* The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church *
* For resources, visit http://www.IDOP.org *
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin – No. 350 – Wed 26 Oct 2005
WELCOME to the intercessors who have joined the list this month.
DURING OCTOBER WE HAVE PRAYED FOR –
ALGERIA, where we pray for God to work powerfully through his
small but growing Church, as it ministers in the midst of a
traumatised and disillusioned people, in a nation desperately
needing reform, peace and genuine restorative justice.
INDIA, where the Supreme Court is considering the
constitutionality of equality for Christian Dalits. Dalits
(Untouchables) are the most deprived and abused of all Indians.
They exist below the Hindu caste system, without hope of
liberation. In a Constitutional change in 1950, the Indian
government introduced affirmative action to address historic
Dalit disadvantage. However Christians are presently banned from
receiving affirmative action. This is a breach of India’s
Constitution which prohibits discrimination on religious
grounds. Sixty percent of all Indian Christians are Dalits.
CUBA, where the authorities are steering the country back towards a
more orthodox Communist model. This involves increased repression
of human rights advocates, many of whom are Christians, and
greater hostility towards and repression of the thousands of
house-churches that sprang up in the 1990s. New legislation
imposes harsh restrictions on the house-churches and will force
many to go underground, stifling Christian witness and ministry.
OTHER ISSUES IN OCTOBER
* INDONESIA: ISLAMIC RADICALS HARASS CHURCHES
Some of the churches forced to close in West Java have been
worshipping on the street outside their premises. But on 16
October, the Lutheran, Presbyterian and Pentecostal churches in
Jatimulya, East Bekasi, were prevented from holding services in the
street by large crowds of Islamic radicals setting down their
prayer mats there and conducting Islamic services. When the
Christian congregations then found other places to worship, angry
Muslims confronted them, mocking them and threatening violence.
According to reports, the police did not intervene, even when the
Presbyterian pastor Anna was assaulted. The movement to close the
churches across Java appears to be spreading and many of them feel
under threat. In South Sulawesi on Sunday 16 October, some 150
angry Muslims broke into and vandalised a house that had been used
for Christian worship earlier that day. Please pray for justice and
security in Indonesia.
* NORTHERN NIGERIA: SEVERE PERSECUTION IN KANO
Northern Nigeria is under Sharia Law and Christians face systematic
discrimination, persecution and the destruction of their churches.
One of the most hostile states is Kano. Compass Direct (CD) reports
Christian leaders in Kano complain that Muslims are targeting
Christian children in government schools and pressuring them to
convert to Islam. The children have no rights and are forced to
observe Ramadan and wear Islamic dress. Christian leaders told CD
that the persecution is so severe it is like being a slave, and
there are now more Christian widows and orphans than the Church can
care for. Also a Christian exodus is emptying the churches. Pastors
believe this is all part of an aggressive campaign to completely
Islamise Kano State. The Reverend Murtala Marti Dangora, a former
Muslim, has led more than 300 Muslims to Christ. He is persistently
persecuted by Islamists. He says there are many Muslims who desire
to know Christ, but persecution scares them away. Please pray for
God to intervene in Kano.
‘O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every
morning, our salvation in the time of trouble.’ Isaiah 33:2
* UZBEKISTAN: SAVAGE HATE AND COSTLY FAITH
During October Compass Direct (CD) reported on the shocking
persecution of Christian believers in Janbashkala village, near
Turtkul in southwestern Uzbekistan. For two years now, converts
from Islam have been hounded out of their jobs and homes and beaten
at the behest of a local strongman, the wealthy Tokhtabay Sadikov.
This comes after years of harmonious, peaceful co-existence. CD
reports, ‘The water supply to Christian homes in the village has
been cut off, and the church of nearly 100 has dwindled to 20.’ CD
states also that ‘local police and civic officials, the
prosecutor’s office, the secret police and Muslim clerics’ have all
been co-opted to punish the believers. Some have literally lost
everything. Because the water has been cut, the families, including
children, are forced to drink dirty water and are frequently very
ill. Several Christian families have sold their homes and fled to
Kazakhstan. Despite their good relations with the other villagers,
the persecuted Christians have no support because the whole village
fears Tokhtabay Sadikov. The leader of the persecuted believers is
Pastor Kaldibek Primbetov. After one savage beating his home was
confiscated. His wife has also been abused and threatened.
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR:
* strength and perseverance, grace, wisdom and inner peace for
Pastor Primbetov, his family, and all the believers in
* the sovereign Living God, the God of justice and righteousness,
to powerfully and mercifully intervene in Janbashkala village,
converting or removing Tokhtabay Sadikov.
* God to open the eyes and hearts of the people of Janbashkala
village to the grace exhibited and the truth cherished
faithfully by the believers; may the time of sowing in tears
pass and be replaced with joyful harvest. (Psalm 126:5,6)
‘Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he
exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of
justice; blessed are all who wait for him.’ Isaiah 30:18
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RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
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.