WEA Religious Liberty Prayer News, January 15, 2010

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“…Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you...”  I Samuel 12:23  

* 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.

Christians Arrested During Christmas Season in IRAN[i][1] 

Information from numerous sources show that Christian minority groups in many countries with predominant Muslim population have suffered a wave of persecution and attacks during the past Christmas Season. Compass Direct News services reports that on 21st & 29th December 2009 Christmas celebrations of two house groups in the Tehran area in Iran  were disrupted by the authorities, the people attending the services  were questioned and four persons were detained. Hamideh Najafi – the mother of a 10-yer-old girl suffering from kidney condition, was among the detained Christian converts in Iran. Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN) reported that on 16th December 2009 the home of Najafi in Mashhad was searched and her personal belongings were confiscated. A court hearing was arranged against the Christian lady, in which she has been denied access to a lawyer. On 30th December 2009 the Mashhad Revolutionary Court sentenced Najafi to three months of house arrest. During interrogation Najafi was threatened and was forced to deny her Christian faith and to return to Islam, Her husband was also summoned and threatened by security officers. The report of Compass Direct News points out that apart from the arrests, Iranian Christians continue to endure discrimination in different forms as part of the religious persecution against them.

Prayer points:
v     Pray for Hamideh Najafi, her little daughter and her family to be protected and strengthened by God in the midst of the persecution and threats they undergo.
v     Pray for Christians in Iran who live under many trials to find courage and comfort in the love of God.
v     Pray for persecution and discrimination against Christians in Iran not to be able to stop the Church to grow in maturity and number.  

Churches Torched in Malaysia

A credible source from Malaysia has reported that as of 7th January 2010h up to eight churches in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur have been attacked using fire bombs thrown into church premises by unknown individuals. On 31 December 2009, the High Court of Kuala Lumpur ruled that it was illegal and unconstitutional for the Government to ban the word "Allah" (Arabic for "God") for use by Christians in the Malay Bible and their religious media. The Government has appealed against the decision and publicly belittled the court's decision. Following that were a series of  attacks on churches. The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) of Malaysia has expressed its regret in an official statement, which is accessible at: http://www.necf.org.my/newsmaster.cfm?&menuid=43&action=view&retrieveid=1153 . The NECF has appealed in its statement “all communities to exercise practical rationality and to listen to the "voice of reason" and strive to make all efforts to foster a sense of greater unity and harmony within all races and religious community groups.”

Prayer points:
v    Pray for our brothers and sisters in Malaysia as they identify themselves with Paul who said "what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel" (Philippians 1:12).
v    Pray for quick and adequate investigation of the current incidents with the purpose of preventing similar waves of violence in future.
v    Pray for wisdom in the governmental authorities in Malaysia on how to restore and maintain religious harmony in the country.  

Kogui Christians taken prisoners in COLUMBIA[ii][2]

Christian Solidarity Worldwide has reported and called for action of prayer and support on behalf of members of the indigenous people group, Kogui, in Colombia, who  are being held prisoners in an effort to force them to renounce Christianity. In spite of all lobbying and actions taken at international level, the group remains in captivity, under threat and in desperate need. Two of the infants being held are seriously ill. The prisoners are treated badly, subjected to hard labour and are physically and emotionally exhausted. All that Kogui Christians want is to maintain their Kogui traditions and way of life as Christians and their basic human rights, as specified in the Colombian Constitution, to be respected.

Prayer points:
v    Please pray for the 23 Kogui Christians, who are now being held captive, to stay strong in the Lord, in both physical and spiritual strength.
v    Pray for the Colombian Government to act quickly, so that the lives of all these Christians to be saved.
v    Pray for Kogui Christians to be protected from further violence and humiliation.   

Seven People killed in Egypt[iii][3]

Christian Copts in Egypt observe Christmas on January 7th every year. The Christmas season has been marked with violence for them as well, according to the report of the Voice of the Martyrs, Canada. On 6th January 2010 h a gunmen opened fire on churchgoers exiting the Christmas Eve midnight service in the town of Nag Hamadi, Quene Province, killing at least seven people and injuring 9 more.  The lead shooter has been identified but not yet arrested.

Prayer points:
v     Pray for comfort on the families of the killed Christians and quick restoration of the wounded ones.
v     Pray for peace and stability in Egypt and the Quene province.
v     Pray for the Church in Egypt to grow stronger in spite of the persecution.          

ü      Additional prayer items are available at the WEA website, http://www.worldevangelicals.org/pray/ .

ü      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][1] Source: Compass Direct News, available at: http://www.compassdirect.org/english/country/iran/13807/   

[ii][2] Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, available at: http://www.csw.org.uk/urgentactioncolombiakoguichristians.htm

[iii][3] Source: The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, available at: http://www.persecution.net/pnp.htm#1001071