George E Markakis, the founder & pastor of Shalom Center, Athens, wrote this challenging article regarding the great nation of Greece on June 16th, 2011. Let´s receive the challenge!
GreeceHOW TO PRAY FOR HELLAS (GREECE) in the light of the present
1. growing financial crisis (with no end or turning point in sight) 2. crisis in Government resulting from
a. unprecedented social unrest (caused by the financial crisis) b. divisions caused by panic among the ruling social elite
d. tremendous pressures by the international powers
e. absence of viable solutions to the crisis
3. deep shakings of the foundational structures of the nation
4. questioning of the very fabric of the European Union
5. dramatic rise of neo-nazi, neo-communist and anarchist forces
Perhaps the description of the above issues are calls to prayer in their own right!
Perhaps this is beyond a nation in crisis – this may well be the shaking of the foun- dations of the very Democratic, Free-world, Capitalist, One-World Order, Market/Profit driven Politics and cross-border relations, which have laid the basic structures of the European Union.
Perhaps this is beyond Politics and Economics... can it be primarily a spiritual issue?
In this letter, I want to reflect what I feel the Lord is saying, more than what facts indicate. Still the facts are also relevant and revealing the degree of crisis we are in; we therefore start with reference to some facts we are experiencing at this time:
Our family and ministry financial situation has gone past the state of being terrible... we are now on survival mode, day by day. Debts are mounting, rents are overdue, everyone around us is in desperate situation, people from our church are leaving the country to find work elsewhere. We have gradually lost about 40% of our people, and the finances are about a third of what they used to be, and insufficient to cover run- ning expenses.
Real unemployment in the nation is skyrocketing, young people are desperate, and many have either already migrated, or, are looking into it. Formal unemployment shows a rise of 30% in the last year to over 16% nationally (formal figures are only in- dicative). Even those who still have work have suffered great losses, as salaries have been slashed (up to 30%), and as cost of living has gone up by about 50%.
People in our family and friends are out of work for over a year, or two, or longer. The Government cannot pay salaries and other public dues, and private sector busi- nesses find it hard to cope. Some businesses have not paid their employees for many months, and some public Hospitals are examining the option of shutting down, unable to provide any more services and pay Medical personnel.
Crime has gone beyond any degree of potential control. Literally over a thousand in- cidents of theft happen daily in Athens alone, and thousands of cars are reported sto- len monthly. There are areas downtown Athens where Police will not go; drugs and prostitution are in almost every corner in certain areas which by now have become ghettos of homeless people and illegal immigrants.
International powers continue to force the Government to increase taxes and other measures. How can people pay higher taxes without jobs and salaries. How can busi- nesses generate higher revenues when consumers cannot pay for services and goods?
This is a vicious circle that is spiraling downwards fast. Unless through miraculous economic recovery, we are faced with the real possibility of total collapse of the sys- tem. Economic recovery is presently beyond reasonable prediction. Total system failure is presently inevitable unless the downhill spiral is reversed by supernatural interven- tion by the Lord.
In the midst of all this, the shakings extend to all personal matters, including health, relations, ministry activities, etc. This is a time of total collapse of everything around us; a true shaking of everything that can be shaken, as it is written in the Word.
As we are constantly seeking the Lord for instruction and help, we feel the great need to hide under His Shadow and stay there for as long as possible... discourage- ment and hopelessness are the greatest enemies at this time, and not easy to fight against in the absence of supernatural intervention and answers from above.
So... how to pray? I cry out for help from above several times each day... the great- est challenge is the same as the Israelites faced in the desert, as shown in this scrip- ture which seems to be very pertinent to what is happening in this nation at this time:
Deut 31:17 “Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, „Have not these evils come upon us because our God [is] not among us?‟
18 “And I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they have done, in that they have turned to other gods. (NKJV)
As the nation goes, so it goes for everyone in the nation. When the Jews were taken to the exile in Babylon, (almost) everyone was taken, good and bad!
Let us now consider this dramatic situation from the perspective of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. As much as this is an hour of darkness that has come upon the world, this is a season that serves the ultimate purposes of our Lord's Kingdom. A prophecy that can be found later in this letter reveals that this was a planned judg- ment upon the city of Athens and the nation of Hellas.
It is a judgment that serves the purpose of breaking the stronghold that was resist- ing the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in order to bring about the necessary changes, for the good will of God to be fulfilled. This is therefore a strategic prayer point – we pray for these changes to come about!
In 1999 a prophetic word Ι released for the nation of Hellas sparked the beginning of an intercessory network and fellowship of church leaders around the goal of revival. A part of that prophecy revealed the ongoing to this day spiritual connections between Hellas and the European nations, which also lie at the roots and foundations of Europe.
To note, Europe has not been primarily defined by geographical boundaries, as the other continents, but by an academic, socio-cultural and political heritage, common language roots and the Judeo-Christian religious background that very much shaped the European values of up to the 20th century (prior to the massive invasion of the Is- lamic agenda and the subsequent changes that caused).
The Hellenic civilization that is originally attributed to the Athenian philosophical mindset of the 5th century BC, which was later spread to the world by "Alexander the Great", lies at the very roots of the heritage that has shaped Europe (for more in depth understanding of that subject you may read a relevant article "The Redemptive Pur- pose of Hellas" I have written and posted at www.defendeurope.net/DefendEurope/ Greece).
From the Judeo-Christian perspective, it may also be argued that the Gospel and Christianity came into Europe through the Hellenic doorway, primarily by Apostle Paul, and by means of the Hellenic language (which the Romans retained as formal lan- guage of their Empire).
Another part of that prophecy revealed the will of God for a (future) Prime Minister of the country of Hellas to be a born-again Christian, who will cause the Gospel to be preached inside the Parliament and nationally through TV broadcast. That, in its own right, would require a major turnaround of the present situation of this nation, which was traditionally one of the toughest in the world for the spreading of the Gospel, until the end of the 20th century.
One more relevant (to this letter) part of that prophecy revealed a connection be- tween the will of God for changes to come to Hellas, and the spiritual awakening of Europe. In simple words: for a certain major wave of revival of Europe to be released, the spiritual structure of Hellas, of many centuries, must change first.
Last reference to that prophecy (of importance and relevance to the present situa- tion): the keys for the unlocking of Islam will be given (from the Lord) after the break- ing of the Hellenic spirit and the revival of the nation of Hellas – this is a matter of tar- geted intercession that has been going on for many years!
If that is true; if the Lord has indeed spoken that the keys for the unlocking of Islam will follow a turn around and spiritual awakening of Hellas (and Europe?), that shows what a great battle the spirit of Islam will give in order to hinder, or, altogether stop, the plans of God for this nation and continent. Can this in itself be a major prayer point? We pray that the hindrances raised by Islam be removed!
There is a potentially prophetic declaration that Jesus made which may be perceived as explanation why the forces of darkness fight so hard to keep Hellas bound.
John 12:20 Now there were certain 'Greeks' among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus. 23 But Jesus answered them, saying, the hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. (NKJV)
The original Hellenic text can be more specifically translated (interpreted): Jesus, from his angle, responded (i.e. to the words of Andrew and Philip about the Greeks seeking Him); come has the hour for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Can that be perceived to indicate that when the Greeks finally turn to Him, it will be the hour of His glorification? Of course that historic event was already fulfilled in the crucifixion and resurrection, but some historic events in the Bible also serve as pro- phetic messages for events to occur in the future. For a better understanding of this potentially prophetic message, one needs to take into account that the Bible does not speak so much of a specific nation ("Greeks"), but primarily refers to the spiritual strongman ("Prince of Greece") with whom the nation is associated in the Scriptures.
With reference to prophecies spoken over Hellas through the years, a potential un- derstanding may be as follows: when the power of the Prince of Greece to keep the people of that nation blind and resistant to the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been de- feated; which will become manifest by the fact that the people of Hellas will seek the Lord; that will be the hour when a major battle against the forces of darkness on worldwide scale will have been won, and Jesus will be glorified!
Prophecy over Athens fulfilled in the tragic situation of our days
On July 30, 2006, the Lord instructed us to pray for our land instead of having a regular church service. 10 people in 2 cars went around praying at key locations through the whole day, while the others remained at the church praying from there. The day's prayer journey ended on the top of Mount Ymittos, on the eastern side of the city of Athens. That is when the following words were spoken over the city. That was not planned; that prophecy was recorded in a mobile phone and that is how it was preserved. The following is an edited, short version.
Hear oh Athina (speaking to the city). I have called you to serve Me as a city of wis- dom, as a city that brings the revelation of God into the world. But you Athina have re- jected My word for a long time, and My curse has come upon you. In My wrath I hid my face from you and you have been walking in darkness and in the blindness of your mind. You have exalted yourself and you have made yourself a god.
But I am coming and have brought a judgment in the one hand, and a blessing in the other. I am pouring out judgment upon the gods of Athina. I am tearing down the idols of wisdom that have replaced godly wisdom, and have exalted human wisdom above the wisdom of God. I am tearing down those strongholds, and humility is going to be what you will know more than wisdom.
The days are coming that I will make you fall down on your knees, so that you will no longer be able to exalt yourself higher than the throne of God. I am going to make you unable to stand on your own feet any longer, because I want to open my arms of blessing over this nation. And I will no longer tolerate your pride; I will no longer toler- ate your self–exaltation. I will tear down everything that exalts itself higher than the knowledge of God, because I have determined the reason for which I have created you; I have determined it and I will fulfill My own word!
I have called you the city of wisdom and the city of wisdom I will make you; not in exaltation of pride, but in the humility of inability. And there will be days which will be hard; there will be days of grief, bloodshed, crying and tears; days of frustration when people will feel totally disappointed and discouraged.
But my spirit shall never stop hovering over this city. And every one that would lift his face up to heaven and say: Is there God? Is there anyone who can save me? I‟ll be quick to snatch that soul out of darkness, and bring that soul into eternal life. I‟ll be quick to save, just as I will be quick to judge.
And while there is still darkness, you (i.e. God speaking to His Church now) keep walking as if there is light, for you are going to bring the light by the faith that you are holding on to. So, hold on to your faith, keep looking by faith, keep seeking by faith, keep asking by faith, keep knocking with boldness and it all happen as you wish, for what you wish is what I wish.
Don‟t be discouraged; don‟t be dismayed when bad news will be coming from the right and from the left. Don't be discouraged when it looks like much of your work re- mains fruitless. For every seed you have planted will bear much fruit when the time comes, if you have remained united with Me. As I have promised you, you will bear much fruit. Fruitlessness is not your portion, disappointment is not your blessing.
Walk by faith, look around you. It‟s now getting darker. Do you have any doubt, that the light will come tomorrow morning? In the same way it will be. As sure is that the sun will rise up in the morning, so the light will come to this city. And you will see every seed you have sown become a fruitful tree. Then you will reap of the multitude of the harvest coming. That‟s when you will be full and rejoice, but you have to rejoice already now. Rejoice by faith, because your portion remains. No one can take it away from you. As long you remain united with Me, no one can take away your portion.
©George E. Markakis 2011