Praying for the Nations in Our Midst
A hundred years ago we sent the missionaries to the nations to look for the cities,” writes Dr. Ray Bakke. “Today, you go to the cities and you find the nations.”
When thinking about the “nations,” often our thoughts go immediately to those who live across the ocean. Ethnic Embrace USA is bringing greater awareness to the Church about the importance of blessing the nations among us. As a result of poverty, war, famine, natural disasters, and persecution, hurting people have scattered all over the earth. Many come to the United States for better opportunities or to escape difficult circumstances in their homelands.
Scattered populations with common origins are a phenomenon called diaspora, which occurs when a group is displaced or has migrated from their original homeland. How can the Church mobilize to reach into the lives of “the nations” and make a Kingdom difference? Ethnic Embrace USA’s mission is united, strategic prayer, and its vision is to see collaborative action in cities across the United States.
The Ethnic Embrace USA initiative launched in Denver in 2012. Brian Considine has spearheaded this movement in conjunction with his role at Perspectives and in partnership with the Mission America Coalition and Ethnic America Network. Considine believes passionately that this movement must be based firmly upon a foundation of prayer: “We must pray so they might know!”
Resources developed by Ethnic Embrace USA help the Church pray more effectively for the nations in our midst. This ministry is continually adding more city-specific prayer materials as well. The website (ethnicembraceusa.net) is easy to navigate. A variety of prayer experiences and resources can be found on the home page and the Pray dropdown menu. Here are a few to consider:
40 Days of Prayer Ebook
A free, powerful e-book titled Ethnic Embrace USA – Blessing the Nations Among Us is available to download, copy, and share freely. Because prayer should always lead to action, a simple five-step process toward missional engagement is included. An accompanying interactive 40 Days website is also planned, providing an interactive experience for entire families to explore. In each of the 40 days they can learn about a different featured people group. Information can be accessed from QR codes using a smart phone app such as Red Laser.
USA People Group Prayer Project
The USA People Group Prayer Project provides a daily social media post via Twitter or Facebook to raise awareness about prayer for the diaspora peoples in our nation. Each day features a people group to pray for. Most are unreached by the gospel. Share and re-tweet these posts, and encourage others to pray with you! Ethnic Embrace USA’s Facebook page address is: facebook.com/groups/EthnicEmbraceUSA/.
30 Days of Prayer for Our Muslim Neighbors
Each year during Ramadan, you have an opportunity to spend 30 consecutive days praying for one of the Muslim people groups living in the USA. It is estimated that 6–8 million Muslims are our neighbors, co-workers, service providers, and friends. In 2014 Ramadan will begin on June 29 and end on July 28.
10/40 Window Peoples of the USA Initiative
The world’s most unreached and unengaged people groups live in what’s called the 10/40 Window. More than a billion people in this area of the world have never heard of Jesus Christ. Many people originally from these least-reached people groups now make their homes in the USA. The 10/40 Window Peoples of the USA initiative seeks local churches of prayer and action to embrace each group in each city where they are living. You can serve as a diaspora champion to embrace the 10/40 Window Peoples of the USA.
Embracing the Christian Diaspora
Ethnic Embrace USA encourages us to recognize that many people who come to our nation are already Christians, and they are fleeing persecution and hardship in their homelands. It is vital that Christian communities welcome these people, care for them, and love them.
God cares about the “foreigner,” the scattered people—diaspora—whether Christian or non-Christian. So must we. Informed intercession is vital to reaching and loving those whom God has placed in our midst.
(C) 2014 Prayer Connect magazine.