The Olympics provide a great opportunity to pray for much of the world as we watch the athletic events. What can we pray for?

1.  We can pray for the countries represented during the events we watch.  If you have a copy of Operation World you can use it to read about the specific country and its needs.  If you are in Athens, you can borrow a copy from the dcf library.

2.  China.  The chinese government will use the opportunity for mass propaganda of how wonderful and modern China is.  The truth of the matter is that they are still one of the world’s worst violators of human rights.  The followers of Jesus who meet together and refuse to become part of the state church are heavily persecuted.  The chinese also greatly censor journalist and information their people are able to access through the internet.  For example, according to Amnesty International their website is blocked at the Olympic venue.  

3.  Christian athletes.  We can pray for them to be a good testimony on and off the field.  We can pray for them to use the opportunity they have to speak to other athletes, to journalists, and to fans.  Romans 15:13 would be good to pray for them, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

4.  Human rights issues to be covered well in the media.  ESPN did a story about this with the USA basketball team.  Earlier in the year players like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant were on the record against China’s support of the Sudanese government (think Darfur) and how the Olympics would be an opportunity for them to take a stand and use their immense platform to make a difference.  Lebron went as far as to say that he didn’t care if it cost him a contract with Nike because this was more important.  Now the general response from the players and coaches is, “We are here to play basketball, and we will let the politicians handle those issues…whatever happens, happens.”  Talk about pathetic.    Romans 15:13 would be good to pray for them, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

5.  For God to work by the power of the Holy Spirit to use the many believers who will be there sharing the Good News about Jesus and a great response!  (I Thessalonians 1:4-6), “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”

6.  Tibet.  We can pray for the political freedom of Tibet, but more importantly that they would receive their spiritual freedom in Jesus. I had the opportunity to speak to the Dali Lama for a few minutes a number of years ago.  (Perhaps that would be a good subject for another post.)  

7.  Ask God to show you other things to pray for during these weeks.  When we want to pray and ask God for things to pray about, He is faithful to show us.

As we seek to love our 6.69 billion neighbors, let’s remember to pray about these things as we watch the Olympics!

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