Pray for Japan

Pray for Japan

Governments all over the world are engaged in the delicate balancing act between public health and national economy. The most precarious at the moment is Japan. Japan is staking its reputation as one of the safest, most efficient, and well-organized nations in the world as it prepares to host the Olympic Games from July 23 to August 8 in the midst of a state of emergency.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced on July 8 that a state of emergency will take effect in Tokyo from July 12 until August 22. This is the fourth time the city has been placed under this status since the start of the pandemic. This is due to a resurgence of COVID cases in Japan’s big cities and densely populated areas and concerns over the Delta variant. Only 15% of its population has been fully vaccinated so far. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike reported that “The situation is becoming increasingly severe.”

In the midst of this emergency, the Olympic Games, probably the largest international event to be staged since the beginning of the pandemic—which was already postponed from 2020—will push through. The decision is highly controversial because it is viewed by many as a potential superspreader not only in Japan but around the world, as thousands of athletes and officials arrive and return to their home countries. The implication of the state of emergency is that no spectators will be allowed in the Games in the host city for the first time in history. A limited number could still be allowed for events held in other prefectures.

During a survey held in May, 83% of the Japanese were against the Olympics being held and preferred to either cancel or postpone again. According to Pastor Scott Douma who leads Every Nation Japan, “The people of Japan are very divided about the Olympics . . . so much money and energy being spent on something that most people feel should have been canceled last year. Pray that the Olympics will run smoothly, and instead of causing more division, bring national hope and a healthy inspiration.”

The primary reason Japan’s government is determined to continue with the Olympics is that they stand to lose around US$ 20 billion in investments and refunds should they cancel. Many also view the prime minister’s political future as dependent on the staging of the Games.

Pastor Scott also noted that the pandemic has brought about isolation and loneliness. He asks for prayers as our churches are able to meet in limited groups, yet more than half of church members stay home. However, he reported that “many family and friends are joining in the worship services. Even in the pandemic, most of our churches are reporting baptisms. Pray that we catch this ‘wave’ that the virus has caused and ride it for God’s glory.”

Let us stand in the gap for the nation of Japan and our Every Nation churches.

PRAYER POINTS

  1. Ask God for a successful staging of the Olympic Games and for all participants and spectators to be kept safe and healthy.
  2. Stand with our Japanese brothers and sisters for the new surge of the virus to cease and for the Delta variant to stop spreading.
  3. Let us agree with Pastor Scott that the Games will have a unifying and inspiring effect on the Japanese and the world. May it provide moments of joy and triumph for all as the world continues to battle the pandemic.
  4. Intercede for our Every Nation churches in Japan. Pray that thousands of Japanese will open their hearts to the message of the gospel during this crisis.

Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.

We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations every month.

To learn more about the situation in Japan, you can check the news and resources in the links below.

Pray for Lasting Peace Between Israel and Palestine

Pray for Lasting Peace Between Israel and Palestine

It was with great alarm that the world witnessed the escalating violence between the Israeli army and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in early May. It was the worst conflict since 2014 with Hamas launching hundreds of missiles at Israel who countered with its Iron Dome missile defense system and bombarded Gaza in return. Caught in between were innocent civilians on both sides leaving hundreds dead and thousands wounded.

Thankfully, a ceasefire was reached on May 21. But we all know that a ceasefire in this ongoing conflict will only last until the next issue sparks another war. The world has sought to help resolve this conflict for decades with ideas such as the “Two-State Solution,” but peace has remained elusive and resolution improbable.

This last fighting ignited over a Supreme Court ruling evicting Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. Jerusalem is home to a mixed population of Jews, Muslims, and Christians who each consider the city central to their faith. The Israelis saw the issue as legal enforcement, while the Palestinians viewed it as forced deportation and a land grab. There were heated protests on both sides. The spark turned out to be the Israeli police’s raid on the Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, due to protesters who were throwing rocks. Hundreds were wounded in the process. From there, Hamas rained rockets on Israel who retaliated with airstrikes.

However, the root of the conflict is ancient and a complex mix of religious, political, geographical, and historical aspirations. Since the Babylonian invasion around 600 BC, Israel has been displaced from its Promised Land, scattered abroad, and has sought to return and reclaim its home in fulfillment of God’s covenant promises in the Old Testament. When the United Nations granted Israel the status of a nation state in 1948, many viewed this as a significant fulfillment of this promise. 

In the meanwhile, as Israel was dispersed over several centuries, the people who remained are eventually those we refer to today as Palestinians who became predominantly Islamic in religion and culture. They see the 1948 UN ruling as a grave act of injustice as they saw their claim to the land disappear by the vote of foreign powers. Thus, what you have today are two peoples and nations packed together with competing religious, political, and historical claims on the same piece of real estate.

Dozens of world leaders have attempted to make a name for themselves by coming up with the answer to this centuries-old conflict. Each one has failed. Interestingly, the one true answer to all of these problems was a Person who was born on that same land—Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9). Political strategies have failed because both the problem and solution are spiritual. It is only the love and righteousness brought about by the gospel that is capable of establishing lasting peace between warring peoples.

Every Nation has ongoing work in Israel, and it has been difficult. Nevertheless, the mission continues and hope is always rekindled as we reach both peoples one soul at a time. Let us pray for the gospel of Jesus Christ to take root in people’s lives, resulting in love and peace even among the opposing sides.

PRAYER POINTS

  1. Pray for wisdom on Israeli, Palestinian, and world leaders as they continue to seek a solution and arrangement that is acceptable to both sides. Ask God for fairness and justice to reign over selfish political interests.
  2. Pray against the agenda of both the Hamas and rightist groups in Israel who oppose ongoing attempts at peace and reconciliation. Ask God to expose them and their schemes. Intercede that their continued efforts to destabilize the region be thwarted.
  3. Stand in the gap for the salvation of both Israelis and Palestinians. Stand in faith with all Christian churches and ministries in Israel as they continue to help disciple the nation and both peoples through the proclamation of the gospel. Pray that the Jews would see that the Messiah they had been waiting for has already come in Jesus Christ.
  4. Intercede for our church’s ongoing work in Israel. Ask God for a local man of peace to be saved who will serve as our future pastor and raise future leaders.

Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.

We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations every month.

To learn more about the situation between Israel and Palestine, you can check the news and resources in the links below.

Stand in the Gap for India

Stand in the Gap for India

India needs our prayers. While the whole world is in crisis mode, India has reached catastrophic levels. When major cities in the Philippines reverted to ECQ status in late March, it was to halt the daily new cases from reaching the projected 15,000 per day by mid-April. While we are now down to over 5,000 cases per day, India has just breached 400,000 per day. At that rate, they will overtake in a few days the entire number of Filipinos who tested positive since the beginning in March 2020 (over 1 million). It is widely believed that actual numbers could be five to ten times more than what is officially being reported. Brazil is a far second with under 60,000 new cases per day and the US with under 50,000. This is a tragedy of epic proportions and a humanitarian crisis not only for India but for the world.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The New York Times (@nytimes)

Ironically, India’s Health Secretary Harsh Vardhan publicly declared on March 7 that they are in the “end game of the COVID-19 pandemic” as the government felt certain about the strength of their local vaccine program. In light of the current outbreak, his phrase “end game” has taken on a new meaning. Soon after the health minister said those words, a perfect storm of conditions sabotaged the government’s efforts. An Indian variant emerged, which spreads faster and is suspected to be driving this second wave. Election rallies and Hindu festivals, attended by thousands, served as super spreaders. Planning and funding slips resulted in a vaccine supply shortage despite India being the world’s leading vaccine manufacturer. As a result, the national health care system has crumbled and there is a global surge in the pandemic.

Pastor Kevin Menezes of Every Nation (EN) Mumbai says that the “main challenges” they face are “lack of beds at hospitals to admit patients, lack of oxygen cylinders for the patients resulting in increased deaths, and too much pressure on doctors and front liners who have been weary due to the prolonged period of over a year.” He noted however that “while many in our church and even their families are infected, there have been no deaths so far. We are grateful for God’s protection. Thank you for standing with us.”

Pastor Yesupadam at EN Vishakhapatnam reports that his children and their families in the province are sick, “Many church members are sick, a few have passed away, one of our pastors died on Saturday, many people we know are in the hospitals. The need is so great.”

This is the time for us to unite in prayer for our church family in India and for the nation as a whole. When God revealed Himself in Exodus 15 as Jehovah Rophe, the God who heals, it was a promise to protect His people from disease and death, which plagued the Egyptians. Let us call on His name to cover our church members with protection and to extend mercy to the entire nation of India.

PRAYER POINTS

  1. Plead for God’s mercy to cover and heal the land of India. Ask God to halt the rampant spread of the virus throughout the nation.
  2. Pray for wisdom and courage for the national and local government leaders to make right and timely decisions, so they can save as many as possible and end this second wave.
  3. Ask God for world leaders to come to the aid of India through vaccines, medical supplies, equipment, and other means of support.
  4. Pray for our churches in India. Ask God to protect our pastors, leaders, church members, and their families. Pray also for comfort for those who have lost loved ones, as well as provision for those who need medicine.
  5. Intercede for the entire Church in India to unite and display courage and boldness to pray for the sick and preach the gospel despite persecution.

Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.

We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations every month.

To learn more about the COVID-19 situation in India, you can check the news and resources in the links below.

Pray for Racial Healing

Pray for Racial Healing

Your heart will literally sink. Last month, a video circulated online of a large man beating up a 65-year-old woman. The woman was a Filipina on her way to church in what turned out to be the latest of the increasing hate crimes against Asians in the US. This comes on the heels of a confessed gunman who shot and killed 6 Asian women, out of his 8 victims, in what he claimed was his battle against temptation.

Even as overall hate crimes declined, attacks against Asians in the US increased by as much as 150 percent in 2020. Much of this is attributed to a wrongful sense of blame against Asians, the Chinese in particular, for the global pandemic. The irrational thinking behind this points to the true nature and root of this crime—sin and wickedness. Racial discrimination comes straight from hell.

This sin is not unique to the US or to this generation. Racial discrimination is a universal problem whether it is division in South Africa, the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar or the Uighurs in China, or the plight of the Maoris in New Zealand. History is a record of man’s condemnation for racial hate crimes against his brother in the form of wars, slavery, or the Holocaust.

Racism goes against the very nature of Creation: Every person was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27). Any form of discrimination devalues, distorts, and belittles a person’s God-given value. Division was a direct result of the Fall in Genesis 3. Since then, man has divided, fought, and discriminated over race, gender, religion, social status, and other reasons. Discrimination is a cultural manifestation of idolatrous sin, which has become institutionalized over time. It is the exact opposite of the Greatest Commandment to love God and our neighbor (Matthew 22:36–40). Because it is spiritual at its root, only the gospel, which restores individuals and communities to their original purpose and adds them into a spiritual community, is able to bring real and lasting unity (Galatians 3:28). The Cross is the answer to the crime of racism.

 

Photo from the 2016 Every Nation World Conference in South Africa

 

As part of Every Nation (EN), Victory sees the outworking of its mission to help fulfill the Great Commission as the planting of ethnically diverse churches. We intentionally build in a way that reaches locals primarily but welcomes all cultures in a community. Many of our churches all over the world are at the forefront of local efforts to bring reconciliation and understanding among all races through discipleship, humanitarian efforts, dialogue, and political action. Our church in Myanmar is home to the varied tribes that make up the nation. EN India is where students from all the states in India are being discipled. Our churches in the US and South Africa are witnesses to peoples of different color worshiping together. EN Guam is where islanders from the entire region are discipled together.

We want our churches to be a reflection of heaven here on earth (Revelation 7:9). Let’s take a moment to pray for racial healing in our world today.

PRAYER POINTS

Pray for those who discriminate against other races globally. Ask God for a spirit of repentance and deliverance upon them. Pray for a revelation of God’s purposes and created order on all sides. Pray that the tragedy of racial sin leads peoples and nations to repentance towards a spiritual revival. Pray for healing and forgiveness for the victims and that this would lead them to God.

Pray for the churches and spiritual leaders in nations that suffer from racism. Ask God to give them wisdom and leadership to be salt and light during these times and for divine opportunities to share the truth of God’s word. Pray for churches to be at the forefront of reconciliation among peoples.

Pray for the governments of these nations to be able to provide protection and justice for the victims. Pray that they would be able to restore order and contain the hate and violence.

Pray against the socio-economic discrimination in the Philippines. The division among our people is not so much racial or regional as it is socio-economic. Intercede for genuine unity and for the privileged to use their resources to help uplift our countrymen from poverty.


Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.

We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations every month.

To learn more about recent events related to racial issues, you can check the news and resources in the links below.

Pray for the Political Turmoil in Myanmar

Pray for the Political Turmoil in Myanmar

“From day one, the situation is now hourly changing.” That is how Pastor John, senior pastor of Every Nation Myanmar, described the situation in the first of five updates he has sent to friends outside. He described how, in the early hours of February 1, the ruling military junta staged a coup before the newly elected Parliament members could hold their first session. All communication lines (telephone, media, internet) were cut and opposition leaders were arrested which left the people of Myanmar unaware of what was happening until later that day. The outside world was first to know, and Pastor John himself only learned what was happening through the messages of friends from outside much later. Since then, martial law has been declared and lines of communication are intermittent.

The people have gone out and participated in daily acts of unprecedented civil disobedience as displays of defiance and courage. People have refused to report to work to cripple the nation, have engaged in a nightly noise barrage, and have openly demonstrated on the streets in the thousands.

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

But there are troubling signs ahead. The Burmese military junta has always brutally repressed all forms of protest since it took power over thirty years ago. Fake news is intentionally being spread to create confusion. There are constant nighttime arrests. A reported 23,000 prisoners were released to burn houses down. Local communities have organized themselves street by street to protect their homes from these armed criminals. Members of Parliament who have not been arrested organized themselves into a government so there are technically two governments now. All Covid-19 protocols and reports are being neglected.

Pastor Carlo Ratilla, who serves on our Missions Team and in Victory Santa Rosa, planted our church in Myanmar in 2002 together with his family. According to Pastor Carlo, during their time in Myanmar under military rule, “We encountered and ministered to a lot of young people who felt they had lost their hope, freedom, and future. It saddens me to know that the military regime has gone back to full control. But in the midst of this very difficult and dark time, what gives me hope is that we have our church community who is responding by regularly praying for peace and forgiveness towards the military regime and its leaders. I have hope that God is going to do something greater than what we have seen before. A transformation is coming to this nation. Let’s continue to pray!”

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

Pastor John rallied the church to pray as families, in small groups, and as a church through a weekly online prayer meeting. They have also joined a prayer chain with the rest of the body of Christ. Pastor John is asking us to intercede for the nation and their church, “We cannot be feeble and shabby. We need to stand up and call upon the name of God. That is what we are going to do every day. Only Yahweh can save Myanmar. So my dear friends, would you hold the rope on the other end for us? In our desperation, may the name of the Lord be blessed in Myanmar. May El Shaddai turn this situation into a beautiful and wonderful thing for He is awesome. Will you pray with us?”

PRAYER POINTS

Pray for Freedom and Justice. Ask God for the integrity of the recent elections to be upheld and for the rightfully elected leaders to be set in place. Pray that the long and slow path to democracy that Myanmar has been on since 2010 will not be hindered by these recent events.

Pray for Peace. Intercede against the outbreak of violence on all sides. Intercede that the government, military, and demonstrators would value all life and property. Pray that the intentional acts of violence against innocent people and property will completely cease.

Pray for Unity. Myanmar is made up of over a hundred distinct tribes with strong cultural and political differences. Pray that this current crisis unites them as one people.

Pray for the Church. Ask God that Every Nation Myanmar and the body of Christ there will become witnesses for His kingdom during this great trial in their nation’s history. Pray that this Buddhist nation will be drawn to God and His gospel through the example and faith of Christian Burmese. Intercede also for wisdom and discernment for all Christian leaders in the nation to know how to respond and lead His Church at this time.


Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.

We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations. Starting today, we will be posting prayer points for different nations every month.

To learn more about the events in Myanmar, you can read the news in the links below.