Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bosnia Herzegovina - Imam attacked for speaking against ISIS

Week of March 16-22,2015
< Please read and pray for updated IE Balkans needs in Left Column. 

 Bosnian Imam attacked 7 times over call to stay out of Syria
TRNOVI, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The long-bearded man burst into the mosque's yard and pinned Selvedin Beganovic to the ground. Shouting "Now I will slaughter you!" he plunged a knife three times into the imam's chest and fled.

It was no random attack: Beganovic has suffered seven assaults blamed on Muslim extremists in the past year — with three just last month.
The apparent reason for the jihadi wrath? Beganovic uses his pulpit to tell the faithful in predominantly Muslim Bosnia they have no business fighting in Syria or Iraq. And he vows to keep preaching the message no matter how many times extremists try to silence him.

Bosnia arrests five for planning \'terrorist act\' in Scandinavia
[14 March,2015]  Three suspects were arrested as they were trying to leave Bosnia in a car. 

SARAJEVO (AFP) - Four Bosnians and a Swede of Arab origin were arrested in Bosnia after being found with an explosive device to be used for "a terrorist act" in a Scandinavian country, police said Friday. The operation, coded "Benelux," was carried out by Bosnian, Swedish and Dutch police, Bosnian police said in a statement. "These persons are suspected to have produced an explosive device in Bosnia with the intention of delivering it in a Scandinavian country," it said said. "The device was supposed to be used for a terrorist act." Last month, a gunman of Palestinian origin killed two people in Copenhagen. The authorities refused to give further details, including the final destination or specify if the suspects were linked to local Islamist movements. In a separate statement, a prosecutor said the Swedish citizen was "of Arab origin." Three suspects were arrested as they were trying to leave Bosnia in a car where the device was found, police said, adding that another two were arrested in the capital Sarajevo. Forty percent of Bosnia s 3.8 million inhabitants are Muslim. According to Bosnian intelligence estimates, some 150 citizens are currently fighting along with terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria and some 20 have been killed so far. Some 50 other jihadists returned to Bosnia.  http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/267867//

NOTE: Bosnia was the front lines of the Ottoman Empire for many centuries as they controlled major parts of the Balkans. Even when the Ottomans had to retreat, a majority of Muslim Bosnians remained culturally Muslim and obeyed the Islamic religion. Although most Muslim Bosnians are nominal in their observance of Islam, there is a radical Islamic segment that is forcing their will upon their neighbors and the Muslim institutions. Also let me add, I recently read the book “Wind in the House of Islam, How God is drawing Muslims around the world to faith in Jesus Christ” by David Garrison. Just as the extended title says, (although unreported by the news) God is bringing Muslims to give their lives to Jesus.

Prayer Points:
1)    Holy Spirit we ask that You would blow a wind across Bosnia Herzegovina. We ask for a redemptive move among the Muslim Bosnians that would result in turning them to Jesus.
2)    Let us pray that Selvedin Beganovic has an encounter with Jesus Christ and that he believes in the true God. Let us also pray that he is protected from more attacks.
3)    May he continue to be bold in standing up for what is right. May there be many, even multitudes that will stand with him and surround him from the enemies’ intimidation.
4)    Let us thank the Lord for the arrest of these radicals that were caught before they could carry out their attacks. May all the enemies plans to cultivate radical Islam be stopped.
Psalm 127:1
“…Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
5)    Lord, we ask You to put heavenly guards throughout Bosnia to watch for those that would intend to spread radical Islam. May their plans be exposed and cut short. Let us pray for confusion and disunity to break up these radical groups.
6)    As intercessors let us believe that this will be the year that the “Lord of the harvest” will send laborers to Bosnia.
7)    Let us pray that the love of Jesus for Muslims would be poured out through His servants. Pray that Christian neighbors would go the extra mile to reach out to their communities. Let us pray for strategies that build trust.

Please leave a Comment or Reaction so we will know you Prayed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pray for Albania - A land, a people that need to see justice and mercy.

Week of March 9-15, 2015
< Please read and pray for updated IE Balkans needs in Left Column.

Here is a welcomed headline.

Serbia and Albania ready to build friendly relations
BELGRADE/TIRANA – Serbia and Albania are ready to build friendly relations and cooperate in the regional framework so as to ensure stability and prosperity in the Western Balkans, it was stated at Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic’s meetings with Albanian President Bujar Nishani and Parliament Speaker Ilir Meta.
The Western Balkan countries belong to the European Union, the Serbian and Albanian officials agreed, adding that they stand ready to utilize the great potentials especially in the fields of economy and EU integration, and improve youth cooperation, reads a release by the Serbian parliament.

Gojkovic, who is on the first official visit to Albania by the Serbian parliament speaker in the history of the two countries’ relations, underlined at the meeting with Meta that her visit to Tirana has historic significance and represents an important moment for bilateral relations.

Meta expressed Albania’s willingness to look forward saying that history is written by historians, and it is up to us to create a history of peace, stability and prosperity.

Throughout the years, we have asked many times for prayer specifically concerning relations between Albania and Serbia, and it is good to see diplomatic interchange of a peaceful manner. There is so much hate speech between Albanians and Serbs on the internet, through Youtube and other social sites.

Prayer Points:
1)    Lets start by thanking the Lord for these talks between Albania and Serbia. Let us pray for continued softening of relations between these two regionally important countries.
2)    It will take time for this softening of relations to occur. Let us pray that the damage caused buy hate speech will be exposed and rejected by those perpetrating it.
3)    Ephesians 5:3  But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; Paul here is talking about fornication but let us apply this the Albanian and Serbian churches in regards to hate. Let this not even be considered in the churches to have bitterness toward their fellow brothers and sisters of a different nationality.

There has been an excessive amount of money laundering in Albania plus ten (10) bank employees pled guilty to stealing over 5 million in Euros. See these links for the stories:

4)    Corruption in government, corruption in finances/business, when will it stop? We know man’s fallen nature and the fact that dishonesty is a sin that leads to injustice. The Lord said that “what was spoken in secret will be proclaimed from the housetops. Let us pray for exposure of corruption.
5)    Let us pray for duty-determined attorneys that bring charges without taking bribes and honest courts that will prosecute to the full extent of the law.

Isaiah 42:7
To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.
Matthew 25:36
I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

6)    Though we have no knowledge of prison ministry in Albania, there are likely such ministers. The church is to go and minister to the prisoners needs. Let us pray for those called to minister to prisoners in Albania. Lord compel them to go and share Your love with the.
7)    Holy Spirit, we ask that You prepare the hearts of the prisoners and we pray for revival in the Albanian prisons.
8)    Lord, let the prisoners know they can be forgiven. Bring them out of the prison with hearts changed and a testimony that changes others.

Please leave a Comment or Reaction so we will know you Prayed.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Pray for Turkey

Week of March 2-8, 2015

In the NEWS: Turkish border closed as Christian hostages in Syria spike to 250

Rome, Italy, Feb 26, 2015 / 07:13 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The number of ISIS hostages in Syria has increased to at least 250 after continued attacks on Christian villages, and civilians fleeing to the Turkish border have been stranded when not allowed to cross.

“There are 200 families who were running away and trying to escape to Turkey, but the border is closed for Syrians. No Syrian can cross into Turkey,” Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo told CNA Feb. 26.  

Prayer Points:
1)    The news of Turkey sealing the border with Syria and not allowing Syrian refugees to cross, which are fleeing from ISIS militants, is very disturbing. Let us pray for the Turks to change this policy.  Pray for the decision makers in Turkey, may the Lord soften their hearts and may they be used by the Lord for the good of His people.
2)    Being a border country on the edge of the ISIS uprising, Turkey is in no position to be neutral. Pray that Turkey would decide to use their influence in the region and turn against ISIS.
3)    Pray for wisdom among the government leaders in Ankara. Pray that they would decide to join the Kurds in fighting ISIS. This would lead us to pray for a peace to arise between the Kurds and Turks. May the conflict in the area result in the Turks and Kurds coming together for a common cause and may they be able to bury past atrocities against each other.

The Kurds are a people group in northern Iraq and Turkey. They have been repeatedly refused autonomous rule. The Kurds are the main force that is standing up against ISIS in armed combat.

In the NEWS: U.S. Evangelist Wins Five-Year Battle for Residency in Turkey
ISTANBUL, Turkey (Morning Star News) - After a five-year court battle, a U.S. evangelist singled out by Turkey's Ministry of the Interior for deportation because of his outreach activities has been granted a residency permit to stay in Turkey.

David Byle was issued a residency permit at the end of January after five years of living in limbo. During that time, the co-founder of the Holy Book Information Association, also known as the Bible Correspondence Course in Turkey (BCC-Turkey), was unsure from month to month if he might be detained and deported.

"The court ruled in my favor that the government was not right in putting a restriction on me without justifiable reason," Byle said. "They [the Ministry of the Interior] said I was 'a threat to national security and public morals,' and the court said, 'But this guy has committed no crime. You have no evidence of anything that could look that way, so we overturn your decision to put a restriction on his file.'" 

5)    Let us praise the Lord for this victory for evangelist David Byle and for evangelism in Turkey. This will help in setting legal precedence and upholding laws of freedom of worship.
6)    Let us pray for a release of boldness in the churches in Turkey to evangelize. Lord, give the churches wisdom in launching evangelistic outreaches. We pray for organizations like EI Balkans to have open doors to take teams into Turkey to present the Gospel.
7)    Also let us pray for the churches in Turkey to get fully involved in helping the Syrian and Iraqi refugees that are flooding into Turkey. Although refugees are being turned back at the border, many are still filtering though and others are presently there. We pray for the spirit of compassion to fall on Your church!
8)    The church in Turkey is small and they need much help with the refugees. Let us pray for the churches across the world to send funds and teams to help with this crisis. (Well over a million refugees have flooded into Turkey)
Please leave a Comment or Reaction so we will know you Prayed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pray for Slovenia

Week of Feb. 23 - March 1, 2015

< Be sure and include in your prayers the European Initiative needs in the left column.

The above scene is from the Passion Play in Škofja Loka, Slovenia that is performed every six years. This scene portrays Jesus being beat and spat upon by the Roman soldiers. To see the a video about this play go to  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvmYjnz3IOI

The original text of the Škofja Loka Passion Play by Friar Romuald (preserved at the Capuchin Monastery Archives and Library, Škofja Loka) dates from 1721, making it the oldest Slovene dramatic text in existence. Fragments of the play were reconstructed in 1936 and 1965, but efforts by the Museum Society of Škofja Loka to reassemble the complete text did not begin in earnest until 1997, when the mayor of Škofja Loka suggested a new staging of the play. Various organizational groups were formed and joined by experts on costume design, language, acting, vocal and instrumental music, overall image creation, cuisine, organization and promotion. Group leaders recruited actors in individual villages, rehearsals were organized and the play was performed in 1999 and again in 2000. On each occasion 1,200 participants (640 local amateur actors, 80 horsemen, etc.) presented the Passion in four locations in Škofja Loka, to over 30,000 spectators. The latest Passion was performed in 2009 (800 actors, 80 horsemen, 24,000 spectators) and will be re-staged again only in March and April 2015. The next event is scheduled for 2021.

More interesting facts about the city of Skofia Loka; Established over a thousand years ago and the story of Prince Abraham who was saved by his African servant and therefore the servants picture is depicted on the city coat of arms. http://www.skofjaloka.info/index.php?lang=en&meni=pm&page=zgmesta

Prayer Points:
1)    There is a time when it is necessary to look back in the past to find actions of faithfulness that can encourage our present hope. Thank You, Lord, for Friar Romuald and his act of writing down in the Slovene language the week of Your Passion.
2)    As this play has been a touch point for remembering the pain and suffering Jesus went through, let us remember that He did it for the Slovenian people and their nation. May they also see the glorious day Jesus arose from the grave.
3)    During the last week of March and the first week of April when this dramatic play is once again performed, let us pray for a true redemption to touch many that come to the event.
4)    Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to soften hearts, open minds and activate the spirit man of every one who attends. Lord, draw many that need to be introduced or need to remember how you gave Your life for us all.
5)    Lord, we pray for Your remnant of believers in this small city. May they be encouraged in their faith and find a new joy in serving You, Lord Jesus.

In addition, we will pray for some specific needs:
6)    Slovene Bible Society, New Translation - The Bible Society wants every Slovene to come into contact with the Bible and its message. Pray for the project to translate the New Testament into colloquial, modern Slovene, the “Life with Jesus” translation. Pray it would bring God’s word closer to people, since often traditional biblical phrases seem foreign to them.
7)    Corruption - In past years we have seen the destructive power of corruption in key Slovene businesses and even charities. Pray political and business leaders, as well as average people, would obey the laws, pay taxes, and live honorably with integrity.
8)    Pray for the Churches of Slovenia - Pray for God’s blessing on the churches of Slovenia. Pray that the name of Jesus would be lifted up today, that many more people would hear the Gospel and come to the truth, to reconciliation and forgiveness, that many more would be healed, freed, saved.
9)    Drug Addicts - There are several ministries and many churches in Slovenia working with addicts. Pray for wisdom for believers in how to help and encourage them. Pray for newly converted addicts to be boldly on fire for God, and to grow in their faith.

Please leave a Comment or Reaction so we will know you Prayed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pray for Serbia

Week of Feb. 16-22, 2015

< Please Notice Prayer Needs for European Initiative - Balkans in Left Column.

In the NEWS: ZAGREB -- Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic stated on Sunday that he and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic had "fruitful talks on all open issues."

[This] ranged "from missing persons to the position of refugees and the treatment of Serbs in Croatia," Tanjug [news agency] reported him as saying.

Vucic told Tanjug after the meeting that they discussed the issue of missing persons on which Grabar Kitarovic insisted, and also the position of refugees and the treatement of President of the Serb National Council Milorad Pupovac and Serbs in Croatia, which were the issues that the Serbian delegation insisted on.

“I believe we had a good meeting,” he said.

Vucic said that the two sides agreed to continue to cooperate, stressing that it is important for the two countries to build up more trust and respect.

“That would be good for the future of both countries,” Vucic said.

Vucic on Sunday attended the inauguration of Croatia's new president.

"Extended hand"
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic stated on Sunday that he expects to have a good cooperation with Croatia's new President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, adding that he came to Zagreb with a message of peace and a wish for Belgrade and Zagreb to establish and show more mutual respect and trust.

1)    The presence of Prime Minister Vucic at the inauguration of Croatia’s new President Kitarovic was a huge step in the repairing of past atrocities committed by both nations. This is a step in the healing of Serbia, Croatia and the whole of the Balkans.
2)    Let us pray that this hand extended to Croatia would be sincere on the part of both nations.
3)    Let us celebrate the timely forgiveness extended between the Evangelicals in Serbia and Croatia shortly after the 90s’ war. We pray that a full trust and love would flow freely between the Serbian and Croatian houses of faith.
4)    Pray for continued steps toward the healing of Serbia in their relations with the Balkan nations.
5)    Lord, we ask You for an open door to peace between Serbia and Albania. Pray that the haters would be silenced.

In April Ballet Magnificat, a Premier Christian Ballet Company, will perform in Belgrade, Serbia. Ballet Magnificat dances with such elegance and grace that God’s grace is shown forth. This event is being organized by European Initiative Balkans, in order to bless the Christians of Serbia and display the excellence of arts in God’s Kingdom.

In 2014, Ballet Magnificat conducted four performances in Zagreb, Croatia and the result was beyond our expectations. We saw many deeply challenged in their beliefs. Also another remarkable effect was the unity among the churches that volunteered as translators, helpers and one on one witnesses themselves. On of the key results of these performances and those of similar events have been, that they help elevate the public’s perception of non-Catholic Christian churches. 

Prayer Points:
6)    Pray that the Lord will use Ballet Magnificat to touch the city of Belgrade and Serbia. May many, Christians and non-Christians, see the excellence that can spring forth from those whose talents are committed to the Lord.
7)    Pray that even now the Holy Spirit would begin preparing the hearts of those that will attend. Let’s ask the Lord for many lost to attend.
8)    Let us pray for the core team led by Zuzanna organizing the event as they prepare the venues, media advertising and mobilize the churches to get engaged.
9)    The enemy will not rest easy seeing Christian performing arts take center stage in Belgrade. Let us pray for a hedge of protection for the event, organizers, dancers, etc.
10)     This event is geared to bless the city of Belgrade, as the funds form the ticket sales will be donated to a children's hospital. Please pray that these tools would open wide the hearts of city officials and help elevate the publics perception of non-Orthodox, Christian entities.

Please leave a Comment or Reaction so we will know you Prayed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pray for Romania - Compassion and Salvation

Week of Feb. 9-15, 2015

< See Left Column. Please include E I Balkans in your prayers.

European Initiative Balkans organized EI’s annual January outreach to Romania, by mobilizing a team from New Live Church in Colorado to a poor Roma village in the Transylvania region called  Augustin, were we ministered to the poor of that village. We are always amazed at just how well the Lord hand picks our teams. The members of this team were no different, Holy Spirit lead servants. We partnered with a local body of believers in the area who assisted us in the work and they will also carry on the work with the new believers. For more amazing photos of this outreach please take a look at this link on Flicker https://www.flickr.com/photos/europeaninitiative/sets/72157648000320013/ 

We ministered house to house to the poor, where we found many families devastated by the enemy; family members in jail, premature death, lack of jobs, lack of food and a real lack of hope. We ministered to them as the Holy Spirit led and saw many changed lives. We witnessed many tears and visible evidence of genuine salvations. We would end our visit in each home by distributing new coats, shoes and bags of groceries.

The group of leaders overseeing this work also has an after school program for the children. This is a huge blessing for the community and the investment into the lives of the children is priceless.

Prayer Points:
1)    Let us pray for Holy Spirit led follow up. May every family get the continuing discipleship they desperately need now.
2)    Those that accepted Jesus, may they be seeds that take root in Jesus’ precious love. Lord, put a hedge of your protection around them and keep them from the grips of the enemy.
3)    We encountered witchcraft in the village. Let us pray for a visitation of power from heaven to fall upon Augustin. Lord, we ask for the power of witchcraft to be broken over these people. Lord, we pray for such a transformation that those involved  would renounce witchcraft and fully surrender to Jesus.
4)    Let us pray for the church workers that are continuing the work and follow up. May they be empowered spiritually and physically to nurture the transformation needed in these special families.
5)    Thank You, Lord, for the after school program for the children. Lord, help these teachers to love like You love.
6)    Augustin is in the very heart (center) of Romania. Pray that God would continue to pour out His love to Romania so its heart can be totally healed.

Psalms 126: 5-6
Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.

I just wanted to add a link to a video of a lady living in poverty in Romania who had an abortion but God forgave her and her life was changed.

Please leave a Comment or Reaction so we will know you prayed.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Pray for Montenegro - Corruption vs. the Poor

Week of Feb. 2-8, 2015
< See left column. Please include European Initiative Balkans in your Prayers.

In the News: Cabinet meeting: Several draft laws proposed aimed at improving rule of law, new OGP team to be appointed soon
Published date: 05.12.2014 10:46 | Author: PR Bureau

Podgorica, Montenegro (5 December 2014) – The Cabinet of Montenegro held the 92nd session earlier today, chaired by Prime Minister Milo Đukanović, adopted several draft laws, among which the very important ones for the rule of law area, such as on the Constitutional Court, the State Prosecution, and the Special State Prosecution. The Government also adopted draft amendments to the law on public gatherings, and discussed tax policies and further activities within the Open Government Partnership.

The new draft law on the Constitutional Court of Montenegro regulates the appointment of constitutional judges and the competences on constitutional appeals.

The State Prosecution draft law is intended as a measure towards improving judicial independence,... Its adoption will ensure objective and transparent procedures for election of state prosecutors, which will improve prosecutorial independence. The legal novelties establish a unique system of State Prosecutors’ appointment across the country, ensuring further transparency and merit-based selection.

The draft law on Special State Prosecution envisaged in Action Plans for Chapters 23 and 24 is a measure aimed at establishing independent, efficient, and specialised anti-corruption and anti-crime bodies. Its adoption will ensure a more efficient processing of organised crime and public sector corruption in cases of a public official’s corruption in accordance with the legislation regulating conflicts of interest. The new law will also ensure more efficient processing of crimes with graft elements in the private sector and in instances of money laundering, terrorism, and war crimes.

The Cabinet also discussed further activities within the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative and it clarified that five representatives from civil society at the OGP Operational Team should be appointed in accordance with the Decision on manner and procedure of establishing cooperation between the state administration and NGOs.

Remarks: Many times over the years here at Praying For the Balkans we have prayed for justice in Montenegro. Corruption has been the curse that has plagued the land. The above article talks of the Open Government Partnership and “establishing independent, efficient, and specialized anti-corruption and anti-crime bodies.” Also the “appointment of constitutional judges and the competences on constitutional appeals” is a positive sign.

Prayer Points:
1)    We see these steps toward justice that the Montenegrin government is taking as the Lord’s hand of mercy upon the land. Lord, You have heard the cry of the oppressed.
2)    Let us pray that this proposed legislation would be enacted and carried out as prescribed so the ethical standards can be raised in Montenegro.
3)    Let us pray for more accountability to come from those elected and chosen to lead the government.
4)    Corruption is an injustice to the population as a whole, but especially the poor and inadequately educated. Let us pray that the poor of Montenegro would see justice.
5)    Let us pray for the doors of opportunity to open up to the poor.

Job 5:11-16  
He sets on high those who are lowly,
And those who mourn are lifted to safety.
He frustrates the devices of the crafty,
So that their hands cannot carry out their plans.
He catches the wise in their own craftiness,
And the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them.
They meet with darkness in the daytime,
And grope at noontime as in the night.
But He saves the needy from the sword,
From the mouth of the mighty,
And from their hand.
So the poor have hope,
And injustice shuts her mouth.

6)    The above verses are from Job’s friend Eliphaz. Let these verses guide you in praying for the humble in spirit and that the poor are raised up. May He cast down the wicked and crafty. God will bring hope to the poor and the injustice against them will be silenced.
7)    May those with corrupt hearts find that their hands are unable to carry out their plans. May the corrupt be exposed and fully prosecuted.
8)    It is time to intercede for Montenegro. May the Lord touch us deeply as intercessors to believe for heaven to invade Montenegro this year.
9)    Lord, we pray that You would speak humility to the Christians of Montenegro. May they repent of known sins and ask for the blood of the cross to cleanse them. May the burden of sin be lifted and heavenly joy come forth.
10)    Let us pray from a new revelation of renewal and hope to fill the hearts of the evangelical pastors. When they stand up to preach, let the Holy Spirit bring forth words of life that will set people free.
11)    I see the pastors being given a key that they will use to unlock those chained to habitual sins. The word of God will set the captives free.
12)    God will raise up a remnant to pray for Montenegro and the enemy will hear the trumpet of the Lord sounding out the call for angels to assemble for battle. Let us stand in prayer for this remnant; Lord, give them boldness to call down heaven’s armies.

Please leave a Comment or Reaction so we will know you Prayed.