Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pray for Albania

Praying for the Balkans – Albania

Regarding the Prayer and Information Blog for ISTPrayer, we will pray for a different Balkan country every fourth week of the month. So let us start with Albania and proceed each month alphabetically through the twelve countries located in the region.

Voskopoja, Albania
There is a remote village in southeastern Albania that caught our attention. Voskopoja, Albania, or as it was named in earlier centuries, Moscopole. It is said to have been the second most important city in the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century. It was an important cultural center for the ethnic Vlachs people. The Vlachs were a people group that were not Slavic or Greek but of Romanic descent. The present village is now scarcely populated but there are many historical Orthodox churches that still stand and attract tourist each year.

It is said that in the 18th century Voskopoja (Moscopole) boasted of a population of 70,000. In the later part of that century, the Muslim general, Ali Pusha – who was known for looting conquered lands in the name of Islam, raided Voskopoja and consequently scattered the merchants, scholars and leading citizenry.

Here is a blog about Voskopoja (, The following question begs to be answered; if it was a spiritual center of Orthodoxy is there anything of the Spirit that can be resurrected there? Considering the todays Orthodox church, to the average person their beliefs are rather strange. A few days ago we were discussing the subject with a leading Croatian theologian and he said the Orthodox church was actually practicing more of the Gospel than the Catholic Church. One can gain a real compassion for these Orthodox believers in Voskopoja who had been pillaged and scattered.

The answer to the above question lies in the word, “Trust”. The people of that time had a trust in God through their level of revelation. God honors the trust that is directed to Him from His people. The people in those ancient churches of Voskopoja trusted God through the way and means that the Gospel was presented to them. They trusted their shepherds/priest. This can give us a deeper revelation of how important it is as a pastor/priest to present the true Gospel. The pastor and the teacher stand accountable for what they present to us. Of course we are admonished to search the scriptures for ourselves also. There is an old song, “Trust and obey, for theres no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey”.

Scriptures to hang onto:
Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
John 10:11-12 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.”
James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

Let us use this interesting bite of history to segway into praying for Albania

Prayer Points:

1.       God is doing wonderful things in Albania. Let us pray that the country would stay open to the Gospel.
2.       Like the two most important commandments Jesus taught us: Love (trust) God with all your heart and love (trust) your neighbor. Lord, we ask that a greater measure of trust will rise up in the Albanian people.
3.       We ask for a level of trust that is childlike. As they trust more, Lord, show them Your supernatural protection and provision.
4.       We want to see good shepherds that hear the Lord’s voice and they lead with heavenly motives.
5.       Let this be true also in the government realm. Lord, raise up political leaders that walk in truth. Also in the field of education, raise up teachers that present facts from sound sources.
6.       In the area of the media, may truth be presented as the facts dictate.
7.       In order for trust to arise; evil agendas, corruption and false witness must be exposed and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Let us pray for godly judges, managers and leaders in all spheres of the culture.

8.       Lastly, let us pray for a church in Tirana that has started a school of prayer. Let us pray that many will be trained and encouraged to go out from the school to raise up houses of prayer in their cities. 

Thank for praying with us for the Balkans, Croatia and

Monday, January 18, 2016

Prayer for Croatia 1-18-16

Pray for Croatia 1-18-16

Women's rights brought to the attention of PM-designate Tim Orešković. 
Women's Network of Croatia has sent an open letter to Croatian Prime Minister-designate Tihomir Orešković, asking him to take into account the issues of gender equality and women's rights when choosing ministers for the new government,

Women's Network, which brings together more than 30 NGOs, asked the future prime minister not to name to government and other state bodies people whose actions and statements indicate that their intention is to reduce the achieved level of gender equality and women's human rights. <Click for More>

A new national government is being formed here in Croatia. Without going into depth of how government works here, basically ministers are elected and then they appoint a Prime Minister who holds the most powerful position in the country. After six months or so of negotiations, Tihomir Orešković was chosen. Most people don’t know how he stands on issues because he is an outsider, having been a businessman in Canada.

There is hope among the people here in Croatia that he will bring new ideas and reform. At this date he is interviewing people for his cabinet and the many ministerial positions in the government. The article above about women’s rights, which in disguise is to ensure the right to abortion, is one pressure group meeting with the new Prime Minister.

Recently the parliament decided to take up the issue of abortion which has not been debated for about 23 years. Since Croatia is religiously Catholic, there is a large pro-life voice in the country. Twice a year the Catholic organize and stand in front of the hospitals that perform abortions for prayer and silent protest. Jerry has stood with them many times to pray. They are good, concerned people. We are confident that the fact that abortion is getting a hearing in the parliament, is an answer to their prayers.

Prayer Points:
1)      Let us pray for the new Prime Minister Tihomir (Tim) Orešković. Lord, guide him through this process of making appointments for the government. Although not much is known about his personal life, we pray that he will open doors to transformation, spiritual and economical. May PM Orešković promote biblical social justice.
2)      Lord, give him boldness to stand against the many lobbyists. May PM Orešković be able to clearly discern between good and evil and stand firm for good.
3)      Let us thank the Lord for legislation to be considered for the unborn. May this not be de-railed but let the full truth of abortion be heard. Let the irrefutable scientific facts be presented.
4)      As we at Upper Room House of Prayer here in Zagreb, pray weekly for Croatia we see signs of God moving. Our hope is growing every day we meet. Pray that we can continue to stand in the gap for Croatia!

5)    Pray that the hidden treasures of Croatia will be released: Deuteronomy 33:19 They shall call the peoples to the mountain; There they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness; For they shall partake of the abundance of the seas and of treasures hidden in the sand.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Pray for Zagreb 1-11-16

Some Good Things are Happening in Zagreb, Croatia

And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.

A motivating verse for us at ISTgroup. Although we are not captives in Zagreb, we are commanded to carry a burden for this city. God and His Word has a solution for what troubles Zagreb; the economy, government and all other institution that exist here.

Let’s look at a few things presently effecting Zagreb and its people. Last week we focused on some negatives regarding Croatia, this week we want to highlight some positives. The Advent events in Zagreb give the churches here a chance to present music and drama in the main square.  Also an article of an interview conducted with a leading entrepreneur in the city. 

Advent in Zagreb

Advent in the Heart of Zagreb is a series of holiday events held on the city’s squares, bringing the spirit of Advent and Christmas to guests and citizens of Zagreb through a rich musical and artistic program. Interested citizens, guests and passers-by can enjoy various programs by numerous cultural societies, children’s choirs, drama ensembles, dance groups and music bands, or shop at fairs tailored for the occasion.  

The city actually encourages the churches, even evangelical churches, to participate with presentations of music or drama reflecting Christmas themes.

Interview with a leading entrepreneur in Zagreb by Total Croatia News (Reporter: Paul Bradbury) . <More of this interview>

Comments of Saša [last name withheld], a leading entrepreneur in Zagreb - 
Recent reports indicated that Croatia has the largest number of start-ups in Central Europe, as well as the best start-ups in the Balkan region. Why is that do you think, and tell us a little about the business climate in modern Croatia.
Sasa: Croatia was the first to start building a start-up ecosystem, and now we are starting to see the benefits. It is still not a significant improvement, but more and more creative people are encouraged to start projects based on their knowledge and execution of great ideas. Of course, the government had nothing to do with it, it was a result of a few initiatives that arose from the community. A few years later, the government jumped on the bandwagon and started promoting start-ups by giving some grants. Again, those procedures were not really compatible with the mentalities of start-up founders, but they were better than nothing. In general, the business climate in Croatia is far from ideal. Entrepreneurs are still perceived by the majority of government officials as something not so positive, procedures are complicated, the legislative framework is illogical and constantly changing. For any interaction with local or state administration, you need to spend too much time and nerves when the focus should be on the business at hand.

Your thoughts on UBER, a cheaper taxi service in Zagreb.
Saša: The negative reaction of established taxi companies didn't surprise me at all. We are over-bureaucratized on all fronts. Groups that enforced the so called 'regulations' were already violent when any kind of competition was seen on the horizon. So, they were opposing Uber even so that Uber would come not as a total competitor, but as an extension to their existing business model.
Uber,is a low cost taxi service under fire from “the established taxi service providers.” This is a sign of better and more efficient businesses overcoming Croatia's notoriously problematic bureaucracy and unreasonable regulations.

Pray Points: Let us pray for the economic atmosphere of Zagreb.
1)      We thank God for the open doors and favor the churches receive from the city to participate in the Advent. Pray that more churches take advantage of this opportunity and begin planing now, as it is a great tool to reach out and evangelize. Additionally, public opportunities such as this will help erode the common belief that all non-catholics are sects.
2)      Here at ISTgroup we are passionate about seeing people reach their potential, and many have the entrepreneurial bent. Pray that the general opinion of government officials would begin to change in favor of small business which can really bring help and healing to the economy which is on life-support now.
3)      We want to ask You, Lord, to break the old order of business in Zagreb. May the “old guard” that has held back the city from progress be diminished or reformed. May the Lord give small businesses such as Uber, the fortitude and resources to stand their ground against the bureaucracy.
4)      Corruption is still wide spread in these formerly communist lands. May the new entrepreneurs coming forth in the city be honest and motivated by sound principle.
5)      Lord, bring more Christians into the business atmosphere of Zagreb. May they have favor and an open door to integrate Christian principles.
6)      Pray for ISTgroup and what part we are to play in sustainable development. There is a large population of well-educated young adults who are unemployed. Pray that the Lord give us the right strategies and the right people to help make an impact.

7)      Let us pray for Saša, mentioned in the above interview. Although we do not know him personally, may he come to know Jesus and may his business be blessed as a result. 

Thanks for your Prayers for these concerns.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

IST Prayer for Croatia

Troubles in Croatia: Although the USA is many trillion dollars in debt, for Croatia, with 4.5 million people, 290 billion ($41 billion) is a big debt.

In the NEWS: In 2016, EU Expects a Decrease in Croatia's Deficit By 3 Billion Kuna -

However, during the eleven months, the government spent 10.4 billion kuna for interest on loans, and expenses for interest have reached the amount Croatia spends on its whole education system, from primary schools to universities. In 2008, interest rates cost was just 4.7 billion kuna, while next year it will reach an unsustainable level of more than 12 billion kuna. Among hundreds of pages of text which have been written in recent weeks by experts from HDZ, SDP and MOST, nowhere does it say how and when the growth of public debt, which is now close to 290 billion kuna, will be stopped.

For the past six years, including this one, Croatia has borrowed 115 billion kuna to cover the deficit, and in order to put an end to it Croatia would have to immediately initiate the process of deleveraging which should last until the expenditures on interest are not reduced to an acceptable level. Researchers of the European Commission have recently stated that, for this goal to be reached, Croatian budget would need to have a primary surplus for the next 15 years.

Please pray for Croatia:
1)      Prayer can play a key roll in reversing this downward spiral. Let us pray for blessing for Croatia. May the Lords favor rest upon this nation in 2016!
2)      Pray for a blessing of Kingdom sense, which is above common sense, to come upon Croatian economic leaders. May they have the foresight and the backbone to make the necessary decisions which will bring the change needed.
3)      Almost daily at the Upper Room House of Prayer (URHOP) we are praying for God’s mercy to be extended to Croatia. This is a pivotal year for this nation spiritually and politically.
4)      Pray that God would position men and women of wisdom to effect positive change for the country. There needs to be some Daniels that can speak wisdom into the government. Pray that Godly people would be positioned in places of authority who will make decisions which will benefit the people of this country.
5)      Pray for us at URHOP Zagreb; may we be spiritually positioned to do the necessary warfare in aiding in the changes needed to recover Croatia. May the Lord reveal to us the strategies of heaven and those of the darkness in order for us to be able to stand in the gap.

Thank you for contending with us for the nations of the Balkans,
Jerry and Zuzanna