31 May 2011

Prayers for the Persecuted Church (5/30/2011)

5/26/11 Pakistan (WorthyNews) Suspected Islamic Militants Attack Pastor and Family; Son Injured-
Christians in Pakistan remained concerned on Monday, May 23th, over the situation of Pastor Paul Ashraf and his family after a report that they narrowly survived a drive-by-shooting by suspected Islamic militants in Punjab province, seriously injuring their eldest son. "Pastor Ashraf was in a van with his wife, Rubina Ashraf, and eldest son Sarfraz Ashraf, on April 27th when two unidentified men on a motorbike opened fire" on their car, said the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), an advocacy group closely following the case. "Miraculously, he survived the shot to the face and was released from MAYO Hospital after just one day," CLAAS told Worthy News.

Pastor Ashraf leads two large congregations in the towns of Kashmore and Sadiq Abad, CLAAS explained. Additionally, he is a noted Christian writer and poet who, with his wife, runs a flourishing free high school for children of Christian families in Lahore city, Christians said.

CLAAS said that Pakistani Christians had urged prayers. "Please pray for us as we support Pastor Ashraf and his family in their legal case, and please pray that God will protect them from further harm," the group said.

There has been growing concerns about Islamic attacks against minority Christians in Pakistan following the March assassination of the cabinet's only Christian minister, Shahbaz Bhatti. In leaflets left at the scene at the time, terror group al-Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban Movement in Punjab province claimed responsibility. They blamed the government for putting Bhatti, an "infidel Christian," in charge of an unspecified committee. Full Story

Pray that Sarfraz, eldest son of Paul and Rubina Ashraf, will recover quickly after the brutal drive-by-shooting by Islamic militants.
Pray that the Pakistani authorities will arrest and prosecute the attackers and that they will protect Christians from Islamic terrorists.
Pray that CLAAS will successfully support the Ashraf’s in their legal case and that God will intervene in their protection from harm.
Pray that the Muslims will repent of their sins and receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.

5/25/11 Algeria (ICC) Seven Churches Forced to Close in Algerian Province-
Algerian authorities ordered the immediate closure of seven Protestant churches in the province of Béjaia in early May and demanded that the Algerian Protestant Church Association (EPA) eventually close all churches under their authority throughout the country.

A written notification dated May 8 and addressed to the President of the EPA demanded the closure of seven churches in Algeria’s Béjaia province, located 200 kilometers east of the capital Algiers. The notification was reportedly ordered by Hamou Ahmed Touhami, the president-appointed wali (or governor) of the Béjaia province, and signed by Police Commissioner Ben Amar Salma. A follow-up statement released by the local police department on May 22 further stated that all Protestant churches in Algeria must be closed. “I, Mr. Ben Amar Salma, the High Commissioner of the police in Bejaia, have informed Mr. Mustapha Krim, the President of the EPA … to close down all worship places around the country once for all; the places which are used now and the places which are under construction … The authorities will make sure that the order will be obeyed, otherwise severe consequences and punishments will be applied,” the statement read.

According to the notification received by the EPA, the churches are to be closed permanently “for exercising religious worship other than Islam without authorization or the compliance of the National Commission for Non-Muslim Religious Services.” Full Story

Pray that the Algerian government will create an environment that creates safety and stability while also upholding the Algerian Constitution which states that freedom of creed is inviolable.
Pray that the believers will ardently worship God and proclaim the Gospel through the leading of the Holy Spirit with courage and prudence even in the midst of the tormenting Algerian authorities.

5/23/11 China (MNN) Prisoner Released in China-
After two years, a Chinese Christian has finally been released from prison. Yang Caizhen, along with her husband and four other Linfen-Fushan church leaders from Shanxi Province, were sentenced to criminal detention from two years up to several years on November 25, 2009.

The church leaders were arrested for organizing a prayer rally on September 14, 2009--the day after 400 military police raided the church's grounds, seriously wounding 30 believers and destroying 17 church buildings. The leaders were accused of "gathering people to disturb the public order" for organizing the prayer. Full Story

Pray that Yang Caizhen has been released from prison.
Pray that Yang would heal physically and emotionally.
Pray that the Lord would continue to speak through all of these Christ followers, in or out of prison.

5/20/11 Nigeria (OneNewsNow) Muslims react with violence to new president-
“More than 300 churches have been burned down in Northern Nigeria,” says Rocha. “Hundreds of people have been killed, including Christians and Muslims. They even attacked and killed and destroyed the property of Muslims who voted for the Christian candidate.”

Thousands of Christians have been forced from their homes and are now in refugee camps as well, he shares.

“The government has deployed the security and they also promised to investigate the latest violence -- and we hope they will take measures to ensure that these things will not occur in this situation because it's one of the bloodiest times for the people in the northern part of Nigeria,” Rocha states.

International Christian Concern (ICC) has recently launched a drive to raise funds to help feed refugees until they can return home and rebuild their lives. Click here to learn how to help. Full Story

Pray that the Nigerian government will arrest and prosecute the beastly murderers and that it will protect its people, including Christians, from harm.
Pray that all the victimized Nigerian Christians will be comforted and strengthened by God and that they will remain devoted Christians.
Pray that the Gospel will spread with saving grace and power and that there will be many lost souls that will come to faith in Christ.

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