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


May. 19, 2017 | Colombia
Pray for a Church Planter Receiving Death Threats
[236] prayers in [16] nations have been posted for Xavier.
 
“Xavier Gonzalez,” a church planter working in one of Colombia’s most dangerous areas, receives frequent death threats. Years ago, he felt God leading him to start a church in one of the country’s poorest cities. Although friends warned him that he could be killed, Xavier remained faithful to God’s calling. Since planting the church, he has received threats from guerrillas, paramilitary members and street gangs. Xavier and his 130 church members are hated by many in Colombia, but they choose to love their enemies. And their acts of love are making a difference, as many in the community have grown to respect them. Pray for the protection of Xavier and his church so they can continue sharing the gospel and serving others.


May. 19, 2017 | Korea, North
Pray for the Spread of the Gospel Through Radio Broadcasts
[128] prayers in [11] nations have been posted for Gospel Broadcasts into North Korea.
 
A new shortwave radio program created by North Korean defectors and VOM is reaching an estimated 2 million North Koreans nightly. Each 90-minute program includes a Scripture reading, encouraging messages from Christians around the world, readings from Pastor Richard Wurmbrand’s Tortured for Christ and a recitation of the Nicene Creed. Although largely isolated from their worldwide Christian family, North Korean believers now have access to God’s Word and, through the creed, a connection to historical Christianity. Despite the possible penalties, North Koreans continue to listen to the broadcasts. Pray that the broadcasts will continue to reach new believers and unbelievers, and pray that those who hear them will grow in faith and find ways to share the gospel.


May. 19, 2017 | Israel
Pray for Christians Targeted by Ultra-Orthodox Jews
[123] prayers in [12] nations have been posted for Messianic Jews.
 
Messianic Jews are requesting prayer after a meeting center and some congregants’ homes were targeted by ultra-Orthodox Jews recently in south Israel. On May 4, protesters connected with the anti-missionary organization Yad L’Achim created a disturbance outside the meeting center and later continued their protest outside the homes of the center’s founder, Albert Knoester, and another member. The protesters broke windows and caused other damage, frightening children who were in the homes during the attacks. Pray for the protection of Messianic Jews in south Israel and for the children who were frightened by the attacks. Pray for justice in this situation and that the protesters will acknowledge their guilt and turn to the Lord.


May. 12, 2017 | North Africa
Pray for Hiba, Expelled and Threatened by Her Family
[184] prayers in [11] nations have been posted for Hiba.
 
“Hiba,” a North African Christian, is starting a new life after being kicked out of her family for converting to Christianity. After learning of her conversion, her father tortured her and, along with her brother, threatened to kill her. Now living in a new city, Hiba is adjusting well to her new life in Christ while continuing to heal from the physical and emotional torture she endured. She recently started a new job and is advocating for the rights of Christian women in her predominantly Muslim country. Please pray for Hiba’s continued healing as she grows in Christ, and pray that she will be able to forgive her family and lead them to Jesus.


May. 12, 2017 | Myanmar
Pray for Two Pastors Detained for Three Months Without Trial
[92] prayers in [6] nations have been posted for Two Detained Pastors.
 
Pastors Dom Dawng Nawng Latt, 65, and La Jaw Gam Hseng, 35, were arrested on December 24, 2016, after helping a couple that had complained to military officials about the destruction of their house. The officials released the couple but detained the pastors, claiming they had helped local journalists cover the bombing of a church in November. They have been charged with unlawful association with an armed ethnic group as well as recruiting and spying for an armed ethnic group, all charges local Christian leaders deny. The pastors’ case has not gone to trial, despite a law guaranteeing a hearing within 28 days of arrest. If convicted, they could face up to five years in prison. Please pray for the pastors’ release and that the truth of their case will be revealed in court.


May. 12, 2017 | India
Pray for Pastor Anju, Arrested for Sharing the Gospel
[101] prayers in [9] nations have been posted for Pastor Anju.
 
Pastor Anju was arrested in early January after being attacked by Hindu radicals during a worship meeting with about 70 other Christians. The Hindus filed a complaint alleging that Pastor Anju was conducting forced conversions, and he was held in jail for 15 days before being bailed out. The pastor began ministering among his own nomadic tribe after his conversion about 10 years ago, and about 200 of the 600 tribal members have since placed their faith in Christ. These Christians now share the gospel wherever they set up their tents. Please pray that Pastor Anju will be released soon. Also pray that his wife, Shardhamma, and their two children will remain courageous and firm in their faith.


May. 05, 2017 | Sudan
Pray for a Christian Family Whose Home Was Destroyed
[260] prayers in [19] nations have been posted for Mona's family.
 
On April 24, police arrested 27-year-old Mona Matta and her children, ages 2, 4 and 6, at their home near Khartoum while her husband, Azhari Tambra, was away. Mona and the three children, including one who is disabled, were accused of opposing authorities, lacking ownership papers and betraying their country. When they returned home after being released later that night, they found their home and belongings destroyed. Mona, Azhari and their children, members of a church in Omdurman, are still in need of permanent shelter. Pray that they will find housing and that their faith will grow as a result of persecution.


May. 05, 2017 | China
Pray for Pastor John Cao, Arrested Recently by Chinese Authorities
[144] prayers in [16] nations have been posted for Pastor John.
 
On March 5, police arrested Cao San-Qiang (John Cao), a Chinese pastor known for his work among Myanmar’s poor. Authorities charged Pastor Cao with “organizing illegal crossings of national borders.” Pastor Cao, who is currently being held in the Menglian Detention Center, had been crossing the border between China and Myanmar for three years without incident. In the Wa State of northern Myanmar, Pastor Cao helped build 16 schools that serve 2,000 impoverished children. He has also established educational projects to help alleviate poverty among local minority groups. His family fears that the Chinese government will impose a harsh prison sentence to prevent him from continuing his work. Pray for a quick release and for Pastor Cao’s comfort and peace. Also pray for his wife, Jamie Powell, and their sons, Benjamin and Amos.


May. 05, 2017 | Middle East
Pray for Fadi, a Former Muslim Now Following Christ
[151] prayers in [14] nations have been posted for Fadi.
 
Pastor “Abraham” works in an area with a high concentration of Syrian refugees. He often struggled with fear when sharing the gospel with Muslims, but then he had an experience where the Lord told him not to fear. Soon after that, “Fadi,” a Syrian man who once associated with extremist Muslims, came to see him. When he arrived at Abraham’s home, Abraham boldly told Fadi that Islam was inspired by Satan. Abraham then walked closer to him and said, “God is here beside you now. He is putting his hand on your shoulder, asking you, ‘What do you want?’” “I want salvation,” Fadi answered. Abraham shared the gospel with Fadi and prayed with him. He soon came to faith in Christ, and four months ago Abraham baptized Fadi. Fadi and his wife, also now a Christian, share God’s love in their refugee camp. Pray that Fadi’s powerful testimony will draw many Muslims, including other extremists, into a relationship with Jesus. Pray that the hearts of Muslims will soften as Fadi, his wife and Abraham share the gospel.


Apr. 28, 2017 | Sri Lanka
Pray for Pastor Ishara, Whose Church Is Being Threatened
[242] prayers in [16] nations have been posted for Pastor Ishara and his church.
 
On March 25, a Buddhist monk led a group of about 50 people into a church and demanded that the Christians cease worship activities. When police arrived, they scolded the Christians for disturbing the peace and ordered the pastor to go to the station for an interview. Pastor “Ishara” visited the police station twice but never met the officer in charge. A week later, the pastor, who had led worship in the area for 17 years, received a letter stating that his church must register with the government. When he again visited the police station, he was met by a mob of about 200 people. Police demanded that he immediately stop all religious activities, warning him that he would face severe consequences if he failed to comply. Police subsequently charged Pastor Ishara with disturbing the peace, and villagers have attacked him on several occasions, throwing rocks at his house. Pray for Pastor Ishara’s strength and peace during these difficulties, and pray that he will find favor with the government so his church can continue to worship.


Apr. 28, 2017 | Niger
Pray for Christina Saleh as She Witnesses to Muslim Women
[133] prayers in [13] nations have been posted for Christina Saleh.
 
After attending a VOM-led training session with her husband, “Christina Saleh” has begun to meet with women in four villages, teaching Christians and witnessing to Muslims. Before attending the training session, Christina had been afraid to openly share the gospel. Muslim women had frightened her by showing her the graves of missionaries, and some vendors in the local market had stopped accepting her money when they learned she was a believer. But Christina gained encouragement from sessions on evangelism and church planting, and she praises God for the new method of sharing the gospel that she learned during the training. The training session, which included more than 100 pastors and evangelists along with their wives, offered courses in biblical storytelling, church planting and worship with traditional instruments, among other topics. Pray for Christina as she grows bolder in her faith, shares the gospel with Muslims and disciples Christian women.


Apr. 28, 2017 | Laos
Pray for Kamea and Her Children as They Start a New Life
[135] prayers in [14] nations have been posted for Kamea.
 
“Kamea,” a single mother of three children, is starting over in a new village after being evicted from her home because of her Christian faith. She was led to Christ through her 18-year-old son, who became a Christian while working in a large city for a year. Kamea soon began to pray and study the Bible with her children at home, but when village authorities learned of their faith they ordered her to renounce Jesus or leave. Unwilling to deny Christ, Kamea and her children moved to a Christian village in another province. Villagers there built a small hut for the family, but they still face many challenges. Kamea’s 12-year-old son has been unable to attend school because they don’t have paperwork from his previous school, and the family needs enough rice to last them through October. Pray that her son will be allowed to attend school and that they will have enough food to last the rest of the year.


Apr. 21, 2017 | Laos
Pray for Hmong Christians Expelled from Their Village
[222] prayers in [11] nations have been posted for Hmong Christians.
 
Four Hmong Christian families in Laos who were driven from their village because of their faith continued to share Jesus even while camping in a rice field. In early February, village authorities confronted the Christians, insisting that they renounce their Christian faith. When the families refused, they were expelled from the village. The group of about 28 men, women and children ended up camping in a rice field, where they were soon visited by a curious Khmu family from a neighboring village. The Hmong Christians eagerly told the Khmu family about the great creator God who is all-powerful over the spirits and who sent his son for them. The Khmu family came to faith in Christ, even inviting a VOM partner to visit their village and share more about Jesus. Recently, government officials visited the Hmong families and later told local authorities that the families have a right to believe whatever they wish. Pray that these believers will be allowed back into their village.


Apr. 21, 2017 | Iran
Pray for Pastor Victor and Other Believers Facing Charges in Tehran
[123] prayers in [12] nations have been posted for Pastor Victor and friends.
 
Several Christian men face charges related to evangelism in Tehran, and two are still in prison. Pastor Victor, Amin Nader Afshar and Kavian were arrested at the pastor’s house during a Christmas celebration in 2014 and released on bail in early 2015. Pastor Victor was charged with evangelism, acting against national security and conducting illegal Christian gatherings. Pastor Victor’s son, Ramiel, was then arrested at a picnic in August 2016 along with Amin and three others. Two of the men, Amin and Hadi Askary, are still in prison. All five have been charged with acting against national security and organizing and creating house churches, and Ramiel faces additional charges for propagating the teachings of his father. Pray that the two still in prison will be released, that bail money will be restored and that the case against Pastor Victor will be dropped. Pray that the judge and other officials will rule justly and come to know the truth of Christ that these men are proclaiming.


Apr. 21, 2017 | Mali
Pray for the Distribution of Bibles in Southern Mali
[99] prayers in [8] nations have been posted for Pastors distributing Bibles.
 
There is a shortage of Bibles in the Sikasso Region of southern Mali, and the Bibles are desperately needed because of an increasing number of new Christian believers. In the past, Islamic extremists destroyed Bibles first when attacking villages. VOM recently replaced 1,200 Bibles, but that number represents only a fraction of what is needed in the area. Brother Amadou Barry, a pastor and former imam, placed his faith in Christ after a pastor gave him a Bible in Arabic. He had read in the Quran that Jesus, son of Mary, is above all, and he saw that confirmed in Philippians 2 and Colossians 2. Unsettled by these Bible verses, he returned to the pastor who had given him the Bible and told him he believed Jesus is God. Please pray for the courage of pastors engaged in door-to-door evangelism, and pray that they will receive adequate literature and resources to replace the Bibles that are destroyed.


Apr. 14, 2017 | Syria
Pray for "Rasima" and "Fadia," Discipling Young Women in Damascus
[228] prayers in [18] nations have been posted for Rasima and Fadia.
 
Rasima and her sister, Fadia, began to search for a church in Damascus after the Lord appeared to both of them in a dream. Although the Muslim sisters initially looked for a traditional Christian church — a big building with a cross on top — during their search they came across a nondescript building with a table full of Bibles in front; it was a VOM partner church. They asked a person at the table if they could have a Bible, which led to a deeper discussion, and the person manning the table full of Bibles ultimately presented the gospel to the young women. Before leaving, both had placed their faith in Christ. Since that day, the spiritual wounds caused by their harsh Shiite Muslim upbringing have begun to heal. Over the past year, they’ve become very involved in serving in the church. Even though heavy bombing has occurred in their area, they have chosen to stay in Damascus to disciple other young women at the church. Pray for their safety and boldness as they teach other Syrian women about Christ.


Apr. 14, 2017 | China
Pray for Pastor Yang Hua, Facing a Serious Illness in Prison
[144] prayers in [14] nations have been posted for Pastor in Prison.
 
A Chinese pastor who has been in prison for the past 16 months was admitted to the hospital last month with a serious medical condition. In mid-March, dark, painful lesions appeared on Yang Hua’s legs and continued to spread. Prison doctors gave him painkillers but offered no treatment. A week later, his lawyers managed to have him admitted to a private hospital, where he was diagnosed with anaphylactoid purpura, a condition that causes inflammation of blood vessels and can affect the kidneys, intestines, joints and skin. Yang Hua’s lawyers have filed a request for medical bail so that he can be released from prison during treatment and recovery. Yang Hua is co-pastor of a 700-member church in Guiyang, China. He has been detained since December 2015 on charges of divulging state secrets.


Apr. 14, 2017 | Sudan
Pray for the Family of Younan Abdullah, Killed Defending Christian Protesters
[121] prayers in [11] nations have been posted for Family of Younan Abdullah.
 
On April 3, a group of Christians gathered at the Evangelical School in Omdurman, near Khartoum, to protest the government’s proposed appropriation of property owned by the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. After police arrested the men involved in the protest, a group of about 20 people armed with knives and other weapons entered the school grounds and began to beat the women still at the school. When men from the nearby Bahri Evangelical Church rushed over to protect the women, two of them were stabbed by the attackers. Younan Abdullah, an elder at the church, died from his injures, while church member Ayoub Kumama was treated at a hospital and released. Younan is survived by his wife and two children.


Apr. 07, 2017 | Indonesia
Pray for the Santa Clara Church, Opposed by Local Muslims
[249] prayers in [21] nations have been posted for Church.

On March 7, hundreds of Muslims converged on the construction site of a new church in Bekasi, Indonesia, removing a sign announcing the church’s construction before lodging a complaint with the town mayor. The Santa Clara Church finally received its building permit after completing a lengthy, burdensome process of gaining the city’s approval for the new church building. After gathering at the construction site on March 7, the Muslims used loudspeakers to protest the local authorities who had approved the new church in their neighborhood. Please pray that the local government will treat minority Christians fairly and not give in to demands from hard-line Muslims.


Apr. 07, 2017 | Zambia
Pray for Azibo, Rejected by Family After Becoming a Christian
[145] prayers in [16] nations have been posted for "Azibo".
 
“Azibo,” a young Zambian, placed his faith in Christ early last year after talking with a front-line worker about the nightly dreams he’d been having about Jesus. When he returned home and told his family about his new Christian faith, they gave him one week to change his mind or face expulsion from the family. Despite the threat, at the end of the week Azibo told his family members that he could not give up his faith in Jesus. Fulfilling their threat, they kicked him out of the family. Azibo slept in the open air for a week before the front-line worker learned what had happened and invited him to a VOM-supported safe house and business-training program. After Azibo completes the training program a year from now, he should be able to support himself.


Apr. 07, 2017 | Algeria
Pray for Workers Distributing Digital Bibles
[117] prayers in [14] nations have been posted for Front-line Workers.
 
A group of Christians are currently traveling across Algeria distributing digital Bibles in the local languages. Sometimes they are unable to give the Bibles to specific individuals, so they have to use a different approach. “In areas where we can’t distribute openly, we found a solution in leaving the materials on the table in coffee shops and on the buses,” a VOM worker said. A few weeks ago, someone called into a Christian TV station saying he’d found one of the digital Bibles on a bus and wanted to know more about Jesus. Most of the distributed materials are for unbelievers, but the Christians are also providing materials for believers who cannot openly keep Bibles in their homes because of persecution from family members, a common problem among women who convert to Christianity. Church leaders have said they are very grateful that these believers can receive the digital materials for spiritual encouragement.


Mar. 30, 2017 | India
Pray for Pastor "Vanu," Whose Church Was Burned by Extremists
[205] prayers in [16] nations have been posted for Pastor.
 
A Christian congregation in India lost its church building on Jan. 14 after extremists poured gasoline around the church and set it on fire. A church member noticed the fire at about 3 p.m. and immediately called Pastor “Vanu,” who lives several kilometers away. Although the fire department responded promptly, the church building and additional church properties sustained significant damage. The church lost some Bibles, chairs, tables, mats, a PA system and a sound box as well as roofing sheets. Police are investigating the fire, and VOM will be helping the church to rebuild. Please keep Pastor Vanu and the church members in your prayers.


Mar. 30, 2017 | Sudan
Pray for "Esther," a Disabled Christian in the Nuba Mountains
[137] prayers in [12] nations have been posted for Disabled Christian.
 
“Esther,” a widow with four young children, lives a difficult life in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains. Last June VOM shared a prayer request for Esther, who has physical disabilities caused by polio and lives in a region that is often bombed by the Sudanese government. When a partner ministry learned of Esther’s situation, they gave her a “wheelchair bicycle” to help her better provide for her family. VOM partners continue to meet with Esther and recently gave her additional funds to help pay for food and other necessities. Pray that Esther and her children will be encouraged and that all their needs will be met.


Mar. 30, 2017 | North Africa
Pray for Pastor "Rahim," Who Is Unable to Find Work
[114] prayers in [12] nations have been posted for Pastor.
 
A pastor who has been arrested several times because of his Christian faith is having difficulty providing for his family because he cannot find work. Pastor “Rahim” has met with potential employers on several occasions, but they always turn him down because of his reputation as a Christian. VOM is now helping him start a small business, which has already shown success, as he continues to lead a house church of about 10 believers. Pray for Pastor Rahim, his family and the church members, who also face persecution.


Mar. 24, 2017 | India
Pray for Christians Attacked at a Festival
[250] prayers in [17] nations have been posted for Christians.
 
Hindu extremists attacked believers at a Christian peace festival on Feb. 24 in New Delhi, injuring many in attendance. The extremists used iron rods, sticks and axes to destroy most of the electronic equipment before working their way into the crowd. Although the organizers had received approval for police protection, no police arrived until after the Hindu extremists had fled. Please pray that the injured will recover quickly, and pray for the organizers as they consider filing charges.


Mar. 24, 2017 | Malaysia
Pray for Pastor Raymond, Whose Welfare Is in Doubt After Abduction
[172] prayers in [13] nations have been posted for Pastor Raymond.
 
The family of Pastor Raymond Koh fear the worst following his abduction on Feb. 13. Despite offering a large reward, no one has come forward with information and no ransom demands have been made. The family therefore fear that the pastor has been murdered. Video from security cameras shows three SUVs forcing the pastor’s vehicle to stop and masked men surrounding his car to abduct him. A VOM worker said Pastor Raymond is “one of the most effective evangelists in the region.” His wife, Susanna, asked that we continue to pray for her husband’s safe recovery and also that we pray that her family will not lose hope.


Mar. 24, 2017 | Nigeria
Pray for Lydia and Williams, Who Survived a Fulani Attack on Their Village
[146] prayers in [13] nations have been posted for Lydia and Williams.

 A group of Fulani men attacked a village recently in Kaduna, Nigeria, killing four people and injuring two adults and a young child. On March 12 at about 7:30 p.m., the Fulani men entered a small village in Kagoro and fired indiscriminately at a woman named Lydia and a 1-year-old named Confidence. Lydia suffered gunshot wounds to her back, right arm and abdomen, while Confidence was struck in both feet and on her hip. Williams Aluwong Jonathan, his wife and their 3-month-old baby were outside their home when the Fulani began shooting. His wife was shot to death as she ran for the house with their baby. Williams was shot 15 times in the arm but was able to protect their baby from harm. “Please pray for them, thanking God that they survived and also for quick healing physically, emotionally and spiritually,” a VOM contact asked.


Mar. 17, 2017 | China
Pray for Pastor Jin Tianming, Under House Arrest Since 2011
[241] prayers in [21] nations have been posted for Pastor Jin.
 
The pastor of a house church has been under house arrest since 2011 in China for refusing to join the Three-Self Church. Pastor Jin Tianming’s home is closely guarded by three government agents and he is given just two hours of personal time each day. His wife prohibited from leaving their home on Sundays. Authorities began harassing Pastor Jin and members of Shouwang Church in 2009. After the church building was closed, the congregation started meeting outside. Because of constant harassment, church members now meet in small groups in different houses. Please pray for Pastor Jin, his wife and their church as they continue to face threats and harassment.


Mar. 17, 2017 | Syria
Pray for Christians in Aleppo, Food and Jobs Still Scarce
[143] prayers in [14] nations have been posted for Aleppo Christians.

Pray for Christians living in war-torn Aleppo. Few jobs are available and this has forced many families to share small apartments. In areas now considered safe, rent payments continue to increase adding an additional burden. Many homes do not have electricity, and getting food and basic supplies for survival are scarce. VOM supports four churches in Aleppo that are providing food and other necessities to families in need. Pray that Christians in Aleppo would be encouraged as they face many difficulties each day.


Mar. 17, 2017 | Iran
Pray for Evangelism Efforts during Persian New Year
[128] prayers in [12] nations have been posted for Evangelists.
 
Iranians will celebrate the Persian New Year, known as “Nowruz,” on March 21. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians will travel during this holiday period. It is a crucial time for evangelism and discipleship efforts for many churches and ministries focused on Iran. VOM supports a range of efforts including training and conferences for leaders and church planters, Bible distributions to Persian seekers and believers, and ministries focused on sharing the gospel. Please pray that many would hear and receive the Word of God.

 

 

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