Saturday, March 3, 2012

Nazarene World Week of Prayer : Persecuted Church

With the formation of the Mesoamerica Region last year, the Church of the Nazarene now has six regions. This year we begin a new tradition with the requests for the seventh day of NWWP focused on the persecuted church. 100 million Christians around the globe currently are persecuted for their faith. This can take the form of imprisonment, abuse, hostility, and even death.

The prayer requests below have been gathered from various sources and do not necessarily reflect the work of the Church of the Nazarene or indicate that the denomination has work in these world areas.

1.     An evangelist in the Afghan-Pakistan border region reports being harrassed by a local leader and attacked by spiritual forces. The evangelist’s activities are being monitored, and another local leader announced that Christian activities “must be stopped.” Pray that God will grant supernatural strength to this brother and his church.

2.     A 26-year-old man was beheaded by extremists in Somalia in early January. The man worked for a Christian humanitarian organization that was banned by an extremist group. Pray for the man’s family and others who work for the humanitarian organization.

3.     It is said that there is no country harder to live in as a Christian than North Korea. Please pray for Christians in North Korea, asking God to extend His mercy and love to them and help them stand strong in their faith.

4.     Members of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in Colombia have prevented a Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) evangelist from entering the La Macarena region with items such as radios, Bibles, and Christian books. They are closing churches and burning buses attempting to enter the region. Please pray for believers in the region, that God will preserve their lives and give them courage.

5.     Pray for Christians in Afghanistan. In October 2011, it was reported that this country no longer had any church buildings and no Christian schools.

6.     Police beat and arrested a church leader in Khartoum, Sudan, amid increasing harassment of Christians following the 2011 secession of South Sudan. Pastors have been threatened. About 350,000 people, most of them Christians, fled to South Sudan after its secession, and Christianity is now regarded as a “foreign” religion in Sudan. Pray for the few remaining believers in the north.

7.     Authorities in China thwarted efforts by the Shouwang Church to lease a worship facility. Lacking a facility, the Beijing congregation was forced to meet outdoors, resulting in the arrest of 48 members. The congregation has tried three times to rent venues for its church, but each time the rental agreements are revoked due to pressure from the authorities.

8.     Susan Ithungu, a 15-year-old Christian girl in Uganda, lost the use of her legs after her father locked her in a room for six months for leaving Islam. She has now begun to take tentative steps. Well-wishers have paid the rent for the house where she lives and bought food and clothing for her. Susan says she has forgiven her father. Pray for Susan’s continued recovery and that Jesus’ love will touch her father’s heart.

9.     In North Korea, the country that has been consistently number one on Open Doors’ World Watch List, the Bible is absolutely forbidden. A Christian refugee recalls how his parents would sneak outside under cover of darkness to get their Bible. “Every night they went to the garden and dug up a pot. They took out a black book and read from it.” Pray for Christians who live in Gospel-resistant places like North Korea.

10.  Herdsmen and soldiers killed at least 45 ethnic Berom Christians in Nigeria in November 2011. The herdsman had leveled accusations of cattle theft, which sparked the killings. Church attendance was decimated, and Christians fled the town.

11.  A married couple that had served for 28 years as Baptist missionaries in Mexico were murdered on January 31. The area where they lived has suffered heavily from attacks by drug cartels, leading to the tentative conclusion that narcotics traffickers committed the crime. Drug traffickers oppose the message of Christ because it turns people away from their business.

12.  Pray for the physical protection of Christians being persecuted. Pray that they will see God’s grace as sufficient and God’s power perfected in their weakness. Pray that they will endure trials and that they will love their enemies. Above all, pray that they will trust God completely no matter the circumstance.

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Thank you for taking these to the throne room of our Lord, Jesus Christ.