February 23, 2018 – Please pray for East Timor
East Timor, officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste is a sovereign state in Maritime Southeast Asia and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. To the north of the island are the Ombai Strait, Wetar Strait, and the greater Banda Sea. The Timor Sea separates the island from Australia to the south, and the Indonesian Province of East Nusa Tenggara lies to East Timor’s west. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island surrounded by Indonesian West Timor.
Much of the country is mountainous. The climate is tropical and generally hot and humid. It is characterized by distinct rainy and dry seasons. The capital, largest city, and main port is Dili, and the second-largest city is the eastern town of Baucau.
East Timor recorded a population of 1,167,242 in its 2015 census.
According to the 2010 census, 96.9% of the population is Roman Catholic; 2.2% Protestant; 0.3% Muslim; and 0.5% practice some other or no religion.
The number of churches has grown from 100 in 1974 to over 800 in 1994, with Church membership having grown considerably under Indonesian rule as Pancasila, Indonesia’s state ideology, required all citizens to believe in one God and did not recognize traditional beliefs. East Timorese animist belief systems did not fit with Indonesia’s constitutional monotheism, resulting in mass conversions to Christianity. Portuguese clergy were replaced with Indonesian priests and Latin and Portuguese mass was replaced by Indonesian mass. While just 20% of East Timorese called themselves Catholics at the time of the 1975 invasion, the figure surged to reach 95% by the end of the first decade after the invasion. In rural areas, Roman Catholicism is mixed with local animist beliefs. With over 95% Catholic population, East Timor is currently one of the most densely Catholic countries in the world.
The number of Protestants and Muslims declined significantly after September 1999 because these groups were disproportionately represented among supporters of integration with Indonesia and among the Indonesian civil servants assigned to work in the province from other parts of Indonesia, many of whom left the country in 1999. There are also small Protestant and Muslim communities. The Indonesian military forces formerly stationed in the country included a significant number of Protestants, who played a major role in establishing Protestant churches in the territory. Fewer than half of those congregations existed after September 1999, and many Protestants were among those who remained in West Timor. The Assemblies of God is the largest and most active of the Protestant denominations.
While the Constitution of East Timor enshrines the principles of freedom of religion and separation of church and state, it also acknowledges “the participation of the Catholic Church in the process of national liberation” in its preamble (although this has no legal value). Upon independence, the country joined the Philippines to become the only two predominantly Roman Catholic states in Asia, although nearby parts of eastern Indonesia such as West Timor and Flores also have Roman Catholic majorities.
The above are from en.wikipedia.org. These statements have not been fact-checked and are only used here to help us gain a better understanding of this nation.
We are commanded to pray for the peace of all nations. A lack of mutual understanding and religious intolerance are often a hindrance to the Gospel because many problems unrelated to religion blindfold humanity to the need for peaceful communities. No one can be forced to believe in Jesus and love Him, but Christians are called to be a light to the nations. Can we agree that love and peace grow within the heart of a person of prayer; therefore, we should pray for one another and the nations around the world.
Let us take another step forward in prayer by praying for East Timor. God knows their needs and He will direct our pray life if we seek for Him to lead us as we pray. We know there are many common threads that are bound in the fabric of society that need prayer. Love, Grace, Peace, Contentment and many other virtues are exercised in the seasons of prayer that otherwise would lie dormant unless we are extremely diligent to meet with the Master.
1. Pray for the love of God to abound within the nation. Nothing greater than love can be offered to humanity; and it is through love that men and women are persuaded to follow Jesus.
2. Pray for the local pastors to be encouraged to continue to share the Gospel and pray for the national leaders.
3. Pray for a new spiritual awakening in the fabric of this nation and that it will be carried on threadlike fibers of faith to the nations of the world including our own nation. It is the weak soul in the hands of a strong God that He often uses to skillfully share the Gospel.