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Your daily prayer guide

prayer diary

Saad Sarfraz/CSW

October 2018-January 2019


Welcome

“AS THE BODY WITHOUT THE SPIRIT IS DEAD, SO FAITH WITHOUT DEEDS IS DEAD.” ( JAMES 2:26) Thank you for joining us in this new edition of the Prayer Diary. As we look towards the close of the year, I’m again filled with gratitude for your faithful upholding of our work in prayer. Now you have a chance to help us through action, too. I’ve enclosed a postcard that you can use to invite your MP to the launch of our brand new parliamentary toolkit. It will give them all the tools they need in order to stand up for freedom of religion or belief – from in-depth briefings on religious freedom around the world, to a list of the specific things they can do in their position in parliament. Please fill in the postcard and send it to your MP today. Time and again the Bible reminds us that our faith has to result in doing good. In the first chapter of Isaiah the Lord tells Israel to stop sinning – and in the very next verse, in the same breath, commands them to seek justice and defend the oppressed (Isaiah 1:16-17). It’s clear that God considers speaking up for justice absolutely fundamental to the lives of those who follow him.

A week of prayer for our work in UK parliament. Week 1: 14-20 October Next week, we’re launching a new toolkit to equip MPs and peers to stand up for the right to choose, change and practise a religion or belief freely. It will give them all the tools they need – from in-depth briefings on religious freedom around the world, to a list of the specific things they can do in parliament. Sunday 14 October Give thanks for the favour and opportunities opportunities CSW has had to raise freedom of religion or belief concerns in parliament. This has often led to action being taken to improve the lives of people affected by these issues. Monday 15 October Please pray that many MPs and peers would take time out of their busy schedules to attend our toolkit launch, and for fruitful conversations with our staff who will be there. Tuesday 16 October In June CSW was a partner in the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast. Pray that those who attended would continue to be inspired by what they heard, and it would

inform their priorities going in the New Year. Wednesday 17 October Our research and analysis are being used by a growing number of parliamentarians: thank God for a growing and strengthening network of MPs and peers standing up for FoRB in Parliament, and ask him to continue building on that work. Thursday 18 October Give thanks for Lord Ahmad’s appointment in July 2018 as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, and pray that God would bless him with wisdom and courage as he goes about his work.

Friday 19 October Pray that the UK government would continue to make freedom of religion or belief a human rights priority in foreign policy. Saturday 20 October Lord, thank you so much for all the ways you have blessed our work in parliament. We ask that you would continue to do so, and that you would grant wisdom, strength and courage to the Prime Minister and Foreign Office ministers, as well as UK diplomats abroad. Amen.

This edition of the Prayer Diary is full of examples of prayer and action, from Leah Sharibu standing up to Boko Haram, to the upcoming Red Wednesday event. My prayer is that these stories will inspire you to your own amazing deeds! Thank you so much for standing with us in prayer and action. Kiri Public Affairs Team 2

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This week please pray for Nigeria. Week 2: 21-27 October Attacks on farming communities in central Nigeria continue as Fulani militia act with impunity, Kidnappers have made the Abuja to Kaduna road unsafe for travellers; armed gangs have wreaked havoc on Hausa communities in northern Kaduna and Zamfara state, and Boko Haram appears resurgent. Please pray for Nigeria’s deliverance from every source of violence. Sunday 21 October Leah Sharibu was the only Christian among 110 girls abducted from their school in Dapchi, Yobe State by Boko Haram in February. At the time of writing she is the only one still in captivity, and is facing a direct threat to her life. Please join us in fervent prayer for her. Monday 22 October A resurgent Boko Haram is inflicting casualties on the military. In July the army lost many soldiers in attacks in Jilli in Yobe State, and Bama in Borno State. On 9 August 17 soldiers were killed in an attack on a military base in Borno. Pray for comfort and provision for bereaved families; for an effective well-resourced counterinsurgency strategy, and for an end to all sources of terrorism, including Boko Haram. Tuesday 23 October In July armed kidnappers killed several travellers on the Abuja to Kaduna highway, and abducted scores more for ransom. Meanwhile the army is beginning to make 4

headway against armed bandits in Zamfara who have killed or kidnapped thousands of Hausa farmers, in violence that has been ongoing since 2012. Pray that efforts to secure both areas are successful. Wednesday 24 October Fulani militia continue to attack villages in central states, and are occupying villages they attacked. In Plateau State, where 238 people were killed over a two-day period, 54 communities have been occupied and renamed and 11,833 people are living in 17 camps – most of them women, children and the elderly. Pray urgently for an end to this appalling violence and for the government to act decisively to punish the perpetrators and return seized land.

Your prayers are needed for Pakistan. famine. They desperately need the protection of their government. Please pray that it would be extended to them soon.

to bless them with strength, boldness and protection. Thursday 1 November

Friday 26 October Give thanks for the return of 16-year-old Zainab Boulus Bawa from Kaduna State, who regained her freedom four months after being abducted, forcibly converted and forced to marry her abductor. Keep praying for the release of Habiba Isiyaku, still held captive at time of writing, and for other Christian girls still in the hands of their abductors, and for this practice to cease. Saturday 27 October Father God, we lift Nigeria to you. We ask you to bind the nation’s wounds and bring restoration; to heal those whose hearts are broken by the loss of loved ones; to protect and deliver endangered communities; and to set every captive free. Amen.

Saad Sarfraz/CSW

Week 3: 28 October-3 November Life is becoming increasingly difficult for Pakistan’s religious minorities. They face a multitude of challenges, from restrictive blasphemy laws to a biased education system; while hundreds of young women each year are kidnapped and forcibly married to men they’ve never met before. Sunday 28 October

Tuesday 30 October

Following the elections in July, pray for stability in the new government, and for a change in the official attitude towards religious minorities. Please also pray that the new government will be proactive in rooting out discrimination and protecting minority groups.

Today, ask God to watch over Pakistan’s Christian community, who face discrimination and harassment at all levels in society. Pray also for solidarity and unity among Christian denominations so that they can work together for the benefit of the community as a whole.

Thursday 25 October

Monday 29 October

Central Nigeria is the nation’s bread basket. Many farmers can no longer return to their fields, either because they have been occupied or out of fear of attacks from Fulani militia, leading to risk of food shortages or

The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. (Psalm 103:6) Pray this verse over Pakistan today.

Wednesday 31 October We’re privileged to partner with many human right defenders and members of civil society in Pakistan: they face severe challenges in their work and their everyday lives, so please petition God

Our Faith and a Future campaign focused on the discrimination, humiliation, harassment and abuse thousands of children face at school because of their faith. Some are made to feel dirty because of their religion, or are publicly humiliated by their teachers, or are forced to use textbooks that erase their religion’s role in their country’s history. Pray that God would move powerfully to create a future where this no longer happens. Friday 2 November Please pray for the education and wellbeing of the three children of Shama and Shezad Masih. Their parents were tragically killed by a mob after being falsely accused of blasphemy. Next week, on 14 November, it will be four years since this tragic event. Saturday 3 November Heavenly Father who comforts those who mourn, we ask today that you would protect the children of Shama and Shezad Masih and comfort them as the anniversary of their parents’ murder draws near: and move powerfully in Pakistan to avert similar tragedies. Amen.

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Pray for Burma.

Your prayers are needed for Iran.

Week 4: 4-10 November After seven years of Burma opening up, the country’s fragile new democracy is still at risk of failing those who need it the most. The situation for the Kachin, Shan and Rohingya people is still dire, with renewed fighting threatening thousands of people and forcing them from their homes. Sunday 4 November More fighting between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army has led to the displacement of 4,000 civilians since early 2018. There are reports of grave human rights violations being carried out by the Burma Army against the Kachin people. The Kachin have appealed to the UN Security Council to refer the Burmese government to the International Criminal Court. Pray that the international community would intervene to halt this desperate situation, and soon. Monday 5 November The Shan people are similarly under attack from the Burma Army and are also experiencing a terrible human cost, as well as

being displaced from their homes. Please pray for their protection and a swift end to the violence. Tuesday 6 November In addition to the fresh waves of violence against the Kachin and Shan people, the Rohingya are still suffering. Hundreds of thousands have fled across the border to Bangladesh and hundreds have been killed by the Burma Army. Survivors report widespread, systematic and horrific violations of human rights, including the killing of children. Pray for God’s protection over the Rohingya and for an end to the terrible violence against them. Wednesday 7 November ‘LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation

in time of distress.’ (Isaiah 33:2). Pray this verse over Burma today. Thursday 8 November Above all, the Burmese government needs to recognise that this growing religious intolerance and culture of impunity must be stamped out. Change cannot happen unless the government acts with wisdom, grace and justice. Pray for God to move in the hearts of Aung San Suu Kyi and her ministers to take concrete steps to end hate speech, violence and abuses of religious minorities. Friday 9 November Next week, on 11-21 November, CSW will be hosting a delegation of Kachin and Shan activists as they visit the UK and Brussels. It’s an amazing opportunity for them to meet policy makers, MPs and MEPs, and magnify their voices in speaking for change in Burma. Pray that God would bless this visit and give us many opportunities to talk about human rights in Burma. Saturday 10 November Lord, we cry out to you for Burma today. So many people are suffering: we lift the Kachin, Shan and Rohingya people especially to you today and humbly beg that you provide for them: shelter them under your wings, O Lord, and provide all that they need. Amen.

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Week 5: 11-17 November The campaign of arrests, harsh imprisonment and intimidation against Christians continues to intensify. At the time of writing, four men – Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi (Youhan), Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie – are in Evin Prison in Tehran beginning ten-year sentences. Pastor Nadarkhani, who was detained in an unnecessarily violent manner, is in a cell notorious for its appalling conditions. Sunday 11 November As well as their tenyear sentences, Pastor Nadarkhani and Mr Omidi received additional two-year sentences, to be served in inhospitable locations in the south of the country; while Mr Mossayebzadeh, Mr Fadaie and Mr Omidi are awaiting the outcome of their appeal against a sentence of 80 lashes each, following their conviction for drinking wine during a communion service. Pray that this appeal would be successful. Monday 12 November These four men are all being held in Evin Prison, a prison that’s known for housing political prisoners. We’ve heard that Pastor Nadarkhani is in a particularly appalling cell. Please pray for their physical and mental health as they endure their incarceration.

after a number of Christians were arrested at a Christmas celebration at his home. His wife, Shamiram Issavi, received a five-year sentence in January for ‘acting against national security’, and in July their son Ramil was sentenced to four years in prison on charges related to his father’s church activities. Pray for strength, endurance and successful appeals for the whole family. Wednesday 14 November Many of the judges handing down these sentences are known to be biased against religious minorities, and to hand down excessively harsh sentences as a result. Please pray for God to work powerfully in their hearts to turn them away from hatred and towards justice.

Thursday 15 November We were very pleased to learn of the acquittal of Mohammadali Yassaghi, also known as Estifan. He was released from prison on 25 June after a judge dismissed the charges against him, which included ‘spreading propaganda against the establishment’. Join us in giving thanks for Estifan’s freedom. Friday 16 November Today, please pray for special strength from God for Iranian Christians: that they would be able to persevere in their faith and call on supernatural resources of courage and wisdom. Saturday 17 November Heavenly Father, today we lift the nation of Iran to you. You are a God to whom prison walls and guards mean nothing: you are a God who sets captives free. We pray that you will be that God for all those in Iran who are in prison because of their faith. Comfort them, protect them and, ultimately, free them; and deliver all who are threatened with imprisonment. Amen.

Tuesday 13 November Reverend Victor Bet-Tamraz is awaiting the outcome of his appeal against a ten-year sentence for ‘conducting evangelism’ and ‘illegal house church activities’ 7


International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

Your prayers are needed for Mexico. Church in Need in prayer and action, let’s pray God’s protection over Mexico’s Catholic priests. Mexico is currently the second most dangerous country in the world to be a priest.

Week 6: 18-24 November This week marks the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We’re joining Christians around the world in prayer and action. We’ve seen countless seemingly impossible situations turned around through prayer, so join us in praying our prayer for the persecuted Church throughout this week.

Thursday 29 November

Father God, As one Church, united under your holy headship, and knowing that we are all one family in Christ; We pray for those who suffer in your name all over the world, our brothers and sisters, who share in that same great gift of salvation through your Son, but who face injustice, oppression and even death because of their faith in you. We want to walk with them as they journey through the valley of darkness, and we pray knowing that you are a God of compassion, comfort, and justice; who always hears their prayers, never leaves them and will forever be their fortress and shield, whatever they face. We pray that you will grant them strength, courage, and protection from those who seek to harm them because they follow you; Guidance and wisdom for when their path seems impossible to tread, And hope for a future where they have the freedom to worship you without fear. In the name of Jesus, Amen 8

Week 7: 25 November-1 December Many criminal groups view church leaders, both Catholic and Protestant, and their influence, as a threat to their power. In remote communities the majority religious group often believes it is their right to enforce religious belief and practice, and will attempt to force minority religions to conform to the faith and traditions of the majority. Furthermore, a culture of impunity in the local and federal governments means that justice can often be extremely slow in arriving. Sunday 25 November Religious leaders often take on the role of human rights defenders: however, this comes at a cost. Thirty-three religious leaders were killed between November 2013 and July 2018. Pray God’s protection over Mexico’s religious leaders today. Monday 26 November On 23 May two members of the Seventh Day Adventists (Iglesia Adventista) were arrested in San Miguel Chiptic, where local officials have attempted to force members of the Guilherme Romano

Iglesia Adventista from their homes. Thank God for their subsequent release. Tuesday 27 November As many members of the Iglesia Adventista in San Miguel Chiptic have had their homes destroyed, or been forced to leave them, please pray that God would protect them and that the authorities would take strong action against the perpetrators. Wednesday 28 November

Our Faith and a Future campaign has highlighted the fact that many children belonging to minority religious groups are frequently barred from attending school by local leaders, in an effort to pressure their parents to join the majority faith. Today, pray that every child in Mexico has access to the education they deserve. Friday 30 November Many of the cases we’re working on have been ongoing for a long time. Pray that God would continue to grant perseverance and endurance to our Latin America advocacy team, and that their faithful patience would be rewarded with justice served and freedom delivered. Saturday 1 December Lord God, today we commit the nation of Mexico to you. You know how long some of the people we’ve been working with have waited for justice: grant it to them soon, we pray. Amen.

On RedWednesday, a day where we join with Catholic organisation Aid to the 9


1st week of Advent.

2nd week of Advent. Week 9: 9-15 December

Chinese Christian human rights lawyer Zhang Kai was arrested and spent over six months in detention after a crackdown on human rights lawyers in 2015.

Attacks on the Coptic community persist in parts of Upper Egypt, and the lives and rights of ordinary Egyptians continue to be impacted by the government’s counter terrorism strategy. Together, let’s cover Egypt in prayer this week. Sunday 9 December But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:24) Monday 10 December The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1) Tuesday 11 December

Week 8: 2-8 December Throughout Advent, we’re joining together to pray scripture over a particular country on which we work. In the face of a systematic, targeted campaign of harassment against both registered and unregistered, Catholic and Protestant churches, as well as against people of other beliefs, let’s stand in prayer for China. Sunday 2 December The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall; for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37: 23-24) Monday 3 December The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8) Tuesday 4 December

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You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for

relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “ Do not fear.” (Lamentations 3: 56-57) Wednesday 5 December But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. (Psalm 5:11) Thursday 6 December Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world

gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27) Wednesday 12 December May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. (Psalm 20:1) Thursday 13 December I can do all things through God who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)Friday 14

Friday 14 December “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Saturday 15 December Lord God, we commit the country of Egypt to you and ask you to watch over all its people: particularly Christians. We know that you are a God who answers when he is called upon, who can grant protection and strength in abundance: we ask that you grant this to Copts in Egypt today. Amen.

(2 Corinthians 4:16) Friday 7 December The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. (Habbakuk 3:19) Saturday 8 December Heavenly Father, we lift the nation of China to you in prayer on this first week of Advent. Thank you for all those who persevere in their faith despite the intense pressure on them, and we ask that you would protect them and fill them with your strength. Amen.

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3rd week of Advent.

4th week of Advent. Week 11: 23-29 December Increasing Hindu nationalism is making India increasingly dangerous for Christians, Muslims and human rights activists of all faiths. Sunday 23 December

Tuesday 25 December

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Monday 24 December

Giulio Paletta/CSW

Week 10: 16-22 December Indonesia’s tradition of tolerance faces increasing erosion, as the country prepares to hold presidential elections in April 2019. Sunday 16 December For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does; The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. (Psalm 33:4-5) Monday 17 December Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4) Tuesday 18 December But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and 12

protect you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3) Wednesday 19 December We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4: 8-9) Thursday 20 December But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they

He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9: 8-9)

Wednesday 26 December “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.” (2 Samuel 22:3) Thursday 27 December “Surely God is my salvation;

I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2) Friday 28 December The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. (Nahum 1:7) Saturday 29 December Lord God, on this final week of Advent we remember the people of India and commit them to you: especially those who are still awaiting justice after surviving religiouslymotivated attacks. Move in power and grant them justice, Lord, we pray. Amen.

will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31) Friday 21 December If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) Saturday 22 December Heavenly Father, God of governments and nations, we commit the people of Indonesia to you as they enter a year in which they’ll vote for a new president. We ask you to bless the electoral process and move powerfully to bring about change: a return to tolerance, pluralism, and peace for all of Indonesia’s citizens. Amen. Marcus Perkins/CSW

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Prayer of dedication for 2019.

Prayer for CSW

Week 12: 30 December-5 January

we pray, and grant them energy and strength. Amen.

As we mark our 40th anniversary in 2019, please join us thanking God for his favour over the last 40 years, and dedicating our work to him.

Thursday 10 January We believe everyone deserves to have their story heard.

Week 13: 6-12 January Join us as we continue to commit CSW’s work to God for 2019 and beyond. Our manifesto sets out the heartbeat of our ministry: what we stand for, what we believe in and the foundations of what we do. Pray with us as we journey through our manifesto this week.

Father God, We thank you for your abundant blessings over the last 40 years; Thank you for every prisoner released, Every family reunited, Every story told. Thank you for guiding to stand against injustice, For walking with them and enabling them to walk alongside others. Thank you for everyone who has been part of their work: For partners around the world, For every dedicated member of staff, And for thousands of faithful supporters all over the world. We dedicate the future of CSW to you, and humbly ask for your continued blessing, And your provision and guidance as they work towards a world where everyone is free to believe. Amen. 14

Sunday 6 January We believe everyone has the right to justice. Heavenly Father, the God of justice, we ask for your blessing on our work for those facing injustice because of their religion or belief around the world. No one deserves to face injustice because of the religion or belief they choose, and we ask for your divine wisdom as we stand against injustice. Amen. Monday 7 January We believe no one should suffer discrimination, harassment or persecution because of their beliefs. Lord, when we think of everyone who suffers unjustly because of their religion or belief, it seems overwhelming: but each and every person is known to you. We commit CSW to you, and ask you to guide and strengthen them in the year ahead as they stand as a

voice for justice and freedom. Amen. Tuesday 8 January We believe your voice holds unimaginable power and can save lives. Thank you, Father God, for giving us a voice an equipping us to use that voice in the defence of persecuted Christians. Thank you that our prayers and actions can save lives. Help us to speak out for justice wherever and whenever we can. Amen. Wednesday 8 January We believe our research and analysis enable policymakers to stand up for freedom of religion or belief. Thank you for the tireless and dedicated work of CSW’s advocates and partners, as they gather evidence and provide unique analysis of the FoRB situation around the world. Bless their work,

Every story CSW has ever uncovered, of tragedy and loss, triumph and perseverance, is known personally to you, Lord. We commit the people concerned to you again, and ask for abundant spiritual and physical resources to bring these stories to the highest levels of power. Amen. Friday 11 January We believe in mobilising activists to bring change. Thank you so much for the resources and activists you have blessed us with, Lord. In every step we can see your provision for our work through our Ambassadors, supporters and partners: we’re so grateful for each and every one of them. Amen. Saturday 12 January We believe in the power of prayer to bring change. Thank you Lord for hearing each and every prayer lifted to you on behalf of CSW, and those whom they serve. Thank you that we can bring everything we do to you. Remind us to keep committing everything to you in prayer, and to rely on your strength rather than our own. Amen. 15


Our manifesto #13

We believe in the power of prayer to bring change.

As Christians, we stand with everyone facing injustice because of their religion or belief. T +44 (0)20 8329 0010 @CSW_UK /CSWUK csw.org.uk

PO Box 99 New Malden Surrey, KT3 3YF United Kingdom

Prayer Diary: October 2018 - January 2019  
Prayer Diary: October 2018 - January 2019  
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