Weekly Prayer Updates for VOM Persecuted Christians

 

As we go about our daily lives and the freedoms that we are so greatly blessed with in a free society, may we stop each and every day and thank our Heavenly Father for the opportunities to openly worship without fear of reprisal or imprisonment. Take time each and every day to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world that are dealing with persecution even to the point of losing their life for His sake. Prayer is a mighty tool that God has given to us to use for His honor and glory. Take time right now to pray and ask God to give them victory in their lives in Jesus' name.
 

Thank you for praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.
"Always respond to every impulse to pray. The impulse to pray may come when you are reading or when you are battling with a text. I would make an absolute law of this – always obey such an impulse." Martyn Lloyd-Jones
"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." – Joshua 24:15


Jul. 20, 2017 | Nigeria
Pray for Sanga Barau Who is Undergoing Surgeries Following an Attack
[268] prayers in [17] nations have been posted for Sanga.
 
In April 2016, Sanga Barau was walking to her farm in northern Nigeria when Muslim Fulani herdsmen (a nomadic tribe which often collaborates with Boko Haram terrorists) shot in her direction. The bullet struck her upper neck, dislocating her jaw and damaging teeth. She fell unconscious. Hours later, Sanga was rushed to the Buth Hospital. Since then, she has had numerous surgeries and still needs more reconstructive surgeries on her face. For several weeks, Sanga was not allowed to leave the hospital until her family paid her bills, which they were unable to do. She returned home after VOM stepped in to assist with her current and future medical expenses, and ongoing care. Pray that Sanga’s surgeries are successful and she experiences healing. Pray that her testimony will encourage and challenge other believers.


Jul. 20, 2017 | India
Pray for Aju Mathew, Released After 42 Days in Prison
[127] prayers in [14] nations have been posted for Aju.
 
Authorities arrested Aju Mathew as he took 14 poor children living in a Christian children’s home on a field trip in southern India. They then falsely charged him with human trafficking and the conversion of minors. Aju spent 42 days in prison, enduring poor conditions and intense interrogations, but he also built relationships with other prisoners and shared his testimony. Despite the harsh treatment in prison, guards allowed Aju to have a Bible. Before he was released from prison, Aju gave the Bible to a Muslim who had recognized his own sin. Aju, now free, reports he is closer to the Lord than he has ever been. Pray for Aju as he starts his life again with an emboldened faith. Pray for the prisoners Aju shared God’s love with, including the Muslim man who is reading his Bible.


Jul. 20, 2017 | Iran
Pray for Two Christian Men Who Received Lengthy Prison Sentences
[155] prayers in [14] nations have been posted for Hadi and Amin.
 
In July, The Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced Hadi Asgari and Amin Afshar Naderi to 10 years in prison. Amin received an additional five years for blasphemy. The court also ruled the two are not allowed to leave the country for two years following their prison terms. Amin and Hadi were arrested with several other believers on Aug. 26, 2016, during a family party. After their first six months in prison, Amin and Hadi began hunger strikes to protest their treatment. Amin grew seriously ill while in solitary confinement. Hadi suffered from an untreated kidney infection. Please pray for Amin and Hadi’s health and treatment to improve. Pray for peace as they begin serving their sentences and pray that they’re released soon.


Jul. 14, 2017 | Myanmar
Pray for Friends and Family of Tabitha, Who Died Recently
[229] prayers in [15] nations have been posted for Tabitha's family.

“Tabitha,” the only Christian in an unreached area of Myanmar, died recently after Buddhists attacked her home. She had served faithfully for seven years and seen little fruit from her work. Finally, during the past year, 12 Buddhists had accepted Christ and been baptized. Local Buddhists took notice of these conversions, and Tabitha told Christian leaders that she was under surveillance. The night before her death, her home was surrounded by radical Buddhists carrying sticks. “She was only 32, and the official cause of death was a heart attack,” a VOM contact said. “It is unclear whether her heart attack was natural, aggravated by this traumatic event, brought on by poison or something else.” Pray for the new believers who were under her leadership as well as others mourning her loss.


Jul. 14, 2017 | Uganda
Pray for Rebecca, Kicked Out of Her Home
[146] prayers in [14] nations have been posted for Rebecca.
 
A 23-year-old Ugandan woman was thrown out of her home by her family recently because of her new Christian faith. Rebecca came to faith in Christ after being healed of an illness. Her family had invited imams to pray, taken her to local shamans and even taken her to a hospital, but nothing had worked. Finally, a visiting Christian evangelist prayed for Rebecca and she recovered from her illness. Her family and clan rejected and threatened her because of her conversion to Christianity, and her brother eventually threw her out of the house. Rebecca is now living with a local pastor and his wife, who are teaching her about the Christian faith. She is concerned about what may happen when her father, a soldier, returns from military deployment. Pray for Rebecca’s safety and spiritual maturity.


Jul. 14, 2017 | Vietnam
Pray for Mr. Lee, Arrested and Beaten
[129] prayers in [12] nations have been posted for Mr. Lee.
 
A Vietnamese believer was arrested and beaten recently after police raided his home looking for Christian materials. A few day before arresting “Mr. Lee”, police had arrested other Vietnamese Christians and discovered Christian materials on their digital music players. The Christians stated under duress that the materials had come from Mr. Lee, a dedicated Christian in northern Vietnam. Police didn’t find anything in the raid, but they still detained him for two days, beat him and warned him to stop distributing Christian materials. Pray for Mr. Lee’s perseverance and encouragement.


Jul. 07, 2017 | Laos
Pray for Keowynn, Kicked Out of His Home by His Son
[139] prayers in [10] nations have been posted for Keowynn and his family.
 
“Keowynn” and his family recently moved to a new area to share the gospel with an unreached people group. As his new church grew, however, his oldest son began to reject God. He started drinking and abusing drugs, and he wants nothing to do with his father’s Christian faith. Now he has forced his parents and sister out of their home, claiming it as his own, and the family is living in a straw hut in the middle of a rice field. Despite the difficult living conditions, Keowynn is determined to stay in the area and minister to new believers. Please pray for Keowynn and his family, and pray that Christ will reveal Himself to Keowynn’s son.


Jul. 07, 2017 | China
Pray for Pastor Zhang Shaojie, Tortured in Prison
[84] prayers in [11] nations have been posted for Zhang Shaojie.
 
Pastor Zhang Shaojie, who is serving a 12-year prison sentence in Xinxiang Prison, Henan Province, is reportedly being tortured by starvation and sleep deprivation. The pastor, along with 23 church members, was arrested on Nov. 16, 2013, on a false fraud charge and for “gathering a crowd to disrupt the public order.” Pastor Zhang had been serving as pastor of the government-approved Nanle County Church and as a local leader for the China Christian Council. Recently released prisoners report that the pastor is “barely alive” and is suffering both mentally and physically. Pray for Pastor Zhang’s health and release.


Jul. 07, 2017 | Tanzania
Pray for Three Young Christian Women Abused by Muslim Leaders
[101] prayers in [9] nations have been posted for Abused Christian Women.
 
Three teenage girls who converted from Islam to Christianity were subsequently raped by their former imams and pressured to return to Islam through marriage to Muslim men. VOM worked with local Christians to rescue and relocate the young women before they could be forced into Muslim marriages, and we have also helped with their education. The youngest is finishing her primary education and is being supported through a safe home project, but the other two had to leave school in order to care for babies fathered by the imams. Pray that these three young women will be able to rebuild their lives and that God will heal the wounds of emotional trauma and isolation they have suffered from their families and community. Pray also that they will grow in faith and nurture the faith of their children.


Jun. 30, 2017 | India
Pray for Pastor Falgun and His Family, Attacked by Hindu Militants
[133] prayers in [10] nations have been posted for Falgun and family.
 
Hindu militants attacked a Christian family recently as they prayed in their own home. On May 3, Pastor “Falgun”, his wife and his sister- and brother-in-law were praying for a sick neighbor when about 10 members of a Hindu extremist group rushed into the home and attacked the pastor with sticks. When the pastor’s sister-in-law intervened, one of the militants grabbed her by the hair and smashed her head into the wall. The woman’s husband tried to protect her, but they then beat him as well. After the militants finally left, more than two hours later, all four of the Christians were admitted to the hospital. The hospital discharged them the next day under pressure from the extremists, but the pastor’s sister-in-law was later diagnosed with a blood clot in her head. The four are now being treated at another hospital.


Jun. 30, 2017 | Eritrea
Pray for 45 Christians Arrested in Adi Quala
[69] prayers in [8] nations have been posted for Arrested Christians.
 
On May 13, Eritrean security forces arrested 45 believers during a house-to-house search specifically targeting evangelical Christians in the town of Adi Quala. All of the Christians, including children, elderly men and a disabled woman, were taken to a nearby village. A Christian who tried to bring food to the group was himself arrested, and all are now being held without charge. During the month of May alone, 122 Christians have been arrested in Eritrea. All have been members of unregistered churches; only Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox Christian churches are legal in Eritrea.


Jun. 30, 2017 | Kazakhstan
Pray for Yuri Pak, Recently Released from Prison
[64] prayers in [7] nations have been posted for Yuri Pak.
 
Yuri Pak was released from prison on June 17, 2017, after spending two years in prison on a conviction of making a bomb threat. VOM workers and Christians in Kazakhstan believe the government targeted Yuri because of his outspoken faith and his ability as a teacher to influence students. “Our family is extremely grateful to each one of you for your prayers and letters with words of encouragement and faith,” said Yuri’s wife, Olga. “Your prayers and letters helped us to go through this difficult trial without losing our faith and courage. We believe that ‘your labor is not in vain before the Lord.’ With love in Christ: Yuri, Olga, Anna and Daniel Pak.”


Jun. 23, 2017 | Kenya
Pray for Diana as She Recovers from an Attack by Muslim Extremists
[237] prayers in [13] nations have been posted for Diana.
 
Diana continues to recover from wounds she suffered three years ago when Muslim extremists attacked her church one Sunday morning. She and her husband, Austin, were among 21 worshipers severely wounded in an attack on the Joy in Jesus Pentecostal Church in Mombasa, Kenya. In addition to those wounded, seven people were killed in the attack. Diana underwent multiple surgeries and was left deeply discouraged. VOM workers have helped facilitate medical care and have continued to encourage the family since the attack. Most recently, Diana was disheartened to learn that a scheduled surgery had to be postponed because her surgeon was not available. Please pray for Diana’s continued recovery and for others affected by the attack.


Jun. 23, 2017 | Iraq
Pray for Christina, a 6-Year-Old Girl Freed from the Islamic State
[152] prayers in [12] nations have been posted for Christina Abada.
 
Christina Abada, a 6-year-old Iraqi girl, was reunited with her Christian family on June 9 after being held by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) for three years. While Christina is in good health, it is unclear what she may have endured or witnessed while in captivity, and she has no memory of her mother and father. Her family, originally from Qaraqosh, currently live in a camp for displaced Iraqis in Erbil. On June 9, they received a call alerting them that Christina had been found in a poor neighborhood of Mosul that had been recently liberated by Iraqi forces. Please pray that Christina will be restored spiritually and emotionally and that she will fully reconnect with her family.


Jun. 23, 2017 | Pakistan
Pray for the Families of Two Chinese Students Killed by ISIS
[129] prayers in [13] nations have been posted for Chinese Students' Families.
 
Two Chinese students, whom the Pakistani government accused of “preaching,” were kidnapped and killed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) in May. Chinese nationals Li Xinheng and Lu Ling Lina lived in Quetta, Pakistan, where they were studying at a local language school with the intent of becoming teachers. On May 24, their vehicle was stopped by men dressed as police officers. Li Xinheng and Lu Ling Lina were pulled from their vehicle and forced into another vehicle, while a third Chinese student managed to escape. A local man who tried to help the students was shot in the foot. The Pakistani military responded by raiding the militants’ hideout and killing 12 ISIS fighters, but the two Chinese hostages were already dead. Other foreigners living in Pakistan are understandably concerned. Please pray for the families of the Chinese students who were killed and for 11 other Chinese students who have been sent home.


Jun. 16, 2017 | Uganda
Pray for Moses, Facing Persecution from Muslim Family and Friends
[205] prayers in [13] nations have been posted for Moses.
 
Moses, who recently left Islam to follow Jesus, has faced repeated persecution since his conversion. His family kicked him off their property and denied him access to his own land, Muslim friends rejected him and prevented him from working in his carpentry workshop, and local Muslims killed a cow he was caring for and even threatened to kill him. With VOM’s support, Moses is further developing his carpentry skills so he can continue to support himself. Pray that Moses will grow in faith and that his carpentry business will be successful. Also pray for the restoration of relationships with family and friends.


Jun. 16, 2017 | India
Pray for Six Christians Arrested on False Charges
[122] prayers in [13] nations have been posted for Falsely Charged Christians.
 
Six Christian leaders were arrested on May 10 as they conducted an open air gathering in Mau, Uttar Pradesh. A local Hindu political leader reportedly bribed the police to have them arrested after area Hindus claimed the men were coercing people to convert to Christianity. The Christian men and their families have been mistreated by their Hindu neighbors in the past, being turned away from village activities and community marriage celebrations. The six men were reportedly released from jail and are awaiting their court dates. Pray that the men and their families will continue to share Christ’s love with their community, including those who have persecuted them. Pray that many Hindus will come to know Jesus as a result of their example and that the charges against them will be dropped.


Jun. 16, 2017 | China
Pray for Zhang Xiuhong, Imprisoned for Church Work
[126] prayers in [12] nations have been posted for Zhang.
 
Zhang Xiuhong, a volunteer accountant for the Living Stone Church (or Huoshi) in China, was recently sentenced to five years in prison because of her work with the church. She was arrested in July 2015 on charges of operating an illegal business, but her trial didn’t conclude until February 2017. Zhang’s husband, Chen Zukai, is now caring for their two children as well as for his 80-year-old mother. Chinese authorities have repeatedly targeted the Living Stone Church in recent years, freezing its assets, expelling church members from the property and arresting one of the church’s founders. Pray that Zhang will be granted an early release and that she will have opportunities to share the gospel with other prisoners and guards.


Jun. 09, 2017 | Indonesia
Pray for Three Churches Closed by Islamists
[188] prayers in [16] nations have been posted for Worshippers in Closed Churches.
 
Three churches in West Java, Indonesia, were closed on May 23 after Islamic education leaders protested their existence in the area. A crowd of about 200 Islamists as well as 50 local government officials, police and military officers gathered in front of the churches as Muslim leaders preached Quranic teachings for three hours. Pray for the affected Christians as they seek to continue gathering for worship. Pray that they will have many opportunities to display the love and peace of Christ as the situation develops. Pray also that the Muslims will be touched by the Christians’ unity.


Jun. 09, 2017 | Sri Lanka
Pray for Christians Affected by Increasing Persecution
[94] prayers in [9] nations have been posted for Sri Lankan Christians.
 
On May 18, about 30 Buddhist monks led 200 people in a protest against a church in Devinuwara. Intimidation of Christians and attacks on places of worship have increased recently, with more than 20 incidents occurring across the country since the beginning of this year. Since the current government took control in 2015, more than 190 attacks on churches, clergy and Christian worshipers have been recorded by a VOM partner. While attacks and protests have occurred in the past, the increasing intensity and active involvement of local government officials are cause for concern. Various religious freedom laws continue to be misapplied to churches, forcing many to close in recent years. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka, who are facing trials of many kinds. Pray that they will stand firm in their faith and continue sharing the love of Christ despite the persecution.


Jun. 09, 2017 | Eritrea
Pray for Christians Arrested for Their Faith
[129] prayers in [13] nations have been posted for Eritrean Christians.
 
Eritrean security officers have arrested all members of the Kale Hiwot church in Adiquala, near the Ethiopian border. Among those arrested were 12 children, the youngest of whom is just 2 months old. The Christians were reportedly picked up one by one from their homes. Please pray for these dear brothers and sisters, especially the children. Pray that they will sense God’s presence in jail, knowing that Christians around the world are praying for them, and that they will be freed soon.


Jun. 02, 2017 | Philippines
Pray for Christians Kidnapped and Terrorized in Extremist Attack
[230] prayers in [13] nations have been posted for Kidnapped Christians.
 
Fourteen Christians were kidnapped on May 23 during an attack on Marawi, Philippines. About 100 Islamic extremists overran the city, firing machine guns and marking the territory as their own by raising black ISIS flags. In addition to the kidnappings, the Islamists burned a cathedral and Christian-run college and seized a hospital and jail. The city’s terrified residents remain locked in their houses. Pray for the safety and quick release of the 14 hostages. Pray for the Christian community as they rebuild the cathedral and for the largely Christian college staff, who serve a predominantly Muslim student body. Pray for peace in Marawi and that those responsible will be brought to justice.


Jun. 02, 2017 | Uganda
Pray for Francis, a Christian Worker Receiving Threatening Messages
[128] prayers in [12] nations have been posted for Francis.
 
“Francis,” a Christian worker in Uganda, received a threatening text message on April 6 warning him about his work. Calling Francis an infidel, the message’s sender warned him that he knows where he lives and will beat Francis if he ever catches him “abusing Islam” again. Francis helps train young pastors who reach out to Muslims and also works with refugees from South Sudan. He often takes a team of student pastors with him to the camp to help encourage and pray for the refugees. Pray for Francis’ safety. Pray that he will remain fearless as he continues his work among Christian and Muslim refugees and as he trains front-line workers to share the gospel throughout Uganda. Also pray that the person who sent the text message will come to know Christ.


Jun. 02, 2017 | Afghanistan
Pray for a Kidnapped Aid Worker and Family of a Murdered Worker
[123] prayers in [11] nations have been posted for an Aid Worker.
 
Two women working for Sweden-based Operation Mercy were targeted by unknown attackers at their guest house in Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 20. A German national and her Afghan guard were killed, while a woman from Finland was kidnapped. The German woman had been working in Afghanistan for 13 years and was most recently leading a literacy project. Her Finnish co-worker had been in the country for only three months and was studying a local language to further her work there. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Pray for the safety and release of the Finnish worker, and pray for the families of both workers and of the Afghan guard, who was beheaded in the attack. Pray for the safety of Operation Mercy’s staff and others serving in Afghanistan.

 

 

 

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