Briefings for Intercessors

 

“Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.” (Is. 57:14)

 

 

 

 

 

Our work is to remove obstacles and prepare the way for the return of Jesus Christ. As we pray for the nations now, many of which face some sort of a crossroad, may the Spirit help us do just that.

May our prayers align with what is on His heart for each one.

To help us in this, we are posting here some ‘prayer briefings,’ that we hope will provide enough clear, concise, factual and focused information to fuel effective prayer. They are somewhat akin to a military briefing, which is prepared for a specific audience in order to present them with facts they need to know, and no more. They are necessarily brief, formal and unopinionated.

When it comes to briefings for prayer, however, we cannot afford to always adopt so neutral a tone, because we are called to discern between good (kalos) and evil (kakos) – and neither is it always straightforward to distinguish between that which is purely natural and flesh, or of spiritual origin.

We are meant to identify ourselves wholeheartedly with the people and situations we are called to pray for. But rather as Moses identified himself with the Israelites to such an extent that he was even prepared to ask God to blot him out from the book of life if that would help the nation prosper, our own prayers sometimes require such deep identification with those on our hearts that we feel their pain, and cry out as they do; both through the ‘measured’ means of using relevant Scriptures in our prayers,  – or the far more deeply disturbing groanings that the Holy Spirit stirs up deep within us.

One other thing to note about a formal military briefing: it begins with a greeting before getting to the heart of the matter. I love that! Didn’t Jesus teach us to do that when He taught His disciples to begin their prayers by greeting ‘Our Father in Heaven’? Not only is it courteous, but it also helps us to fix our eyes on the One whose Kingdom and will we seek.

When God gives us particular Scriptures to apply to particular situations, He is showing us how we can bring eternal Truth to bear. His word is never thwarted, though the battle to implement it can be intense. It may take time for our prayers to bear fruit, but it will come in the fulness of God’s purposes.

When it comes to praying for specific nations, I would also like to heartily recommend two websites to help us in our prayers: firstly Operation World which invites us to ‘Join people from every nation, praying for people in every nation, and aims to equip believers to respond to God’s call for his people to pray.’

And then, Prayercast which produces moving, powerful and worshipful prayer videos to help us pray for nations and people. So when a country comes to mind, therefore, why not get in the habit of looking up these resources?

You might also find it helpful to refresh your memory by reading our post on praying wider in the Spirit.

As always, the suggestions and Scriptures we feature to help us pray for particular situations are in no way definitive (as if such a thing were possible!) but we do hope they will prove helpful.

With all these things in mind, then – let us pray . . .

Türkiye: Between Asia and Europe: Continuing to pray for Türkiye in the run up to the run off

It is always sad to see a region that was once rich in the gospel now so largely devoid of it. For over a thousand years, Türkiye was a stronghold of Christianity. Now it is a centre for the spread of Islam.

In 1900, around 22% of the population were Christian. By 2010, that had shrunk to a tiny remnant of something like 0.21% as Christians were massacred and then, more recently, chose to emigrate. (Wikipedia)

Let’s join with the prayers of this brief podcast, that the Lord might sent His Spirit in powerful new ways in this land.

Whilst it may be little more than a popular holiday destination for many, the Turkish presidential election has brought the country to the attention of the world’s media. Türkiye is a vital pivot between Russia and Europe, and possesses the most significant armed forces in NATO.

But it is a nation that has for some time been moving toward autocracy, and President Erdogan has spoken openly and not so long ago of directing ballistic missiles against Greece, another EU nation, in addition to opposing Sweden joining NATO.

Under President Erdogan’s rule, Türkiye has imprisoned thousands of real or supposed opponents of the regime, and he has systematically erased (rather than merely eroded) the power of both the media and the judicial system. But the Turkish people have extended their goodwill to him in part because he has been able to lift so many out of poverty.

Even so, inflation is running very high (over 70% last October), and many believe his counter measures are fuelling the problem rather than allaying it. There is also considerable unhappiness at his handling of the earthquake crisis in which 50,000 are thought to have died.

Within a few days Erdogan is expected to win another term in office. Many Turkish people are extremely proud that under him the nation has once again become a major force in the region, and a power to be reckoned with as a military-industrialist entity.

By the standards of the region, Türkiye is an important base from which to expand missionary work to the wider region. Pray that it may remain so under a leader who is far more overtly Islamic than most of his immediate predecessors. This two-part BBC documentary is very good for ‘charting’ the stages of President Erdogan’s journey. Enlightening.

Lord God, two thousand years ago, You sent Paul to Türkiye as an ambassador for Your Kingdom. We pray for the faithful and courageous believers of today who obediently serve You in the nation. We ask for Your protection, Your abundant blessings and provision for them.

We ask You to move across the nation by the breath and wind of Your Spirit, to bring liberty to the prisoners and set the captives free, especially many if our brothers and sisters in Christ (either ‘a large’ or in the huge refugee camps) who are being persecuted for their faith.

Direct what happens at the heart of the nation we pray, and the thoughts and actions of President Erdogan in particular. Most of all we pray that You will find many ways to promote Your work in this nation.

Succour and protect Your own people in the nation, as well as in the vast refugee camps, and make them a blessing in the land, we pray. And raise up new works for the Kingdom of God in Türkiye we pray.

See also: Prayercast.com/Türkiye and Operation World. Türkiye

Rooting out Corruption in Ukraine

As we all know, Russia is extremely sensitive about attacks on its own territory, and recent attacks by partisans in the Belgard region are therefore highly contentious. On the one hand they may indicate that Zelensky does not have that much control over the extreme right-wing forces that are most hostile to Putin, and which have underpinned and fuelled the conflict in Donetsk for the last decade.

Russia will claim that Ukraine is fully behind these incursions, and that they are misusing NATO donated weapons by extending their use onto Russian soil, for there were apparently only two tanks and nine armoured vehicles used. (And as working models abundantly litter the battle fields of Ukraine, they could conceivably have been taken from there without official sanction).

At best this small-scale initiative served to ‘stretch’ Russian resources, and to draw some at least away from the main target area; at worse they give Russia yet more grounds for inflicting vengeful atrocities.

We have mentioned previously that before the war Ukraine was considered the second most corrupt country in Europe after Russia itself. Despite the existence of genuinely fascist militia groups, (which serve to make Putin’s claims believable in his own country, and are a test for Zelensky, who knows that he needs to work with anyone who is prepared to act against Russia). Ukraine has been seeking to clean up its act, as the EU has requested, with a view to possible one-day membership, and in order not to deter would-be western donors.

The Head of the Supreme Court has recently been arrested on bribery charges, while group of judges within the Supreme Court have been were likened by Zelensky to a “criminal group” and search the word ‘bribery.

Father, we pray for even in the midst of so much hatred and destruction we pray for the cleansing work of Your Holy Spirit in many people’s hearts. Thank you for so many who love You. Let their love for You, their country and for people shine forth at this time we pray – and let corruption be exposed and rooted out. Thank You, Lord.

The Sino-Russian alliance

In 1815, a so-called holy alliance was signed between Russia and other European States. But recently leaked documents reveal what feels like an incredibly un-holy alliance. The Telegraph has also reported that China and Russia were in secret talks about replenishing Iran’s fuel or missile stock, leading to fears that they will be supplying Russia with more weapons to use in Ukraine. It is true that NATO is doing the same –the difference is that NATO has not invaded another country’s sovereign territory.

Father, thank You that the details of what was concluded in secret have been made known just as your word says that that which is spoken in secret will be noised from the rooftops – whether or not via satellite dishes!

We pray that you will mitigate, offset and stand against the dangers this alliance poses, and be Lord of where it goes. Make crooked paths straight. Where money and power are gods, we pray you would topple them, just as Your presence caused Dagon to topple in the Philistine temple. Lord, may Your ways and Your plans come to pass and overrule all that is against You. Turn to good what was meant for evil. Where can we go unless to You? Our hope is in You Lord. Hear our prayer.

It has never been more important to pray for the mercy and power of God to give us Spirit-directed and authority-filled prayers concerning this new-found Sino-Russian alliance.

Ben Wallace significantly underplayed an episode that happened last autumn, when a Russian fighter jet, believing that itself under orders, locked on to a British plane and opened fire. Mercifully the missile malfunctioned. We are so close to overt acts of warfare that could very possibly lead to active confrontation.

Will China provoke war by doing something the West cannot ignore?

Proponents of liberal globalism like to comfort themselves that China is far too sensible to provoke a war with the West, given the devastating effect such a conflict would have on the Chinese economy.

At the same time, China has much to gain were it to succeed in annexing Taiwan, given that it controls over 60% of the global demand for semiconductors, and more than 90% of the most advanced ones. (China has, of course, itself been making intensive efforts to develop their own alternatives to Western imported chips).

Many in the West convinced themselves that Putin would not be foolish enough to go to war, given the economic benefits Russia was receiving through its energy exports. Even so, to war he went, in his pride and hatred of the West – albeit that he greatly underestimated how united a response his actions would inspire amongst Western nations.

Clearly, there is great danger in trusting in such assumptions – especially in the light of the growing feeling of inevitability, and even desire on the part of many in the Chinese regime to push for military action.

Has there ever been a war in which kudos, pride and hubris have not played a major part? It is President Xi’s firm belief is that China’s time to play a major role on the world stage has now come. Is it God’s time for that to happen too, given how unfaithful the West has been in so many ways to Him?

How often the enemy has sought to get in first so as to scupper the true plan of God: think of Abraham fathering Ishmael ‘out of season.’ Or think of the Jews seeking to throw Jesus over a cliff, or picking up stones to throw at Him, when God had a time and a place prepared.

What is the Lord wanting to do in and through China that satan would dearly like to thwart? Pray, pray, pray for the purity of the faithful Body of Christ in China, despite it being deprived of its essential access to the Word of God, as well as to fellowship with Christians around the world.

May God use the raw and beautiful passion so many Chinese believers have for Jesus not only to survive but also to bless the world.

The Valley of Decision: The testing of Western unity

The G7 conference in Japan demonstrated a remarkable degree of unity amongst western leaders. this is an immensely matter. Simply trying to carry on as things are may well not prove wise in the medium to longer term. Tension with China is ratcheting up, but even now not every European leader sees the wisdom of reducing its economic ties to China.

As we have been aware all along, Western unity and resolve continues to be tested apace. We can have shared before that Hungary has signed a new gas deal with Russia, and Berlusconi and Putin exchanging regular ‘gifts and sweet letters.

Father, stretch out Your hand at this time at every level of decision making in the nations of the world, where many are far from aligned with the West. May the minds of national leaders be opened to realise that we are fast approaching the valley of decision, and to choose wisely.
(Joel 3:14)

Lift our eyes from merely domestic concerns to these crucial international ones. Give grace for bold decisions to be made, and for effective Western alliances to be created and preserved. Keep leaders from wishful thinking so that we are not suddenly caught off guard. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Taiwan

With the West preoccupied with Ukraine and its supplies of ammunition and weapons deeply diminished, there is strong momentum building for China to strike Taiwan well before 2027 – which is the date Xi has set his sights on to make the island Chinese.

As Operation World reports, ‘Taiwan remains the only major Han Chinese population in the world without a significant spiritual breakthrough. Visitors from mainland China often comment on the spiritual darkness here’.

This prayer cast likewise speaks of how difficult it is for the gospel to make inroads in this country, which is a stronghold of the Buddhism, Taoism, superstition and Confucianism.

Very different, therefore, from Hong Kong, where the percentage of Christians was much higher to start with in that predominantly Muslim country.

At the military level, intelligence reports are warning of Taiwan’s military deficiencies in terms of being able to adequately defend itself against Chinese air attacks.

With the Taiwanese Strait handling 80% of the world’s shipping cargo by tonnage last year, and 40% of its container ships, the fallout from a war in the region could hardly be higher. (See this article for a look at how things are for some of those ‘caught between two superpowers.’)

There is a serious threat now that Chinese aeroplanes and missiles could overwhelm the island’s defences. What makes it harder for the forces seeking to defend the island is that constantly repeating military drills and simulations make it extremely hard for US intelligence sources to recognize what is drill and what the real thing.

Taiwanese Air Force pilots are already exhausted by having to fly continual sorties against endless raids from Chinese aircraft, which are being launched from no fewer than 40 different airfields.

Barely 50% of Taiwanese aircraft are combat ready at any one time, and those on the ground remain in full view and, therefore, highly vulnerable. Add to that such basic shortcomings as the lack of a shared radio communication system amongst Taiwan’s ground forces, and it is clear that Taiwan is in a very weak position in the face of President Xi telling his military forces to ‘prepare for real action not just drills.’

Taiwan is basing its hope on two things: the virtually undetectable nuclear submarines of the American navy, which would certainly be capable of inflicting a heavy toll on any invading Chinese force if it reacted quickly enough, and its own considerable stock of anti-ship Harpoon missiles, the full set of which are now due to arrive until 2030.

Bear in mind, too, that many in Taiwan would actually prefer to have closer ties with Beijing.

May the government make wise and clear decisions at every turn.

New partnerships between the Global South and China

President Lula of Brazil has been making overtures to China that are sure to be very warmly welcomed in Beijing. South Africa, too, has been conducting joint naval exercises with Russia and China.

These four nations, together with India, make up ‘BRICS’ (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), five major economies that together encompass nearly a half of the world’s population and a quarter of its land mass.

You may also have come across the differently aligned ‘Quad’ grouping, which holds regular meetings between Australia, India, Japan and the United States to work together for the benefit of the Indo-Pacific region.

The West has often seemed to regard the Global South more as servants than partners. As a result, this region is now highly susceptible to Chinese and Russian influence, with all the economic advantages this might bring in the short term but complications in the longer term – just as Russia was so active in various countries in Africa at the height of the Soviet era.

While the West may feel there is an urgent need to win over the nations of the southern hemisphere, it is going to require real leg-and heart work to achieve.

Let’s pray for the West to be both articulate, resolved and humble! in its diplomatic outreach to the Global South.
See these articles for more details: Politico; Foreign Policy.com
and World, Asia, India

Father, please would You raise up, appoint and inspire diplomats You can use at this time. Deliver the nations of the world from evil, and keep each one from the entanglement of unhealthy alliances, we pray.

Praying for India – for those who are being persecuted

In praying for India, we are particularly at the moment with praying for the persecuted. Why does that matter to God? Because Jesus said that some will fall away because of persecution, it is so important to pray for roots to go down deep. (Matt. 13:21)

India is so much in the news these days because it is now the most populous nation in the world, and whose burgeoning economic outlets are therefore highly sought after – as well as being at the heart of the ‘tug of war’ between autocratic and democratic nations. It would be easy to forget that it is also the country that ranks 11th in the world for persecution of Christians.

Just over two months ago more than 15,000 Christians representing seventy different denominations gathered for a peaceful protest in New Delhi to draw attention to the ongoing persecution of Christians in India – which is particularly acute in those provinces that have passed conversion laws.

Even before the BJP achieved its present ascendancy, it was obvious that it would take a strong line against Christians and Muslims.

The present leadership tends to downplay or deny that this it is happening – but it really is – even to the point, in some instances, of savage acts being committed against those who are merely meeting for worship or distributing aid.

Given how serious and how widespread this problem is, perhaps this would be a moment to take some time out to refresh our hearts with these reflections about how to pray for the persecuted church!

With Britain seeking to strengthen its trading partnerships with India, it was inevitable that this persecution would receive little mainstream attention from the government – whereas news of a ferry sinking a few weeks ago immediately hits the headlines. However, the BBC are amongst a number of international news networks that have been reporting the critical situation in Manipur.

Praying for nations that are especially affected by the war in Ukraine

What is on God’s heart for nations directly affected by the war in Ukraine? What would He say about those who have taken in thousands upon thousands of refugees? Nations like Poland and Germany, and Czechia (another name for the Czech Republic).

What about the nations like Moldova which shares a 1200km border with Ukraine, or Finland which shares its Eastern border with Russia itself? What should we be praying back to Him?

Lord God, let light shine at this time into the great darkness over Ukraine and Russia we pray. May the people of Ukraine find hope in You. Deliver and heal them and their land.

Let the Sun of Righteousness shine upon these nations and surround them with Your light, presence, revelation and restraint. We pray for these nations, including:

Poland has received the bulk of these refugees; one would have expected this to have overwhelmed it; the remarkable thing is that its economy is set to overtake the UK’s shortly, and it is becoming a ‘power house’ in Europe, as the fulcrum swings away from Germany and France, particularly as it is managing to rearm rapidly and is emerging as a strong military bulwark against Russia.

Very many still name the name of the Lord Jesus in Poland in this predominantly Catholic country.

May the beauty of this special work of God not be dented or distracted by the increasingly authoritarian turn it has taken under its present national leadership.

It was a significant moment when the President of Germany addressed the 80th anniversary commemoration of the Warsaw Uprising, the first time a German has been invited to do this.

Praise God for his apology, which is all the more important at this time when anti Semitism is on the rise in so many ways places, including in the US and across Germany itself.

Kazakhstan and Georgia, nations which have put themselves out to accommodate vast numbers of fleeing Russians;

Belarus which has been forced to march in lockstep with Moscow;

Moldova, which has become a ‘tinderbox’ given its 1200km border with Ukraine.

A few days ago, a crowd of 75,000 (out of a total population of 2.5 million) met in its capital to pledge their support for Ukraine and their desire to be part of the EU. (See The Carnegie Endowment have provided a detailed update here about the state of play in the country. See also our posts a few years ago, which look in more detail at the spiritual state of the country.

Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, which were delivered from the Iron Curtain, but which need to know the Lord. Hungary in particular, continues a good deal more pro-Russian than the rest of Europe. It has long been adopting a very strong hostile tone towards the EU as an institution. We should certainly be praying for how this develops, and for what will happen if this reaches a critical tipping point.

The Baltic states: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, while no longer beholden to Moscow still contain perhaps 30% of their population who are very pro-Russian. Ask the Lord to watch over them in their determination to remain independent, and to reveal and release more of the power of His gospel within their increasingly secular borders.

Scandinavia: nations with such a key role to play: Finland, that fought two wars so bravely against the Russians little more than a generation ago, Sweden as it seeks to confirm its place within the NATO alliance, whose membership bid is being opposed by both Türkiye and Hungary;

Norway with its strategically important assets; and Denmark, which has been generous in its military provision for Ukraine. Pray for the wind of God to blow afresh in these hugely liberal countries where His word was once so highly revered.

Father, You know who are Your saints in these lands. You know the plans and purposes You have for each nation and the people who live there.

We join hands and voices at this time to pray Your power, truth and protection upon all these nations. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Putin’s war on Ukraine

Father, we recognise that braggartry, vaulting ambition, and opportunism in certain leaders’ hearts have unleashed devastation through world wars and global conflicts.

We are crying to You that in the heavenly places You will thwart and hinder the counsels in such councils that would goad to pursue targets that must feel well within reach to Russian eyes – but which could only lead to swift and further deadly escalation.

Meanwhile, so many in the Zaporizhzhia region have been without water, gas or electric for a year now – just imagine it – and living with the constant fear of forced deportations to Russia.

This does indeed look like one of the possible places where the Ukrainians might be expected to launch their long-awaited offensive. Russia accordingly appears to be combining a retreat of at least some of its forces from the region under the cover of ‘evacuating’ the civil population.

Pray for every one of them for the horrors this potentially entails for them of ending up unwanted and unloved in Russia.

See this site for a map of how strategic the region is for descending to Crimea, which almost everyone will assume to be its chief goal. Pray for the swiftness and success of this counter offensive.

Ukraine remains MASSIVELY outnumbered and has no fresh reserves to draw on – whereas Russia still has millions it can mobilise. This article is a sobering reminder of just intact most of Russia’s key military reserves remain intact, (including over a 1000 aircraft) despite the swingeing losses on the field of battle.

Ultimately, Lord, it is You rather that numbers that make the difference. Please ride out with the Ukrainian forces and deliver them from this terrible threat and tyranny.

Father, it’s so easy to be caught up in the needs and the pressures of the moment when noise and danger are on every hand.

We pray for a spiritual and emotional stepping back; and sensing what You are saying, and where You are leading – just as You led and directed David clearly in his endeavours against sundry adversaries who came to attack his kingdom.

Further Russian Provocation

 “Am I only a God nearby,”
declares the LORD,
“and not a God far away?

Who can hide in secret places
so that I cannot see them?”
declares the LORD.

“Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the LORD

(Jer. 23:23-24)

One day, we pray, Russia will be free again to receive the gospel and to fulfil its God-given calling. This is, after all, ‘the land of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky’, as one commentator put it. As things now, however, we face an increasingly dangerous standoff between the “autocratic block” and the Democratic countries, we cannot afford to let our guard down.

Highly alarming and provocative attacks have just been made by a top Russian fighter plane, flying provocatively straight at a Polish EU border patrol jet – and missing it by just 5 metres, causing the Polish plane to temporarily lose control.

This was no accident, for the Russian plane repeated this Hari Kari manoeuvre twice more. Considering the speed at which such planes fly this is the equivalent of missing by bare millimetres.

See especially the key points at this site.

The Sunday Times has reported recently that Russian ships have been behaving extremely suspiciously in the neighbourhood of vital Irish to American cables, quite possibly planning sabotage operations for the future, whilst at the same time watching to monitor the degree of cooperation between Irish naval forces and other Western nations.

Underwater Dangers

Photo by Gage Walker on Unsplash

By one means and another more and more information is either being leaked or released. Finland Norway Sweden and Denmark have now released their findings that a fleet of 50 Russian ships (many of them disguised as fishing trawlers or research vessels) has been diligently carrying out detailed mapping of Western energy supplies, such as wind farms, pipelines and internet cables for the last ten years, conducting extensive undersea reconnaissance surveillance probes in preparation for potential acts of sabotage to cripple Western infrastructure in times of war.

Quite apart from the fact that the Prince of Wales aircraft carrier is set to be ‘mothballed for at least another year for repairs before it even starts.

This should be a matter for urgent prayer – especially given that Russia’s submarine fleet appears to be in much sharper form than its surface fleet and represents multiple dangers. See this article.

It has now been effectively confirmed that Russia was responsible for cutting the Internet cables to Shetland last year with such dramatic effect.

As I have said before, it will be a miracle if there is not one if not more explosive confrontations very soon between the ‘autocratic’ and the ‘democratic’ power blocks – whether in the Taiwan Straits, the Black Sea, or indeed with regard to nuclear power plants, undersea cables or some other ‘flashpoint.’

For our lack of God-seeking, we do not deserve the Lord’s hand of protection over our nation – and for our lack of investing in defence we do not have anything like enough naval patrol vessels to protect our seas.

Father, through our pursuing of our own ways, and our complacency in underestimating Russian hostility, we are in a perilous and parlous situation – and yet we pray for Your angelic watch over vital cables. In Jesus’ name.

Airborne Dangers

The great surprise of the first few months of the war was how reluctant the seriously advanced Russian air force showed itself to be, reluctant to commit its ultra-high-tech aircraft into action. But they are still there and waiting their time . . . may it never come! Initially, this was in no small part this was due to the amazing success of the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones, which inflicted massive damage on the Russian army, and which have taken on a cult status in Ukraine.

Numerous folk songs have been written about them; they feature on postage stamps and have even had animals named after them. The balance has now shifted however.

Russian air defences have become very good at shooting them down, and the Russians themselves are inflicting great damage on the Ukrainian forces through their use of their technically superior Shahed drones imported from Iran. Watch this.

Under the melting ice: the race for the Arctic’s riches

The Arctic contains many of Earth’s richest mineral reserves, including 13% of remaining oil and potentially 30% of the world’s undeveloped gas reserves, and vast quantities of valuable minerals, such as of copper, lithium, nickel, platinum and other rare materials, which are used in batteries and electronics.

It is also a region that could be used to produce renewable energy on a grand scale through the installation of wind turbines.

No wonder Russia and China are eyeing the region so attentively, and are so intent on acquiring supremacy there. It is so sad that we should be concerned about control and protection, rather than celebrating and harnessing the goodness of God’s provision for humankind. As this article points out, however, ‘exerting control of the Arctic should be viewed not just through the lens of “exploitation”, but through the lens of “protection.”’

You may also like to remind yourself of the points raised in this article which we linked to at the beginning of the year.

As you read the articles, may the Holy Spirit highlight to you the things He would have you pray for. As the temperatures rise here faster than anywhere else in the world, with dire effects in terms of melting the icecap, it is a reminder that the whole region is a melting pot for the whole world.