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


Jan. 11, 2018 | Pakistan
Pray for Aliza, Injured in a Deadly Church Bombing
[261] prayers in [16] nations have been posted for Aliza.
 
Aliza, a 1-year-old girl, lost her foot as a result of an injury suffered in the Dec. 17 Quetta church bombing that killed 11 people and seriously injured 50 others. Four suicide bombers approached the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church during a children’s Christmas celebration, but only one bomber managed to set off his explosives at the church entrance. The vigilance of church security personnel prevented the bombers from entering the sanctuary and causing more casualties among the 400 believers inside. Pray for the complete healing of Aliza’s wounds and for her emotional well-being, and pray for her parents as they care for her and nurture her faith. Also pray for those who lost loved ones and for the others injured in the blast.


Jan. 11, 2018 | Laos
Pray for Five Christians Arrested at a Christmas Celebration
[138] prayers in [10] nations have been posted for Arrested Christians.
 
Four Hmong Christians and one Khmu Christian have been in prison since Dec. 30, when they were arrested for hosting a Christmas celebration without the permission of village authorities. One of the men had also showed the JESUS film on a projector to the whole village and started to evangelize in public. He even invited people to accept Christ publicly, which is also prohibited. Police fined each man 2,500,000 kip (about $300) for bringing four trucks into the village without permission, and no one has been allowed to visit them. Pray that these five believers will remain strong in their faith and will be a light for Christ while in prison. Pray also for their wives, who must care for their families alone and are responsible for bringing food to their husbands in prison.


Jan. 11, 2018 | Korea, North
Pray for Missionary L, Releasing Gospel Balloons
[146] prayers in [11] nations have been posted for Missionary L.
 
“Missionary L” is using a simple, time-tested method of sending the gospel into North Korea, but it’s not without risk. The missionary releases orange plastic gospel balloons printed with the first chapter of Genesis into the river, where the current carries them to North Korea. While launching the balloons, he often comes dangerously close to North Korean border guards. Pray for Missionary L as he continues to share God’s Word in this way. Pray for his safety and pray that God will prepare the hearts of all those who receive the gospel balloons.


Jan. 04, 2018 | Vietnam
Pray for Three Families Evicted from Their Village
[304] prayers in [15] nations have been posted for Evicted Families.
 
Three Christian families were recently forced from their homes by relatives, with the tacit approval of village authorities. The attackers demolished the Christians’ houses and took their farmland, so the believers and their children have been forced to live under a tarp in the jungle. Police have refused to get involved, saying the incident was a family matter. A VOM worker will meet with the Christians to encourage them. Pray that these Christians will be restored to their families and that their faith will remain strong through this trial.


Jan. 04, 2018 | Sri Lanka
Pray for a Pastor Forced to Stop Holding Services
[165] prayers in [12] nations have been posted for Sri Lankan Pastor.
 
Local authorities in a Sri Lankan village have ordered a pastor to stop holding Christian worship services. On Dec. 9, a police officer and a member of the local peace committee questioned the pastor about his church’s worship activities. According to the officer, a number of villages in the area had complained about the Christian services. The officer insisted that the pastor needed approval from the Ministry of Buddha Sasana in order to continue religious activities, and he demanded that the pastor stop holding worship services until receiving that approval. Pray that the pastor will be able to continue holding services.


Jan. 04, 2018 | Indonesia
Pray for Pastor Abraham, Charged with Blasphemy
[169] prayers in [14] nations have been posted for Pastor Abraham.
 
An Indonesian pastor was charged with blasphemy recently after he shared his Christian faith in a taxi. In a widely circulated video, Pastor Abraham Ben Moses is heard speaking with a taxi driver about the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings on marriage. He can also be heard asking the driver to convert to Christianity. Pastor Abraham’s Internet evangelism has also been cited as a basis for the blasphemy charges, which were filed against him after Indonesia’s second-largest Islamic organization complained to authorities. The pastor, who is from Tangerang, Java, faces the possibility of five years in prison if convicted. He is the first member of the Christian clergy in Indonesia to be charged with blasphemy. Pray that justice will be served and that Indonesian Christians will not become too timid to share their faith.


Dec. 28, 2017 | Myanmar
Pray for the Family of Tai Tai, Killed for His Faith
[460] prayers in [20] nations have been posted for Tai Tai's family.
 
“Tai Tai,” a recent Christian convert in Shan state, was killed this past summer because of his Christian faith. After becoming a believer in January 2017, the 41-year-old had been active in his church and in sharing the gospel with the Palong people. As he grew bolder in proclaiming Christ, villagers began to hate him. Then, one day while collecting firewood he was brutally murdered, suffering severe wounds to his chest, back, neck and head. His family fled the village, fearing for their own safety, and local missionaries helped bury his body outside the village. Because he was a Christian, he could not be buried in the village cemetery. Pray for Tai Tai’s wife and five children as they mourn his death. Pray that their faith will continue to grow despite their loss.


Dec. 28, 2017 | Uzbekistan
Pray for Irina, Facing Charges for Possessing Christian Materials
[259] prayers in [15] nations have been posted for Irina.
 
On Nov. 10, police in Andijan, in eastern Uzbekistan, raided the apartment of Irina Stepanova, a member of a local Baptist church. Although they claimed to be searching for illegal guns, police instead confiscated three Bibles, a Baptist song book, Christian magazines and booklets, 22 CDs and DVDs, and six personal notebooks with poems. Irina was subsequently charged with the illegal storage and import of religious materials with the intent to distribute. Pray that Irina will remain strong in her faith, will reflect the love of Christ throughout her trial and will be cleared of the charges.


Dec. 21, 2017 | Pakistan
Eleven Killed in Church Attack
[265] prayers in [12] nations have been posted for Injured Pakistani Christians.
 
At least 11 people were killed and 50 seriously injured in an attack Sunday, Dec. 17, on a Methodist church in Quetta, Pakistan. Four suicide bombers approached the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church during a children’s Christmas celebration, but only one bomber managed to set off his explosives at the church entrance. One of the other bombers was shot as he entered the compound, and the other two fled the scene. The vigilance of church security personnel prevented the bombers from entering the sanctuary and causing more casualties among the 400 believers inside. A funeral was held the next day for the 11 people killed. A VOM partner who is providing help asked us to pray that God will comfort victims and family members and that “the Christian community will come together to stand strong in a country that is seeing lots of turmoil.”


Dec. 21, 2017 | China
University Bans Christmas as "Western Religious Culture"
[125] prayers in [10] nations have been posted for Christians celebrating Christmas.
 
The Communist Youth League at Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, in northeastern China, published a notice recently prohibiting student associations from holding Christmas celebrations. The notice, intended to “build cultural confidence” and resist the corroding influence of Western religious culture, warned young people against being “blindly excited by Western holidays like Christmas.” The city of Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province, also banned all Christmas activities in schools and kindergartens. In 2015, the city of Wenzhou required churches to remove crosses from their buildings. Many in China are concerned about increasing restrictions on religious activity under president Xi Jinping. Pray that God will prepare Chinese believers for whatever they may face in coming months.


Dec. 21, 2017 | Sri Lanka
Pray for Christians Ordered to Stop Worshiping
[135] prayers in [12] nations have been posted for Sri Lankan Believers.
 
On Nov. 17, three officials from the Mahaweli Development Authority and three Buddhist monks entered the Church of Gospel Ministry, Palatiyawa, and threatened to take the Christians’ land if they continued to hold worship services. The Christians refused to comply, stating their religious rights, and that evening they filed a complaint about the threats with local police. Pray that these believers will be able to continue worshiping freely and that authorities and community members will be inspired by their bold faith.


Dec. 14, 2017 | Belarus
Pray for Christians Detained for Distributing Christian Literature
[173] prayers in [10] nations have been posted for Harassed Church Members.
 
Police have detained and questioned members of an evangelical church in northern Belarus three times in the last two months for distributing Christian literature. On Oct. 14, police arrested Andrei Fokin as he and other believers distributed Christian books and magazines in the Lepel town market. He was released after a warning, but later fined for repeat offenses. On Nov. 4, police again interrupted their literature distribution, this time taking nine Christians to the police station. Prior to the Oct. 14 arrest, the church had served the community through its street library ministry since 2004 without objection from authorities. Pray that church members will be able to pay their fines and resume their library ministry without harassment.


Dec. 14, 2017 | China
Pray for Pastor Li Wanhua, Harassed and Pressured by Chinese Police
[109] prayers in [8] nations have been posted for Li Wanhua.
 
Chinese police have repeatedly harassed a house church pastor in recent months, pressuring him to join the state-run Three Self Church. On Nov. 9, security officials arrested Pastor Li Wanhua at his home and took him in for interrogation. They confiscated his Bible and a book of poetry, threatening to ban his house church if it did not stop meeting. In June, Pastor Li was detained for three days after being accused of “organizing cult organizations to … undermine law enforcement,” and authorities confiscated 12 Bibles and 48 songbooks from the church. Pray for Pastor Li’s faith and boldness, and pray that the house church will be able to continue meeting.


Dec. 14, 2017 | Iran
Pray for Two Iranian Christians Recently Released on Bail
[108] prayers in [8] nations have been posted for Mohammad Ali Torabi and Abdol-Ali Pourmand.
 
Mohammad Ali Torabi and Abdol-Ali Pourmand were each released from prison on $60,000 bail in late November, following their arrest in mid-October on unspecified charges related to their Christian activities. Both men served at the Message of Peace Church in Dezful before their arrest. One of the men told his family that prison guards had tried to force him to participate in Islamic prayer while in prison. Pray for Mohammad and Abdol-Ali as they consider their next steps.


Dec. 07, 2017 | India
Pray for Christian Leaders Charged with Forced Conversions
[176] prayers in [13] nations have been posted for Christian Leaders.
 
In September, six Christian lay leaders were invited to a man’s house to pray for his sick wife. While praying, a group of people arrived at the house, forced the Christians outside and beat them. They took the six Christians to the police station and filed charges against them, accusing them of forcing people to convert to Christianity. The Christians were imprisoned for one month but have since been released. Please pray that these believers will remain faithful. Pray that the charges will be dropped and that nonbelievers in their community will be inspired by their example.


Dec. 07, 2017 | Algeria
Pray for Algerian Christians Facing Increasing Intimidation
[109] prayers in [10] nations have been posted for Intimidated Algerian Christians.
 
Authorities in northwestern Algeria shut down a church and arrested several Christians recently. “Over the past few months, it seems that the Algerian government is doing this all over the country,” a VOM worker said. On Nov. 9, authorities in Ain Turk closed a church, confiscated its equipment and arrested several worshipers after accusing the church of illegally printing materials for evangelism. Those arrested were questioned by police before being released, and the church equipment was later returned. VOM workers said Islamic extremists are pressuring the government to intimidate Christians. “The Algerian believers are standing strong and not giving in to their tactics,” the VOM worker said.


Dec. 07, 2017 | China
Pray for Christians Forced to Reject Their Faith
[113] prayers in [10] nations have been posted for Pressured Chinese Christians.
 
Government officials in Jiangxi province have pledged to help Christians living in poverty under the condition that they reject their faith, follow communism and replace their pictures of Jesus with pictures of President Xi Jinping. While authorities claim the Christians are voluntarily replacing their religious images, believers have reportedly been visited by Communist Party officials checking to make sure the images have been replaced. These recent actions are linked to new regulations on religion that were implemented in the name of national security. The regulations prohibit unregistered religious groups from teaching about religion or participating in meetings outside the country. In addition, an ordinance scheduled to take effect in February will impose hefty fines on organizers of unapproved religious activities, another sign of increasing scrutiny of Christians. Pray for Chinese believers as they face increased persecution.


Nov. 30, 2017 | Myanmar
Pray for Htin and His Wife, Kicked Out of Their Village
[275] prayers in [11] nations have been posted for Htin and Wife.
 
After placing their faith in Christ in December 2016, “Htin” and his wife became the only Christians in their village. When family and friends learned of their conversion to Christianity, they told Htin that he and his wife were no longer welcome. Villagers then took all of the family’s possessions and threatened to kill them if they returned. An evangelist in another village took them in and helped them get additional help from their Christian family. VOM and others provided Htin with equipment to help him restart his painting business. “If I had known the believers around the world were standing with me, I would never have been discouraged,” Htin said.


Nov. 30, 2017 | Korea, North
Pray for Hoon, Learning About Jesus in China
[126] prayers in [9] nations have been posted for Hoon.
 
“Hoon,” a North Korean working in China, has been learning about Jesus from a Chinese missionary for several months, but they may no longer be able to meet. Missionary “Lee” gave Hoon an MP3 player to help him study Scripture, and Lee could tell that Hoon was open to the gospel. Recently, however, China has tightened its control over those working with North Koreans, and one of Lee’s friends who is a pastor was recently interrogated by Chinese police. In addition, China has considered canceling North Korean work visas because of the country’s ongoing nuclear testing. Many North Koreans in China are uncertain whether they will be allowed to stay in the country. Pray that Lee and Hoon will be able to continue meeting and that God will prepare Hoon’s heart to receive Him through the hearing of His Word.


Nov. 30, 2017 | Bangladesh
Pray for Imam Fedu, a New Christian Convert
[152] prayers in [10] nations have been posted for Imam Fedu.
 
Imam Fedu, a Muslim scholar and teacher in Bangladesh, recently placed his faith in Christ after receiving a Christian tract and hearing the gospel from a Christian worker. “Jesus is the Savior,” Fedu said. He immediately resigned from his Muslim work and made plans to be baptized. “In Scripture, Nicodemus was a big Jewish scholar, but he didn’t know how to be born again,” the Christian worker said. “It is the same with my friend. When I came back home, Fedu called and [said] he had already led another imam to Christ, and that he gave him a New Testament.” Fedu hopes the other imams who served with him at the mosque will all come to know the truth of Jesus. Pray that Fedu will grow in faith and that God will use him to reach other imams, who will then share the gospel with many Muslims. Pray also for the bold Christian worker who is sharing
the gospel with Muslim scholars.


Nov. 23, 2017 | Eritrea
Pray for Arrested Christian Students and Children of Arrested Parents
[348] prayers in [20] nations have been posted for Arrested Christian Students.
 
Sixteen Christian students were arrested earlier this month, the latest in a series of arrests since May 2017. The students, who were arrested after being discovered praying together, were held for more than two weeks before being released. Nearly 200 Christians have reportedly been arrested since May 2017. “What makes this persecution different is that whole families are now being arrested,” a VOM contact said. “Whereas in the past most were picked up at Bible studies or Christian services, now believers are being arrested at their homes. [Because of the arrests], more than 30 children have been left without parents or guardians and the security police are monitoring them to make sure they do not get support from the Christian community.” Please pray for all those affected by the arrests, especially for the children. Pray for an end to this persecution.


Nov. 23, 2017 | Iran
Pray for Pastor Mohammed Ali Torabi, Being Held in an Unknown Location
[232] prayers in [14] nations have been posted for Pastor Mohammed.
 
The leader of a house church in Khuzestan province, Pastor Mohammed Ali Torabi, was arrested on Oct. 18 at his workplace and taken to an unknown location. Two Christian converts from Islam were arrested the same day in the same city, but they were released after interrogation. According to Mohabat News, Iranian officials also raided Pastor Mohammed’s home, finding Bibles and Christian pamphlets. A number of believers in Khuzestan province have been arrested and imprisoned in recent years. Please pray for all Christians in this region, and pray that Pastor Mohammed will be released soon.

 

 

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