September 23rd, 2011 at 4:10 pm
Have you ever stopped to think about how many different nations are represented in Texas?
The last few days, I have been in Houston where there are more than 63 languages spoken in the city. And I would say that other metropolitan areas such as Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin are not far behind this.
While there in Houston, I had the opportunity to participate in a midweek worship service with some of the members of the Canaan Bhutanese Baptist Church. It was amazing to hear about 50 Bhutanese ranging in age from toddlers to the elderly sing Seek Ye First in their Nepali language.
Though they have so little as refugees and have been through so much as they have come from primitive refugee camps in Nepal, they sing with so much joy and so much heart for their King.
As I was sitting in the small apartment where the group met, I was reminded of how diverse our Texas Baptists family is, how diverse our state is. I was so excited to see that even though this group of Bhutanese has been in Texas less than two years, there is already a a functioning Texas Baptists church plant in their own language.
I was reminded of God’s heart for the nations – for the nations right here in Texas. Many nations are here. That’s a fact. But the question now is how will we respond?
Christ has opened his arms of hope and love, and will we too?
You may not live in one of the diverse areas of Texas where you can live among these refugee groups and physically speak Christ’s words of truth to them. You may not love near the international college students who are flooding into Texas universities each year. But you can PRAY!
Praying for the nations, whether that be those who are among us or those that are thousands of miles away, can be a door for the Lord to work, softening hearts before a Christ follower can tangibly be before them to speak words of hope.
In college, I participated in a missions class called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement and learned about a wonderful book – Operation World - The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation – that gives ways to pray for the nations.
The book offers profiles include a brief overview of politics, religion, demographics, economics and specific prayer requests for each nation on the earth. The average profile size is about three pages, making it quite easy to glance through the information and get an idea for ways to pray for a specific people, for a specific nation.
This book can be purchased for about $20, but most of the information also can be accessed via the organizations website. You can also sign up to have a daily prayer update sent to you, delivering prayer information to your inbox each morning.
Also, as you encounter the nations here in Texas, pray! Use grocery shopping or any daily outing as a prayer walk. As you encounter the individuals from various nations or items from other countries, stop and say a prayer for this country and its citizens.
As you pray, God works, your heart for the nations will grow and the world can be changed by the hope of Christ. Today, further the kingdom of God among the nations through your prayers.
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