Wendy Andrews from the international prayer organisation, 24-7 prayer looks at the spiritual climate of Asia.
Drawing upon the book "Operation World", Wendy Andrews uses the statistics and facts presented as a springboard for prayer, imparticular, giving attention to the juxtaposition between a church growing at an exponential rate and a church facing daily persecution.
Expanding our focus: Embracing the peoples of Asia
“Asia.” The definition of this four-letter word expands with unparalleled breadth and diversity among the continents of the earth. No matter if you’re from Asia or have been there 18 times (like me) or have only vague imaginations of what Asia’s like, it’s not really possible to nail down its immensity or understand its complexity. I do think, though, that we can begin to grasp the opportunity we have in Asia, as ones who pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus is drawing the peoples of Asia to our Father at an unprecedented rate, and He is inviting all of us to take His hand and come with Him.
Asia is the worlds' largest and most populous continent, spanning 30% of the earth’s landmass and containing 60% of our current population (more than 4 billion of nearly 7 million people living today).
There are more than 4,800 ethnic people groups in Asian nations. The landscape of Asia is as varied as its people, from rainforest to desert to plains, hills and the highest mountain ranges on earth. Indonesia, for instance, is composed of nearly 18,000 islands and with more than 700 different languages spoken there!
Only 8.6% of Asia currently follows Jesus, and 80% of the world’s least reached peoples are on that continent. Jesus is not overwhelmed, however, by this complex task of drawing this least evangelized region of the world to Himself!
Persecution of the Church in Asia is greatest of any part of the world, but so is the increase in the number of those following Jesus. Operation World records:
“The survival and growth of the Church in China are two of the decisive events of our generation. The staggering recent growth of the Chinese Church has no parallel in history…”
China is in good company among its neighbors, as well: South Korea is the second largest missionary sending nation in the world, and in 20 years, it is possible that India will surpass them.
I believe the Asian peoples have been (and are being) specially prepared by God for these days we’re living in – days dotted with wars, earthquakes, famines, persecution and shaking of every kind. Through a long history rich with the blessing of suffering, Asian believers are being built strong in faith and steadfast in trust, ready to withstand hardship for the sake of Christ. They have the ability to freely enter restricted-access nations (where Americans, for instance, cannot go). Many believe that Asia has a unique role in seeing the remaining nations on earth receive the Gospel of the Kingdom – “and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:5-14).
One of the most essential things I think the Father is doing in Asia these days is causing His children to be revealed for who they are. Romans 8:19-21 says that all of creation waits with eager expectation for the sons of God to arise and walk in the freedom of His love and delight. From there, I guarantee that they will impact the earth and eternity.
God is never content for any one person or nation to accomplish His purposes alone, however! We with 24-7 Prayer are privileged to get to partner with the Asian Church in increasing ways right now, to see even more prayer spring up in the Church there and on behalf of their nations.
Some of us have been to Japan multiple times this year, responding to the open door of need for the love and power of God after the earthquake and tsunami. This Fall, we’ve sent our dear Katie Cornick, and in partnership with CRASH Japan (a Christian relief agency), she’ll receive short-term 24-7 teams for prayer journeys into Japan’s North.
In Hong Kong, there are stirrings of 24-7 prayer in secondary schools, in Chinese and international churches and at summer camps. Recently, a team took 24-7 prayer into the Chinese Mainland, interceding three days for the Tibetan people and prayer walking in red light districts. A Malaysian friend is coordinating a Year of Prayer throughout Malaysia for 2012, connecting churches across denominations and generations in night and day prayer. Their theme is “Let justice prevail.”
And, in June, we met some fiery Indonesians who are starting 24-7 prayer towers all over that nation. In May of next year, some of us will be going to the World Prayer Assembly in Jakarta, Indonesia – consider joining us!
This week, we’ll be highlighting news from across this great continent of Asia. Not all of us will go to Asia. But, I think we each have a part to play in the move of God in the East: ask Him what yours is! Open your hands to receive from the riches God’s placed in Asian peoples everywhere. And, I encourage you to raise your voice to the Father on behalf of our family in Asia. I know they’re praying for us.