BARNABAS FUND â€“ AID AGENCY FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH
barnabasprayer To help you pray for the persecuted Church
SEPTEMBER/ OCTOBER 2017 barnabasfund.org
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Thank you for your prayers for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, which make such a difference to them. We sometimes have to change or omit their names for security reasons, and we have only limited space to share their stories. But the Lord knows the people and places we are praying about. Please do not feel limited by the specific prayer requests, but pray as you feel led. On each Sunday we have provided a set prayer; please feel free to use these in their current form, to adapt them as you prefer, or to use the information they contain to frame your own prayers.
September FRIDAY 1 Four to five thousand Pakistani Christians have fled persecution in their homeland and made their way to Thailand, only to find that they are treated as criminals there. Immigration police carry out arbitrary mass arrests, even raiding worship services, searching for people without valid visas. Those arrested – men, women and children – are held in harsh and horrifically overcrowded conditions at an Immigration Detention Centre. “It is an abomination that women with children are forced to stay there. It is a 21st century concentration camp, without the gas chambers,” a source in Bangkok told Barnabas Fund. Pray that the Thai authorities will change their attitude and make their country a safe refuge for oppressed Pakistani Christians. SATURDAY 2 A Pakistani Christian died at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on 27 May. Ijaz (34) had received news
the previous day that his application for refugee status had been refused by the UNHCR. Several months earlier Ijaz had complained of chest pains and was hospitalised, but doctors could not diagnose his problem so sent him back to the IDC. There he was put in “Room 4”, the punishment room, because he could not pay his hospital bill. Eventually his church in Bangkok paid the bill, with funds from Barnabas. Despite Ijaz’s continued ill health, the IDC doctor refused to allow his pastor to bring him medicine. Barnabas Fund is helping to feed 42 Pakistani Christians in the IDC as well as providing various types of support for those outside the IDC. Pray that the sufferings of these believers may produce in them endurance, character and hope. (Romans 5:3) SUNDAY 3 Lord Jesus Christ, who
commanded us to pray for our enemies, we lift to You today all those around the world who hate those who are called by Your Name, and who put such time and effort into devising plans to crush them and destroy Your Church. Please change their hearts, as You did for Saul of Tarsus. By Your resurrection power, You can transform even the most hatefilled and hardened and turn them from their cruelty and violence. Glorify Your Name and bring them to Yourself that they may love and follow You as Saviour and Lord.
MONDAY 4 Mariam (16) and her brother Ibrahim (13) were brought up as Muslims in Uganda. Their mother died and their father married two more wives, who treated their stepchildren badly. After much hardship, Mariam and Ibrahim decided to leave
Islam and follow Christ. When their father heard that his children had been baptised on 28 March 2017 he was furious, and threw them out of the house. The youngsters are now cared for by another convert from Islam, who has eleven children of her own and eight foster children, so with Mariam and Ibrahim she has 21 to look after. Mariam has no money to pay her school fees and therefore does not eat school lunches. Sometimes she does not even eat at home in the evening, because there is not enough food for all the children. Ask our heavenly Father to provide for Mariam, Ibrahim and all their new family.
TUESDAY 5 “The situation is catastrophic,” wrote a Christian leader from the Central African Republic in May. His Christian-majority country is riven by violence as Islamic militants try to regain political control by force. The conflict has now spread to areas which had been peaceful before. UN peacekeeping troops have been forced from their positions and some have been killed. Ugandan troops meant to protect civilians in the east are due (at the time of writing) to withdraw in October. American troops are also withdrawing. “Our eyes are turned towards God, who can alone console, intervene and stop this stupid war,” the Christian leader adds. “Thank you for your prayers.” Ask
WEDNESDAY 6 On 19 June a peace agreement was signed in Rome between the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) and 13 of the 14 armed rebel groups, giving the rebels a role in the political arena in exchange for an immediate ceasefire. But this did not seem to make any difference on the ground, where violence continued, with many attacks on Christian villages, churches burned and Christians fleeing into the bush. Reprisal attacks on Muslim rebels by so-called Christian “anti-balaka” groups also continued, despite church leaders repeatedly condemning their actions. “Please pray for the hearts of God’s children,” wrote a CAR church leader to Barnabas Fund. He also asked prayer for pastors, one of the main targets of the Muslim rebel groups. THURSDAY 7 Two Sudanese Christians have received presidential pardons and were released from prison in May, after nearly a year and a half behind bars. They had been found guilty of “espionage” and awarded twelve-year prison sentences because they had been helping to document the plight of persecuted Christians in the southern regions of Sudan. Praise God for answered prayer for Rev. Hassan Abduraheem and Abdulmonem Adumwala. FRIDAY 8 Christian teachers at a school near Garissa, north-east Kenya (a predominantly Muslim Somali area), were warned by local Somali Muslims at the beginning of Ramadan of an
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Mariam and Ibrahim
the Lord, who makes wars cease to the ends of the earth, to bring peace and stability. (Psalm 46:9)
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attack planned by Al-Shabaab Islamist militants. Some of the teachers left their compound and went to stay with Somali Muslim families for safety, but two remained. When the militants arrived they broke into the house where the two teachers were hiding. They found Mr Elly under the bed, shot him in the leg, dragged him out and cut his throat. The other teacher managed to escape in the dark. Praise God for Muslims willing to warn and protect their Christian friends, and ask Him to comfort the grieving family, pupils and colleagues of Mr Elly. SATURDAY 9 At least 14 church leaders in Cameroon have disappeared or died in suspicious circumstances or been assassinated in recent years. The latest was the bishop of Bala, whose body was found on 31 May in a river. There were signs of torture on his body and no water in his lungs, so it was not an accidental drowning or suicide as the killers had perhaps tried to make it seem. All these murders have remained unsolved. Ask the Lord to protect His faithful servants in Cameroon. SUNDAY 10 Lord Jesus, we rejoice at the
growth of the Church in China. Only You know how many people there now love and follow You, but we pray that each one will stand firm in the faith. We ask that the Holy Spirit, who brought them to know and love You, will guide them step by step as they follow You and will lead them into all truth. As they face daily marginalisation in society and the ever-present threat of imprisonment in the current government crackdown, may their faith not falter or fail. May they witness boldly and bear persecution bravely, bringing glory to Your Name.
MONDAY 11 Since Xi Jinping became president of China in 2013, there has been an increase in religious persecution, particularly for Protestant Christians, Tibetan Buddhists and Muslims from the Hui and Uyghur ethnic groups. Pray for religious liberty for all. In May, the Communist Party of China released an 11-minute video to its Youth League called “What if Atheism is a Religion?” The video mocks Christian beliefs and asserts that it was humans, not God, who saved the world. Pray for young Chinese viewers that the Holy Spirit will enable them to see beyond the propaganda and find Jesus Christ their Saviour. TUESDAY 12 The Communist Party of China (CPC) has reiterated that its 89 million members must be atheists. “Party members should not have religious beliefs … Party members should be firm Marxist atheists,” wrote Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, in the CPC’s journal, Seeking Truth, in July. “Officials who have religious faith should be persuaded to give it up, and those who resist would be punished by the Party organisation.” Pray that Chinese communists seeking for truth will find the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Pray also for Christian officials that, whatever punishment they are given, they will not abandon their faith. WEDNESDAY 13 Two Chinese Christians in Pakistan were abducted by Islamic State on 24 May and killed. Meng Li Si (26) and Li Xinheng (24) taught Chinese at a language school in Quetta, but have been denounced by the Pakistani authorities for being secret Christian missionaries. The Chinese authorities have blamed South Korean churches
for recruiting the Chinese Christians and exposing them to such danger in Pakistan. Although Chinese Christians are harassed and often imprisoned in their homeland, martyrdoms are rare nowadays. Pray that these young Chinese lives laid down in Pakistan may inspire believers in both countries to live, and if necessary die, for Christ.
FRIDAY 15 A coalition of Islamic organisations in Malaysia proposed on 15 June that evangelical Christianity should be banned in their country because it “threatens religious harmony”. They asked the government to introduce anti-evangelical laws, along the lines of those which became law in
SATURDAY 16 The Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister banned a four-day revival event called “Jerusalem Jubilee”, which was to have taken place in Malacca in June. A similar event with the same name and speakers had been due to take place in Miri, Sarawak (the Malaysian state with the highest percentage of Christians), but the Sarawak churches themselves cancelled it despite approval from their state government. However, around 20,000 Christians attended a series of revival rallies in the state of Sabah during June. Pray that all Malaysian Christians will have hearts on fire for the Lord and will not be intimidated. SUNDAY 17 O God, we pray today for the
Christians of North Korea, especially those being punished for their love of You in brutal prison labour camps, where they are often singled out for the worst treatment of all, sometimes to the point of death. We pray, O God, that they may remember Your promise to bring them through prison and back-breaking burdens, through fire and water, to a place of abundance. As they endure the time of testing, may they be refined like silver and may their faith bring glory to You. We ask in the Name of your Son Jesus. (Psalm 66:12)
MONDAY 18 Eritrean Christians, particularly unregistered evangelicals and Pentecostals, face “systematic,
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THURSDAY 14 On 23 May Islamist militants of the IS-linked Maute group attacked Marawi, a city on the island of Mindanao, in the southern Philippines. They took hostage a church minister, ten worshippers and three church workers, threatening to kill them. By late June, the number of Christian hostages was reported to be about 100, who were being used by the militants as a human shield. Most of Marawi’s citizens fled and, according to the Philippines army, those who remained were forced to convert to Islam, loot abandoned houses, carry wounded militants to mosques, and marry militants. There has been a decades-long conflict between the government and Islamist armed groups seeking independence for the southern Philippines, which has a significant Muslim population. Pray for peace, stability and freedom. Praise God for the kindness of Muslims who lent hijabs (Islamic headscarves) to some of the Christian women in Marawi, so they could disguise themselves.
Russia in July 2016. The spokesman for this coalition is Azril Amin. Pray that he will have a life-changing encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ and that his heart and attitudes will be completely changed. Pray that the government will not take up his ideas.
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ongoing and egregious religious freedom violations [which] include torture,” states the latest report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. “Prisoners are not permitted to pray aloud, sing, or preach, and religious books are banned.” Those released from prison tell of being pressured to deny Christ, and forced to sign statements that they would no longer gather for worship. Pray that Eritrean Christians will stand firm in the faith, be men and women of courage, be strong, and do everything in love (1 Corinthians 16:13). TUESDAY 19 Six Christian men and four Christian women were reported to have been arrested in Eritrea in May. Some weeks earlier two Christian women died in detention at a military camp after they went on hunger strike to protest against the way detainees are abused and Christians persecuted by the Eritrean government. Arbitrary arrest and detention is one of the Eritrean government’s routine ways to crush opposition and “to punish anyone who refuses to comply with the restrictions placed on freedom of religion and belief” (Amnesty International). Although we do not know the details, the Lord looks down from heaven and sees the wrong done to His people in Eritrea. Pray that He will uphold their cause. (Lamentations 3: 50,59) WEDNESDAY 20 On 1 May a new law came into force in Israel, targeting African asylum-seekers (Eritreans and Sudanese). This deducts an extra 20% of their wages (in addition to normal taxes) and requires their employers to add to this another 16%. The money
is held on deposit, and only released if the individual agrees to leave the country permanently. This is causing increased hardship to impoverished asylum-seekers doing low-paid jobs, and discourages employers from hiring them at all. Praise God for the warmth, compassion and generosity of ordinary Israeli people, who donate to help the African asylum-seekers. Pray for a change in government policy. A large majority of the Eritreans are Christians – pray that, despite their circumstances, the God of hope will fill them with joy and peace as they trust in Him (Romans 15:13). THURSDAY 21 Many Eritrean men who have sought asylum in Israel are held in the fearsome Holot Detention Centre. Conditions there got even worse a few months ago, when the detainees’ mobile phones were blocked so they could not contact family and friends. Many had been using their time in detention to study, but now they cannot access the educational materials they used to receive via their mobile wifi hubs. These problems are on top of the meagre food rations, almost nonexistent medical care, and ban on Christian worship which they already lived with. Pray for our brothers, that they may rejoice to participate in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:12-13). FRIDAY 22 Rains caused terrible devastation in south and west Sri Lanka in late May. Landslides, mudslides and floods killed at least 191 people and displaced 465,000 including some 25,000 Christians. The pastor of a Christian killed by a landslide could not get there to conduct the funeral because the roads were cut off. He told
Barnabas how the family had to bury their loved one on their own property and then evacuate as further landslides were expected. Displaced Christians did not seek shelter in the relief camps (fearing hostility from others in the camps, especially in camps established in Buddhist temples) but Barnabas sent emergency aid to them. Pray for all affected by this disaster.
SATURDAY 23 In two separate incidents in India’s Madhya Pradesh state on the night of 21-22 May, at least ten church workers and at least 70 Christian children (aged 6-15) were detained by police as they travelled home by train and bus from a Christian summer camp. The adults were accused of kidnapping and forcibly converting the children to Christianity. This was based on a claim by the authorities that the children’s parents had not completed the necessary paperwork when they themselves converted to Christianity and therefore their children are still officially Hindu. Two of the children (a boy in fifth grade and a girl in eighth grade) were kept in custody for four days of interrogation.
SUNDAY 24 Lord Jesus Christ, we pray
for our brothers and sisters in India, especially the Christians in Jalalabad village, Uttar Pradesh. Four families have been beaten with sticks to force them to take part in Hindu ceremonies. All have had the irrigation cut off to the crops on which they depend. Their persecutors will only restore the water if the Christians give up meeting together to worship You. Lord, give them grace and strength to endure faithfully. May they “live such good lives” among their Hindu neighbours that their persecutors will cease from criticising them and instead give glory to You. (1 Peter 2:12) MONDAY 25 Pastor Ramon Rigal from Guantanamo, Cuba, has been sentenced to one year of correctional labour and house arrest. His crime was to homeschool his children, which, said the prosecutor at his trial, “is not allowed in Cuba because it has a capitalist base”. Pastor Ramon wanted his children to have a Christian education, but Christian schools are not allowed in communist Cuba. Pastor Ramon’s children have been ordered to start at a government school this month. Pray for them, most likely facing hostility in the classroom, and also for their father, undergoing his sentence. TUESDAY 26 Secret police raided a church service in Dushanbe, the capital
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At least 200 churches were affected by severe floods in Sri Lanka
Akash Gundiya, one of the leaders, was held for a month, even though he is a juvenile (under 17). At the time of writing, six adult leaders still remain in custody. Pray that they will be released without charge and that they and all the children and young people will be healed of the trauma of their experience.
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of Tajikistan, on Sunday 11 June. They recorded the personal details of all the worshippers and confiscated their Bibles and any other Christian literature. Officers even “pulled books out of the hands of believers”. At the time of writing they are threatening to prosecute because the church is not registered. (Forum 18) Pray for vulnerable Christians in Tajikistan that they may have grace to delight in insults, hardships, and persecutions for the sake of Christ, knowing that when they are weak then they are strong (2 Corinthians 12:10). WEDNESDAY 27 Please continue to pray for Pastor Marat Niyazaliev, a Russian citizen who leads a church of Muslimbackground believers in Kyrgyzstan. His congregation won a court case after the police had illegally tried to close down their church building. After this, apparently in revenge, he was falsely accused of attempting to rape an 8-year-old girl. Following a period in detention he is now free and the church continues to meet in his home. But because of these issues no one will give him a job. His church have lost their registration because a deadline for some papers to be submitted passed while Marat was under arrest. Marat thinks the Kyrgyz authorities want to pressure him to return to Russia, but he is determined to keep serving where the Lord has called him. Pray that God will give him strength, peace and hope. THURSDAY 28 On 15 May the parliament of Azerbaijan approved a new law on freedom of religion. Amongst other matters, the law prohibits foreigners and other non-citizens from “conducting religious propaganda”
unless specifically invited by a “religious centre”. Pray that the new law will not be used to clamp down on Christian ministry, especially on visiting speakers or trainers from outside the country. FRIDAY 29 “Odil”, a pastor in a Central Asia, held a church youth meeting in his flat. The police arrived, arrested the 18 young people, and began to beat them one by one to try to get them to make false accusations against Odil. All the young people refused, but Odil could not bear to see them being beaten and told them to sign whatever the police wanted. The police then confiscated just about everything in the home. Odil, his wife and their three daughters (the oldest aged five) were detained for 18 hours without water. Then husband and wife were each fined, along with several of the young people who had been in their flat. Pray for Odil, his family and the young believers, that they may not become fearful, but will continue boldly witnessing for Christ.
Central Asian Christians worshipping SATURDAY 30 Sixteen Nigerian Muslim youth organisations issued an ultimatum on 6 June for all members of the predominantly Christian Igbo tribe to leave mainly-Muslim northern Nigeria by 1 October. After that, said their statement, they would “no longer be disposed to coexisting with the Igbo”, whose heartland is south-east
Nigeria. The following day the Muslim governor of Kaduna State ordered the arrest of those who had signed the anti-Igbo statement, which he strongly condemned. Pray for more Muslim voices to defend Christians in the North. As the Igbo eviction deadline falls tomorrow, pray that there will be no violence against any Christians.
October SUNDAY 1 Father God, our brothers and
MONDAY 2 “We are worried that the murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen have continued unabated and unchecked. The recurring and orchestrated killings of Christians in Southern Kaduna, mass killings in parts of Benue State and others across the country have increased suspicion that the so-called herdsmen are an extension of terrorist groups carrying out an evil agenda of ethnic and religious cleansing . . . They sack [ransack] entire villages, rape women and girls, maim, kidnap, kill and commit other forms of violence while destroying farmlands and economic sources . . . We therefore call on the Church today to
TUESDAY 3 Praise God for Nigerian imams who have been calling on the Boko Haram militant group to stop attacking Christians and destroying church buildings. However, Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, responded by video in June condemning these imams and saying that there can never be peace and reconciliation until the Christians convert to Islam. Pray that the peaceable interpretation of Islamic sources will gain increasing support amongst Nigerian Muslims and that the violent interpretation which motivates Boko Haram will be strongly rejected by all other Muslims. WEDNESDAY 4 The families of the “Chibok girls” make Wednesdays a special day of prayer for their missing daughters and sisters. Nearly 300 teenage Nigerian school-girls, mainly Christians, were abducted by Boko Haram militants in April 2014 from their school in Chibok, Borno State. Over 100 are still held; pray for them. Pray also for the girls who have been released in recent months, as they recover from three years of life with the extremely violent Islamist group, who forced them to become Muslims, at least outwardly. Ask the Holy Spirit to be their Counsellor and to remind them of everything that Jesus said (John 14:26).
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sisters in northern Nigeria live day by day in great danger, just because they trust in Your Son Jesus Christ. You know the heart of each one, and what feelings of fear or anger they may wrestle with, wondering when men of violence will attack their homes, crops and families. Help them to keep in step with the Your Spirit, and to show in their lives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. May their Christ-like response to such a stressful and perilous situation bring glory to You. (Galatians 5:22-25)
wake up, be keenly observant, watchful, vigilant and mindful of the enemies of our souls and our faith . . . Christians must be more prayerful, focused and strategic . . . being conscious that the world is coming to an end and at last to triumph and be able to stand before our Lord Jesus Christ.” - statement by Ughelli Diocese, Nigeria. Pray as the Lord leads you in response to this.
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THURSDAY 5 Pray for the parents of the Chibok girls and the whole Christian community in Chibok as they welcome back the girls (see above), now young women, some of them with their own children. They deny rumours that the freed girls are being rejected because they were forcibly married to Boko Haram fighters. “We are Christians and will never stigmatize our children or family.” Pray also for the parents whose daughters have not yet been released, as they seek to rejoice with those who rejoice. Remember especially those whose spouses have died during this long waiting period. FRIDAY 6 Christians in Egypt praise God that many lives were saved which might have been lost when suicide bombers attacked two churches on Palm Sunday. At Tanta, it was decided at the last minute that the 300 children would have a separate service in another building – thus their lives were saved. Meanwhile in Alexandria, the morning worship inexplicably finished an hour early so most of the 5,000 congregation had left the building when the explosion happened, about 15 minutes before the scheduled end of the service. Join our Egyptian brothers and sisters in thanking God for His intervention and pray for the 126 Christians who were nevertheless injured and for the grieving relatives of the 45 killed. SATURDAY 7 Egyptian police broke into a church-owned property in a village in Beni Suef in the early hours of 16 June. Villagers woke to find the furnishings thrown outside and the doors chained and sealed. Officially a Christian community centre, the building was also used for Christian worship. There
is a severe shortage of licensed church buildings in Egypt, because until last year it was extremely difficult to get the necessary permits; therefore many Christians had no option but to meet illegally in unlicensed buildings. But President al-Sisi has made it much easier for congregations to legalise the status of their buildings, and an application for this building had been filed last November. Pray that the Beni Suef authorities will enable the Christians to legalise their buildings and will cease harassing them. SUNDAY 8 Loving heavenly Father, we
lift to You today Your children in Saudi Arabia – the migrant workers who have come from Asia and Africa bringing their Christian faith with them, and the Saudi believers who have risked their lives by leaving Islam to follow Your Son Jesus Christ. May each one dwell in Your presence hour by hour. Although they cannot worship You openly, please guard and guide them as they seek to meet discreetly, enable them to learn more of You, to praise and worship You, to pray for and encourage one other. We ask this in the Name of Jesus. MONDAY 9 Article 274 of the Jordanian Penal Code stipulates a prison sentence or fine for anyone who eats in public during the dawn to dusk fast in the Islamic month of Ramadan. An exception is made for certain tourist facilities, if they have curtains so passers-by cannot see the people eating inside. During Ramadan this year a restaurant for overseas students of the German Jordanian University was raided and the customers thrown out. Two Christian girls were forced off a tourist bus because they were eating.
Many Jordanians have protested that people should have the right to eat, even if others choose to fast. Pray that the voices of freedom will prevail.
WEDNESDAY 11 At the time of writing, Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, has been at peace for over six months. There is now electricity for about four hours a day, which is a huge improvement. Some families who had fled are returning to the city, including some Christians. A church service and a classical concert have taken place in a roofless cathedral badly damaged during the war. Praise God for these encouragements. But there are still many concerns, especially about the teenagers of Aleppo. Many of them have lost friends, either killed or emigrated. They feel that life is nothing but destruction and despair. Pray that they will find hope and purpose in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Barnabas gives practical aid to 96 war widows and their children in Aleppo, as well as many other Chirstians THURSDAY 12 The third largest city in Syria is Homs. It was a key battleground early in the Syrian conflict, and civilians suffered in a terrible siege, but now Homs has been largely at peace for nearly two years. In ancient times Homs was a centre of Christianity, but in modern times it has been one of the most strongly Islamic parts of Syria. As the devastated city is gradually reconstructed and people return, a marked difference is emerging in the economic situation of the two communities. Christians are very weak and in need, while Muslims are getting a lot of help. Barnabas Fund is continuing to assist with reconstruction of Christian properties and re-establishing small businesses of Christians. Please pray for good progress in this work. FRIDAY 13 Morocco does not officially recognise the existence of any Moroccan Christians, as all citizens are supposed to be Muslim. Nevertheless there is a Church of converts from Islam and their children. They have recently formed the National Coalition for Moroccan Christians, which has submitted a list of requests to Morocco’s National Human Rights Council. These requests include the right for all Moroccans to choose their faith, freedom of worship, official recognition of Moroccan churches, the
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TUESDAY 10 In June the Iraqi government announced a 10-year, $100 billion plan to reconstruct their country. A major focus will be Mosul, where soon afterwards the Prime Minister announced victory against the remnants of the Islamic State (IS) forces. Many Christians used to live in Mosul and the nearby Nineveh Plains, but they remain very hesitant to return to the homes they fled from in 2014 as IS advanced. They recall how some Muslim neighbours turned into enemies and helped to evict them. Local politicians recognise the problem of the “culture of hate” created by IS amongst the Muslims who remained in Mosul. Pray that official plans to “consolidate the values of coexistence and moderation, promote shared living and the culture of peace and freedom of belief” will succeed.
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right to have Christian cemeteries and the right to give their children Christian names. Pray that these requests will be granted. Earlier this year Morocco’s High Religious Committee, presided over by King Mohammed VI, declared that Muslims leaving Islam should not be punished. SATURDAY 14 On 6 July Muhammad Sultan, the governor of Alexandria, Egypt, ordered that construction work to expand the church annexe of a Christian hospital should resume immediately. This overrode the order, a week earlier, by the head of Alexandria’s Central District, to halt the construction work (even though all the necessary permits and licences had been granted). Thank the Lord for the governor’s action and pray that the day will come in Egypt when all Muslims accept without question the right of Christians to build places of worship. SUNDAY 15 O Lord, we pray for Christians in Pakistan, who face such harassment and discrimination. We lift to you especially the Christian staff at a hospital in Lahore who are being forced by the Medical Superintendent to recite verses from the Quran. If they do not attend the morning assembly at which this happens, they are marked absent for the whole day. Thank you, Lord, that Muslims as well as Christians have protested about this and pointed out that it contravenes Pakistan’s constitution. We ask that You will cause the hospital authorities to ensure full religious freedom for all their staff. MONDAY 16 Pakistan’s Interior Ministry met with FaceBook’s Vice President of Global Public Policy in July to discuss the Pakistani government’s efforts to
remove from social media anything they consider to be blasphemous against Islam. This potentially includes any remark that criticises Islam or Muhammad, no matter how politely worded. So a Christian stating that they did not consider Muhammad to be a true prophet would fall into this category. The Pakistani government want FaceBook to tell them the personal details of users around the world who post “blasphemous” content and has in the past called for such people to be extradited and prosecuted. Pray that FaceBook and other social media will resist these efforts, which would seriously damage freedom of religion and freedom of speech. TUESDAY 17 At the time of writing, a 16-year-old Christian boy is in jail in Pakistan, accused of “liking” and sharing a FaceBook post which allegedly insulted the Kaaba in Islam’s most sacred mosque in Mecca. At the same time a Pakistani Muslim has been given a death sentence because of what the court considered “blasphemous” statements on social media. The Muslim is a Shia, so takes a different theological perspective from the Sunni majority in Pakistan. Pray that both will be freed and for a change of attitude of the Pakistani authorities to allow freedom of expression for all. WEDNESDAY 18 Stella was the only Christian amongst 25 staff at the clinic where she worked in Lahore, Pakistan. Her honesty and hard work were appreciated by the doctor in charge, but this made two of her Muslim colleagues jealous. Ijaz and his wife Musrat began insulting Stella and complaining against her. One day in April she was busy
working in reception when Israt threw acid on her lower back, badly injuring her. Stella has worked at the clinic to support her sick mother and two younger brothers since her father died of cancer four years ago. Pray that God will heal, protect and provide for Stella and her family.
SATURDAY 21 A historic Christian cemetery in Kermanshah, northwest Iran, was destroyed recently in what appears to be part of an ongoing campaign to eradicate the historical evidence of Christianity’s long-term presence in what is now the Islamic Republic of Iran. Gravestones were knocked over and smashed, and some were defaced with graffiti. We know from Acts 2:9 that people from this region heard the Spirit-filled disciples speaking their language on the Day of Pentecost. Pray that a Christian presence and witness will remain in Iran despite all human efforts. SUNDAY 22 Dear Lord, please console
Pastor Sultan Masih, shot dead FRIDAY 20 A court in Tehran has sentenced four Christians to ten years each in prison for establishing or directing groups that “threaten the security of the country” (Article 498 of the Iranian Penal Code). This is the kind of accusation which is often made against Christians active in ministry in Iran, especially in the “house churches” i.e. churches composed of converts from Islam. One of the Christians is an Iranian convert called Naser Navard Goltapeh. The other three are from Azerbaijan and
the Christians of Jima village, in southeast Kenya, grieving for nine men who were murdered by Al Shabaab militants in July. Thank You for the courage of the nine, who did not deny You, even though they would have known they were going to their deaths, as militants went house to house, dragging out men and then asking each their faith. May the bereaved believers take comfort in the knowledge that these nine were martyrs for You, as the militants only killed Christian men and let Muslims go unharmed. May their example strengthen the faith of the remaining Christians.
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THURSDAY 19 A prominent pastor was shot dead outside his church in Ludhiana, Punjab state, India, by men on a motorbike. Pastor Sultan Masih had stepped outside to take a phonecall when he was gunned down at 8.45 pm on Saturday 15 July. He had ministered in the area for 20 years and also ran a school for poor children. His death has greatly shocked the Christians of Punjab. Pray that the Lord will comfort and protect them.
were sentenced in absentia as they had already returned home after four months in detention. The four had been arrested together when the secret police raided a house church meeting in Karaj. Please pray for Naser, as the long years in prison lie ahead of him, that he will be not be ashamed of suffering as a Christian, but will praise God that he bears that name (1 Peter 4:16).
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MONDAY 23 “Pray for rain and hope.” These were the words of a Barnabas Fund staff member after visiting Kenya in June. The northern part of Kenya – always prone to drought – again had very little rainfall from March to May, when the “long rains” were due. To make matters worse, when rain did come it sometimes caused destructive flash floods. There was almost no harvest and cattle also were severely affected. The “short rains” are due in November, for a harvest in mid-January to February. As you pray, remember especially the Christian community who are a beleaguered minority in this Muslim-majority part of Kenya.
two have died from the drought; he is praying that he will not lose any more and that God will provide for his people. “You are telling me not to give up?” he kept saying to a Barnabas Fund visitor who tried to encourage him. Pray for Andrew and other youngsters like him in drought-stricken areas of East Africa that they will not lose hope, faith or joy in the Lord. (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
Barnabas famine relief in Uganda
FRIDAY 27 A large number of believers in Kyrgyzstan have come to Christ from a Muslim background. They find it very hard to get work, because many businesses are now owned by Islamists who only hire Muslims and require all their staff to obey their employers regarding religious practice. In the last few months, there has been an increase in the harassment and persecution of Christian children in school. A pastor’s grandson was severely beaten at school for being a Christian. In Kyrgyz culture there is great concern about what happens to the body after death; the converts are troubled by the thought that they might be given Muslim funerals because there is only one cemetery for them in the whole country. Pray that these believers, old and young, will know that neither trouble, hardship,
TUESDAY 24 Barnabas Fund’s Project Joseph continues to bring food aid to starving Christians in East Africa, working through local churches. Pray for wisdom, strength and protection for all involved in purchasing and distributing the maize (or maize meal), beans, cooking oil and other items. The World Food Programme has halved the ration it distributes in Uganda and Kenya. Barnabas Fund is helping to cover the difference. WEDNESDAY 25 “Andrew” is a 14-yearold Kenyan boy with a strong faith in Jesus as his Saviour. He has completed primary school but now, as the eldest son, it is his duty to look after the family’s goats. He used to have twelve goats but
THURSDAY 26 The government of Kyrgyzstan is proposing amendments to tighten up the country’s already restrictive 2009 Religion Law. These would ban the sharing of beliefs in public, censor all religious literature, and make it even harder for church congregations to get the registration they need in order to operate legally rather than illegally. (Forum 18) Cry to the Lord, the perfect law-maker (Psalm 19:7), to intervene and stop this process.
nor persecution, neither death nor life nor any powers can separate them from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35-39).
SUNDAY 29 God of grace, look upon Your
suffering people. In their distress, hear their cry. Save them from those that seek to harm them. From violence deliver them and grant them protection from their enemies. God of goodness, look upon Your wandering people. In their alienation, hear their cry. Homeless, vulnerable refugees and sojourners, from rootlessness deliver them and grant them a resting place here on earth. God of mercy, look upon Your hungry people. In their need, hear their cry. Famished, thirsty, sick, exhausted, from poverty and destitution deliver them and
MONDAY 30 Despite Myanmar (Burma) taking encouraging steps towards greater democracy, many of the country’s Christians continue to face severe persecution from the Buddhist majority. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom state in their latest report that there are “discriminatory restrictions on land ownership, intimidation and violence against Christians, the forced relocation and destruction of Christian cemeteries, violent attacks on places of worship, and an ongoing campaign of coerced conversion to Buddhism.” Pray that our brothers and sisters in Myanmar will stand firm in their faith and let nothing move them (1 Corinthians 15:58). TUESDAY 31 Praise God for answering prayers for two Christians who had been found guilty by a panel of British magistrates on the charge of religiously aggravated harassment because of their street-preaching in Bristol in July 2016. Michael Stockwell and Michael Overd appealed and were found not guilty in a re-trial at the end of June 2017. A video and recording of the events of 6 July 2016 show a number of hecklers using foul and abusive language towards the preachers and often acting in a very provocative manner, but the preachers always responded politely. The transcript reveals that some hecklers were apparently attempting to “set up” the preachers by asking them certain questions on Islam and other issues, which Michael and Michael answered in a forthright way. Pray that freedom of speech and robust debate will continue to be allowed in the UK.
September/October 2017 15
SATURDAY 28 In the Karakalpakstan region of Uzbekistan there is no registered church building for Protestants (who are mainly converts from Islam). This means that there is no building where they can meet together legally for worship. There is growing pressure from the authorities, so whenever the believers do gather they expect to be arrested and fined. This can happen even if it is just three or four people, or two families, who have come together. In the past, police arrested all converts but only fined leaders and those very active in ministry; nowadays they arrest and fine every convert. They are usually held for 15 days. During the first three or four days they are beaten to try to make them deny Christ. After that the beatings stop so that the bruises will have healed by the time they are released. The Karakalpakstan pastors ask for prayer that God will give them wisdom as to how to lead their churches under such conditions.
grant them provision from Your bounty. In Jesus’ Name we pray.
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Front cover: Christians from Iraq and Uganda
Barnabas Prayer September October 2017 A bi-monthly diary of daily prayer points for the persecuted Church around the world. It is part of t...
Published on Sep 1, 2017
Barnabas Prayer September October 2017 A bi-monthly diary of daily prayer points for the persecuted Church around the world. It is part of t...