Saturday, December 19, 2009

Why Pray for Denmark?

We are in the midst of the Advent season and Christmas is now only a few days away. Sitting here at my computer in California, for various reasons my thoughts have focused on my ancestral homeland of Denmark. Prayer for Denmark is always on my heart.

It’s strange as I write that so close to Christmas a large United Nations climate change conference is in tumultuous session in Copenhagen. This in the middle of a season when the Christian world focuses on the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, at Bethlehem some 2000 years ago. Climate change theory has unfortunately taken on a sort of religious fervor of its own that is sadly at odds with the true meaning of Advent. So as to not offend non-Christian participants, I understand Copenhagen has been largely cleansed of anything that would remotely suggest Christ or Christmas.

Thankfully, the climate change conference will soon be over and Danes can get on with preparations for Julefest (Christmas), one of the country’s major holidays. Though considered to be a Christian country, secularism has Denmark by the throat and for the larger percentage of Danes Christianity has become irrelevant. True, the churches will see larger attendances on Christmas Eve than is usually the case. However, out of a population of nearly six million, we understand that only one sixth will attend Christmas Eve services. Most will not be seen again until Easter, if then.

Why do we pray for Denmark? We do so because the love of Christ compels us to. There are churches all over the land but Danish culture has wedded Christian rites into what in reality has become a secular society. There are thousands upon thousands of Danes baptized into the church but for whom Christ and Christianity have little or no meaning for everyday life. The essence of Christmas and the power of the Gospel is that Christ came into the world to save sinners. The Apostle Paul put it this way, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (1 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV).

Denmark needs to be re-evangelized and that is why this webpage calls upon believers throughout the world, especially perhaps those with Danish roots, to pray that Danes would come to know the presence and power of Christ in every aspect of their lives and culture. Advent and Christmas help us to understand that God wants all people to come to a knowledge of the truth and to escape the wrath that is to come. The meaning and message of Christmas is encapsulated in 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.” In God’s timing the Babe born in a manger at Bethlehem is the One who died on the cross at Calvary as a ransom for all humankind. The world abhors the thought that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, but the truth remains that no one comes to have a relationship with God and to possess eternal life except through commitment to Jesus Christ.

Let me urge every reader of this page who is committed to Christ to continue faithfully in prayer for this little jewel of a Nordic country that Danes might “get it” and come to grips with what Advent and Christmas are really about―Christ came into the world to save sinners. What a wonderful Christmas present that was. That is the message Denmark needs to hear at Christmas 2009.

PRAY for the minority of Danes, their churches and pastors who do know and understand the meaning of the Gospel, that God would give them boldness of life and witness as the redeemed of the Lord.

PRAY with us that a revival of biblical truth and genuine understanding of the Gospel story from the manger to the cross will fill the spiritual vacuum in the hearts of many Danes in the weeks and months ahead.

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