20 January 2012

Prayers for the Persecuted Church--1/20/2012

1/18/12 Sudan (CDN) Sudan Threatens to Arrest Church Leaders -

Sudan's Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments has threatened to arrest church leaders if they carry out evangelistic activities and do not comply with an order for churches to provide their names and contact information, Christian sources said.

THe warning in a January 3 letter to church leaders of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) arrived a few days after Sudan President Omar al-Bashir told cheering crowds on January 3 that, following the secession of the largely non-Islamic South Sudan last July, the country's constitution will be more deeply entrenched in Sharia Law.

"We will take legal procedures against pastors who are involved in preaching or evangelistic activities," Hamid Yousif Adam, undersecretary of the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowment, wrote to the church leaders. "We have all legal rights to take them to court."

Sources said the order was aimed at oppressing Christians amid growing hostilities toward Christianity. Full Story

Pray for both North and South Sudan who have been plagued by anti-Christian hostility and persecution. Pray that the new government in North Sudan will not oppress and persecute the church now that the South has seceded.
Pray for the remaining church in pro-Islamic North Sudan that they will remain strong and faithful to Christ.
Pray for the new leaders in North Sudan, that they might be convicted and changed by God and know Christ as their Lord.
1/18/12 Nigeria (ICC) Religious Cleansing Happening in Nigeria -

With more than 80 Christians killed by radical Muslims since Christmas, a Nigerian church leader believes that Islamists are carrying out religious cleansing against Christians in Northern Nigeria.

In an exclusive interview with ICC, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, called upon Nigerian Christians to defend themselves from the ongoing problem.

The Christian leader decried the Nigerian government's failure to protect Christians from the killings and accused some security agents of taking sides. He said, "The security agencies are polarized along religious lines. Even when the security agents have information (concerning security measures to be taken against Boko Haram), some of them pass the information to these criminals. This is because some of the security agents are more loyal to their religion (Islam) than to Nigeria as a nation."

In a disturbing development, the violence has also spread to southern Nigeria where Muslims and their places of worship have been attacked in apparent retaliation for the killing of Christians in Northern Nigeria. According to a report by BBC, a mosque and an Islamic school were burned down in the Southern Nigerian city of Benin on January 10. Five people were killed and six were injured in the violence in the city.  Full Story

Pray that the violence in Nigeria, towards Christians and Muslims, subsides and peace resumes. Pray that the Christian population does not retaliate to the violence, but rather displays love toward their enemies.
Pray for the Muslims who are determined to wipe out the Christian population in Nigeria.
Pray for the victims and their families, that they may be faithful witnesses to Christ and that they may be comforted during this persecution.
1/18/12 United Kingdom (TheChristianInstitute) Use of Sharia 'Courts' Increasing in UK -

The use of Sharia 'courts' is on the increase in Britain with thousands using Islamic law to settle disputes, according to the BBC. The news comes as a leading barrister claims that Sharia Law is compatible with human rights and beneficial to communities. However, critics say the courts discriminate against women and should not operate as a parallel legal system.

A bill has been brought before the House of Lords by Christian humanitarian, Baroness Cox, to curb the growth of Sharia courts. Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad, a representative of the Islamic Sharia Council at Leyton, told BBC Asian Network that his caseload at the east London council had "easily more than tripled" over the past three to five years - dealing with up to 300 disputes a month.

Sharia opponents believe the law discriminates against women as well as rulings falsely claiming legal jurisdiction over criminal and family law.

In 2009, think-tank Civitas reported than an estimated 85 Sharia councils could be operating in Britain. Full Story

Pray for this disturbing trend to cease in the UK, as it has enormous implications for the future of the European country's legal system.
Pray that the church and those representatives in the government who oppose the implementation of Sharia law will continue to fight its use as a parallel legal system.
Pray for the church in the UK, who, in recent months, has been faced with its own oppression.
1/18/12 Pakistan (CatholicCulture) 2,000 Protest Government's Demolition of Church Buildings -

Two thousand Pakistani Christians, including Auxilary Bishop Sebastian Shah of Lahore, priests, and Protestant leaders, protested the Punjabi government's decision to confiscate Church land and demolish the charitable and educational institutions located on it.

"We shall continue protesting until the government returns all the land it took and pays for the losses," said Father Morris Jalal. "We do not fear anyone and will fight for our rights."  Full Story
Pray for Pakistan, as the oppression of Christians continues in various forms.
Pray for the government. Since implementing blasphemy laws, Christians have been a target of frequent legal oppression and even the death penalty for speaking positively about Jesus Christ or negatively about Mohammed.
Pray for the success of these protests, so that the land and buildings can be rebuilt and provide a place for education and worship in Pakistan. Please pray that these protests remain peaceful and loving despite their opposition to the governments actions.
1/16/12 Iran (ACLJ) Under Increased Pressure, Pastor Youcef Refuses to Recant Faith -

Iran is continuing its relentless attempt to force persecuted Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to recant his faith in Jesus Christ. New reports state that Iranian officials are still pressuring the pastor, who has been sentenced to death for his Christian faith, "to renounce his faith in Christ and accept the prophet Muhammad as his savior."

Pastor Youcef once again refused, remaining steadfast in his faith. Remember, Iran previously demanded on at least three separate occasions that Pastor Youcef recant his faith and convert to Islam at his latest trial, to which he replied, "I cannot".

The Iranian court tasked with making a final determination about Pastor Youcef's fate has ignored its own promise to make its determination over a month ago. Iran's move to further delay a determination regarding Pastor Youcef not only violates international law; it violates Iranian law as well. Full Story

Pray for Pastor Youcef. Give thanks to God for his steadfast faith in Jesus and pray for his faith to remain strong.
Pray for those eyes who are watching Pastor Youcef, that they might see and wonder who this God is that he would lay down his life for before he denies Him.
Pray for Iran, as the church there is exploding and many more pastors and believers may face pressures similar to Pastor Youcef's.
1/14/12 North Korea (Crosswalk) Seven Underground Churches Raided in North Korea-

The underground church has faced increased persecution in North Korea since the unexpected death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on December 17th.

"Three weeks ago seven underground churches got exposed," says Thomas Kim, executive director of Cornerstone Ministries. "It's been very difficult for the last month and I think it's going to continue," he says.

The North Korean leadership apparently fears the kind of insurrection that swept other communist regimes and is now sweeping through the Middle East. "They are scared there will be an uprising," Kim notes. "They are scared by the expansion of the Christian faith because Christians will die for their faith."

"Now the regime is putting out many people to search for the underground church. There is a need to pray for protection," Kim said.  Full Story

Pray that this change in leadership may result in eased pressure upon the North Korean church.
Pray for the leaders of North Korea, that they may see the love of Christ in these Christians.
Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing some of the most intense persecution in the world. Pray for their faith to be strengthened and that they would remain faithful to Christ.

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