April 18: The Refugees in France
April 19: Internet
April 20: Church Development
April 21: Media
April 22: French Families
April 23: Worship, Arts, and Culture
April 24: Prayer
April 25: Send Off
WELCOME TO THE 2021 PRAY FOR FRANCE CAMPAIGN!
Last year, our theme was “Preparing the Way”. Before the campaign, in December, I wrote the following for the guide:
“…the Lord [is] still positioning some key ministries and areas in France to reap the harvest. Storms are always brewing on the horizon, but we need to look beyond the visible to the invisible (2 Corinthians 4:18).”
Little did we know how many storms were on the horizon! During 2020 and in these first months of 2021, France and the world continue to go through lockdowns, political tensions, strife, stress, and the pain of loss. Yet, at Impact France, we have felt an even stronger and clearer theme for this year:
A NEW DAY.
While the world continues to remain in a state of perpetual chaos and disruption, we believe that God has already shifted what He needed to and that His Church is positioned perfectly to walk forward in the new day ahead. It doesn’t look like the old, and it might not even be as comfortable, but it is new and God is asking us to join Him.
Additionally, while this campaign has traditionally been structured around the Seven Mountains of Societal Influence, I had to repent last year as the Lord convicted me through Darja Reichör that we had not been praying for those outside of society – the ones JESUS loved and honored: the prisoners, the homeless, the prostitutes, the vagrants. Those who aren’t in the government or education or media. The forgotten.
Finally, I want to encourage you to sign up for our prayer texts. Simply visit: www.prayforfrance.org/register and enter your cell number along with your information. We will send you regular text messages throughout the campaign to remind you to pray! Thank you for joining us!
David Broussard, President
April 4: The Homeless in France
Gilles Boucomont – President – Mission Évangélique Parmi Les Sans-Logis (Evangelical Mission Among the Homeless- MEPLSL)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
What France is experiencing in conjunction with the COVID-19 pandemic is more than just a health problem. France is also seeing an explosion of poverty. For Gilles Boucomont, president of the Mission Évangélique Parmi Les Sans-Logis (Paris 75), this is not a theoretical subject. This organization hands out both physical and spiritual bread by feeding the homeless and sharing the Word of God to the most destitute. Paris 75 proclaims the Gospel to the homeless and works to grow faith and the Christian life.
France has nearly 300,000 homeless according to the Fondation Abbé Peter (Le Monde newspaper – November 15, 2020). For more than fifty years, this Protestant organization has worked among the homeless in Paris and has never been as busy as it is right now. “We have noticed a 120% increase in meals compared to the period before the current crisis,” says Gilles Boucomont, also pastor of a nearby church. Actively working in social service for two and a half years and very active in day-to-day operations, this man of faith has long had a heart for social issues. He saw extreme poverty up close during his time in Africa and the East. “Here, it’s clearly different,” he says. “We are dealing with people who had a normal life, but experienced one of life’s accidents.” He continues, “It makes you think about the precariousness of existence.” A reminder that everything is by grace!
The Word into Deeds
Gilles Boucomont sees a direct link between his work and his faith. For him, it is essential to be consistent in what he preaches and what he puts in practice. “I believe in a Gospel that liberates spiritually, but also materially and economically,” he explains. This minister easily assumes his preacher’s hat. This role tends to open doors to him. This traditional image is a positive point of reference for a destabilized society, even when the beneficiaries are Muslims. “There is no longer any prestige in being a pastor in today’s society, except within this context,” says Gilles Boucomont. He tells one somewhat surprising story: the Belleville anarchist bar has become one of the largest sponsors of the Mission Évangélique, regularly giving them tumblers normally used to serve beer. “They are anticlerical, but they look above all at what we are doing.”
Reasons for Encouragement
Gilles Boucomont is full of stories, each more touching than the last. “One Muslim man that we helped, got a job,” he recalls. “He gave us 10% of his first salary to thank us.” Another time, a pastry chef in the neighborhood gave them a 150-macaron pyramid. They asked him why he was giving them such a costly gift. His response? “I will never forget that you fed me for three and a half months.” Stories that make you want to do something, right?
- Pray for the many material needs: warm men’s clothing, gloves, hats, blankets and sleeping bags, etc.
- Pray that volunteers commit to the organization in order to assure the services offered by Entraide (Mutual Aid) and Partage Avec Les Sans-Logis (Sharing with the Homeless).
- Pray that Christians come together in solidarity to offer each other mutual aid, because Christians are also impacted by this delicately precarious situation.
- MEPLSL: www.mission-evangelique-parmi-les-sans-logis.fr
- From an article by Nicolas Fouquet that can be found at: www.croirepublications.com
April 5: Women’s Ministries
Marie-Carmen Didier and Sandrine Furter – Agapé au Féminin (Women’s Agape)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
This year has tossed us all about like a hurricane ravaging everything in its wake! So, it is good to remember that our God and Father is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The confinement and health restrictions have pushed our Agapé au Féminin team to seek out new means to reach women, encourage them, support them in their walk with God, and equip them to share His love. We have a heart to help them more than ever:
- to discover God,
- to be fully the women that God wants them to be,
- to be a blessing to their family, their circle, and all of society,
- to enter into the good works that He planned for them in advance (Ephesians 2:10),
- to bear fruit.
Because these women could no longer attend conferences or Bible studies, new, technology-based ideas took root to meet them where they were. So, we have developed studies based on the epistles to the Philippians and to the Ephesians, which we released as online videos followed by questions, points of reflection, and concrete action steps to put into practice in order to grow in faith. We offer a several-week online course with many long-distance small groups and in partnership with our counterparts in Switzerland.
We are more active on social networks to recharge and encourage women through the Word of God. God, in His faithfulness, has pushed us further in His service and allowed us to be a blessing to the women of France. In fact, many more women have been reached, have been able to hear the message of the Gospel, have been encouraged in their faith, and have been connected with a network of Christians who will help them to grow.
In our society, the pressure placed on women has increased. We expect them to do everything. An accomplished woman is one who excels in her career, who is a real homemaker, a model wife, a perfect mom, etc. On top of this tyrannical lie of the perfect, idealistic life, the health and economic crisis has now compounded pressure and stress. Many women are tired, powerless in the face of the unknown, discouraged and depressed.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit touches the hearts of our contemporaries so that they may find their reason for living and their value in God, and not in the image that society communicates to them.
- Pray that women discover and live out their identity in Christ and experience all the intensity of His love.
- Pray that all those who are taught, trained, and equipped shine courageously in Christ and multiply.
- Pray for the women who, in their quest for God, spend long hours in front of their screens. Pray that we may always know how to adapt and be creative in presenting the message of the Gospel.
Agapé au Féminin : www.agapefrance.org/activites/agapeaufeminin
April 6: Media
Christian Willi – President – Alliance Presse (Press Alliance)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
Media in Torment?
The year 2020 highlighted the political polarization in France. The pandemic, the confinements, and the economic and health management of COVID-19 are some of the points that have divided France and the western world, generally. These recent events have shown us the power of mainstream and social media on individuals and on public opinion. Conspiracy theories flourished and spread like wildfire to the four corners of the Web. The divide between the media of the people (social media) and the media of the journalists (mainstream) has widened over the course of these last months and years. The latter are regularly accused of being bought out by the elites (politicians, economic leaders, those who speak in the name of science).
Media on Edge
In this environment, the media tends to double down on its position. Christian media is no exception. There are those who think that they must evangelize more clearly, more directly faced with the urgency of the prevailing despair. Others, in contrast, are tempted to follow lockstep with conspiracy theories or with the narrative of the elites. Still others think that the primary (and sometimes only) mission is to build up Christians in order to protect them from harm and allow them to “hang on through it all in these end times”. Of course, there is room for all these forms of media expression, as the media industry has revealed without knowing it. It is no longer necessary to be a powerful industry player to impact minds. Influencers are multiplying and, thanks to new digital media, reaching audiences that make some traditional media green with envy.
- A new generation is arriving
In 2019, I invited you in this very guide to pray for a new generation of Christian media professionals. God has partially answered your prayers. Many media platforms saw a renewal, a rejuvenation of their leadership. This was certainly true for TopChrétien and Alliance Presse. Young people are getting trained and gaining journalistic and media experience.
Perhaps we were inspired to pray that senior leadership in the media receive a vision for the transmission of their vocation and their knowledge to a younger generation.
- COVID-19 opportunities
COVID-19 has led to some interesting media projects. For example, Quart d’heure pour l’essentiel (Fifteen Minutes for What’s Essential), a free newspaper distributed widely, was placed in every mailbox in French-speaking Switzerland. It was also distributed in France. Its theme, chosen well before the health crisis, tackled the question of fear, challenges, and places of refuge in times of crisis. The Magazine Jésus (Jesus Magazine), whose fourth issue is now in newsstands in France, also seeks to reach the public through the form of a dialogue about the person and testimony of Christ.
- Why not a larger impact?
Media, by definition, are individualistic “businesses”. Journalists tend to be idealists, more accustomed to following their convictions than seeking joint effectiveness. There is no doubt that Christian media could have a more significant impact for the Kingdom of God by developing more intentional synergies and collaborations. At the same time, the diversity and dynamic nature of evangelical media impresses observers. In France, evangelicals are active in the press, online, in television, and in radio—often with very limited financial resources. Some outside observers of evangelical Protestantism wonder how all this is possible. Fortunately, professionals and volunteers have committed with generosity to Christian media.
Thank you for your faithful prayers for a Christian presence in French media.
Don’t seek power
The challenge is to view media ministry as a service and not as a source of power. This is what inspired the purpose of Alliance Press, the protestant press group that I have had the joy of developing with a team for over thirty years—
- A service that bears witness to God’s work in the world, the Church, and lives today.
- A service that encourages and drives dialogue between Christians and society.
- A service that enhances those who study how to express Biblical thinking and engagement, contemporary Christian witness.
Today’s polarized reality doesn’t encourage such a position. When the storm rages at its fullest, we seek shelter and turn toward radical solutions. Forget the need for personal reflection, the one thing that makes it possible for us not to succumb to every passing breeze.
- Let us pray for a renewed vision, discernment, and courage for Christian leaders in mission in the media.
- Let us pray for a new generation to enter a career in media, rooted in Christian faith, passionate for media, and filled with love for their neighbors.
- Let us pray for renewed strength for the professionals and volunteers who are working in the diversity and dynamic nature of evangelical media, and that they find a good balance between their passion and their responsibilities, especially to their families.
- Alliance-Presse: www.alliance-presse.info
- DieuTV (God TV): www.dieutv.com
- Phare FM (Lighthouse FM): www.pharefm.com
- Radio Réveil (Wake Up Radio): www.radioreveil.ch
- TopChrétien: www.topchretien.com
April 7: Sport
Jean-Peter Mihaljevic – Sport et Foi France (Sports and Faith France)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
Sport et Foi France is a ministry of Agapé France (CRU) whose vision is to “see people, who love sports, love God”. Sports is an extraordinary and inclusive tool for sharing common faith values. It also brings people together and rallies them to live out the truth of the Gospel. Our mission is to touch the world of sports in its entirety. To do this, we work in partnership with other missions and with interested local churches. We have created a network of sports organizations across all of France to impact cities and clubs. We organize sports camps for the youth and for young adults.
We see God training a new generation of leaders through our ministry. We also see God is making it possible to develop a strong network of volunteers across all of France. And we see all the credibility that our ministry has with Protestant leaders and state leaders. The Fédération Protestante de France (Protestant Federation of France) even entrusted our organization and its president with the responsibility of coordinating the Olympic protestant chaplaincy for the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris! My wife Sandrine and I have resumed, for the coming year, an online university training in “chaplaincy” through the theological college of Strasbourg. This diploma is essential to being a recognized “chaplain” at the Olympic Games. The COVID epidemic, as for most people, has hampered and stopped some of our on-the-ground work, but it has also allowed us to expand the use of video conferences to support and train our network.
- The need for people who are committed full-time!
- The need to renew a portion of the national leadership.
- Pray for new permanent employees.
- Pray for wisdom and discernment in our commitments and in our future partnerships.
- Pray that God keeps us in His ways, on the path of His will.
Sport et Foi France: www.sportetfoi.org
Joël Thibault – President – Holistic Sports France
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
The Holistic Sports France organization has a two-fold mission to reach the French-speaking world of high-level sports:
- Expanding the sports chaplaincy in French clubs
- Providing ongoing spiritual support to high-level athletes (listening, mentoring, Bible studies, missions, etc.)
Thanks to your prayers, God allowed twenty or so people to spend three years training in pastoral and spiritual support for high-level athletes. They are all invested in the world of sports (trainer, physical therapist, osteopath, club leader, pastor, missionary, etc.). Our team is also working in French-speaking Switzerland (Geneva and Lausanne).
The COVID-19 crisis encouraged us to build new groups in order to share with sports professionals in tennis, handball, basketball, rugby, and the combat sports.
Today, we regularly work as mentors with around one hundred high-level athletes—listening to them, praying with them, counseling them, leading them in Bible studies, preparing them for baptism and marriage, etc. Their desire to bear witness to their Christian faith is growing!
The number of professional soccer players interested in the Christian faith is growing, and there is a great need for Biblical teaching since their faith is often fragile. There is a real spiritual battle with Islam, the leading religion in the locker rooms. The challenge is enormous. We have set up training events to witness to Muslims and organized inter-religious debates about the divinity of Jesus. Big names in soccer have participated in these events to be informed.
Around one hundred high-level athletes have participated in our weekly Zoom meeting for sharing and prayer. Because of COVID-19, solitude, anxiety, and depression have exploded, and we have paradoxically seen growing interest among athletes of all disciplines in discovering the Christian faith. In order to offer a concrete solution to this health and economic crisis that impacts the sporting world, we have set up a free helpline seven days a week to reach the greatest possible number of athletes in need.
We also have the opportunity to contribute in private educational establishments (junior high and high school) to lead sports and spirituality conferences. Each year, around 1,000 young students hear the Gospel through these conferences.
- To impact 10,000 people (middle school and high school students, sports enthusiasts, high-level athletes) through distribution of the book Plus que vainqueurs (More than Victorious) with thirty-four testimonies and scriptures from the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.
- To plant chaplaincy services in professional sports clubs and to open non-denominational prayer rooms so that Christians can pray before matches.
- To see the French Church mobilize itself and invest in the field of sports to bring a message of peace and hope as we head into the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- Pray for the mental health of athletes, staff, and leaders, particularly as we head into the UEFA Euro 2021 and the Tokyo Olympics 2021. That this period of health and economic crisis be an opportunity to find hope in Christ.
- Pray for the international chaplains accredited for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Games to serve athletes during this anxiety-provoking time. Joël Thibault was brought on to represent France. Let us pray that he be able to be present in Japan in order to serve French-speaking athletes.
- Pray for the development of the sports chaplaincy in partnership with the sporting federation clubs and the professional clubs as we head into the France 2023 Rugby World Cup, the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and beyond.
- Plus que Sportifs (More than Athletes): www.plusquesportifs.org
- Holistic Sports France: www.holisticsports.fr
- Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games: www.paris2024.org
- Press release on the help line: www.evangeliques.info/2020/11/03/un-numero-vert-pour-ecouter-et-prier-pour-les-athletes-isoles
April 8: Christian Education
Luc Bussière – Association des Établissements Scolaires Protestants Évangéliques en Francophonie (Association of Protestant Evangelical Educational Establishments in the French-Speaking World- AESPEF)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
A crisis that creates opportunities
The world-wide health crisis surprised everyone. All domains have been touched, including Christian education. This crisis has become an opportunity in many ways:
- Opportunity for families to invest more in their children, especially during times of confinement, when they have to support their children in their schooling.
- Opportunity to develop the online teaching that opens new ways to share, whether it be for schools or our training center in the Institut Supérieur Protestant Mathurin Cordier (Mathurin Cordier Protestant Institute of Higher Learning) which had to transition from in-person instruction to online training. We are only just beginning and can reach a larger audience!
- Opportunity for national and international relationships within the Christian education ministries, multiplying relationships thanks to new technologies that existed before but were not used as they are now. This is how we were able, for example, to have national prayer meetings in France for education with the France Prière Each new method of communication is a new opportunity to advance the Kingdom.
Freedom of education is threatened in France
Terror attacks, including the murder of the public-school teacher, Samuel Paty, in front of his school for having defended freedom of speech, strengthened the will of the government to fight against “separatisms” including Islamic extremism. Through a shocking set of proposals, the government response will be a law to “reinforce Republican principles”. A law that forbids homeschooling, something protected under the Constitution. This law strengthens the already significant government oversight and control, in particular, for starting new private schools. We know that having a diverse pedagogical field to choose from is a treasure. It allows parents to choose between public school, private school under contract with the State, private school outside of contract with the State (the model followed by all protestant evangelical schools), and homeschool (50,000 young students are homeschooled, and the number was growing). We are moving toward increased State control, a control that strongly resembles the goals of revolutionaries in the past who declared that children belonged to the State first and to their families second. Interestingly, even the vocabulary has changed. We no longer speak of “instruction in the family” but of “instruction in the house”. The family is the enemy!
- Pray for a mobilization in France to fight against this proposed law and that fundamental liberties of education be preserved.
- Pray that the mobilization, which already exists, will grow—especially within the body of Christ.
- Pray that all that should be shaken be shaken, that the unshakable stand strong on the only solid foundation: Christ.
April 9: Church Renewal
Clément Diedrichs – Director – Conseil National des Évangéliques de France (National Council of Evangelicals of France- CNEF)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
There are more than 2,500 evangelical churches in France with 700,000 worshipers. This number has multiplied fourteen-fold since 1950, but it only represents one percent of the French population. The majority of these churches are united by denomination under one national authority that represents them: the Conseil National des Évangéliques de France (CNEF).
In 2020, COVID-19 led to bans on gathering during two several-week periods. While churches with over 200 members had the technological means to move their services online, small churches, without significant means, suffered the most. But just like with persecuted churches in some countries, this pressure on our communities also provoked very positive changes in thinking through the different ways to experience church.
The primary challenge is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a population that is very markedly secular. This post-Christian culture, very pronounced in France, means that the Gospel must be shared without assuming that the person we are sharing with has any understanding of the transcendent. The Gospel must be shared without relying on any existing understanding of Biblical references. This means that for some spirituality-seeking people, this is an entirely new opportunity for discovery. The core of the message remains fundamentally the same, but the manner of expressing it must be adapted. Many people who discover Christ do so after walking a long road with Christians who accepted them as they were, who had responses relevant to their questions, and who welcomed them into communities that lived out a Christ-like attitude.
This is why planting new churches seems to us to be the most effective method to make the Gospel visible to our contemporaries. From one church for every 30,000 people, we want to move to one church for every 10,000: a real challenge!
- Pray that the current churches anchor their witness in the neighborhoods where they are planted and be beacons shining forth!
- Pray that new communities be planted, passionate to reach out to the people of a given neighborhood or a given swath of society.
- Pray that, following the pandemic, our churches become more flexible and learn to step out of their, sometimes too traditional, patterns to live out the Church in a more authentic manner.
April 10: Worship, Arts, and Culture
Éric Pires-Antunes – Association PSALT
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
It is as if arts and culture were banned in 2020. From the Opera to the Louvre, all have increased free, online access to strengthen their ties with the public. Artists have often struggled, despite positive digital opportunities like what we see with Jean-Jacques Goldman who broke the silence and put out a viral ditty praising medical workers. In churches, the digital revolution has won over even the most resistant. With their backs up against the wall, pastors and worship groups moved into new spaces and have taken on the battle of building new ways to maintain ties with the community – a real challenge for everyone. Closed down, the Church opened itself to the world. In worship, the song “La Bénédiction”
(The Blessing) went around the world. France recorded its own version in a beautiful surge of unity between churches across the Christian landscape.
This example highlights the profound needs of the Church in these times:
- The need to be grounded in the Word of God. The song drew on the blessing of Numbers 6, Scripture itself, a trait often lacking in modern worship. When everyone has been hard struck and has been cut off from their communities, or even from God, this need to return to the essential foundations of the faith, anchored in the Word of God, struck an unparalleled chord.
- The need to connect with what we are truly experiencing in prayer and in worship. If worship sometimes invites us to fly with the angels, confinement has been a “trial of faith” in adversity. Faith has been stripped of the superficial and purified. Pushed to draw strength from God, worship is confronting reality rather than escaping into dreams of heaven. Worship is thus “made flesh,” in the real combat of life and of circumstances, and bursts forth like a cry from the depths of hardship.
- The need to share in an intimate and personal way. Performances have often left behind the grand concert stage, preferring instead a mosaic of mini-videos, at home, in nature, in a simple setting. This is lockdown-required, of course, but also follows the trend calling for something more natural and more “authentic”. This change reminds us of the constant need to renew the Church and adapt the Gospel to the culture according to “all tribes, all languages, all nations” (Revelation 7:9).
- The need to join together and speak to all generations: “your family, your children, your children’s children” (Deuteronomy 4:9) — the need to gather in unity. It is the desire to again live face to face, to rediscover the true sense of worship and community, gathered together, the people that “God called out of the darkness to His admirable light” (1 Peter 2:9) in order to proclaim His great deeds.
A low note: the success of the song illustrates, despite itself, a media power that is extremely concentrated in a few “digital” hands. Is this all-things-digital a blessing? Is the future reserved to the heroes of the next “GAFA” 2.0 (Google – Apple – Facebook – Amazon) of worship and of megachurches?
France has many very different cultures. There are evangelicals among French-speaking communities but also African, West Indian, Asian, and many others. This diversity is still clear today in the vitality of the traveling people’s communities who are very drawn to music. The young Kendji Girac came from these communities. An artist on the national scene, he sang a magnificent gipsy version of Oh! Prends mon âme (Oh! Take My Soul) on France 2. A local worship group, écologique (ecological), doing the circuit without going through megachurches is having a much greater impact. Our heart is to develop these local jewels. The work of the Holy Spirit giving rise to songs grounded in the Word, formed through hardship and life experience.
- Pray for the need for grounding in the Word of God.
- Pray for the need to share in an intimate and personal way.
- Pray for the need to unite and address all generations.
Association PSALT: www.psalt.fr
1 Peter 1:1-12
1 Peter 2:4-10
2 Timothy 2:1-13
April 11: The Prisoners in France
Darja Reichör – Chaplain to a women’s prison
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
My name is Darja, and I am thirty-three years old. I am married to Simon, and we have four daughters. I have served God since my youth, and today, I am an Église Protestante Le Panier (EPP) pastor. My husband and I have taken up the work that my parents started in Marseille. There are three locations with a few hundred people attending, an online church, dozens of church plants, and many partnership projects in process. I have been devoted to the prison chaplaincy ministry with the women’s prison in Marseille for almost nine years.
I always told myself that it was easy to help those who, in the end, don’t deserve their suffering, like the sick, abandoned children, or victims of human trafficking. But who will help those who are guilty? Who will bring the forgiveness of Jesus, unconditional love, and hope to those who have been set aside, marginalized by society, and sometimes also by Christians? God doesn’t forget them, and He sends people ready to serve them. This is what I humbly try to do. I try to bring them a ray of hope and show them that, despite everything, it is possible to persevere thanks to God. This is the greatest reason I go to visit these women in prison. He is always working in these confined places. There is never a single visit in which the Holy Spirit doesn’t guide me and in which He doesn’t touch hearts.
On January 1 of 2020, 70,651 people were held in French prisons (2,532 women) with operational space for 61,080 (numbers from the Observatoire International des Prisons [International Observatory of Prisons] – oip.org). France is in the grip of chronic overpopulation of its prisons, which forces two or three people, sometimes more, to share cells of nine square meters (95 sq ft). Incarcerated women represent 3.8% of the prison population. I visit the prisoners at least once a week.
The world has undergone global confinement. We have all been locked in our homes. We have been able to catch just brief glimpses of each other. Isn’t this just a little bit of what a prisoner will experience as daily reality, sometimes for years, while being cut off from family? The pandemic has clearly not helped, and one of the greatest challenges has been the total isolation of these women and men. They can no longer see their children, parents, or friends in the visiting room. Solitude is already a great burden in prison, and the current situation has intensified an already great suffering. There are many suicide attempts. The major challenge today is to be able to get normal visits going again in the cells and to be able to support these people in their walk of faith.
- Pray for the prisoners’ emotions. They have been severely tested. Their visiting rooms are just places of talk. They are no longer places for affectionate exchanges, because plexiglass has been installed to prevent all physical contact.
- Pray for the children and the families of the prisoners who especially suffer from this separation.
- Pray for divine encounters between the chaplains and the prisoners. Pray that God would prepare these encounters however unexpected they may be.
April 12: Government
Franck Meyer – Comité Protestant Évangélique pour la Dignité Humaine (Protestant Evangelical Committee for Human Dignity- CPDH)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
Last year, in this very guide, I shared the prophetic characteristics of the French Prime Minister (who at the time was Édouard Philippe) related to the book Effondrement (Collapse) by Jared Diamond. France was shaken in 2020, like the entire world, by the COVID-19 health crisis. As I write these lines (November 2020), this crisis is far from over. The successive confinements of the population are slowing, not only the progression of the virus, but also the economic activity of the country. Financial debt is growing. The number of French people living below the poverty line has grown from nine to ten million in six months. The social and financial situation of the country continues to degrade dangerously.
At the same time, France is struggling to move forward in defense of her national motto: “liberty, equality, fraternity”. In the name of freedom of expression, she forgets fraternity (the caricatures of Mohammet affair), and in the name of secularism, she shackles freedom of religion and conscience. At the end of a national meeting with around one hundred chosen young high school students, the Secretary of State, Sarah El Haïry, responsible for Youth and Engagement, declared that “religions have no place in school, period—that’s it. You are minors, secularism is there to protect you!” after responding to a question concerning religion in society (10/30/2020 at lavie.fr). The government wants to reinforce France’s agnosticism (the absence of religious belief). It wants to make people believe that religion, including the Christian religion, is a threat. It wants to make secularism its new ideological hobbyhorse.
In this vein, the “bill against separatism,” which the government now calls the “bill reinforcing Republican principles”, includes measures that constitute an attack on the freedom of worship and also makes it possible to deny families the freedom to homeschool or even to put their children in denominational schools. French politics are therefore facing the following challenges:
- An undermining of the economy and the social fabric
- Ever-increasing loss of individual and religious liberties
- A bioethics bill from which the French government does not want to back down, even if it means further undermining the future of human beings themselves and of future generations
On this final point, the “Marchons Enfants” (Let Us March, Children) group, to which the CPDH belongs, was able to shine a light on the business of selling human embryos, on the deviancies linked to the “procreation market,” and on the false dreams of omnipotence that seek nothing other than a transhumanist, dehumanized, Godless future.
- The challenge of the common good. To fight against the pervasive backdrop of doom and gloom, the CPDH has launched a “Opération Jeremiah” encouraging Christians to seek the good of the city where God has placed them. Christ desires that we be working when He returns.
- The challenge of liberty: the bill “battling separatism,” that President Macron wants, would eradicate freedom of instruction and expand the scope of secularism. It would increase control over religion (the State would be able to close down places of worship if it deems the intention of a service to be incompatible with the “values of the Republic”).
- The challenge of truth: the truth that the Church proclaims should be grounded in the Word of God. Proclaiming the truth and living the truth cannot be separated. When the French State increasingly imposes on what should be said or censured, the Church should obey the commandment to love one’s neighbor by making free use of speech seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6).
- Let us pray that the French government guarantees freedom of religion, instruction, worship, and conscience and that it refocuses its efforts on the public good and not on ideological and spiritual battles that harden its refusal to recognize the sovereignty of God.
- Let us pray for the Church in order that she proclaim with assurance the Kingdom of God. This is where we will find the “new day”!
- Let us pray that each French Christian seeks good of the city where God has placed them and that the hearts of the local elected be touched and brought to salvation in Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:13
Thierry Le Gall – Service Pastoral du CNEF auprès des Parlementaires (CNEF Pastoral Service to Members of Parliament- SPP)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
The recent creation of the “Network of Christians in Politics” complements my mission to members of parliament. I lead this fraternal group whose goal is to encourage Christian evangelicals in politics, to build networks for them, and to pray for them without this network becoming a new political party.
The growing number of high-level civil servants and of Christian elected officials who reach posts of power in France is a real positive. This growth is not intended to install a theocracy, but strives to contribute in a concrete way to being “the salt and the light” (Matthew 5:13-16) in the halls of power.
The restrictions on movement within Parliament seriously reduces the number of individual meetings to be had. Even if discussions with members of parliament can take place through other means, it is a disadvantage for me as a pastor to not be able to physically meet as many elected officials as before the pandemic.
In order to help Christian evangelicals face stressful conversations, I have offered, for several years, to set up a national communication plan for the French in order to develop our vision for France in the following domains:
– The nation
– Church and missions
– Care for the vulnerable
– The sacred nature of life
– Family and community
– Freedom of religion
– Science and education
– Protection of the environment
– The economy
The CNEF leaders have decided to act on this plan, and it is now being worked out.
Christian senators and members of parliament are particularly exposed. They endure strong political and spiritual pressure daily. It is therefore necessary to make it a priority to encourage them and to give them the benefit of our prayers and our kind words, all while being vigilant to remain righteous in our intentions.
God highlighted this Biblical passage to me during this last year: “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” (John 12:46-47).
- Having quality encounters despite the social distancing that prevents all physical meetings with members of parliament.
- Maintaining a sufficient number of meetings despite the current restrictions that seriously reduce the number of face-to-face meetings.
- Pray for the encouragement of the Christian elected leaders and that God will grant them, through His Holy Spirit: strength, courage, wisdom, intelligence, and discernment.
- Pray that the laws of our country continue to guarantee Christian freedom of expression and conscience in the domain of ethics and the freedom for children to be educated by their parents.
- Pray that the CNEF Pastoral Service to Members of Parliament be able to grow and reach senators and members that I have not yet visited.
CNEF SPP: www.servicepastoralparlementaires.org
April 13: French Families
Françoise Caron – Associations Familiales Protestantes (Protestant Family Associations – AFP)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
God heals our families, shaken by the storms of life, and provides a family for those with broken hearts. “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity.” (Psalms 68:5-6).
The family or home is the gathering place that is meant to be warm, reassuring—like the logs that burn in the fireplace for the wellbeing of the household. And yet, the flames of love, which draw everyone together, can also become devouring, devastating flames. They can also be suddenly extinguished, if they are not maintained, smothered sometimes by toxicity.
The health and security circumstances of these last months have forced families to gather once again around the fire, locked down together to avoid the dangers outside. This unexpected, sometimes long, crowding has revealed, more than ever, the strengths and weaknesses of the family unit. These people, impacted by fear and violence, have struggled to maintain a climate of peace in word and in deed in their family relationships.
- Reflecting on the quality of the bonds that tie us together and on the Holy Spirit’s place in our lives and among us—manifesting concretely through times of common prayer and reading God’s Word as a family.
- Being peacemakers within our own homes and banishing harmful words and alarmist talk. Instead, nourishing hope despite unfavorable circumstances.
- Pray that the Prince of Peace will live within us and that He will give us what we need to make our families places of rejuvenation centered around His being. Places where the stress of the outside world doesn’t penetrate.
- Pray that we will be able to expand our hearts, to step out of our comfort zones to offer a family a warm home and to give those who are isolated and who need to experience the love of the Father through our hospitality.
3. Pray that we will not be influenced by deceitful, sometimes threatening, narratives whose goal is to destabilize the family as designed by God. The family rooted in Christ welcomes life and shares life with mutual aid, nourished by love.
Associations Familiales Protestantes (Protestant Family Associations): www.afp-federation.org
Patrick Nussbaumer and Anne Herrendschmidt-Kohler – Association Jeunesse Pour Christ (Youth for Christ) – JPC
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
The year 2020 has been a particularly difficult time for youth all around the world. In France, studies have shown that, during confinement, young people have suffered more anxiety, depression, and stress, as well as an increase in suicidal thoughts. Deprived of future prospects and of social ties at school, they are collateral victims of COVID-19. In the face of this tragic situation, the desire of Jeunesse Pour Christ, to make it possible for each young person to experience the Gospel, has never been stronger. We have been forced to reinvent ourselves in order to reach these youth and have been innovative in:
- organizing virtual prayer, praise, exhortation, and fellowship evenings,
- creating and sharing audiovisual content online (YouTube channels, music, daily meditations, etc.) that tackle relevant themes for youth,
- conserving and maintaining one-on-one ties with youth who already receive individual care,
- creating and distributing content for churches to support them in their work with the youth around them (practical guides, coaching, training, an e-book on prayer and adolescents, etc.),
- when not under confinement, management of our camps and “normal” locations allow the young, despite health restrictions, to experience good times with God and their friends,
- holding regular online team meetings for reflection and intercession.
- Pray for the moral and spiritual restoration of the youth in France. Pray that God would heal their mental suffering and their wounds.
- Pray for divine providence in the face of our needs: financial, material and human resources, creativity, and perseverance.
- Pray that the Gospel would break through to the new generation, and that young Christians shine with boldness toward their contemporaries.
- Jeunesse pour Christ (Youth for Christ): www.jpcfrance.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/jpcfrance
- Le mouvement de prières de JPC (JPC Prayer Movement): www.legacyfrance.com
1 Timothy 4:12
April 14: Universities
Francis Didier, Noëlla Oudin, Aaron Robinson – Agapé France and Agapé Campus
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
Agapé Campus encourages Christian students to LIVE their faith and to SHARE it so that other students may DISCOVER Jesus in turn. Our dreams are:
- To contribute to reaching the 2.73 million students enrolled in the sixty-seven universities and higher education institutions in France.
- To encourage them to reflect on the Christian faith by starting conversations through leading questions, theme evenings, Bible study groups, etc., and by forging friendly relationships.
Even if France is known for its secularism and a certain willingness to restrain religious expression to the private sphere, we still have the freedom to meet with students and share with them. We have a network of Christian students involved in the cities where we are present (Paris, Rennes, Lyon, Montpellier, Toulouse), and we are in contact with other students motivated to start Christian movements in their cities (Toulon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Pau, Corté). Foreign students, studying in France, are also mobilizing, and the Lord is allowing the conversion of youth who return to witness in their own countries.
Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to revisit our strategies and adapt to the circumstances and the fluctuating governmental restraints. We have, as much as possible, favored pursuing in-person meetings, but it has also been necessary to use digital tools and social networks to remain in contact and to witness during the periods of confinement.
We are grateful for modern technology that allows us to organize video conferences so easily! Let us look at positives in this situation. We have been able to innovate with different digital events such as:
- evenings with Christian students from different Agapé Campus ministries in France,
- a week of training in digital witness, organized by Agapé Europe, that brought together over 100 participants from twenty-four countries, (The Gospel was shared with 232 friends over these five days!),
- prayer evenings with students from different movements (Agapé Campus, Groupe Biblique Universitaire, Foyer Évangélique Universitaire, Jeunesse Pour Christ), bringing together 150 people from sixty cities.
- Because of social distancing requirements, freshmen are struggling to get plugged in to student life and to make friends.
- With all the changes in health protocols, administrators are working hard to adapt, and students often struggle in their classes and worry about their futures.
- Foreign students find themselves in a stressful situation far from their families. They are often more isolated than other students.
- Many students are sick of spending their time in front of their screens and are reluctant to spend even more time online to renew themselves spiritually with other Christians. They isolate themselves little by little and risk withdrawing from God.
- When campuses close, it is more difficult to establish and deepen relationships with non-Christian students and to speak with them about Jesus.
- Pray for Christian student leaders, fervent disciples of Jesus, to shine forth and multiply.
- Pray for lives to be transformed by Christ and for conversions among the students.
- Pray we are able to continue to grow in our use of online witness strategies during and after the pandemic.
- Agapé Campus: www.agapecampus.fr
- Site atoi2voir.com: www.atoi2voir.com
- Site questions2vie: www.questions2vie.com
- Étudiants en mouvement (Students in Motion): www.etudiantsenmouvement.com
April 15: Theological Formation
Étienne Lhermenault – Institut biblique de Nogent-sur-Marne (Nogent-sur-Marne Bible Institute)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
In 2020, we touched on the significant renewal of theology professors in seminaries and Bible institutes. We also talked about the March 9-10, 2020 training conference in the Paris region under the aegis of the CNEF. This conference was able to go on despite the pandemic (confinement started March 17, 2020).
The conference brought together sixty participants representing sixteen church denominations and thirty training organizations. This was a real success in the sense that, as we were hoping, everyone involved wanted the work to continue. However, the challenge is immense. We must guarantee, at a minimum, the training of eighty pastors each year to replenish the aging pastoral body (estimated at 1,700 Evangelical pastors) and provide for new churches being planted. Sixteen people (pastors, professors, and church denominational leaders from different denominations) worked to prepare a second conference session to focus on three areas:
- the dialogue between church unions and training establishments (essential, since almost all our establishments are interdenominational),
- continuing training for pastors,
- the question of the calling to pastoral ministry.
This work involves gathering these groups regionally, encouraging dialogue on these subjects, and advancing the idea that the challenge of training deserves all our attention so that the growth of the evangelical movement doesn’t collapse like a soufflé. The second conference session (spring of 2022) will allow us to assess this first working phase, to retain the good ideas, energize our efforts, and lay out a road map.
The Biblical and theological training of pastors and church leaders requires:
- New professorial callings to replenish and even expand the body of teachers doing the training.
- Solid and diverse ministry callings: evangelists, teaching pastors, visitation pastors, youth pastors, missionaries, etc.
- Mobilization of the body of Christ to make human and financial investments in training.
- A renewed submission to the Lord and His Word in churches and in training establishments.
- Genuine perseverance among professors and students in the face of the many constraints the health situation imposes.
- Pray that the people of God in France be called in great numbers and that youth devote their whole lives to the service of the Lord.
- Pray that the preparation of the second training conference session in spring of 2022 be fruitful and that it reinforces the unity of Evangelicals and their vision for evangelizing France.
- Pray that all those who play a role in Biblical and theological training, as well as all those who benefit from it, be renewed in their strength and show perseverance.
April 16: Work and Business
Anne-Marie Husson – C-PROACTIF (PROACTIVE-C)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
As has every country, France experienced the full force of the consequences of the pandemic that had a considerable impact on work. The very value of work was brought into question. Certain “essential” jobs are overwhelmingly approved while others are suspended (such as small businesses, sports, tourism, and cultural jobs).
For those whose work has been suspended, the violence of lost social legitimacy is added to the immense loss of revenue. The massive digitalization of work has been profoundly transforming, not only to social codes, but also to how decisions are made. Our methods of production and consumption are being challenged by the pressure of ecological constraints. Each professional sector is asking how to reinvent itself – leading many to ask how they must personally change at work! What once was will no longer be. The new reality must be clearly defined. The business world is undergoing a time of profound uncertainty that is creating a lot of anxiety. Our government kept the economy going through borrowing very large sums of money in order to keep unemployment and rising job insecurity to a minimum. But the government is also flying blind through this storm of uncertainty as we all look to rebuilding the future!
- The first challenge for Christians in France is to successfully see themselves as being in the service of the Lord for this particular period (Romans 12:1-2)! That they take their place and act, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to do good deeds that contribute to the good of society (Jeremiah 29:7) and to its healing (2 Chronicles 7:14).
- The second challenge for Christians at work is to be “equipped” and “sent” by their church to accomplish this ministry! This call requires courage, perseverance, but also discernment. Let us pray for church leaders that they recognize their spiritual mandate and train them accordingly (Ephesians 4:11-14).
- The third challenge remains, of course, that of witnessing (1 Peter 3:15)—an open and convincing testimony that rests on the legitimacy of a life of witness and on the love for one’s colleagues.
- Pray that Christians see themselves as instruments of God in the business world as it undergoes a full reconstruction. That the Holy Spirit will make them active, innovative, and driving forces in their respective fields.
- Pray for the churches, that they equip and send their members as servants of God into the business world.
- Pray for the witness of Christians. That the quality of their work and their attitude give meaning and weight to their witness for Jesus.
- C-PROACTIF (Network for Christians at work): c-proactif.org
- CTM (Christian Witnesses in the World): www.ctm-fgbmfi.fr/presentation
- ICCC France: www.iccc-france.org
- GBE (Business Bible Groups): www.gbe-france.org
- EDC (Christian Leaders and Entrepreneurs): www.lesedc.org
April 17: Church Planting
Grégory Reyes – Coordinator – Réseau Dunamis (Dunamis Network)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
Dunamis is an interdenominational platform that serves all the church families in France and the French-speaking world. We specialize in church planting and mentoring church planters. Five years ago, the Lord gave us a new direction for church planters that has become our slogan: “Our vision is to help you realize yours”.
To this day, we have been able to train 100 new church planters. Our goal is to train 1,000 church planters. We see a new generation of church planters rising up in France, and we are seeing more and more requests for mentoring. Thanks to training and mentoring, we are seeing more and more churches joining a multiplying movement of disciples. For two years, we have also been able to see the missional movement grow through the multiplication of disciples and churches involved in the mission and in the different spheres of society.
Thank you for your prayers. They are powerful and at the source of great breakthroughs in church planting!
- The health crisis benefitted and accelerated the missional process within many churches. While continuing to offer online events, many churches adapted their structure and their organization with the goal of increasing small groups of very active disciples in prayer and missions. The goal is now to see this kind of initiative and transformation multiply within all churches in our country.
- The demand for training in church planting and mentorship is growing. In order to encourage the emergence of church growth movements, we need to develop simple training programs, accessible to the greatest number of people, and easily reproducible.
Pray for more opportunities to train individuals in church planting as well as for the multiplication of church planters and church planting movements.
- Pray for the multiplication of financial resources dedicated to missions and to church planting.
- Pray for the multiplication and development of missional churches involved in the training of disciples as well as in the different spheres of society.
April 18: The Refugees in France
Samir Salibi – President – Association Athome (Athome Association)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
In late 2015, we started to invite refugees to evenings of fellowship. This is how we came to know them and learn their needs. We have been astonished to see them open up to our expression of faith, which has encouraged us. Other Christians have joined us with the same desire to serve refugees. We love the refugee community and want to respond to its needs—both material and spiritual. They go hand in hand.
While we are carrying out humanitarian work, we are also announcing the Good News and the road to salvation in Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus became flesh and came to dwell among us, we live among them, immersed. Our greatest joy is seeing the joy brought to families by worship and dance, gathering for Bible studies, worshipping together on Sunday, with people from different cultures, origins, and languages, to praise Jesus and pray together. Our programs are specially designed and organized to be suited for refugees. We believe that this is the best way to integrate them. We support those who want us to, so that they can go deeper in studying the Bible.
In 2020, the migrant situation in Paris has been almost the same. There are still dozens who continue to arrive daily. Certainly fewer than in 2016-2018, but they are still coming. What has changed is the kind of immigrants. Fewer come from Africa, in general, and many more come from Afghanistan. The immigrants from Afghanistan were in Scandinavian countries at the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis. Since the political change in that country, many families and individuals, after years on Swedish soil, come to Paris instead of returning to their countries of origin. We still find, unfortunately, migrants in the street, some who’ve been there for years while others have just arrived. During the first confinement, most were housed in organized camps.
However, new street camps have appeared. Because this process is cyclical, about every three months, street camps are created and then evacuated, and so on, repeating.
As for services, many schools designed to teach French have been created, as well as more charitable housing. However, the people who obtain their legal status face a different set of challenges. They are completely lost because they come out of the system and must, consequently, manage on their own: find a job, housing, navigate administrative processes, etc.
France, unlike other European countries, remains an open and generous country. The State needs the help of charitable organizations. The Evangelical Church has a role to play with the State and with the victims. It’s a great opportunity to reflect the love of Christ in an increasingly lost world.
What are you doing?
Association Athome provides for the gamut of needs from literacy and French courses, to meeting their desire for integration, to handing out clothing and blankets. Many are on the street and have nothing to protect themselves from the cold. We also strive to help them understand the administrative process in France.
We involve them in fun activities centered around dance and sport. Our teams include French people and foreigners, which is a good way to forge new relationships. In fact, the learning doesn’t flow in only one direction. The Afghani refugees are set on teaching us cricket, which is very popular where they are from! We also have workshops in expressive dance. We sing and dance in the street and are working on a show that tells the story of the refugees.
Helped by Christian organizations, we have put on events that have brought in as many as 700 people. We work in our own locations, but we also work in the refugee centers. At the same time, we are developing new plans to better respond to their needs. With the goal of improving our work in the street, in partnership with Secours Protestant (Protestant Aid), we have set up a Mobile Help Unit to provide first aid when we go into the street. We are also interested in rent intermediation, in order to offer those who have just obtained refugee status accessible-priced housing and to encourage landowners to help these people.
How do you relate to the migrants?
We seek to form friendships. This happens naturally, as it would, with any person we might cross paths with in France. Often, the migrants express their gratefulness and thank us for listening to them. “You are the only ones to take an interest in our story,” they tell us. After a few years together, we have become one large family.
- Pray that the actions we have begun may continue despite the precarious health circumstances.
- Pray that financial help will be provided by generous donors in order that we may continue providing for the refugees.
- Pray that the organization will find volunteers who want to get involved regularly. All skills are welcome!
- Association Athome: www.athome.paris
- From an article by Anne-Marie Delaugère that can be found here: www.croirepublications.com
April 19: Internet
David Nolent – Director – TopChrétien
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
Given the world-wide pandemic, God allowed the development and increase in online events through Skype and Zoom. As a result, TopChrétien worked with churches to advertise and distribute all the live services to those who were interested. Many live productions were fairly hidden. Our goal was to get these churches noticed. People in confinement and telecommuting have a real need to listen to shorter content. The latest development is our launch of TopTV, an online TV, 4G application. Here, we release short programs so people who are telecommuting have a continuous supply of one- to five-minute programs. We have also taken this opportunity to launch a radio station called Radio Gospel, which listeners can listen to online while they work or travel.
We also want to continue helping churches, our partners, to develop Zoom technologies in order to collect offerings online, etc. Many of our partners are not plugged into the digital world like we are. They sell books and CDs, organize concerts, and are still suffering. We want to help them reimagine their ministry to be able to serve others through the digital system. This issue has always been a problem since some people have not adapted to the digital era and are struggling. At the same time, we see large players today, like Amazon and others, who don’t stop growing.
In moments of stress and fear, faced with financial crises, how do we act? Do we decide to fold before these mountains of uncertainty or look to God for whom the mountain is like a mustard seed? Jesus said to pray this “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10). God clearly wants his children to prosper in a crisis, like Joseph’s family who was gathered in Egypt in a special region called “Goshen” (Genesis 45:9-10).. In this place, they found prosperity and peace, and I am deeply convicted that God wants His children to come through this crisis in a spiritual “Goshen”.
- We have launched a program called Thank You for Existing during this worldwide health crisis where people are confined, telecommuting, where fear abounds—with the goal of fostering love for our neighbor. We have developed an application, ConnectMe, that allows us to connect with those around us, to reach out in acts of love.
- Run errands for your neighbor.
- Share an encouraging word.
- Send flowers, etc.
It’s an opportunity, in these difficult times, to love more, in such a way as to reveal Jesus. The challenge lies in continuing to spread love.
- Gatherings between Christians took place primarily online and in online meetups. The difficulty lies in creating relationships. The real challenge is also in reimagining the Church. We feel that God is preparing a reformation of the Church. This is why we are developing two discipling applications:
- The first is aimed at individuals and is called CoachMe, where people can grow as disciples.
- The second is intended for the local church, to help create online gatherings, like home groups, with predefined subject matters.
- Our new vision consists of accelerating the discipleship process. In summary, a life of discipleship isn’t limited to “Sunday”. If we can use a soccer team as an allegory, Sunday represents the locker room. This is where we receive instructions, directions, coaching, so that we can play better on the field. And the field is the six other days of the week, when we are at work, with our neighbors, our family. It’s there that real life takes place, not in the locker rooms. Sunday is important for receiving instruction being trained, but a life of discipleship takes place primarily during the week. In fact, TopChrétien is changing direction. We are banking everything on discipleship and love in action. Maybe our numbers will drop, showing fewer than millions of views, but it is, in our opinion, the only way to progress from addition to multiplication, through transformation. Jesus is our example. The process looked very slow in the eyes of the world, because over the course of three years He only trained twelve people. However, this was necessary for the apostles to be able to change the world when their turn came.
- Pray for the unity of Christians and the Church in this period of profound health crisis.
- Pray for the different TopChrétien projects to bless more users.
- Pray for the new TopChrétien vision to implement discipleship and love in action.
- TopChrétien: www.topchretien.com
- TopTV, inspiring you to go further: https://toptv.topchretien.com
- Top applications: www.topchretien.com/letop/decouvrez-nos-applis
- Lives changed by God: www.connaitredieu.com
- Let us pray one for another: www.facebook.com/groups/246774482430021
- Moving testimonies: www.mystory.me
- Merci d’Exister: www.mercidexister.com
- Radio Gospel: www.radiogospel.fr
April 20: Church Development
David Brown – CNEF Evangelization Commission
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
The CNEF Evangelism Commission works on the great challenge that confronts all French Evangelical churches- how to reach millions of French people who have no contact with churches (and, consequently, no notion of the Gospel)? It’s not a question of people who have personally rejected faith, but rather of an entire generation whose parents or grandparents drifted away from Christianity. The Commission is in the process of preparing and drafting a report that will be presented at the CNEF in fall of 2021 during its plenary session. Specifically, the Commission is working on two points:
- examining the possible approaches that have been proposed to us.
- surveying people who haven’t had any previous contact with Evangelical Christians, but who converted over these recent years.
All this work is carried out within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is decidedly too early to measure the consequences but is yet another reason to pray for the development of churches. Generally speaking, we have found that churches functioned in two ways during the lockdowns:
- By using Zoom, churches sought to maintain brotherly fellowship among their members, because the need for relationship was felt strongly during this time. However, this did not encourage non-Christians to attend, and evangelism suffered as a result.
- By prioritizing pre-recorded worship services on YouTube, churches sometimes gained an impressive number of views—while Christians often felt a lack of fellowship. Furthermore, we don’t know if these views will translate into personal contact with seeking listeners.
In this new world where the home has often become the primary center of life (telecommuting, meal delivery, online shopping, etc.), how will our churches develop? Certainly, distance services offer new opportunities for training and evangelism, but we still don’t know all the implications of this change in mentality. To what extent should a church maintain a real online presence? How can Christians testify to their faith with colleagues or neighbors that they no longer meet in person?
- Pray for the CNEF Evangelism Commission, that God guides our thoughts in order to save the greatest number of people. Additionally, that we know how to communicate our conclusions to the churches, and that we do this in a complementary fashion. For example, a book with a solid presentation, summary pamphlets, use of social media, etc.
- Pray that evangelization is not affected during this time where normal human contact is limited by restrictions linked to the pandemic.
- Pray that the pastoral teams be able to negotiate these difficult moments well and that this pandemic serves, in the end, to strengthen the churches and the sharing of the Gospel in France.
April 21: Media
The ZeWatchers Team
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
The COVID-19 crisis upended churches’ online presence. They have all been “forced” to move instantly into the digital world, and we have a heart to help pastors, through webinars, on how to use YouTube and Zoom for online meetings, how to use WhatsApp for fellowship, how to use DonorBox for online offerings, etc.
It was a church (la Porte Ouverte Chrétienne de Mulhouse [The Christian Open Door of Mulhouse]) that had one of the first clusters of COVID-19 in France. It was during a week of fasting and prayer that the virus spread within the community before spreading everywhere in France. The church was violently attacked even though it was guilty of nothing, since at the time, there was no order from the French government nor any proposed confinement. Christians mobilized from all sides, through the media, including Info Chrétienne (Christian News), to defend la Porte Ouverte Chrétienne. Today, this church is recognized as having been a real canary in the coal mine, and its pastor, who wrote a book on what happened to them, has been invited on French national media where he can share the Gospel. Glory to God who brings good from evil (Romans 8:28)!
Isolation and solitude are challenges due to confinement. We have sought to help Christians and non-Christians by producing, each day during the first confinement, a program entitled On Est Ensemble (We are Together). A YouTube channel was created for the occasion and received, as of today, more than three million views. This daily live show was an extraordinary opportunity for the kingdom of God.
This year, God really spoke to us of the importance of His kingdom. He uses us to expand His kingdom on earth, and the media is a keystone in the spiritual war that is being waged Kingdom against kingdom. There is a battle of kingdoms, mentalities, and goals. Jesus said: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Luke 12:31).
- Single people and the elderly are the most vulnerable during this period of COVID- 19. It is essential to help them, and the media that we use must reach them.
- The Church in France has endured a real storm, but what is coming out of it, is more unity between churches and between pastors. Glory to God! We stick together: “Alone we go faster, together we go farther”.
- Pray that this new unity between churches and pastors deepens.
- Pray that we have the financial and human means to produce programs that help people throughout the course of this unprecedented crisis.
- Pray that the churches in France adapt rapidly to this new media paradigm, since nothing will ever again be what it was before.
- JÉSUS magazine: www.jesusmagazine.fr
- Christian news: www.infochretienne.com
- Live show On Est Ensemble(We are Together): www.onestensemble.live
April 22: French Families
Laurent Virlogeux – Grain de Blé (Seed of Wheat)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
In recent years, families (including Christian families) have been undermined, and we are witnessing, for some of them, a loss of role models for the family structure. We see that they need to experience the Gospel within the family unit, and the leaders must be the parents. The COVID-19 pandemic has not improved this sometimes-tragic situation—families have been disconnected and torn apart. More than ever, we need to pray for family unity.
- Working on family unity.
- Bringing awareness that parents are the first model that children will follow.
- Leading children to becoming disciples of Christ within the family unit and in their environment (at school, among friends).
- Pray that Christian families may experience, in this current stressful situation, the unity and love of Christ. That they may not only experience the peace of Christ among themselves but also share the Good News.
- Pray that families (parents and children) may take a clear stand in this uncertain time and be a light where Christ places them.
- Pray that parents come to hold strong in all temptations with which their children are confronted, and that they help them to have a personal relationship with Christ who helps children ward off the passions of youth.
Association Grain de Blé France: www.graindeblefrance.fr
Jean-Claude Buis – President – Association of Protestant Families of Lot-et-Garonne
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
For prayer, it is important to know the context of family life in 2020, a unique year in this generation. Until now, everyone lived according to an established daily rhythm: work, eat, come home and unwind. These habits regulated a more-or-less healthy family function. Suddenly, COVID-19 came and turned everything upside down—we have to stay home, and we don’t know for how long! Eventually, out of necessity, we consider this to be a time of mandatory vacation, except that there is this phenomenon that hangs over everything during this period. There is uncertainty and how long will it last? Very quickly is added “fear”—fear that the media takes care to feed.
The president of the Republic uses words like “confinement” and “state of war.” Home, declared as “a place for family vacation,” has become for many a “defensive trench”. We will live or survive, we don’t know! Places of worship must close. No more meals with the grandparents, even less with friends. Fear has come and it impacts relationships. We keep our distance; we don’t want to be contaminated. Now we have to wear a mask. We no longer see smiles. It’s over, the first month of “vacation.” For one month of vacation, we play together, parents and children enjoy each other; we have fun. But now, we’re exposed to each other. If only parents had work colleagues to talk with, to share with, the church to pray, express their joys and pains to the pastor! Alas, these relationships are forbidden. The family finds itself cut off from the world.
The couple needs to learn or rediscover how to communicate with each other, of course, but also with their children. It’s not easy because the children no longer have their classmates to play with, to share with. What’s worse is now, we ask their parents to “do school at home”. How many parents have to face their high-school child or children when they themselves haven’t studied since middle school? Shame grows quickly. Do you have to tell your child: “I don’t know this material”? “I’m ashamed,” one mom told me one day. Anxiety, shame, fear for tomorrow, the exposure of each other, slowly takes hold in homes. We no longer dare to watch TV, because all it does is show, to the whole family together, grownups and children alike, the number of dead brought by COVID-19 (omitting to mention the number of people who have recovered). The headline of a famous daily paper announces: A Lost Year. Children, like their parents, even though they played together during the first month, now find themselves behind their tablets. And yes, there is a new word that will allow us to “survive”. It’s the word, “distancing”.
The number of dead among the elderly, the grandparents or parents suffering in retirement homes, increases. We can no longer even go visit them. So, distance has come, it settles in, even within the family. For the few whose father has a business, closed for seven or eight months, the debts have accumulated, impacting relationships, creating tensions between the couple, in the family. Our government decides to open psychological aid centers because the rate of suicide and domestic violence is increasing. A friend came to tell me of the suicide of a young person 20 years old, in their bedroom, and nobody suspected it. It’s terrible. We feed off of the internet, each one on our own, in our bedrooms.
- Pray that parents rediscover normal relationships with each other and with their children. That fear is lifted from how they express themselves and communicate, so that reading the Word of God, praying, and listening to the Holy Spirit be central to their families.
- Pray that children, forced to keep distant from their friends, no longer be afraid of relationships and that the images of people masked be lifted from their memories.
- Pray that the family recognizes the need to get involved in the body of Christ. In the book of Acts, they were together, regularly, in the temple. Yes, let us pray and believe in God so that the love of Christ reveals itself.
Break the silence of domestic violence: www.clcfrance.com/je-t-abime_ref_BUIJ010.html
April 23: Worship, Arts, and Culture
Jean-Luc Gadreau – Director of Training, Development, and Communication – Fédération des Églises Évangéliques Baptistes de France (Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches of France- FEEBF)
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
French culture. These are certainly two words that go together well as the Beatles stated in their song “Michelle” (Michelle, ma belle, “two words that go together well”). In fact, these two words “French” and “culture” do more than just describe a few specific artistic forms. Their organization evokes a lifestyle clearly shown in work after work: pictorial/images, written, and musical. Even French cinema has produced very specific, well-known, art-house films – inspiring many people well beyond the French border.
We think of these bistros where we drink coffee with a croissant on the terrace, of these lovers walking hand in hand on the quays of the Marne, of a good crusty baguette and a glass of Bordeaux, of a Michelin star-rated chef, of famous artists and authors, a Montand or Piaf song, etc. It’s an idealized image and also an image of freedom claimed, even if this means going out into the street to remember it.
But we have gone through the year 2020, marked by COVID-19, which has upset this entire standard. A freedom often called into question, with closed restaurants and bistros, social distancing enforced, and a cultural world violently impacted and, today, in crisis. Vivre ou survivre (To Live or to Survive), sang Daniel Balavoine (an iconic singer of French youth in the 1980s). This is the challenge faced by many artists and craftspeople in a French culture, that is today at risk of having to declare itself nothing but a culture of the past.
This is a general truth, but it also impacts the Church in France and its artistic microcosm. A microcosm that already struggles to find meaningful outlets for public expression to avoid remaining cloistered behind the walls of the Church. For some artists, it’s their whole life (especially for professional performing artists), a ministry (when it is lived as such), that is currently at stake. So, there remains to us faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13) to carry on and witness. Doubtless, we will have to reinvent new methods of making the light of the risen Christ shine bright in a country that has lost its way. The Church must refuse to lose our ability to shine and to witness where the Lord calls us and gives us a mission, a mission still and always possible, even if our foundations are shaking.
- Pray that the economic and societal repercussions for French culture, as a whole, are not too catastrophic.
- Pray for Christian players in the cultural sphere. That they be strengthened in their calling. That inspiration and the guiding of the Holy Spirit be renewed to be meaningful in this current situation and continuing into the future.
- Pray that our churches will know how to listen and be daring in their relationship with the culture. That they may also know how to support and encourage artists in their diversity.
- ArtSpi’in: www.artspiin.com
- Regards protestants – Culture (Protestant Perspectives): www.regardsprotestants.com/rubrique/culture
April 24: Prayer
Bernard Leycuras – Objectif France
BACKGROUND FOR TODAY
Objectif France celebrated twenty years in 2020. Our mission remains twofold:
- To spark prayer for France among all Christians and in all gatherings.
- To pray that the Church be the light and that France comes back to God.
Twenty years! We mobilize twenty-five annual campaigns (lasting between forty days to thirty weeks) and send out more than 500 prayer letters every year.
2020, the year of prayer in France?
In departure from our normal, Objectif France started the year with three weeks of fasting and prayer from January 5-26, 2020, in response to a word from the Lord warning us that the year would be very difficult, far from the revival announced by many.
A revival of prayer
In the end, the COVID-19 crisis caused a craze for prayer like never before for many reasons:
- The halt of all activities in the country with a severe confinement that locked many out-of-work Christians at home.
- A stupor and lack of understanding in the face of these sudden events.
- A return of the fear of God and of repentance in the face of the words of Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”, which Objectif France turned to during the first confinement period in the daily campaign “Light in our Homes”. When the end of confinement came, it was 40 days!
Seized by the urgency to pray
Because of COVID-19, many French ministries launched multiple prayer programs on YouTube and on social networks. A real subject of joy for us! A blessing for our country!
A revival for the country?
The health crisis generated much suffering with major economic events and much instability at home. The seven Islamist attacks in 2020, including murders by decapitation, have shaken France. The loss of confidence in the political and health authorities and institutions is enormous. The path is open for still more prayer and for the announcement of the Good News of Jesus Christ in a country rebellious against God.
- Pray for an increasingly strong awareness of the absolute necessity of prayer with faith and with perseverance.
- Pray for the political authorities that they be lifted up in prayer in order to govern with wisdom.
- Pray that workers, zealous for the good news of Jesus Christ, the sole consolation and sole healing for France, rise up.
April 25: Send Off
Thank you for praying for each of the areas and ministries in the 2021 Pray for France prayer guide! As you have read, there is a great deal of Kingdom work in France – the new day is dawning, and we want to feed the flames.
We also believe that the work of prayer is an essential weapon against the powers of darkness – mighty through God for the pulling down of strongholds and barriers to hear the truth of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 10:4). Your participation in this campaign has made a difference. You are part of the movement of the Holy Spirit to bring this nation to faith in Christ!
At Impact France, we want to encourage and amplify that. That’s why we mobilize prayer for and facilitate giving to our French partners. We believe that each gift, paired with faithful prayer, multiplies the impact of each ministry partner. This is where the kindling of our prayers is set ablaze with the generosity of our hearts.
Besides, if we encourage one form of worship (prayer), why would we not encourage all forms (giving, singing, testifying, etc.)? To that point, if you feel God is leading you to financially support any of the ministries listed in this guide, please contact us at email@example.com, and we will give you more information on how you can make a tax-deductible donation.
Finally, to learn more about Impact France, please visit our website at www.impactfrance.org.
David Broussard, President