Violence Escalates in Syria
Open Doors USA
Ugandan Mother and Son Beaten for Leaving Islam
Prayer Alert, December 16th
Becoming a Christian is risky enough in some parts of eastern Uganda. But if you’re a Muslim preacher, turning to Christ is a dangerous move.
That’s certainly the case for 30-year-old Malik, a former Islamic teacher who was beaten unconscious by relatives when he spoke publicly about his conversion last month.
His mother, Aimuna, aged 60, became a Christian after seeing how Malik was persecuted and learning about his faith. Last week, family members beat her badly too.
Please ask God to heal Malik and Aimuna, and keep them safe.
Relatives raided their farm in Butaleja district last Thursday as Malik and Aimuna were trying to gather cassava without being seen. They had been forced to abandon the farm last month, after Malik was warned he’d be killed if he returned.
Malik managed to escape and presumed his attackers were unaware of his mother’s new faith. But news of Aimuna’s conversion had spread too: she was attacked and left with a broken hand and head injuries.
Will You Respond in Prayer for Egypt's Christians?
Prayer Alert, December 13th
The whole Christian community in Egypt is in shock after Sunday’s bomb attack on St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo and needs our prayers and God’s peace, says our partner.
‘The message is they are not afraid, but they are concerned, and they ask us to pray.’
At least 25 people, most of them women and children, were killed in the explosion.
Concerns have been expressed that there might be a return to the anti-Christian violence of 2013, which followed the military’s overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi. Some of Morsi’s supporters blamed Christians for his fall from power.
Please pray that God will comfort all those affected by this attack, especially those who have lost mothers, wives, sisters and children.
The target of Sunday’s attack was a chapel adjoining St Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian Church. Release contacts say it appears the bomber targeted women by planting the bomb in their midst and detonating it during the service. Dozens were injured.
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has been quick to show solidarity with the Christian community and specifically with Coptic leader Pope Tawadros II. He declared three days of national mourning and attended a state funeral for victims of the attack.
Maryam Punished for Late Return to Prison
Prayer Alert, December 9th
Iranian Christian Maryam Naghash Zargaran returned to prison after medical parole - only to be told her sentence had been extended by 45 days! She returned to Evin Prison on Tuesday. Maryam had been granted a five-day leave which was extended by a court ruling as she appealed for conditional release. Her plea was rejected - and prison officials then punished her for not returning to jail ‘on time’. Her health remains poor, despite other periods of medical leave. Please pray that God would heal her and strengthen her. (Source: Mohabat News)
Pray for Ngam, Expelled from his Home for his Faith
After “Ngam” became a Christian two years ago at age 19, his relationship with his parents deteriorated until they eventually kicked him out of their house. His new beliefs were a constant source of conflict between him and his parents. They encouraged him to stop attending a house church and return to the worship of ancestral spirits, but Ngam refused. In November, his parents expelled him from their home. A local pastor offered the young man refuge, and for now he is living with the pastor’s family. He hopes to one day study at a Bible school. Pray that God will restore Ngam’s relationship with his parents and that they, too, will come to faith in Christ.
Pray for Marat Niyazaliev
Kyrgyzstani believer Marat Niyazaliev remains in an investigative prison after being falsely accused of molesting a young girl. At the time of the alleged molestation, Marat was in a city about 60 miles away, renewing his passport. He made a phone call on the bus ride home, and phone records from his service provider have verified his location. Despite these facts, Marat was arrested in December 2015 and taken to an investigative prison, where he must remain while his case is processed. Before his December arrest, Marat told VOM workers that he had been greatly affected by the accusation and was having difficulty praying. Please pray that the truth will become known during this investigation, and pray for the spiritual health of both Marat and his family.
Sara Has Suffered as No Child Should: She Needs Your Prayers
Prayer Alert, December 6th
Sara has suffered as no child should: she needs your prayers
A 17-year-old Christian girl is in hiding in Pakistan after she escaped kidnappers who brutally abused her. She’s been left pregnant – and terrified.
Please ask God to comfort and heal this young girl from Lahore who has suffered so much.
‘Sara’ (not her real name) was abducted seven months ago, allegedly by Muslim neighbours who invited her round for food – then drugged her. For the next seven months, they held her captive and subjected her to appalling abuse.
Last week, Sara managed to escape and return home to her family. Release contacts are now caring for her at a safe house as it is not secure for her to stay in the neighbourhood. They are also seeking justice for Sara through the courts.
A man who was imprisoned for converting to Christianity has now been evicted from his village in Laos for refusing to renounce his faith. Earlier this year, Bounyang and his family came to faith in Christ after experiencing a healing in their family following prayer by local Christians. When authorities questioned Bounyang about his Christian faith, he told them, “I insist on following Jesus and will not go back to worshiping the old traditional way.” Bounyang was arrested on Sept. 12 and detained for several weeks. Authorities then released Bounyang on the condition that he leave the village after harvest season. Bounyang’s brother has given him land in another village, but he will have to build a new home. Please pray for Bounyang and his family.
China's House Churches Need Your Prayers As Crackdown Continues
Prayer Alert, November 23rd
Our Chinese family needs your prayers as officials continue to clamp down hard on house churches across their nation.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters in China, amid a fresh wave of persecution which appears now to have spread to the north-west.
Our partner China Aid reports that ‘dozens’ of Christians have been detained or arrested across remote, north-western Xinjiang province in the past two months, for holding house church gatherings.
Meanwhile, in coastal Zhejiang province, Pastor Zhang Chongzhu has been stripped of his licence and removed from his post – in an apparent attempt to stop him ministering in the house church movement.
Pastor Zhang from Pingyang was detained in an illegal detention centre in September for crimes ‘against national security’, after protesting over cross removals and church demolitions in the area. He was released in May.
On Friday, Nov. 4, well-known Moroccan Christian Mohamed Said was attacked outside his home. As Mohamed was walking outside his house, an unidentified man stepped out of a nearby car and tried to stab Mohamed with a sword. Mohamed quickly unlocked the door to his building and took shelter inside. Witnesses reported hearing the attacker, who ran back to his car, say that he would return and kill the Christian. Police have refused to register a report, calling the Christian a troublemaker. Mohamed Said is a Christian activist who has published articles on comparative religion and religious freedom. Pray for justice in this case and that Mohamed will remain bold in his faith.
A local church leader and teacher in Kazakhstan was sentenced to two years in prison on Oct. 3, 2016, after being convicted of making a false emergency-services call. On April 14, 2015, someone using Yuri Pak’s cellphone made a prank phone call to Kazakhstan’s emergency services, similar to calling 911 in the United States. The evidence used against Yuri Pak is a two-minute recording of a drunken man making a bomb threat and using prison jargon. Expert witnesses testified that the caller’s voice does not match Yuri Pak’s voice. Additionally, the caller references spending 10 years in prison and being angry at police, but Yuri Pak has never been in prison. The government in this majority Muslim country appears to be using these false charges to persecute him because of his role in the Christian church. Pray for justice and that God will use Yuri Pak as a shining light for Christ while he is in prison.
On The Run After Turning To Christ
Prayer Alert, November 8th
Two Ugandan teenagers are on the run – after their family threatened to kill them for turning their back on Islam. Now, the family who gave the boys refuge have been attacked and fear for their own lives too.
Please pray for these two boys and the local Christians who are trying to protect them.
The boys, aged 16 and 17, fled their home in eastern Uganda after their parents discovered they had become Christians and threatened to kill them as ‘apostates’.
The boys took refuge with a Christian family in Kibuku district – until an angry Muslim mob, stirred up by the boys’ fathers, set fire to the Christians’ home two weeks later.
‘Simon’ (not his real name), who housed the boys, says he lost everything in the fire, and now fears for his own family, as well as for the teenagers. The attackers have threatened further violence.
Last month, armed jihadists injured 27 Christians, many seriously, in a mainly Muslim area of Pallisa district. They appear to have been targeted because people have come to Christ through their community rice-growing project.
Imprisoned Twice in Two Years
Prisoners of Faith Alert, November 4th
Iranian Christian Amin Nader Afshar (pictured) is currently in prison in Iran for the second time in two years simply because he became a follower of Christ and seeks to live out his faith in his community.
Amin, together with several Christian friends, was arrested in August 2016 and remains in custody with no immediate prospect of release. Please pray for this dear brother, his family, his two Christian friends also incarcerated in Evin prison in Tehran, and for many other Iranian prisoners of faith.
Please use this month’s Prisoners of Faith Alert to pray for Amin, for Iran and for the Iranian brothers who were arrested with him. It includes actions you can take to help them such as writing to the Iranian embassy in the UK on their behalf.
Our brothers and sisters behind bars need to know they are not forgotten: your support makes a world of difference. Thank you for your faithful prayers, gifts, letters and campaigning.
For help and advice on writing letters to prisoners of faith such as Amin, or to the authorities on their behalf, download our online guides Reach Out and Speak Out.
Our Brother in Kenya Fears for his Life
Prayer Alert, October 31st
Pastor ‘Jeremiah’ has put his life on the line to serve the Somali church in Kenya. He’s long faced threats – but now his life is in real danger.
Please pray that God will protect Jeremiah, a courageous brother in Christ who leads one of the Somali cell churches that our Kenyan partner supports.
Pastor Jeremiah reports that Islamist extremists have made new attempts to kill him and his family – and have increased the bounty on his head.
One of the groups targeting him is Al-Shabaab, a Somali-based group responsible for much of the recent violence against Christians on Kenyan soil. In the past, Jeremiah has shared testimonies about his faith on the radio and internet.
In recent years, his family have had to move house regularly, to avoid detection. With each move, they lose friendships, ministry contacts and rental deposits. Their current accommodation is ‘less than ideal’.
Pastor Jeremiah says he finds it hard to rest and is greatly concerned for his family.
Pray for New Believers Facing Persecution in Liberia
Seventeen Liberian believers are facing persecution from their families after their conversion from Islam to Christianity. They have been threatened, beaten and ordered to stop attending church and listening to Christian music, and many have fled to nearby villages for safety. The young believers placed their faith in Christ after hearing the gospel from visiting Christian pastors, who also gave each of them a pocket-sized Bible. Although they were initially afraid to listen to the pastors for fear of persecution, they continued visiting with them and other believers at night. Eventually, the new Christians’ relatives noticed they had stopped attending Mosque and learned of their conversion to Christianity. Please pray that these new believers will continue seeking Jesus and will grow stronger in their faith.
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
Open Doors USA
Sunday, November 6 is the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted Church. Christians around the world are facing persecution in unprecedented numbers. To get a better understanding of the extreme cases of persecution Christians in other countries are currently facing from reading our World Watch List.
From merciless killing, destruction of churches and buildings, to being forced to denounce Jesus as their Lord, Christians are being stripped of the ability to follow Christ in safety and freedom.
Because we have freedom of religion in the United States, we can freely and openly worship Jesus Christ. Let us stand in the freedom we have to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. A Nigerian pastor had this to say, “Only guns of love can silence guns of hatred. What better way to love someone than to pray for them?"
During 2016 International Day of Prayer, you can join us in praying for the persecuted church. Pray that God will protect believers in persecuted countries. Pray that believers would see Christ in deeper ways. Lastly, pray that Christ would soften the hearts of their persecutors.
Pray that Habiba Will Be Reunited with her Family
Prayer Alert, October 26th
Our partners, who are supporting the family, allege that Habiba was abducted from her school in Kankara by an aide from the Emir of Katsina’s household. She was then forcibly converted to Islam and married.
Some reports claim that Habiba’s new ‘husband’ is the Emir himself, Alhaji Abdulmummuni Kabir Usman: others say that she’s been married to the man who abducted her, Jamilu Lawal, and that the Emir was paid a £128 dowry for her.
When Habiba’s father, Isyaku, visited the Emir to beg for his daughter’s return, the palace insisted the girl consented to both conversion and marriage.
Katsina police have shown themselves powerless or unwilling to intervene. Release partners have raised the case with the Inspector General of the Nigerian Police in Abuja and with the Nigerian Government. Parliament has said two of its committees will investigate the case.
Five Christian families in India were expelled from their village on Aug. 10 when they refused to help pay for a Hindu festival. The 10 adults and three children all belong to a church in a neighboring village. Recently, Hindu extremists and village leaders interrupted a worship meeting and began beating all of the Christians, including a pregnant woman, and two of the men suffered internal injuries. Each family was forced to pay an $85 fine before being evicted from their property and kicked out of the village.
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