Bucharest April 7-11, 2019
After the European Union of Prayer meeting in Vienna, I hoped very much that it would be possible to bring someone from Moldavia to the next meeting. So I was very happy that I could travel to Bucharest together with Maxim, a dear brother from a messianic congregation in Chisinau. Already in the hotel lobby we saw familiar faces. Altogether, over 50 participants from 15 European countries traveled to Bucharest.
Our prayer meeting took place in an IBIS hotel directly next to the Rumanian parliament building. This building, built by the socialist dictator of that time, Nikolay Ceausescu, is said to be the second-largest building in the world, following the Pentagon. From our conference room in the second floor of the hotel we had the parliament building right before our eyes, which was very fitting. The doors to our meeting room were always open, as well as the door to the stairway. Thus our worship times were probably heard in a large part of the hotel. The personnel were very friendly and polite. Once one of them brought me a tasty Cappuccino for breakfast.
The EUoP was founded primarily to pray for matters concerning the EU. Thus far we have met twice a year in the country which held the presidency at that time. Many prayer topics are therefore very political and closely linked to the EU (currently Brexit, for example), which for me as a Swiss person is quite unusual. It is almost a miracle that brothers and sisters from so many different countries and cultures, as well as – at least as far as the EU and Brexit are concerned – with diametrically opposed views, could gather to pray, worship and proclaim together. This is surely possible only because we meet not on the basis of the EU but on the territory of God’s Kingdom. And ultimately we had to admit that regarding several topics we could discern no clear solution. Thus we do not really know how we can and should pray. So we came to our heavenly Father with the confession, “Oh Lord, you alone know” (Ezek. 37:3).
The meeting’s emphasis lies in the spiritual, political, economical and social topics in the host country. It was therefore a great pity that the Rumanian sister who organized the meeting was unable for medical reasons to attend. She would have been the sole Rumanian person present. Thus it was a positive surprise when on the second day we were able to greet three evangelical pastors and a Christian female parliamentarian. She told us many personal things about herself, the challenges during Ceausescu’s rule and the immediate political situation. From the pastors we learned much about the country’s history, about economic, social and other topics and developments in the land. This was and is a great help in order to pray concretely for the country.
The most urgent matters are a deeply rooted corruption, political and social justice and due to the poor economic situation the social and demographic development. For example, overnight law reforms are decreed which bypass the parliament, so that the state’s accusation of fraud against an influential millionaire was cancelled. Suddenly the offence was no longer considered illegal. Or an example from the year 2018 when for the first time more Rumanian children were born outside the country than in Rumania itself. Now over 4 million Rumanians live in other countries, primarily due to the economic situation. When I looked in the eyes of persons in the city, I sensed a great hunger and thirst for justice.
On Wednesday there were five theme-centered prayer walks (e.g. government and parliament, educational system, Jewish history, etc.) on which brethren from various congregations participated. I joined the group which emphasized local Jewish history.
The day concluded with an evening worship service with many Rumanian brethren, supported by a strong, young worship band. This meeting was very impressive and was marked by intensive gratitude and unity. Together with the Rumanian believers we proclaimed Jesus’ lordship and victory over the myriad problems and their causes. This encouraged and strengthened the local believers. In conclusion we blessed Rumania in the languages of each of the nations present. I had the privilege of blessing Rumania with the Mosaic blessing in Bernese dialect.
The EUoP prayer meeting was a good, strong time. My opinion is that on the whole too much was said during the meetings and not enough prayed. The prayer walk and the concluding worship service were especially impressive, tangibly colored by God’s presence. The many personal encounters and conversations between the official gatherings were very encouraging and up building. What a testimony and what riches are visible when so many ambassadors from God’s kingdom meet in one place!
I am also very grateful that Maxim had an opportunity to say a word to the full gathering. He told about his experiences in Moldavia when Christian congregations take responsibility for the crimes of the Holocaust, by repenting vicariously and asking Jewish persons for forgiveness. Heaven was tangibly opened in such places. Maxim himself was very encouraged by sharing with believers from other countries about the prayer initiatives. He learned from them and made new contacts. He found the meeting positive and was very grateful that various persons had made it possible for him to attend. For me, his presence at the meeting was a wonderful answer to prayer.