PRAY EUROPEAN PEOPLES

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1 PRAY EUROPEAN PEOPLES

2 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

3 INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD 3806 Monument Ave., P.O. Box 6767 Richmond, VA International Mission Board, SBC Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. PRAY EUROPEAN PEOPLES

4 Every day people around the world wake up and say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit. Yet they do not know what tomorrow will bring, for what is their life? They are like a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (James 4:13 14). In these pages you will get a broad overview of the lives of people in Europe. You will see where and how they live. You will read about who they worship and what they fear. You will be offered a chance to join with others and pray for nations to have access to the gospel soon. Time is not in our hands, but it is in God s sovereign hands. May these people hear and believe the gospel of Christ in their lifetime.

5 EASTERN ORTHODOXY POST-CHRISTIAN CULTURE COMMUNISM S PAST & FUTURE GLOBALIZATION CITIES UNIVERSITY STUDENTS EUROPEAN DIASPORA REFUGEES This guide contains eight themes to help you pray for the peoples of Europe. We encourage you to gather with friends or small groups to pray for each need. It is designed to be used at your own pace. You could meet monthly, weekly, or even eight days in a row. It is our hope that as you pray for countries and people around the world, your hearts will grow together in a desire to see Christ exalted in your own community and among the nations.

6 EASTERN ORTHODOXY Discuss what it would be like if the Reformation never took place. What are some of the difficulties Orthodox people have in understanding that salvation comes through Christ alone, not through the church? Across its vast Eurasian landmass, Eastern European cities and villages are dotted with beautiful, golden, onionshaped domes. Underneath these shining cupolas, in small wooden chapels and grand marble cathedrals, Orthodox believers listen to the liturgy in a language they don t understand, light candles before icons of saints, and soak in a unique sensory experience: rich, ancient music; the smell of incense; and the solemnity of ceremony. Yet they leave with no assurance of salvation and no intimacy of a relationship with Christ. Furthermore, since the Reformation never touched the eastern edge of Europe, they have quite possibly never heard a clear presentation of the gospel. Pray that the good news of Christ s finished work on the cross would be made clear to the millions who call themselves Christians but don t truly know Christ

7 POST-CHRISTIAN CULTURE Discuss how post-christian culture has affected your community and church. Western Europe often leads the world in culture. It also leads a frightening procession toward a post-christian culture of a secular society and a dying church. Missionaries sent to Europe have devoted their lives to reaching the people with the gospel of Christ. They face daily challenges of hardened hearts, empty church buildings, and a general disdain for religion. Your prayers and God s faithfulness are resulting in people responding to the gospel, slowly but surely. English camps, football clubs, coffee houses, and student ministry are among some of the ministries used to build community around the truths of Christ and the hope of the gospel. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in a mighty way in Europe, for revival to begin in the established church, and for many to respond through repentance and faith. 13

8 COMMUNISM S PAST & FUTURE When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Eastern Europe opened to the rest of the world, and churches rushed to fill the void left by years of repression and mistreatment. Prayerful Eastern Europeans welcomed them and responded with enthusiasm, igniting revivals across the region. More than twenty-five years later, the revival fires have grown cold in many places, but longlasting fruit in other places are evidence of a true movement of God. Still, God is at work, as is the enemy in his attempts to thwart him. Last year, Russia passed the most restrictive law against evangelism and new church planting since the Soviet era, making it a crime to witness or meet for Bible study in someone s home. In light of the law, we must ask how long will the Iron Curtain remain open? Discuss how laws against religion in our country are making it difficult to follow Christ. Pray for the protection of Russian believers and for boldness to be obedient despite the potential consequences

9 GLOBALIZATION The evolving backdrop of the world has changed the church in Europe. When communism was defeated, Eastern Europe experienced a great revival. This trickled into the West as people migrated to more affluent countries. Europe s churches, declining and stagnant, began to have life breathed into them. Now in several of these countries, especially in the East, the national church is seeing its potential role in helping to fulfill the Great Commission. They are no longer just receiving missionaries, they are sending their own. We are now helping national churches and conventions recognize their mandate and prepare themselves for service through discipleship training, theological education, vision casting, and partnership. Discuss the history of mission sending forces between biblical times and today. Where does the United States fall on this timeline? What do you think the next twenty years will bring for our nation? Pray for national churches in Europe to recognize their unique position on the world stage and to become a powerful sending force to the nations. 18

10 CITIES Europe is known for its cities centers of culture, refinery, and learning. Paris, London, Madrid, Vienna, Prague, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Bucharest are melting pots of cultures and peoples and where the future unfolds in the hands of the wellconnected and influential. They are also cities of hopelessness and chaos where people try to get ahead and turn a blind eye to the ones being left behind. Families are strained, children suffer, spiritual life is almost nonexistent, and the average person is left empty and exhausted. Christian workers recognize opportunities to reach the world through these cities and are strategizing to find creative ways to engage people who are usually too busy to think about God. Discuss how the fast pace of city life can distract us from pursuing God. Pray that the millions who move to cities to find a better life will find eternal life in Christ

11 UNIVERSITY STUDENTS University campuses across Europe are home to millions who will be future doctors, lawyers, teachers, executives, government leaders, church leaders, and more. Students come from nations all over the world to study. These young adults will shape the worldview of the next generation. They come seeking an education but also answers to life. Is there a purpose? Why do I exist? Does God exist? Secular professors and classrooms will give them the book knowledge they seek but not the spiritual answers they need. Christian workers focusing on student ministry across the continent offer truth and hope to the next generation of leaders. By reaching these students, they can reach the world. Discuss the difference it will make in the future if college students remain unreached. How would that be different if they are reached? Pray students across Europe will seek the truth that only God can give. 21

12 EUROPEAN DIASPORA Discuss why moving away from home often allows people the freedom to seek God in new ways. Europeans and their descendants are scattered around the world. Many have assimilated into their host countries. However, large pockets of distinct, European people groups still exist in areas of South America, Canada, and Australia. These people have maintained connections to their homelands and hold onto traditions, cultures, customs and many times even language, refusing to divorce themselves completely from their roots. Christian workers in these countries specifically target ministries to reach these people segments. Since they are away from their home cultures, they are often more open to think about spiritual things and consider the claims of Christ. Pray for Europeans spread across the globe to encounter Christ and accept the truth of the gospel. Pray for churches in the host countries to find culturally relevant ways to share the love of Christ

13 REFUGEES Discuss how the worldwide refugee crisis will and should impact the church. The unprecedented influx of refugees is changing the face of Europe and the scope of ministries. The past couple of years, refugees and internally displaced persons have created the most massive migration of people in Europe since World War II, raising fears in Europe of violence, financial ruin, and religious tensions. But the good news is that countless numbers of refugees hear the gospel for the first time when they reach the shores of Europe, and many have come to Christ, been baptized, and have begun discipleship groups. This response is affecting the indigenous church as they realize anew their mission and calling to feed the hungry, shelter the poor, and share the good news of Christ with whomever God brings to their door. Pray for European churches to recognize that God, in his providence, is bringing unreached people within earshot of the gospel. Pray that churches take the opportunity to be Christ s emissary, and pray for refugees to respond in faith and repentance

14 Thank you for joining us in praying for the peoples of Europe. Did you know we have 8 more prayer guides for the other peoples of the world? To download a FREE copy visit: imb.world/prayerguides 27 28

15 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

16 imb.org

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