There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jessee,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. (Isaiah 11:1)
December is the month we celebrate Advent, Christmas’s true meaning and joy
The Advent season is a time of expectancy and preparation to celebrate Jesus’ birth and return. The prophecies of the past and the promises still to come have increased our faith and deepened our understanding of our most precious gift every Christmas season: the gift of God himself through the birth of His son Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, this priceless gift of eternal peace gets overlooked during this frantic Holy season. Pray for our families, communities, churches and nations to know that the King of Kings was born of the Virgin Mary, reigns at the right hand of Almighty God, and is coming back to reclaim his church. Jesus is the reason for the season. By God’s grace, let’s celebrate!
SUNDAYS • Missionary kids – “What do you want for Christmas?”
As a kid, this was an easy question– Polly Pockets, Lego sets, a science kit with a microscope, and all the shiny colorful toys I could see on the shelf. As a missionary’s kid (MK) living in Thailand with family in North America, I wish I had been better able to express what my heart desperately wanted for Christmas: stability, familiarity, and a traditional intimate Christmas that I saw in movies. Christmas for MKs looks different each year depending on where in the world they are and who is nearby. Pray for MKs celebrating Christmas this year. Pray that they would get to experience moments of stillness, remembering the meaning of Christmas, and the peace of Christ. Pray for endurance and joy for MKs who have to travel a lot at Christmas and meet new people. Pray for parents to have wisdom about how to navigate the busy holiday season to balance ministry and family time.
MONDAYS • Shan – Worship his Holy Name
“Although it’s so cold and I shiver, I can rejoice. In the season when the white cold frost falls, I remember and recall, The day when the Savior was born.” We were struck by the unique contribution that Brother S’s song brought to our group’s Christmas gathering. What a different perspective on the nativity than most western Christmas carols! Worship that speaks to the heart of believers and is relatable to their lived experiences is crucial to galvanizing a movement among the Shan. It is the cry of their hearts and reflects the work of the Holy Spirit among His people. Pray for Brother S. and Shan Christian songwriters to humble themselves before the Lord and continue to allow the Holy Spirit to speak through their songs for the edification of the Church. Ask that God would use Shan Christmas carols this month to call Shan Christians into deeper acts of worship. Pray for Shan churches this season as they plan and prepare for many outreach events focused on Christ’s birth.
TUESDAYS • Japan – Meri Kurisumasu メリークリスマス
Christmas has become a popular season in Japan. It is not, however, a public holiday: stores are open, and it is a normal workday. Christmas trees and lights can be seen in many public places as Christmas music plays in stores. Christmas Eve is more popular than Christmas Day. It is considered a special time for couples and is viewed more like Valentine’s Day. Interestingly, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Christmas cake have become popular traditions. During December, churches and missionaries will be busy with Christmas outreach events. Many nonbelievers and family members will participate in these activities. Pray for new friendships to be formed, hearts to be open, and seeds of faith to take root. Pray for missionaries who may be experiencing loneliness and homesickness during this time of year.
WEDNESDAYS • Urbana 2022 – Student mission conference
“Rise Up. It’s time. God has given us a standing invitation to participate in His global mission.” This is the theme that will be woven into the Urbana 2022 conference, which takes place at the end of this month in Indianapolis. Urbana has played a significant role in mobilizing generations of cross-cultural workers. OMF has partnered with Urbana for many years and is excited to continue being involved in this movement. Pray for the Holy Spirit to stir a heart for the nations among the thousands of participants. Ask God to speak through Andrew and Will, OMF missionaries leading seminars there. Pray for the OMF team, and ask our Father to be present in the hundreds of conversations they will have. Pray for God to plant seeds and raise up workers for the harvest.
THURSDAYS • Mongolia – I have called you by name
In the fall a group of eleven students at a Mongolian university came together on a Friday and watched the first episode of “The Chosen.” Before watching, they read a key passage from the episode, Isaiah 43:1-2. The leader discussed that as Christians we believe in one Creator God. God has raised up one freshman in the group, a believer who is on fire for Jesus, to come each week to assist with discussions. Praise God for providing this young student as a partner in this new group. They have continued to meet, watch “The “Chosen” and participate in discussions. Praise God for drawing each of these students to himself. As they meet this month to watch “The Chosen” and discuss the true meaning of Christmas, pray that Jesus the Messiah will prepare their hearts to receive the Word. Ask that Jesus’s story and life will become more real to them and that they will not be able to go back to life as normal because they have been eternally changed.
FRIDAYS • Kenya Diaspora Returnee Ministry – A music video
The Kenya DRM team has produced a music video every Christmas season for the past two years. They are viewed by different churches and individuals across the continents. Kenyans and Chinese in their fellowship will come together to sing a Mandarin and Swahili song focusing on the theme “A Gift Lavishly Given.” Pray that the music video will encourage people to respond to God’s invitation to love and serve Him. Pray that it will also demonstrate the power of reconciliation in the gospel as people from different cultures come together to sing in unity. Pray for DRM in Kenya as the team has been shrinking in numbers and new team leaders will be needed soon. The good news is that a family has applied to come to Kenya next year for one year, and a short-term worker is hoping to come back long term. May the Lord guide them!
SATURDAYS • A movie to inspire a missional discipleship movement
Half Crown Media’s heart is to inspire a missional discipleship movement through film and media storytelling beginning with the life of Hudson Taylor. Please lift up the Hudson Taylor movie in conjunction with new connections in churches and the film industry. We praise God for the growing passion for this film on the part of Chinese/Chinese-heritage brothers and sisters, with more than 1,000 in East Asia’s largest country attending Zoom meetings and live event attendance in the US and Canada. Pray for upcoming meetings in Australia and Korea, and for partnership and anchors to help these meetings to be far-reaching. We praise God for generous donations so far towards the Phase 1 production budget of the $7-million required if the film is to move into production next year. Pray for wisdom and for provision of the $6-million+ necessary. Visit partnerhub.omf.org/Taylorlegacyfilm or halfcrownmedia.com for more information as you pray.