pray for those who have to face a future without hope and a presence without a future.  Be their Father we pray, and restore what was lost in the past.

 

25 November

Lord almighty, lover of souls, we pray for those who have been stripped of dignity and robbed of respect.  We pray that they will find your reaching hands and that they will come to know the fulness of your love and be restored by the beauty of your grace

 

26 November

Lord almighty, forgiver of iniquities and precious redeemer, we pray for the extremists – the Taliban and ISIS – that they would come to know the One who saves and restores.  We pray for the “Sauls” in Afghanistan who need a Damascus touch to become modern-day Pauls.

 

27 November

Lord almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, we pray for all who live and dwell in a nation torn apart by violence, suspicion, and hatred.  We pray for nature, that there will be fruitful harvests and that people will be physically satisfied again.  We pray for the animals, that they will prosper under the hands of those who care and that communities will be emotionally satisfied again.  And we pray for the people, that they will return to the One who loved them so much that He sent His only begotten Son.  May they be spiritually satisfied.

 

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