On the night of 13 November 2015, as all our screens filled with the terrors of the attacks on the Bataclan, Paris restaurant terraces and the area around the Stade de France, our social media screens began to fill with one phrase: “Pray for Paris.”
Whilst we know that this city is not the only one in the world that is suffering, here in the Paris region, we were so grateful for those prayers. We believe that, as a result of them, people were comforted and heard about Jesus. However, as the initial shock of the attacks has subsided, we still need your prayers.
For Evangelical Christians to be living in genuine, close, friendships with their atheist, Catholic, agnostic or Muslim neighbours, and those of other religions.
So, for those who are motivated to keep on praying for France longer term, here are some things for which we would ask your prayers. Within days of the 13 November terrorist attacks, we, here, in the slightly sleepy town of Lagny sur Marne (20 miles East of Paris) were shocked to hear that the local mosque had been closed down for the preaching of radical Islam. Since then, the French cabinet has dissolved 3 muslim associations in the town. There are so many people living on our doorstep who need to hear the Gospel, rather than so many other types of teaching that will lead them astray.
“Pray for Paris.” Whilst we know that this city is not the only one in the world that is suffering, here in the Paris region, we were so grateful for those prayers.
I am convinced that the best way for this to happen is for Christians to be getting alongside their neighbours, loving them and sharing the Gospel with them. This can be hindered, however, by a misunderstanding of what it means to be living in a secular state, like France. Many French people grow up with the misapprehension that secularism means that Christianity can only be a private affair. This obviously impacts on evangelical witness to others. Please pray for clearer understanding and a new boldness to step out with the Gospel.
For Gospel-preaching churches to be planted all over the land.
The French National Council of Evangelicals (CNEF) estimates that, if everyone is to have a chance to hear the Gospel, there needs to be one Gospel-preaching church for every 10,000 people in France. Currently the number stands at one church for every 30,000 people, with some more remote areas of France, particularly in the West, having only one church for as many as 100,000 people.
For Christians to see that the Gospel must transform every part of their lives.
Our desire at the Eglise Protestante Baptiste de Lagny (Lagny Baptist Church) is to see the Gospel transforming people deep in their hearts, and for that transformation to overflow into every area of their lives. I work mainly with women and young people, and so I would ask you to pray that particularly for them. What I long to see is families, marriages, work relationships, relationships with neighbours, attitudes to money and possessions, attitudes to ill-health and suffering, all coming under the Lordship of Christ.
For Christians to be investing their lives for the Kingdom.
I am part of the organising committee of a conference called Chrétiennes Engagées (Committed Christians), the aim of which is to provide an annual day of expository Bible teaching for women in the Paris region. Last year, our inaugural conference gathered together over 200 women from throughout the region. This year, with a much bigger venue, we hope to gather up to 500. Our title this time is “One life: well chosen, well invested,” with talks from Luke’s Gospel by Naomi Pilgrem, a lovely French lady who lives in Belgium. Please pray that this day would result in 500 lives being invested for the Kingdom of God. It could be one way in which God chooses to answer the other prayers above!
Finally and most importantly, for hearts to be opened to the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4.6).
This sums up all of the other prayer requests and is, of course, always our prayer, wherever we live in the world. But with so much outright rejection of the Gospel in France, for many hundreds of years, we are especially aware of the need for it. It is the Holy Spirit alone who can open blind eyes. Please pray that eyes will indeed be opened across this country, so that many people, of all ages, will see the wonders of Jesus Christ.