The national health system in Portugal has been very brave, but in January, Portugal’s case numbers rose to the highest per capita in Europe. Hospitals are overwhelmed and protective equipment is in short supply. Pray for intervention.—José Arrais
“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).
Bishop Safari Mutabesha, president of Mennonite Brethren Church Malawi, calls for prayer. Coronavirus cases increased drastically in December with many deaths resulting. Most of his church members are day labourers who live far from medical facilities. “Some of our members are infected (tested positive) and are staying in isolation but have no food,” he writes. Food is scarce in January and February and harvests are far off.
Pray for Gilgal Mission Trust. President Paul Phinehas writes: “Our pastors in our conference are undergoing a lot of financial crises due to lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions. From March 2020 to December 2020 all our churches were closed. All our congregation livelihood opportunities are completely shattered. Many of our congregation are daily labourers and many are working in textiles companies [where demand has dried]. Prices have gone up, but unemployment is more now. Mostly youths lose their studies and youngsters become jobless. Everyone is in a difficult situation both financially and mentally. We kindly request you to pray for us to overcome this situation.”
Pray that our local congregations find ways to model the love of Christ in their communities which struggle with illness and death due to the pandemic, while at the same time learning how to bridge the political and racial divisions which also exist. Pray that the spirit of unity would bring healing and resilience.
Praise God for the technologies that keep us connected while restrictions keep us apart. May the Spirit give us wisdom to follow Jesus faithfully wherever we are.
Praise God for young people with their energy and desire to learn. May they seek out wise mentors who encourage them to adapt to new ways. May they find opportunities to use their skills in service of the world. May the church welcome young people to grow in leadership and explore new ways of being faithful.
Meserete Kristos Church (MKC) is in the process of discerning God's directions for the coming five years: please pray for us to complete our five-year strategic plan preparation. The situation in the northern region of Ethiopia is in a better condition than one month ago. The MKC members and the community in those areas need trauma healing. There is also a request for peacebuilding training. Pray for us to get resources to do so. Humanitarian organizations are helping the people with basic needs. MKC Relief and Development Association is looking for resources to assist people in communities where MKC churches serve.
—submitted by Desalegn Abebe Ejo
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?” (James 2:14). With these words, Iglesia Cristiana Menonita De Colombia speaks out against the killing of hundreds of farmers, social leaders, indigenous people, demobilized paramilitaries, and their families. They call the church to practice nonviolence as a way of life; incorporate themes of justice, reconciliation and peace in our teaching, preaching and singing; accompany those who are victims of violence; invite those who commit violence to accept the gospel’s call to repentance and a transformed life; practice solidarity. May we hear their call; may God strengthen us for the long work of seeking justice and building peace.
“The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Lord, thank you for your patience with us. May we live out our repentence. As we receive your grace, may our lives may call others to come to you.
Thank you, God, for MWC’s regional representatives who labour to represent the situation of churches in their region to MWC and represent MWC’s resources and opportunities to the churches. This work is more difficult now without large conference gatherings and opportunities to visit with church leaders. Give resources to meet the challenges when internet access is poor or relationships with leaders had not been previously established.
Thank you, Lord, for the unprecedented scientific collaboration and focussed development and testing that allowed a vaccine for COVID-19 to be developed so quickly. We pray for justice in vaccine distribution. May world leaders prioritize not only their own citizens but an equitable distribution of vaccines around the world as a public health good.
Praise God for the sacrificial work of health care workers who have given themselves in acts of solidarity, generosity and kindness for those who are most vulnerable, afflicted and in need. Through their practical help and pastoral and psychosocial accompaniment, they show God’s love in the midst of crisis. Thank you for these lights of hope that bring comfort and peace. Renew their faith, trust and hope.
Dear Lord, as we enter this new year, steady our hearts to spread the gospel of peace. May we follow your Spirit as we work for transformation and justice in this world. Lord, give us courage to proclaim this message in word and action, especially in places where there is corruption, persecution and natural disasters. Thank you for Jesus’ peacemaking example.
We thank you, God, for sending Jesus, our light. We rejoice that “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light” (Matthew 4:16, NRSV). May the Holy Spirit continue to guide our way.
Pray for the upcoming Assembly in Indonesia. Pray for the planners as they adjust to a new gathering date and create protocols for a safe and enjoyable event that welcomes thousands of people to Semarang. Pray that the Spirit will be at work in the hearts and minds of all participants bringing unity in the Spirit.
Pray for the 23 member and associate member churches in Asia (Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam). Christianity is a minority in many of these countries. Pray that MWC member churches who are suffering persecution and hardship may have courage and hope to persevere.
Praise God for the Asian churches: members of the Body of Christ. May they always be united and connected to us and to each other through the bonds of the love of Jesus and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. May they care for one another, accept one another and equip one another to witness to God’s glory in this world.
- Give thanks that Anabaptists around the world are united in faith in God’s kingdom across language and cultural differences.
- Give thanks for the growing networks in the MWC family: mission, service, health, peace and education.
- Pray for sisters and brothers everywhere who are struggling with weakness due to illness, violence, disaster or injustice. May we embrace them. May God’s power change everything for us all.
- Pray for MWC General Secretary César García, and MWC Asian Representatives Agus Mayanto (Southeast Asia), Cynthia Peacock (South Asia) and Jeremiah Choi (Northeast Asia), as they lead and minister to the churches in Asia and around the world.
“At present, our hope is in God alone.” Leaders of MWC national member church Meserete Kristos Church in Ethiopia call the global Anabaptist family to pray with them. “We need peace to continue bringing the good news of Jesus Christ.” MKC has four congregations and almost two dozen church planting centres in the Tigray region where the federal and regional government have been in armed conflict for two weeks. Reports of 10,000-25,000 people have fled to neighbouring Sudan and Eritrea. Join MKC in fasting and prayer for peace, individually and collectively.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Lord, may we abide under the shadow of your strength. In the midst of this pandemic, may we take shelter in you, placing our trust in your deliverance. Lord, address our fears; help us face the threats of job losses, hunger and disease with courage and hope. In your love, deliver us.
(Inspired by Psalm 91)
Mennonite World Conference and Anabaptists around the world are commemorating 500 years since this renewal movement began in 1525. We acknowledge moral failures of our faith predecessor in the past. Nevertheless, we also celebrate that God has raised up a global Anabaptist people whose highest loyalty is to Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Like early Anabaptists, may we be energetic missionaries, reaching across national and cultural barriers to call for repentance and teach the peacemaking way of Jesus.
Death has touched families and churches. Health care workers are worn out. The lack of personal contact and the loss of income due to the significant risk of contagion cause significant stress and misery in Anabaptist churches. Those who are not able to connect online – due to lack of knowledge or lack of tools – are extra isolated. “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit,” (Psalm 34:18).