Wisdom in Bethlehem - Pray for change and wisdom in Bethlehem
Is it possible that Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, could become empty of Christians with a living faith?
The situation isn’t quite that bad yet, but the trend is going in that direction. The number of Christians among the population in the Palestinian territories, including Gaza, is estimated at just over one per cent. A far larger number of Palestinian Christians live abroad. The immense pressure that Christians in the Holy Land are living under cause many to emigrate.
This pressure comes from several directions. A local Christian pastor says: “There is the political situation. As Christians, we want to live in a peaceful country, but in the Middle East no peace is in sight; the Arab Spring revolution in neighbouring countries is not creating confidence for a peaceful future. Economically, we lack hope also. About 40 per cent of Palestinian Christians are unemployed because there are simply too few jobs. And significantly, Christians are a very small minority in this society. Spiritually, we are surrounded by two major religions which do not recognise Jesus as Lord and Saviour. In their eyes, we are ‘infidels’ and therefore often the target of ridicule and abuse. If that was not enough, the local churches are overwhelmed and discouraged because they feel abandoned by the Church worldwide.”
But still there is hope. Different churches and Christian programmes are active in the Palestinian territories. You can work openly among traditional Christians. Working among Muslims is more challenging, and the Church must act wisely. People are nevertheless coming to a living faith in Jesus Christ. An evangelical church in Bethlehem has grown from five to 56 families. Their pastor declared, “We have seen it and can testify that God saves people here and miracles happen today.”
“Thank you for your prayers. We’re still waiting to see a significant harvest here, but many of us feel it is just around the corner.” (Local 30 Days co-worker)
* Pray that God would encourage the Christians in the Palestinian territories to be salt and light in their environment (Isaiah 41:10).
* Pray for God’s protection for those who have come to faith in Christ from Muslim backgrounds, “… deliver us from the evil one …” (Matthew 6:13–14).
* Pray for wisdom for pastors who disciple such believers and for the global Body of Christ to find ways to encourage them.
Posted on Mon, July 22, 2013
by Donna Shiflett