22 March 2012

Prayers for the Persecuted Church (3/22/2012)

03/12/2012 China (ChinaAid) Members Detained and Sent to Labor Camp as Chinese House Church Repeatedly Targeted for Persecution -

A house church belonging to the China for Christ denomination has been the target of months of attacks from local authorities in the city of Zhuozhou, Hebei province, with church members being illegally detained, interrogated and sent to labor camps -- simply for attending worship services or other activities.Local authorities have also forcibly confiscated 170,000 yuan ($27,000 USD) of church funds without following any of the required legal procedures.

They have also sent people to labor camps and demolished the home where the church was meeting.A religious affairs bureau official announced that the church's November 8, 2011 meeting, which was attended by over fifty villagers, was an illegal service because it had not been registered with or approved by the government departments supervising religious affairs. Full Story

Pray for the house churches in China as their number is rapidly increasing but is continually targeted by Chinese authorities for persecution. Praise God for watering the planted seeds of the Gospel in China!
Pray for these villagers who have been sent to labor camps for their faith. May their faith remain strong under the intentional oppression by the government.
Pray that the Lord will providentially use these events to bring the Gospel to others in these labor camps and in the government bureaus.
03/12/2012 India (BosNewsLife) India Militants Attack Prayer Meeting, Pastors

Suspected Hindu militants broke up a Christian prayer meeting and forced two women leading the gathering to stop evangelizing in India's southwestern state of Karnataka, as part of several attacks against devoted believers across the country.
As many as twenty Hindu "radicals" and "extremists" raided the March 3 prayer meeting in the Vijayanagar neighborhood of Bangalore, local Christians said.

The mob allegedly insulted worshipers and ordered the two women leading the service, Parimala, 36, and Padmavathi, 35, to stop the prayers immediately. The two women are members of the Mahima Prarthana Mandira - an independent church in the Vijayanagar neighborhood. Both believers, who were Hindus before becoming Christians twelve years ago, also lead a sixty-member congregation which often gathers for prayer services at a rented home. Additionally, they have been distributing evangelical publications with the Gospel. These activities angered the militants and filed complaints of "forceful conversion" and pressured the two to write down that they would halt prayer meetings and no long conduct their evangelistic activities.

Pray for these two women who are specifically being targeted for spreading the Gospel. Jesus said He will build His church and the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. Pray for fruit of their evangelistic efforts.
Pray for these Hindu militants, that like these two women, will see the beauty of Christ and put their faith in the one true God.
Pray for India as they have seen increasing persecution and attacks by Hindu militants.
03/14/2012 Afghanistan (AsiaNews) Christian Fears Grow Worse as Taliban Prepare New Attacks

The recent killing of 16 civilians by a US soldier has left Afghanistan's Christian population increasingly fearful as the Taliban has promised new attacks. Coupled with the recent Qur'an burnings at an American military base, violent protests have erupted across the country leaving more than forty people dead.

"Resentment against the West and Christians is growing stronger, even though no direct threats have been made against individuals," sources say.

International media have shown Afghans protesting by burning crosses and Christian symbols. For most Afghans, the West and Christianity are the same, the sources note. "Sadly, the crazy act of a madman will be paid [for by] Christians." Full Story

Pray that U.S. presence in Afghanistan will be a blessing and not a catalyst for hatred and violence towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Pray for the small population of Christians in Afghanistan who have been continually targeted by Muslim extremists. Pray for their safety and for the faith.
Pray that the church continues to grow in Afghanistan. Pray that the eyes of the people will be opened to the joy and satisfaction that is found in Christ alone.
03/14/2012 Eritrea (International Christian Concern) Imprisoned Head of Eritrean Orthodox Church in Urgent Need of Medical Attention

Patriarch Antonios, who has been imprisoned for his faith, is a diabetic and his situation is deteriorating due to lack of medical attention. He has been detained at an undisclosed location since 2006. The Eritrean government is known for their oppression of Christians. There are over 3000 Christians in prison in the country simply because of their faith.

ICC's Jonathan Racho said, "We are deeply concerned about the health of the Patriarch and urge the international community to pressure Eritrea to release him. Eritrea must end the unlawful detention of Christian prisoners."

Patriarch Antonios was detained for asking the Eritrean government to release members of his church detained for their beliefs and urging the Eritrean officials not to interfere in the affairs of the church. Full Story 

Pray for Patriarch Antonios as his health declines. Pray for the Lord to sustain him during this time.
Pray that those Christians also serving sentences for their faith. Eritrea is notorious for the brutal prison conditions for Christians. Be in prayer for sustained faith, safety, and providential opportunities for the Gospel to be shown and preached.
Pray for the hearts of those in Eritrea to be fertile soil for the Gospel.
03/14/2012 United States (FoxNews) NASA Scientist Claims He Was Harassed, Demoted Over Intelligent Design Beliefs

David Coppedge, a high-level computer systems administrator at the laboratory maintains he was fired nine months after expressing his beliefs in intelligent design to his co-workers. Lawyer William Becker spoke on behalf of Coppedge to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige in trial of the religious discrimination lawsuit his client filed in April 2010.

JPL attorney James Zapp argued that Coppedge was laid off as part of a staff reduction and that Coppedge had trouble getting along with other employees, becoming defensive when a supervisor instructed him on avoiding confrontations with co-workers.

According to his suit, Coppedge was demoted for allegedly "pushing religion" by loaning interested co-workers DVDs supporting intelligent design. Full Story

Pray for this trial as it could have significant repercussions for free speech in the workplace.
Pray for the judge in this trial, that he or she rules objectively.
Pray that this case awakens the U.S. to the plight of the persecuted church.
 03/14/2012 Pakistan (CNN) Petition: Free Pakistani Woman Set for Execution 

In a weird twist of irony, Asia Bibi is facing the death penalty following a false accusation of blasphemy in Pakistan, which is running for a seat on the United Nation's Human Rights Council. However, activists presented a petition Tuesday to the U.N. calling on Pakistan to free the Christian mother of five from being put to death on the charge.
Pakistani courts found Asia Bibi guilty of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed during a 2009 argument with Muslim fellow field workers. As a result, Bibi was sentenced to death by hanging. But an investigation by a Pakistani government ministry found the charges stemmed from religious and personal enmity and recommended Bibi's release.

The petition was signed by fifty activists including a former Czech foreign minister, the president of the U.N. General Assembly, a survivor of Tienanmen Square, and a women's rights activist. "With Pakistan now running for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, the government should make an important gesture by releasing Asia Bibi, and repealing its blasphemy law, which is inconsistent with basic human rights," said Hillel Neuer, director of U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group that organized the petition. Full Story

Pray for the nation of Pakistan. With increasing pressure on the government to reverse laws that target Christians and with increasing pressure on maintaining religious freedom, Christians may be able to worship freely someday in this country.
Pray for Asia Bibi who has been in prison for nearly three years. Pray for her safety and strength of faith. Her faith is something to praise God for, as the Lord has been faithful in encouraging her.
Pray for the many needs of her family. One of her five children has special needs and the burden on this family is great, not just because of their size, but coupled with persecution, they have struggled to meet their needs.
3/16/2012 Pakistan (Deccan Herald) Majority of Christian and Hindu Women Face Sexual Harassment in Pakistan

A recent study has shown that the majority of minority women, both Christian and Hindu, are subject to discrimination and harassment.
Out of 1000 women interviewed, 74 percent of them had been sexually harassed in the workplace in 2010 and 2011.

Due to their economic status, these women are "on the margins of social and economic development," says Peter Jacob, executive director for the National Commission for Justice and Peace.

This position makes minority women easy targets for discrimination. Full Story

Pray for Christian and Hindu women of Pakistan, that God will protect his daughters, encourage them and empower them to be victors in their environment.
Pray for the NCJP, that their work will be seen, heard and acted upon.
Pray that Pakistan will safeguard women's rights.
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