Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 514 | Wed 28 Jan 2009
WELCOME to the intercessors who have joined the list this month.
'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in
weakness.' (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)
DURING JANUARY WE HAVE PRAYED CONCERNING --
UZBEKISTAN, where the Protestant Christian minority is
persistently persecuted by local Muslims and Russian Orthodox
as well as by a government that maintains 'peace' through
repression. However, persecution is forging greater levels of
unity and prayerfulness amongst the Protestant denominations.
KYRGYZSTAN, where a new, highly restrictive religion law passed by
the parliament was awaiting approval from the President.
* UPDATE: PRESIDENT SIGNS REPRESSIVE RELIGION LAW On 12 January
2009 Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed the controversial
religion bill into law. The bill 'On Freedom of Conscience and
Religious Organisations' bans proselytism, private religious
education and the import or dissemination of religious materials.
It proscribes children from membership in a religious
organisation and mandates fellowships have 200 adult citizens as
members before they can be registered as a legal entity.
Kyrgyzstan's five percent Protestant minority will be
effectively unable to meet the requirements for registration.
While the law is primarily designed to deal with the threat posed
by the Islamic revolutionary group Hizb-ut-tahrir, it suits
Muslims and Russian Orthodox to see Protestants getting caught up
in the law's net. Please pray for reformation and revival in the
Russian Orthodox Church and that the Holy Spirit will bless the
persecuted Protestants with grace, wisdom and courage, and bless
their gospel witness with saving power.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) & UGANDA, where the
blasphemous, occultic, Ugandan terrorist militia known as the
Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has recently been terrorising the
Haut Uele area of Orientale Province, DRC. As noted in the 20 Jan
2009 RLP 513, 150 Congolese Christians were hacked to death
during a Christmas Day service, with another 280 massacred over
the following days.
* UPDATE: OCCULTIC MILITIA TARGETS CHURCH At midnight on 17
January, LRA soldiers raided a crowded church in north-east
Congo where believers were praying for an end to LRA terror. The
militants hacked and burnt to death reportedly some hundreds of
believers. On 20 January members of the Sudan People's
Liberation Army (SPLA) in Western Equatorial State, South Sudan,
found the bodies of 16 South Sudan civilians who had been
abducted by the LRA. The LRA earlier brutally murdered two
church parishioners who had attempted to intervene on behalf of
two abducted children. On 22 January the UN reported that the
recent LRA violence in north-east Congo had so far left '900
people dead and uprooted 130,000 others, with more than 8,000
Congolese taking refuge in Southern Sudan'.
With the support of forces from Congo, Central African Republic
and the SPLA in Operation Lightning Thunder, the Ugandan Popular
Defense Force (UPDF) hopes to cripple the LRA. The UPDF's
already extended time in DRC is due to expire on 6 February.
According to one general, to cripple the LRA the UPDF must
destroy the LRA's 'centre of gravity', which he believes is 'the
person of Joseph Kony . . . [who] is the central fulcrum around
which the functioning of the LRA rotates; you kill him and LRA
would collapse.' Many strategists are concerned that this
operation in DRC's vast Garamba National Park is doomed. There
the UPDF must maintain long, vulnerable supply lines and work
without local intelligence against Kony, a spirit-medium who has
evaded the UPDF for more than 20 years. He abducts, rapes, maims
and kills whilst maintaining that his prophetic revelations are
from the Holy Spirit. Pray that the Lord, who is supreme over all
powers in heaven and earth, will intervene and end LRA terror for
'. . . Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right
hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been
subjected to him.' (1 Peter 3:22 ESV)
ALSO IN JANUARY
* KOSOVO: DAY OF PRAYER ON 31 JANUARY 2009
Kosovo's evangelical churches will hold a day of prayer on 31
January. Kosovo is majority Muslim, with Islamic fundamentalism,
ethnic nationalism, racism and corruption all serious threats to
peace and religious liberty. Please join with Kosovo's evangelicals
on 31 January to pray for Kosovo.
* SRI LANKA: ANTI-CONVERSION LAW RETURNS
A bill banning 'forcible conversions' will go to the Sri Lankan
parliament in February. When it first appeared before the 2004
elections, the bill fuelled an escalation in Buddhist nationalism
and persecution of Christians. If enacted, the 'Bill for the
Prohibition of Forcible Conversions' would criminalise any act to
convert or attempt to convert a person from one religion to another
by the alleged 'use of force, fraud or allurement' -- terms so
broad the law is open to abuse. Anyone found guilty of violating
the law could be imprisoned for up to seven years and/or fined up
to 500,000 rupees (US$4425). The civil war has sent nationalism
soaring and 2009 is an election year. The National Evangelical
Alliance of Sri Lanka comments: 'It is our gravest concern that
this bill will grant legal sanction for the harassment of religious
communities or individuals, and offer convenient tools of
harassment for settling personal disputes and grudges, totally
unrelated to acts of alleged "forced" conversion.' Please pray for
We usually provide a summary to use in news-sheets unable to
run the whole of an RLP. As a summary is not practicable with
this monthly update posting we suggest one or more of the above
items be used instead.
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The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this
RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
specifically and regularly for religious liberty
issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.
RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.