Chinese New Year is known for the animal that symbolizes the prospects for the coming year. 2011 was “The Year of the Rabbit.” Is that why it went so fast, or am I just showing my age? On a serious note, was this one of the reasons for rapid-fire changes in leadership in the Arab world which continue to this day (Syria is now on the brink).
It seems like Muslim dictators are scampering like rabbits.
The Chinese say that 2012 will be “The Year of the Dragon.” Of course, that’s their national symbol, so maybe China will continue to rise. One thing we know: There will be a leadership tsunami taking place around the planet in 2012–dragon, rabbit, or otherwise.
Here’s why and how you can pray.
I probably don’t need to remind you that we live in a era of dizzying changes. Here’s how I state it in the first chapter of my book The Fourth Wave: Taking Your Place in the New Era of Missions:
“We live in an era of amazing change, including:
- Urbanization – people moving to cities,
- Globalization – our economies and cultures becoming linked together,
- Exploding population growth – heading for double digit billions,
- Technological wizardry – got the latest “app” yet?
- Clashes of cultures, numerous wars, and
- The greatest hopes, dreams, concerns and fears of all time.”
Add to that list changing leadership in the nations of the world.
That’s what’s coming in 2012. It’s time to get ready, and certainly time to pray.
Let’s begin with the “Arab Spring” which could become a “summer” of democracy and positive change from Iraq to Morocco. On the other hand, rising Islamicism in Libya, Eqypt and now possibly Syria could also plunge the Middle East and northern Africa into a “winter” of quasi-religious dictatorships.
Other nations, such as Saudi Arabia, could also experience revolutions that would dynamically change the world economy currently based on Mid-East oil. Fortunately, political strategists such as Dick Morris believe these leadership changes could prompt energy independence in the United States and other nations–but only if we elect leaders who will tap into the supply.
Let’s pray for a blazing summer of freedom to sweep across the Muslim world. It will take many courageous leaders to blow such a trumpet.
Then there is China. I’ve been to the most populated nation on earth twice this past year. Vast changes are happening all over the country that are social, religious and economic. In 2012 there will also be a major leadership change in the world’s largest communist enclave. It won’t happen by ballot box–but power will be passed.
By the end of the year, through the secret maneuvering of the Communist leadership, both President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao–will be replaced. A British magazine, The Enonomist, describes it this way:
“The leadership changes will be the focus of the party’s 18th congress, a five-yearly event that is likely to take place in October. It will select a new central committee, that will in turn will convene and “elect” a new Politburo of about 25 members.”
“For the first time in twenty years, President Hu Kintao and the Prime Minister, Wen Jibao, will not be among them. Other top posts will be changed. New heads are likely to be appointed of the central bank and finance and commerce ministries. Provincial leaders are already being shuffled.”
“It is all but certain that Vice-president Xi Jinping Will take over from Mr. Hu… Mr. Wen will be replaced by his deputy, Li Keqiang…Some seventy percent of Chinese leadership wil change and China will experience its most clear-cut transfer of power since the death of Mao Zedong in 1976.”
We need to pray for Xi Linping and Li Keqiang. They could be the “Gorbachev and Yeltsin of Chinese history” or something very different.
Then there is Russia. “Elections” have already begun in that nation and Vladimir Putin is about to receive back his title as president. You remember he stepped aside six years ago due to constitutional constraints and made a deal with out-going president Dmitry Medvedev.
But the Russian people sense that the “elections” are rigged and there have been some problematic demonstrations this week. Putin will probably re-ascend to power, but two more six year terms are no longer a done deal.
At any rate, there will be an old/new leader in Russia next year.
Pray for Vladimir Putin and revival of freedom in Mother Russia.
Next is France. According to The Economist, “Nicholas Sarkozy, the president of France, is probably the one most in danger of losing his job. Long before the election (the second round will take place on May 6), Mr. Sarkozy was trailing all possible challengers from the Socialist Party in the opinion polls.”
France is a key player in the current European debt-crisis meltdown. Along with Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, Mr. Sarkozy has played a key role in holding together the European monetary Union.
What will a new socialist leader bring to Europe’s future?
Let’s pray for God’s choice for France–and for all of Europe.
Finally, we know that the United States will also choose a new president on November 6, 2012. Many believe this election is the most important one of our lifetimes: a win by Barack Obama could cement America’s decline and drift into European socialism or a victory by the Republican candidate could lead to a shrinking of the Federal Government and re-birth of freedom.
China, Russia, France, and the United States. Do you recognize something about this list?
These nations are four of the five members of the United Nations Security Council–a critical block in world politics. The only missing nation is Germany with Angela Merkel–and she’s busy holding the European Union together.
Four of the five key nations in our world could see a change of leadership in 2012. Add to that the substantial changes taking place in Muslim nations and the rise of many developing countries such as Brazil, India, Nigeria and South Korea.
It appears that a political leadership tsunami (change) could be just around the corner.
Interestingly, this is also an insecure time in spiritual leadership in the U.S. The respected Barna Group reported on November 21:
“No single Christian leader captures the attention of the nation’s population. When asked to identify the single most influential Christian leader in the U.S. today, two out of every five Americans (41%) are unable to think of anyone who would meet that description.”
“Billy Graham is the name mentioned most often in response to the unaided survey question (a measure often described as “top-of-mind” awareness). One out of five Americans names the nonagenarian evangelist, with 19% of adult residents identifying Mr. Graham as the nation’s most influential Christian leader.”
“Half as many adults (9%) believe “the Pope” or Pope Benedict to be the most significant Christian leader in the nation. Nearly the same proportion (8%) considers President Barack Obama to hold this prominent role.”
“One out of 20 U.S. adults (5%) think that Joel Osteen is the most significant Christian leader, more than double the proportion that name Charles Stanley (2%) or Joyce Meyer (2%). A variety of individuals – including pastors, ministry leaders, authors, politicians, and other public figures – are considered the highest ranking Christian leaders by 1% of U.S. adults each. These include: Franklin Graham, George W. Bush, T.D. Jakes, Oprah Winfrey, James Dobson, and Maya Angelou. All other individuals are named by less than 1% of Americans.”
So there’s a spiritual leadership vacuum in the United States as well. Forty percent can’t name a significant spiritual leader. Billy Graham tops the list, but he is currently 93 years old and past his time of influence. At the least, a spiritual leadership transition is occurring in the United States that also demands some answers in 2012 and beyond.
If there was ever a need for courageous spiritual and political leaders, 2012 is the year. Much is going to change. New leaders are going to rise.
Let’s pray fervently for authorities of God’s choosing during the coming crucial twelve months (Romans 13:1-7). We are commanded by God to pray for our leaders in 1 Timothy 2:1.
Let’s also keep our eyes “up” toward the Ultimate Leader whose return will signal the end to the current leadership vacuum on earth–the Lord Jesus Christ. Next week we celebrate his first visit to Planet Earth when he came as a baby to die for our sins.
On his second visit, he will be coming as a King–the Rightful Sovereign of all the Earth. Here’s the Heavenly announcement:
“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. And the one sitting on the horse was named Faithful and True. For he judges fairly and goes to war. His eyes were bright like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him, and only he knew what it meant. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and his title was the Word of God…From his mouth came a sharp sword, and with it he struck down the nations. He ruled them with an iron rod and he trod the winepress of the fierce wrath of almighty God. On his robe and thigh was wirtten this title: King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:11-16).”
A leadership tsunami may be coming in 2012. Let’s pray for God’s “will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
But let’s also point our prayers toward the coming Prince of Peace.
He is our true and lasting hope.