Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 522 | Wed 25 Mar 2009
WELCOME to the intercessors who have joined the list this month.
'. . . and that all in this assembly might know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's and he will give you into our hands.' (David to Goliath, 1 Samuel 17:47 ESV) 'The prayer of a righteous person has great power . . .' (James 5:16b ESV)
During March we prayed concerning --
KANDHAMAL DISTRICT, ORISSA STATE, INDIA, where Christians made homeless by the Hindu August-September 2008 pogrom are too afraid to leave the relief camps. Those who do return to their villages are finding that Hindus persecute and impose humiliating and repressive restrictions on them with impunity.
UPDATE: CHRISTIANS BEING EVICTED FROM ORISSA RELIEF CAMPS
On 16 January 2009 the Orissa High Court rejected a petition from rights activist Keshamati Pradhan against the Orissa State Government's forcible closure of Kandhamal relief camps. The High Court said this was because the Supreme Court was considering Kandhamal riot cases, so Pradhan took her petition to the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court returned the petition to the High Court on 23 March, saying it wanted to hear the State's position first. Meanwhile, the Orissa State Government is declaring peace and evicting Christians from the relief camps in order to close them. The traumatised, homeless Christians are then forced to return to their villages without any protection or security. Pradhan's petition goes before the Orissa High Court on 6 April. Please pray.
ANOTHER RSS LEADER MURDERED IN ORISSA -- SITUATION 'EXPLOSIVE'
On 19 March some 15 suspected Maoist rebels shot dead Hindu nationalist RSS leader Prabhat Panigrahi in Rudhiguma village Kandhamal district. Just as in August 2008, the Hindu nationalists are saying that a 'nexus' between the Maoists and Christians is responsible. According to local Hindu nationalist BJP officials the situation in Kandhamal is 'explosive'. Meanwhile the BJP has named the Hindutva activist Ashok Sahu as its candidate from the Kandhamal Lok Sabha (Federal parliament) constituency. According to Sahu, Kandhamal is the 'model area' for Hindutva in the entire country. The Indian elections commence on 16 April. Please pray.
NORTH KOREA, where Christians are severely persecuted, re-Stalinisation is in progress, living conditions are horrendous, isolation is deepening and the war rhetoric is escalating.
UPDATE: CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES AT RISK
American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were in China preparing a report on North Korean refugees when they accidentally crossed the poorly marked border and were arrested by North Korean border guards last week. The two journalists have been charged with espionage and taken to Pyongyang for questioning. They will doubtless be valuable bargaining chips in these days of escalating belligerence. A serious consequence is the threat that now looms over the Christian ministries that assist North Korean refugees on the Chinese side of the border. North Korean security officials, who will have confiscated the journalist's cameras and recorded interviews, will be keen to get as much information as they can from the two young women. An intensive targeted crackdown may ensue. Please pray for wisdom, guidance and divine protection.
SOMALIA, where the al-Qaeda-backed al-Shabaab rules virtually all the south; neighbouring
NORTH EASTERN KENYA, where fundamentalists amongst the growing Somali-Muslim majority are persecuting the Christian minority with impunity; and the DISPERSED SOMALIS who have more religious liberty and access to the gospel than any Somali living inside Somalia.
ALSO IN MARCH
* LAWYERS SUFFER FOR DEFENDING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
In countries where there is great official and/or social hostility towards the Church, lawyers who courageously advocate for the human rights of persecuted Christians do so knowing that they will most probably pay for it with their own life or liberty. Asian Christian lawyers presently suffering include Gao Zhisheng (imprisoned) and Li Subin (persecuted) in China; Nguyen van Dai (imprisoned) and Le Tran Luat (persecuted) in Vietnam. These lawyers are often overlooked or forgotten by the Church and regarded as secondary victims, not primary victims like pastors or those persecuted in the course of worship or mission. Yet these lawyers are in every sense offering their bodies as living sacrifices -- an act of spiritual worship (Romans 12:1). Please pray for them.
* BLASPHEMOUS, OCCULTIC LORD'S RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA) SURVIVES
The Congolese government extended the deadline of Operation Lightning Thunder twice, yet when the final deadline expired at the end of February, the LRA had not been destroyed (although it has been weakened) and its spirit-medium leader Joseph Kony remains at large. Because of that, the Ugandan Army was permitted to continue operations against the LRA after the deadline. The Congolese political and military opposition exploited the situation and accused the Congo government of consenting to Congo's occupation by a foreign force. Tensions accordingly escalated and the Ugandan Army was asked to hand over control of the operation to Congo and start withdrawing on Sunday 15 March. That day, LRA rebels raided the village of Banda, killing and kidnapping an unknown number of residents. On Thursday 19 March, LRA rebels hacked 12 people to death and kidnapped 40 more in the remote Congolese village of Yanguma. There is reportedly much fear in northern Uganda that the LRA might choose to launch reprisals there also. The occultic LRA rapes, kills, mutilates, kidnaps and enslaves in the name of the Lord under the direction, so they claim, of the Holy Spirit. They have received support from Islamic groups in Sudan. They primarily target churches and predominantly Christian communities. Please pray.
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Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.