Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 484 |
WELCOME to the intercessors who have joined the list this month.
RUSSIA, where the government's desire to revive Russia's Orthodox
Christian heritage is being exploited by the Russian Orthodox
Church to curtail the activities of its 'competitors' (other
denominations). Please pray for revival in the Russian Orthodox
Church. Pray also for religious liberty to be advanced, because
Russia will need all the light, love, help and hope its various
churches together can offer if it is to recover from decades of
violent, hopeless, atheistic Communism and return to glorious
greatness on a Christian foundation.
VIETNAM, where ruling authorities are playing the diplomatic game
of displaying a facade of religious liberty reforms so as to win
economic concessions, whilst escalating their repression of
grassroots Christianity behind the scenes. Please pray especially
for God to sustain and encourage all those Vietnamese Christians
falsely charged with political crimes and imprisoned in appalling
ALGERIA, where the government is cracking down hard on Protestant
Christianity. Pray for Algeria's lively debate on religious
liberty to flourish. May the grace, liberty and love offered by
the churches stand in stark contrast to the intolerance and
repression of orthodox Islam.
'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways
higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.' (Isaiah
OTHER ISSUES DURING JUNE
* REFUGEES: PRAY FOR CHRISTIAN REFUGEES
World Refugee Day was on 20 June. War and religious persecution
force many Christians to flee their homes and become refugees.
Unfortunately very few ever find the new life of peace and
opportunity they are hoping for. Many who do find some refuge in
neighbouring states are forced to live in fear and abject poverty,
such as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christian refugees in Syria
and Jordan. Meanwhile, in violation of the Refugee Convention, many
other Christian refugees are forcibly returned to the lands they
have fled. This is the case for Eritrean refugees being returned
from Egypt; Hmong refugees being returned to Laos; North Korean
refugees being returned from China; and even some Iranian and
Chinese refugees who have been returned from the West. Please pray
for God to gather up these suffering lambs in his arms (Isaiah
40:11), keep them safe and meet all their needs.
* INDONESIA: TALIBANISATION GROWS
On 9 June the Indonesian government surrendered to hard-line and
violent Islamic groups and issued a Ministerial Decree imposing
severe restrictions and penalties on members of the Ahmadiyya sect
of Islam on the pretext that they deviate from orthodox Islam. In
addition to thereby sending the message that violence works, the
government has furthered not only the Islamisation of Indonesia but
also its Talibanisation. Compass Direct reports that on 10 June
officials in Jatimulya village, West Java, told the pastors of
three congregations (totalling 500 members) that the buildings in
the church compound they shared would be demolished. Then on 14
June local authorities accompanied by an Islamist mob tried to
destroy the two buildings in the church compound. The demolition
was stalled when a Public Order officer fell from the roof. Please
pray for religious liberty in Indonesia.
* SUDAN: CHRISTIANS OF ABYEI NEED OUR PRAYERS
The disputed oil-rich north-south border town of Abyei is home both
to African, mostly Christian Ngok Dinka (southerners), and Muslim
Misseriya Arabs (northerners, mainly herdsman). In May, a clash
between Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) police (southerners)
and Misseriya militiamen aligned with the Sudanese Armed Forces
(SAF) escalated into a major conflict between the SPLA and the
government-controlled SAF. The SAF took over the town, destroyed it
and ethnically cleansed it of some 90,000 Ngok Dinka. The status of
Abyei (as part of the north or part of the south) is due to be
decided by referendum in 2011. A peace deal was signed on 8 June,
but while the return of displaced peoples is included in the
'roadmap', justice and the disarmament of the Misseriya militias
are not. Furthermore the government of Sudan has a very poor record
when it comes to implementing peace deals. Please pray for the
Christians of Abyei.
* ZIMBABWE: GOVERNMENT ATTACKS ANGLICANS IN HARARE
Rev Dr Nolbert Kunonga is a pro-Mugabe activist who has been
implicated in extreme violence against Opposition supporters. In
2007 the Anglican Church dismissed him from his post as Bishop of
Harare. In January 2008 they charged him with schism and replaced
him with Bishop Sebastian Bukara, who has recently become a
principal spokesman for Zimbabwe's civil opposition. Harare's High
Court upheld the Church's right to dismiss Kunonga, but ruled that
Kunonga and Bukara share the Cathedral. Mugabe's police then
violently seized Harare's Anglican properties. On Sunday mornings
the police admit Kunonga's few supporters while beating any other
Anglicans who dare come near. Harare's numerous Anglicans then
started worshipping outdoors. But in mid-May the government
extended the ban on public gatherings to include prayer meetings.
As violence escalates, meeting is becoming increasingly dangerous.
Please pray for the Church in Zimbabwe.
* See also 'WEA prayer for Zimbabwe'
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.