“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is my stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
Death sentence for pastor convicted of apostasy in IRAN[i]
In July we prayed for Youcef Nardarkhani, an Iranian pastor convicted of apostasy for leaving Islam, who had his death sentence for apostasy (leaving Islam) upheld and confirmed by the Iranian Supreme Court. The Supreme Court announced that it would annul the sentence if Youcef renounced his faith and embraced Islam. Compass Direct News Services (CDNS) announced that on September 28th Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani refused to recant his Christian faith at the fourth and final court hearing to appeal his death sentence for apostasy. No one still knows what the government will decide to do, but the death sentence can be carried out any moment. Youcef’s life is only in God’s hands. According to resources, cited by CDNS, “It is critical for foreign governments to negotiate and engage in diplomacy with Iranian authorities about Nadarkhani’s case…”
- Pray that the death sentence against Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani will not be carried out and his life to be spared.
- Pray for strength and perseverance in pastor Youcef, his wife Tina and their two children Joel, (7) and Daniel, (9).
- Pray for leniency on part of the Iranian government towards Pastor Yousef and all Christians in Iran, as well as for timely international intervention in to the situation.
Orphans under pressure in LAOS[ii]
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada (VOM) reports that eleven orphans in northern Laos are facing pressure from the principal of their orphanage to stop attending church. On August 19th the principal called the group of Christian children in his office and threatened them that if they do not obey, they may have to leave the orphanage. After attending a local church and becoming a Christian, one of the orphans shared the gospel with his peers and ten other orphans turned to Christ. Seven of the orphans promised they would stop attending church, four refused to obey. None of them has renounced their faith.
- Pray that the faith of these young children should be preserved and none of them should fall away from Christ, in spite of the pressure.
- Pray for protection of the children, who completely depend on governmental support.
- Pray that the Church in Laos may continue to be a source of hope and life for the oppressed and hopeless.
Christians bear the brunt of Al-Shabaab’s terror in Somalia
The Research and Analysis Report of the WEA Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) from September 16th, which most of you have probably reviewed, gives us a thorough analysis of the current situation of terror and persecution against Christians in Somalia. The Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (Mujahideen Youth Movement), commonly known as al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-linked terror group that controls and runs a de facto “government” in most of southern Somalia has been held responsible for these atrocities. On September 2nd, a decapitated body of a Christian man was found in Bakool region, in South-Western Somalia. Islamic extremists from Al-shabaab were suspected of carrying out the murder.
The killing one of the numerous such incidents in recent years, comes at a time when tens of thousands of Somalis is said to have died, and about 750,000 more are at risk of death, some of them who are Christians being denied of aid, in the wake of the 21st century’s worst drought in the Horn of Africa. Al-shabaab is known to be restricting international aid from reaching the starving population in territories under their control, especially to the Christians. There are little more than 1,000 Christians in Somalia, most of them from the Bantu ethnic group. The country has no church building and Christians meet for worship underground, especially in southern parts.
- Pray for Christians in Somalia, who are facing a constant threat of persecution and deprivation of rights and aid.
- Pray for proper attention and consideration on part of the International community towards the situation in Somalia.
- Pray that there will be a stop to Al-Shabaab’s terror as well as more religious freedom.
ü Additional prayer items are available at the WEA website, http://www.worldevangelicals.org/pray/ .
ü Please continue to pray for the preparations of International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church 2011 (IDOP 2011). Visit www.idop.org for more information.
[i] Source: Compass Direct News Service, available at: http://www.compassdirect.org/english/country/iran/article_120971.html
[ii] Source: Voice of the martyrs Canada, available at: http://www.persecution.net/component/option,com_fjrelated/Itemid,601/id,0/layout,blog/view,fjrelated/
World Evangelical Alliance is a global ministry working with local churches around the world to join in common concern to live and proclaim the Good News of Jesus in their communities. God is glorified and the nations of the earth are forever transformed.
The purpose of the WEA Religious Liberty Prayer Release is to keep you informed and mobilized in prayer and intercession for the needs of justice and religious liberty in the Church around the globe, so that we can stand together for the work of the Kingdom and the healing of the Nations. The Prayer Release is comprised on the basis of different credible Christian based resources.