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Workers in N. Africa, Mideast urge 21 days of prayer & fasting for region

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
NORTH AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST (BP)--In the crescendo of turmoil across North Africa and the Middle East, people have cried out for something different, something big.

It's time believers in the West do the same thing, said Drew Carson*, a Southern Baptist worker among the peoples of the region.

That's why he and others have called for 21 days of prayer and fasting to ask God to do something big in the lives of the peoples of North Africa and the Middle East. The emphasis, stretching from Palm Sunday (April 17) to Mother's Day (May 8), encourages believers to "pray outside the box" for the salvation of the region's peoples and for believers working among them.

"A question that is shaping my heart these days is, 'What can I ask of the Lord that only He can do and if He does it only He can get the glory?'" Carson said. "As I watched the demonstrations across , this question caused me to remember the children of Israel as they cried out while they suffered in the land of Goshen."

God reached out in response to their cries and prepared a way of redemption, Carson said. He hopes that believers in the West will join workers in North Africa and the Middle East in crying out to God in the same way.

Intensive prayer is needed on behalf of people who are seeking change and salvation while believing they can get it from the government, Carson said.

"Join me as we ask the Lord to speak to us as we listen to Him," he said. "Also let us ask Him to see His Kingdom come among our peoples as we lift them to Him."

Natalie Shepherd*, another worker in the region, said the 21 days are an opportunity for Christian workers to "be still and know that He is God in the midst of history-shaking events occurring among our peoples and governments all around us."


During this time, workers in the region are asking that God speak to them collectively about how to best reach their peoples amidst the tumult, Shepherd said.

"We're saying, 'God speak to us, Your servants, so we know what You want to do in this critical hour among our peoples,'" Shepherd said.

All who pray are asked to send what they hear from the Lord to

"Our plan is to compile these responses, look for the patterns, connect the dots and then celebrate what He says to us so we can rapidly obey His instructions," Shepherd said.

The church in the West likewise is challenged to pray for God's leadership for the workers as well as the salvation of the peoples they work among, Shepher added.

For more information on how to pray for the peoples of North Africa and the Middle East, visit

*Names changed. Ava Thomas is an International Mission Board writer/editor based in Europe.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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