Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 463 | Wed 30 Jan 2008
WELCOME to the 22 intercessors who have joined the list since
Jesus said: 'Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of
them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the
hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are
more valuable than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me
before men, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven
. . .' Matthew 10:29-32 (ESV)
DURING JANUARY WE HAVE PRAYED FOR --
CENTRAL ASIA, where the young Protestant Church is caught up in
Central Asia's struggle to emerge from Soviet repression whilst
tackling the very real threat of intolerant fundamentalist
Islam. Trained Islamic jihadists and ideologues are constantly
infiltrating from Iran, Chechnya, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The
growth in Protestant Christianity upsets suspicious
anti-American Soviet-influenced dictators, a jealous Russian
Orthodox Church elite and hostile Muslim fundamentalists alike.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will empower the Church to be effective
in witness, grace and perseverance.
IRAQ, where a decimated, traumatised Church struggles amidst
violence. In early January, churches were bombed in Mosul,
Baghdad and Kirkuk. In Mosul a monastery and orphanage were also
bombed. Al Qaeda and various other Islamic terror groups are
determined to purge Iraq of Christianity.
* UPDATE: Iraq Church Bombings Continue -- A Chaldean church in the
northern city of Mosul was the target of the tenth bombing of
Christian churches and facilities in January. On 18 January an
abandoned car exploded outside the church building inflicting
damage and minor injuries to a policeman and a woman.
Though the extent of damage was minimal, this bombing adds to a
growing concern for the safety and welfare of Iraq's Christian
minority. In response to the bomb attacks, Iraqi Prime Minister
Nouri Al-Maliki vowed government support to ensure safety for
Christians in Iraq. Please pray that this commitment will become
a reality and for no harm to fall upon the righteous - see
Proverbs 12:21. (From Neal Youngquist}
Canon Andrew White, ministering at St George's Anglican Church in
the heart of Baghdad, told CBN, 'The two largest Christian
neighbourhoods of Dora and Karada are now devoid of all
Christians. I have 1300 members in my church in Baghdad and we
have six men left. All the rest have been kidnapped or killed.'
Canon White says he has never loved a congregation as much as he
loves his congregation of women of children in Baghdad. He says
many have been driven from their homes and now live in the
churches, which struggle to supply their basic daily needs.
UZBEKISTAN, where Protestant Christians are persecuted by
Uzbekistan's increasingly radicalised local Muslims and
Soviet-era secret police. Local persecution feeds off virulent
anti-Christian disinformation in the mass media. Some elements
exploit the false reports to make claims on church property.
* UPDATE: In Uzbekistan the authorities have dropped criminal
charges against the leaders of Grace Church. They were falsely
accused of keeping large quantities of psychotropic medicines in
the church, when in fact the medicine was a commonly used cough
mixture belonging to just one person in the church. Regardless,
they still face the threat that the church building they have
owned since 1999 may be seized. Other Protestant churches have
strong concerns that the government may reconsider the issue of
ownership of their church buildings as well. Praise God that the
church leaders were cleared of the false charges and please pray
for God's justice in the situation with the church building.
Pray that mass-media propaganda against Protestant churches will
be ineffective and will cease. (From Anneta Vyssotskaia)
OTHER ISSUES DURING JANUARY
* KENYA: RELIGIOUS LIBERTY THREATENED
Kenyan politics is dominated by tribalism and those with power tend
to govern for the benefit of their tribe and those allied to them,
rather than for the benefit of all citizens equally. That is why
inequality runs along tribal lines, why tribal animosity is so
high, why the loss of power (or of an election) is so costly, and
why power is fought for so desperately. In Kenya the president
wields enormous power and there is much at stake in such a tribal
Kenya's largest tribe is the Kikuyu (22 percent), the tribe of
President Mwai Kibaki, whilst the Luo tribe of Opposition leader
Raila Odinga makes up 13 percent. Though both tribes are
predominantly 'Christian', Raila Odinga has signed a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) with Kenya's National Muslim Leaders Forum (see
< http://eakenya.org/ >) in a deal to secure the Muslim vote.
(According to Operation World, Muslims account for 8 percent, while
the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims claim they account for 35
percent). Tribalism undermines peace and the MoU threatens to
seriously undermine Kenya's religious liberty. Please pray for
awakening, repentance and revival in Kenya's Church for the sake of
peace and religious liberty. May a reformed Church be instrumental
in reforming Kenya, to the glory of God.
* SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES: PASTORS MURDERED; SOLDIERS GUARD CHURCHES
On 15 January Roman Catholic missionary Reynaldo Roda (54) was shot
dead as he prayed in his chapel in Tabawan in southern Tawi-Tawi
province. The gunmen are believed to be members of the Islamic
terror group Abu Sayyaf. Italian news agency AKI reports (23 Jan):
'The murder came after kidnapping threats were received by four
Italian priests currently serving in the Zamboanga Peninsula area
of Mindanao. None of the priests have requested for a transfer.' On
26 January Protestant pastor Felicisimo Catambis (60) of the United
Church of Christ in the Philippines in Abuyog in Leyte Province,
Mindanao, was murdered as he rode his motorcycle into town early in
the morning. Two men on another motorcycle approached and shot him
nine times in the back. The Philippines government is deploying
soldiers to guard churches and foreign and local Christian workers
across the south as the threat of terror and kidnap is on the rise
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
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World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Religious Liberty
Prayer List < [email protected] >
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.
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