Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
The Global Prayer Digest is a daily devotional encouraging prayer for Unreached Peoples. A ministry of Frontier Ventures (formerly the US Center for World Mission), this devotional is available as a daily subscription from the GPD website (see link above).
Keith Carey, the editor-in-chief of the Global Prayer Digest, has graciously given me permission to post their daily devotions here in order to encourage more prayer for the Unreached Peoples. Please join in the prayer for the gospel to go to the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:14). If you find these devotions helpful, you can subscribe to their daily e-mail or to the printed publication - or just check them out here on Pray.Network! Past monthly issues of the GPD are also available on their site.
During the past centuries Eastern Europe has had a high percentage of Jewish people. Today there are only 2,600 in Slovakia. Constitutional freedom of religion is generally respected by the government in Slovakia. As the older Jewish people die, the Jewish community, customs, and language regress. Many younger people are ignorant of their Jewish identity. However, in Slovakia, some Jews are trying to keep Jewish culture alive. They are doing this through schools, Judaic studies, Yiddish and Hebrew language lessons, and community centers that promote cultural events such as Israeli dance and theater. Religious Slovakian Jews believe God is the supreme being, creator of the universe, and ultimate judge of human affairs. Beyond this, the religious beliefs of the Jewish communities in Slovakia vary greatly. While most Slovakian Jews are religiously affiliated, many are non-religious, especially the younger ones, who have not been immersed in Jewish culture like their elders. Slovakian Jews understand their connection with the Abrahamic covenant. However, there is an historic rejection of the messiah, Jesus Christ, who fulfilled that covenant. The complete Bible, JESUS Film, audio and online resources are available in Slovakian language.
Pray that as the gospel is shared, it will not be viewed as anti-Semitic, rather as the fulfillment of God’s promise through Abraham. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth loving followers of Christ to live and work among Jewish communities. Pray that strong local churches will be raised up in Jewish communities.
Ps 14:7, NET
I wish the deliverance of Israel would come from Zion! When the Lord restores the well-being of his people, may Jacob rejoice, may Israel be happy!
Pray for the Jewish people in the Slovak Republic to seek their restoration in the messiah, Jesus Christ. May they rejoice when the find him!
The current Jewish Czech population of approximately 4,000 is only a fraction of the pre-WWII population. Small Czech speaking Jewish groups, mostly older generations, are scattered throughout the Czech Republic. Following the Holocaust, survivors, already reluctant to talk about their experience or to bestow a Jewish identity to their children, became part of a society in which almost all religion was considered irrelevant. Especially younger Jewish people have assimilated into Czech culture; they have become less religious and more secular. They consider the Jewish community too rigid, old, and Orthodox. Many today do not identify with any religion, referring to themselves as agnostics. The church has a window of opportunity because there is government-allowed freedom; but there is also a spiritual decline. A grassroots church-planting movement has begun within the Czech Republic as a small number of believers, house churches, and cell groups are growing. The discipleship is occurring as young Jewish people are being taught by non-traditional ministries. Written, audio, and visual resources, including a new version of the Bible in everyday Czech language are now available. Pray that existential and spiritual heaviness will be eliminated by the Holy Spirit, and that his light of truth will shine forth into every level and aspect of Jewish Czech culture. Pray for loving and focused outreach tailored to specific needs and communities.
Ezek 37:10-12, RSV
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great host. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you home into the land of Israel.
Pray that the Lord will prepare the hearts of Czech speaking Jewish people to soon receive this good news of their resurrection and restoration!
Cirkev Krest'anska’ – “KS” (Christian Fellowships) are independent, indigenous Czech churches (registered with the Czech Ministry of Culture) formally established in 1990. The denomination has grown quickly, offering contemporary worship services, Bible-based teaching, and emphasis on meeting regularly in small groups to build relationships. There are now about a dozen KS congregations in Prague and close to 50 throughout the Czech Republic.
Each local church has its own pastor and elders. A council of KS pastors addresses national issues and provides oversight for the churches. Since the end of 1996 the English-speaking community has been led by Pastors John and Kelsie Mullen.
Prague community is the English-speaking congregation of this larger Czech body (KS) and is made up of believers from many countries and various traditions. Ministry and outreach are focused on the international and English-speaking communities in Prague. Worship is expressive, the teaching is based on the word of God, and the ministry is dependent on the leading of the Holy Spirit. They hope to be known for their belief in Jesus Christ and their love for one another (1 John 3:23, 24).
Pray that KS Fellowships will not be known as a religious system, but rather as a fellowship with the living God made possible by the messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray that unity in the Lord Jesus will be strong and evident in every phase of this growing ministry.
1 Jn 3:23, 24, NET
Now this is his commandment: that we believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he gave us the commandment.
Pray that the Prague Fellowship will fulfill its mission to allow their love for Jesus to lead the lost to the Savior.
Romans 1:16: I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Freedom of religion is not a guarantee that God’s word will be accepted by a people group. Religious freedom is an open door, not only to God’s truth, but also to error. Such is the case in Estonia. Estonian Jews, population 1,800, represent part of the largest Jewish population in Eastern Europe.
They speak Yiddish, a German/Hebrew dialect. Although the complete Bible, JESUS Film, and Global Recordings Network (GRN) audio materials are available in the Yiddish language, there are no known followers of Jesus among them.
Religious Estonian Jews believe God is the supreme being, creator of the universe, ultimate judge, and they understand their connection with the Abrahamic Covenant. However, they also have a history of rejecting Jesus Christ as messiah, the one who has fulfilled that covenant.
Pray that the gospel will not be viewed as anti-Semitic, but rather as God’s provision, and the way to find a better identity. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth loving believers to work among Jewish communities. Pray that Estonian Jews will understand that Jesus is the long-awaited messiah. Ask the Lord to soften the hearts of Jewish people toward God’s people.
Deut 18:18-19, RSV
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable.
Pray that the Lord will find ways to make Yiddish speaking Jewish people realize the terrible price they are continuing to pay for not heeding God’s words through Moses, and the words their messiah spoke to them in person.
(These events are hypothetical.)
Alexandros, an old man with white hair, stepped off the tour bus in Corinth, Greece wearing a Star of David medallion around his neck. Off in the distance were some Roman era ruins. A tour guide led Alexandros and the others from the tour bus towards some broken Roman columns. The guide told them, “Experts believe the Apostle Paul preached to a crowd at this temple in the 1st century AD. Any questions?” Alexandros asked, “Was Paul a Jew?” The tour guide replied, “Paul was educated by some of the leading Jewish scholars of his day. He became convinced that Jesus was the Jewish messiah. He spent the rest of his life preaching about Jesus.” Alexandros pondered this. If Jesus was good enough for Paul, then maybe he should take the claims of Jesus seriously, he thought.
The first Jewish people arrived in Greece around 300 B.C. They were still there when Paul and various apostles planted the first churches in Greece. There are about 4,500 Greek speaking Jews living in Greece today. They are the remains of a much larger Jewish population that once lived in that country. After World War II many immigrated to Israel.
Pray that the Greek speaking Jewish people would come to see Jesus as the long-awaited messiah. Ask God to raise up faithful workers to take Christ to them.
Ps 16:8-11, KJV
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Pray that the Lord will do whatever it takes to convince Greek Jewish people that the messiah that was crucified 2,000 years ago is risen, and he is sovereign
(These events are hypothetical)
Maria, a middle aged Spanish teacher from Argentina, walked the streets of Salonika, Greece. David, a history teacher, was with her. They spotted some old people talking to each other. “I recognize some of the words,” said Maria. “That sounds like Spanish with a funny accent.” David nodded. “They’re Sephardic Jews, and they’re speaking Ladino, a language spoken by their ancestors since the time the first Sephardic Jews arrived in Greece around 1500 A.D.” After hearing this Maria pondered for a moment and nodded.
Ladino is a variant of Spanish with loan words from several other languages. It is spoken mostly by Jewish people. In 1492 Ferdinand and Isabella, the rulers of Spain, expelled all Jewish people from Spain. Many settled in Greece rather than convert to Catholicism. They retained an identity separate from the Greek speaking Jews in Greece. Over the years emigration has greatly reduced the size of this people group. Those who didn’t emigrate tend to be elderly. Very few Sephardic Jews in Greece worship Jesus as their messiah.
Ask God to send an agency which will reach out to the Sephardic Jews of Greece with the love of Jesus. Pray that this people group will come to see Jesus as the son of God and not a blasphemer. Ask God to open the hearts of this people group to the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament.
Zech 12:9-10, RSV
And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child and weeps bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born.
Pray that the Lord will anoint messengers to communicate to the Sephardic Jewish people that they can be forgiven from their sins and treated with compassion. Pray that they would call on the name of the Lord, the one who was pierced for the sins of all nations, including their own.
(These events are hypothetical)
Nine-year-old Ivan sat in a classroom in Bulgaria, reading a history textbook. When he read a certain paragraph, he blurted something out. “Incredible! One of our most famous queens was Jewish?” The teacher walked past several desks and saw which paragraph Ivan was reading. “Ah, you’re reading about Tsar Alexander, who ruled during the 14th century. Yes, his queen, Theodora, really was Jewish.”
There may have been Jewish people living in Bulgaria since the Roman Era. During the 7th century A.D. Jews fled from the Byzantine Empire to Bulgaria to escape persecution. These first immigrants may have tried to convert the animistic Bulgars to Judaism. Jewish people continued to live in Bulgaria even after the country was won to the Christian faith in the 9th century A.D. Jews had a powerful influence on the Bulgarian court, especially during the days of Queen Theodora. In 1878 Bulgaria became independent, and Jews were granted equal rights by the Treaty of Berlin. After World War II many Jews immigrated to Israel. Today there are few Jews left in Bulgaria and even fewer who believe Jesus is their messiah.
Ask God to open the spiritual eyes of this people group so that they can see Jesus as he is. Pray that God will raise up faithful workers who will reach out to this people group with the message of salvation and hope.
Ps 2:5-9, RSV
Then He will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Pray that the Lord will show the Bulgarian Jewish people that the Lord calls their messiah his son. Pray that this fear of the Lord will be the beginning of their knowledge of who their messiah is.
Teenaged Irina and her family went through an arduous and desperate process to leave Russia, where she had been born. At that time she would never have imagined herself choosing to return to Russia, but that’s exactly what she did 15 years later. She found employment at the Israeli embassy in Moscow, where she met hundreds of people making a return similar to hers.
Because of repression during the Soviet Era, an exodus of one million Russian-born Jewish people left for Israel. Now about 100,000 of them have returned to Russia. Some of these twice-immigrants are making their choice because they see economic opportunities in Russia. Some are worried about security in the Middle East. Some could not adjust to their new country. Some have kept their Israeli passports, and some maintain homes in both countries.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Israel signaled an official change of attitude. A sort of Jewish revival is taking place in eastern Europe. People of Jewish background now feel that they can be part of a Jewish community. They can attend Hebrew schools, celebrate Passover, eat at kosher restaurants, attend a Jewish museum. This is not to say that anti-Semitism has disappeared. Attacks on Jews are still being reported, and according to the Toronto Star, “some observers believe that the community's increasing profile has sparked a backlash from nationalist Russians.”
Pray to our heavenly Father to touch these people and help them to find their rest in him.
Num 21:6-9, RSV
Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord, that he takes away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
Pray that the Israelis in Russia will seek and find the messiah who was lifted up to heal them.
(This story illustrates possible attitudes.)
“What? Jews in other countries don’t kidnap their brides?” Edik was astounded. Bride-kidnapping was a given in his Jewish Tat community. He and his friend, Jacob discussed it; then they concluded: “Our rabbi approves of it.” That was good enough for them.
The Jewish Tat have dwelt in Russia for over 1,000 years. Because they lived 1,000 miles from Moscow, they enjoyed religious and cultural freedom. Unlike their Ashkenazi relatives closer to political centers of power, the Jewish Tat were able to maintain practices like baking matzo for Passover and lighting candles for the Sabbath.
For centuries, the Jewish Tat co-existed peacefully with the Muslim Tat community. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, however, they have been caught in the crossfire between Muslim rebels and Russian policemen. Not a week goes by without a shooting or an explosion. Many Jewish Tat have fled to Israel in the last two decades, shrinking the population from 50,000 to 5,000. Their language, Judeo-Tat, a blend of Farsi and Hebrew, is considered “definitely endangered” by UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.
Pray that God will provide the linguists to accurately complete the translation of the Judeo-Tat Bible. Ask God to prepare the hearts of those who will be among the first to read the Bible. May they be ready to join the bride of Christ, whom God did not kidnap, but purchased!
Is 40:2-4, RSV
A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken!”
Pray that the Jewish Tat people will come to understand that the word of God came to John the Baptist in the wilderness that Jesus IS the messiah for whom he was preparing the way.
The “Children of Israel,” as the Judeo-Crimean Tatars originally called themselves, have a sad history of persecution. Under Joseph Stalin, they were forbidden to write in Hebrew. Their synagogues and religious schools were closed by government decree. The Russians called them Krymchaks to distinguish them from other Jewish groups, and compelled them to work in factories and collective farms. Next, the Nazis targeted them for annihilation, and 6,000 of them were killed. After the return of Soviet authority, many were deported to Central Asia. In recent years, violent anti-Semitism has erupted in Ukraine.
There are no known followers of Christ among the 1,700 Judeo-Crimean Tatars. The New Testament has not been translated into their language, Krimchak, which is a variant of Crimean Tatar. There are no other Christian resources available in their language. They are spread around in countries of the former Soviet Union, like Ukraine, Georgia, Russia, and Uzbekistan.
How can we reach out to these persecuted people with the liberating and life-giving message of the gospel? Despite long and bitter histories of anti-Jewish violence, some are committed to remain in Ukraine and forge interfaith coalitions with leaders of the majority Christian churches. Some 600-700 Krymchaks, still clinging to their Crimean identity, live in the United States and in Israel.
Pray that the Judeo-Crimean Tatars will find Jesus Christ as their messiah. Pray that those seeking inter-faith connections will meet evangelical believers who can point them to the savior.
Ex 12:21, 26-27, RSV
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel, and said to them, “Select lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And when your children say to you, “What do you mean by this service?” you shall say, “It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he slew the Egyptians but spared our houses.”
Pray that the Jewish Tatar people in Ukraine will receive Elijah’s message expressed through John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Are they really Jewish? Other Jews say yes. Fortunately, the Russians and the Nazis said no, so they escaped Russia’s pogroms (anti-Semitic riots) and the German Holocaust.
Most Karaites live in Israel, but today our focus is on the 1,100 who live in Ukraine. They follow only the Jewish Scriptures, reject the rabbinic interpretations, and allow their followers to make their own scriptural interpretations.
Like mainstream Judaism, the Karaites observe the Sabbath, practice ritual washing, and separation from Gentiles. Their prayer books come almost exclusively from the scriptures.
Since ancient times they have lived in Ukraine as followers of rabbinical Judaism. In 1783, Russia opened the region for Jewish settlement, making the Jews a bulwark against the Turks.
In 2014, Russia took control over the Crimean Peninsula, included the Republic of Crimea in the Russian Constitution, and made the Russian ruble legal tender. Surprisingly, the head of the Crimean Karaite group responded, “The majority of Karaites support annexation to Russia, and voted for it. Culture and people connect us with Russia, more than the Ukraine.”
Jews for Jesus works throughout the region. Their website features testimonies of Ukrainian Jews who became believers because of their ministry. There is no Bible in the language of the Karaites, but it does exist in Ukrainian.
Pray that Jews for Jesus will find an opportunity to work among the Karaite people and open their eyes to see Jesus.
Ps 118:22-23, RSV
The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes!
Pray that the Lord will move the Karaite Jewish people to search and find their rejected cornerstone.
The Hasidic Jewish people are distinct by wearing unique black attire and living a separate way of life. Ukraine is home to Orthodox (Hasidic) Judaism, which grew out of the struggles over philosophical and folk Judaism in the 18th century. Despite Ukraine being a Slavic country, Orthodox Jewry is culturally Yiddish (that is German).
Today Jewish people visit Ukraine on pilgrimages during the Jewish New Year. At that time, they visit the Hasidic Rabbi Nachman’s tomb. They want to be absolved from their sins. The site of the pilgrimage is located in the town of Uman, in central Ukraine, 125 miles south of the capital city of Kiev.
Because of the pilgrims, Uman’s population almost quadruples during the Jewish New Year. The Hasidic Jewish people are not happy with the crowds. Yet Uman is economically dependent upon these pilgrims. In Ukraine Jews for Jesus has outreaches in the cities of Kiev, Dnepr, and Odessa, but not in Uman.
Pray that Jews for Jesus will take advantage of the opportunity to reach both Ukrainian and Israeli Jews on the Jewish New Year, and that opportunities to follow up in Israel will result. Pray that local churches will begin to evangelize Ukraine’s Jewish population and disciple them in the ways of Yeshua, Jesus. Pray that Hasidic Jews will be open to outreach and that messianic congregations will result.
Rom 6:1-2, NET
What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Pray for a clear understanding in Hasidic communities what God requires of them, so that they can die to sin, and live for their messiah.