My name is Diana Daskalova and I will be currently responsible for preparing and distributing the Religious Liberty Prayer News releases of the WEA, which is a blessing and honor for me.
As of today you will receive twice a month (every 1st and 15th day of the month) a prayer list with the prayer items, comprised on the basis of different credible Christian based resources, available globally and regionally.
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.
Further to this message please find the September 1st, 2009, WEA Religious Liberty Prayer News release.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18
WEA Religious Liberty Prayer News Facilitator
WEA Religious Liberty Prayer News*
September 1, 2009
“For My house shall be called
a house of prayer
for all the nations”
Isaiah 56:7; Mark 11:7
* 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.
Islamist violence against Christians in PAKISTAN[I]
At the end of July and in the beginning of August 2009 the world has been witnessing new horrific incidents of Islamist violence against Christians in Gojra town in Punjab province in Pakistan. Under the spurious accusation of blasphemy and desecration of Qur’an against Christians, a mob of violent Islamists attacked the Christian community on July 30. On August 1 another attack against the Christian community in Gojra occurred. Over 50 Christians houses were destroyed in the attack and seven Christians were killed in a burning house. The outbursts of Muslim violence, additionally incited by announcement of the local Mosques, have been out of the control of the local police. Most Christian and human rights organizations around the globe, as well as prominent Christians in Pakistan, have criticised police and Pakistani government for their slow response to the violence and for failing to prevent the attacks in Goira.
v Pray for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan who have suffered the loss of loved ones as well as for the entire homes, affected by the incidents.
v Pray for God’s protection over Christians in the affected areas from further outbursts of violence.
v Pray for the Pakistani government to be able to take adequate measures of protecting Christian minorities and granting their rights in the country.
2 Christian ladies jailed for their faith in IRAN[II]
In March 2009 two Iranian Christian women, Maryam Rostampour (27) and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad (30), wore convicted and without charge for any particular crime they were sent to Evin Prison, where they are kept until today. The two ladies were arrested on March 5, 2009 and reported to suffer great ill-treatment while in prison, including heavy interrogations and sleep deprivation. The two ladies boldly refused to recant their faith in Christ during the dramatic session before the revolutionary court in the beginning of August, when they have been questioned and pressured by the judge. Maryam and Marzieh’s only crime was their conversion to Christianity. They are now in prison awaiting their verdict.
Violations against religious and ethnical minorities are not something new in Iran, especially after the the 1979 revolution. But CSW reports that during the last two years, there have been fresh waves of arrests, detention and intimidation of Muslim converts to Christianity and Baha’is, as Muslim converts to Christianity are the most vulnerable among the Christian community in Iran. CSW also reports that on 25 May the EU published a Declaration expressing deep concern about religious persecution in Iran, in particular the persecution of Christians, available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/cfsp/107982.pdf.
v Pray for Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad, these courageous women of God who are still in suffering for their faith in Christ.
v Pray for all other persecuted for their Christian belief in Iran, not mentioned in this report, but standing courageous in their silence.
v Pray for God’s divine intervention for change of the spiritual climate in Iran, including through efficient political pressure from outside.
Christian held hostage in ISTANBUL[III]
On August 3, in a busy district on the Asian side of Istanbul, Yasin Karasu, a young 24 years old Muslim, held hostage for less than half an hour Ismail Aydin, 35 years old Turkey convert from Islam to Christianity. Yasin Karasu took the Christian Turk at knife point, draped his head with the national flag and threatened to slit his throat, calling him “missionary dog, handing out gospels and breaking up the country”. Compass Direct News report that police managed to convince Karasu to put down the knife and release Aydin, telling him that if he killed the convert Turkey would be ridiculed around the world and that as a last resort they were authorized to shoot to kill him.
v Pray that Turkish Christians will not be afraid of those who are able to kill the body but rather of him who is able to destroy both the body and soul in hell.
v Pray for peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims in Turkey.
v There are many disturbing signs in Turkey during the last years for slow increase of extremism and nationalism, directed mainly towards Christian minorities. Pray for the Turkish government to be able to sustain policy of religious freedom and balanced attitude among religious groups in the country.
Discriminatory and oppressive Religious Laws[iv]
Religious persecution towards minorities groups through discriminatory or oppressive Religious Laws still continues in some parts of Europe and Central Asia, according to the recent releases of Forum 18 News Services.
The Macedonian Religion Law’s hostility to some religious communities for example allows for continuing official obstacles against smaller religious communities acquiring, regaining, expanding and using places of worship.
In Uzbekistan one of the most widespread human rights violations remains the ban on and punishments for religious activity without state permission, as well as systematic obstruction for those who even want state registration.
In Kyrgyzstan unregistered communities of minority religious groups, including Protestant Christians, have been ordered by the authorities to stop meeting for worship. Forum 18 News Service has found that in some cases, communities have been told that state registration in the capital Bishkek does not allow religious activity elsewhere.
v Ask God to enable Christians in Macedonia and Central Asia to boldly serve Him, despite ongoing obstacles and persecution.
v Pray for reforms in the Religious Laws in the countries mentioned.
v Pray for true religious freedom to be established in these regions.
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church 2009
Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive director of the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, has sent a special release this past month, reminding us the approach of The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP)— an initiative of the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance. Every November, Christians around the world join together in prayer to remember our Christian brothers and sisters suffering persecution simply because they confess Jesus Christ as Lord. This November the tradition shall be continued. To find out more about IDOP 2009 and special resources designed to help you get involved, please visit the IDOP-international website at www.idop.org.
v Pray for the organizers of this massive event at global, regional and national level.
v Pray for the Spirit of God to mobilize continuously unceasing prayer for the persecuted Church around the globe today, making us ever mindful for the suffering of our brothers and sisters in regions of oppression.
v Join in prayer with the special IDOP prayer points, available at http://idop.org/pages/resources.php.
Additional prayer items are available at the WEA website, http://www.worldevangelicals.org/pray/ .
Keep in your prayer also the upcoming events and activities of the WEA globally, regionally and nationally, posted at http://www.worldevangelicals.org/newsletter/july31_09.htm
[i] Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, at http://www.csw.org.uk/urgentactionpakistanantichristianviolence.htm; Jubilee Campaign USA, at http://www.csw.org.uk/urgentactionpakistanantichristianviolence.htm
[ii] Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, at http://www.csw.org.uk/urgentactioniranmaryamandmarzieh.htm
[ii] Source: Compass Direct News, August 6, at http://www.compassdirect.org/en/display.php?page=news&lang=en&length=long&idelement=6054
[ii] Source: Forum 18 News Service, 4 August, 7 August, 13 August 2009 releases.