2012 – A Year of Profound Change and Untold Possibility
Earlier this year, American Christian radio host Harold Camping stated that the Rapture and Judgment Day would take place on May 21, 2011, and that the end of the world would take place five months later on October 21, 2011. Obviously this didn’t happen, and he was wrong to try and predict it. However, 2011 was full of an intensifying number of catastrophic natural disasters such as the Japan tsunami and nuclear meltdown, the massive Thailand floods and the famine in East Africa. It was also a year of unsettling socio-political and economic changes like the “Arab Spring” of popular uprisings in the Middle East or the worldwide economic recession. Such developments do compel us to wonder if they might represent some of those “signs” of the end of the age and the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2012 is also being hailed as a time of profound change. Though professional Mayan scholars and astronomers dispute this, some adhere to the Mayan calendar and December 21, 2012, as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in which the sun’s alignment with the center of the Milky Way will bring about the end of our world. One thing we can be sure of is that we are living in a time in which God is shaking the nations as foretold by Haggai the prophet. The good news is that the Lord ties this shaking to the coming of the “Desired of All Nations” (Hag. 2:6-7) and the filling of His house with greater glory. Another minor prophet with a major message says that indeed the whole earth will be filled with the glory of His presence (Hab. 2:14).
Jesus told us that when the nations give way to anguish and perplexity, with men fainting with terror over what is coming on the world as even the heavenly bodies are being shaken, we who believe in Him are to lift up our heads in expectation because our redemption is drawing near. He repeatedly warned that our posture should be prayerful watchfulness to be ready to respond to Him and also presumably, as urged elsewhere, to be His instruments in bringing transformation. For example, through Isaiah, the Lord said that the prayers of the watchmen/intercessors are critical to His transformation of the world (Is. 62:6-7).
The Apostle Peter echoes a similar theme when he writes: “The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.” Even husbands are urged to be considerate and respectful of their wives so “your prayers will not be hindered” (I Peter 4:7, 3:7). Prayer is so important that nothing must be allowed to distract us from it even in the midst of the tumult and terror of a world that seems to be coming undone. Indeed, that is the reason we need to watch in prayer and partner with the Lord for the fulfillment of His purposes in it all.
Fortunately, the World Prayer Assembly is happening several months before the doomsday scenario of December 21, and you are invited to be there! Please see the attached invitation. Most importantly, the WPA will be a once-in-a-generation convergence of praying leaders, networks and movements from both church and marketplace along with a rising force of on-fire youth and children in prayer. It will be a time of deep encounter with the Lord and strategic planning for the future. Those of us in the IPC as well as our colleagues from the Indonesian and Korean prayer movements who are co-hosting the WPA believe that the Lord is bringing us all together in Jakarta to connect and expand a global, interactive movement of watching in prayer that He will use to reveal His glory to the nations.
Please use this issue of Connections to watch and pray for our world, and also we would appreciate your interceding for the arrangements and for the people from around the world that should be part of the World Prayer Assembly. If you haven’t seen it, check out the new video about the WPA and how it will reflect the pivotal time in which we live and respond to Christ’s global agenda.
Let not your heart be troubled and have an extraordinary 2012!