December 2017 Global Prayer Agenda

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Category One

Prayer for North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe

Scripture Reading: Psalm 67: 1 – 7

The United States of America

Prayer For Revival in the Church Across America

Born Again Christians Continue Declining, Only Minority Believe They Must Share the Gospel: Survey

The percentage of born-again Christians in America continues declining, a major religious survey has found. And only a minority of the faithful believe they have a strong personal responsibility to share the Gospel.

“Christianity in America is going through a time of substantial challenge. The Church at-large is not likely to grow in the future unless some fundamental changes in practice are made,” said researcher George Barna, speaking about the American Culture & Faith Institute survey results released Tuesday.

“Fewer churches emphasize and equip people for evangelism these days, and the results are obvious and undeniable. The implications of ignoring gospel outreach — especially among children, who are the most receptive audience to the gospel — are enormous. All the ‘church growth’ strategies in the world cannot compensate for the absence of an authentic transmission of the good news of what Jesus Christ has done for humanity.”

The results, drawn from a monthly nationwide survey this year that in total interviewed 9,273 American adults, found that just 31 percent of adults identify as born again, following a trend of decline since 2010.

“As older Americans pass away, the population proportion of younger adults will increase, continuing to drive down the born-again proportion in the years to come,” the survey argued.

Pray

  1. That the Lord would continue to raise up intercessors across America with a true vision of intercession and call to stand in the gap for spiritual revival in the church to positively influence or transform American culture.
  2. For God’s people across the nation to experience a deep spiritual hunger and thirsting after God and His Word to lay the foundation for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon His people across the nation for the growth of the church and for the continued evangelism of the lost, including millennials, as  well as,  those that view themselves as non-religious or atheists.
  3. For revival among the mainline Protestant denominations that are either stagnant or in a state of decline in both rural and urban centers of America, evidenced by a lack of love for Christ, the Word of God, lack of love for His Church reflected in the declining attendance of church members, lack of joy and vibrancy in worship services, little evangelistic fruits and low community impact.

Prayer against violence and Mass Murders threatening Churches in America

The massacre at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas last month, where 26 people were killed and another 20 were wounded by a lone gunman, has prompted churches across the nation to think about security measures and how to protect their congregations.

The mass murder at First Baptist followed another mass shooting earlier this year at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, 8 people were shot, one fatally an ex-member who was motivated by revenge for the nine churchgoers who were killed by

a 23-year-old white supremacist at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, as they prayed at a Bible Study.

Mass shooting is becoming a trend in America. On October 1, A gunman killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, raining down rapid fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel for several minutes before he was shot dead by police.  The death toll, which police emphasized was preliminary and tentative, would make the attack the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, eclipsing last year’s massacre of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub.(Source: The Christian Post)

PRAY

  1. For the families of those killed and those injured in the shooting First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, for God’s comfort and healing and for God to establish a hedge of protection around His people across the nation.
  2. For the people of God across America to take a decisive and united stand against the spirit of hatred and every other form of evil that fueled such terrible violence and mass murders in Charleston, Tennessee, Las Vegas, Texas, and elsewhere throughout the nation.

 

Prayer against violence and Social Divisions threatening the Nation

“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” (Mark 3:24-25)

PRAY

  1. For the people of God across America to take a decisive and united stand against the spirit of hatred and every other form of evil that fueled such terrible violence and mass murders in Charleston, Tennessee, Las Vegas and elsewhere throughout the nation.
  2. For the Church across America to take a united stand in prayer against all forms of divisions threatening to destroy the nation.

 

South America and The Caribbean

Prayer For Violent Nations in the Caribbean and Latin America

There are about 450,000 homicides in the world each year, over ten times more than the number being killed in the war in Syria. Half of all these homicides occur in just 20 countries, all of them in the Caribbean, Latin America or Africa, with just 10 percent of world population. These countries are the epicenter of world violence, and Jamaica is one of the most violent countries in this group.

The global cost of violence is about US$9.5 trillion a year, some 11 percent of world GDP. These costs are also concentrated in the same 20 countries. Jamaica has had a high level of violent crime for over four decades. Largely as a result, the economy of Jamaica is now, at best, one-third of the size it should have been; it may be only one-tenth of the size it could have been.

In the rest of the world, however, violence has been declining for decades. The number of homicides in the US in 2013 was lower than in the 1960s; the number in Japan in 2013 was the lowest since the war, while in England the level of violence has fallen by 66 percent since 1995. If these trends continue, the global level of non-conflict violence will be halved over the next three decades. This raises questions as to why the levels of violence remain high in one small group of nations, while the rest are becoming more peaceful.

High levels of violence are always the result of multiple failures and weaknesses at many levels of society. Most of the violent countries have weak or corrupt governance, poorly-performing economies, and incompetent or compromised institutions (especially with regard to policing and justice) that are not trusted by the people. There are opportunities to make significant profits from crimes such as extortion, fraud, or trafficking narcotics and weapons, and the risk that criminals will be arrested and successfully prosecuted is low. Many politicians and other leading members of society are venal and self-serving. In these circumstances, many people have recourse to violence to settle their disputes, rather than the law.

African, Caribbean, Latin American Countries with Highest Murder Rate in the world

(1) Honduras: 90.4 (per 100,000); (2) Venezuela: 53.7; (3) Belize: 44.7;

(4). El Salvador: 41.2; (5) Guatemala: 39.9; (6) Jamaica: 39.3; (7) Swaziland: 33.8

(8) Saint Kitts and Nevis: 33.6; (9) South Africa: 31.0; (10) Colombia: 30.8

(Source: United Nations Report)

Pray For

Deut 19:10: “That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the Lord giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.”

  1. Revival in the church in the nations across the Caribbean and Latin America to experience revival, resulting in the healing and social transformation of these nations;
  2. Pray the Governments of Honduras, Venezuela, Belize, El Salvador and Guatemala to receive Godly wisdom to root out corruption, gang violence and other factors influencing the high murder rates in these nations.
  3. Pray for the Government of Jamaica and St. Kitts and Nevis to receive Godly wisdom to root out corruption, gang violence and other factors driving the high murder rate in these nations.

 

Europe

  1. Polish Catholics Demonstrate Along 2,000-Mile Border to Protest Secularization, Islamization in Europe

By Anugrah Kumar | Christian Post Contributor | Oct 9, 2017

https://www.christianpost.com/news/polish-catholics-demonstrate-along-2000-mile-border-to-protest-secularization-islamization-in-europe-202117/

Thousands of Catholics in Poland got together along the country’s borders during the weekend and formed human chains to pray for God’s protection against the increasing “secularization” and “Islamization” of Europe.

The participants gathered at various points along the 2,200-mile border with Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia and the Baltic Sea, for the “Rosary at the Borders” event Saturday, which coincided with the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Agence France Presse reported.

Krakow Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski called on Catholics to pray “for the other European nations to make them understand it is necessary to return to Christian roots so that Europe would remain Europe.”

Over 90 percent of the country’s 38 million citizens are Roman Catholic.

“The key objective of this manifestation is to pray for peace,” Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, head of the Polish Episcopal Conference, was quoted as saying. …

The prayer rally was also endorsed by Polish church authorities, with 320 churches from 22 dioceses taking part, according to The Associated Press.

Prayers took place at some 4,000 locations, according to the organizers. …

Rytel-Andrianik called it the second-largest prayer event in Europe after the 2016 World Youth Day.

Prime Minister Beata Szydlo tweeted an image of rosary beads with a crucifix and sent greetings to all the participants.

Halina Kotarska, a 65-year-old participant, was quoted as saying, “Islam wants to destroy Europe. They want to turn us away from Christianity.”

Krzysztof Januszewski, another participant, stated: “In the past, there were raids by sultans and Turks and people of other faiths against us Christians. Today Islam is flooding us and we are afraid of this too. We are afraid of terrorist threats and we are afraid of people departing from the faith.”

PRAY

  1. That Poland’s concern for Europe’s Christian roots will drive them to earnestly seek after a Christianity based on biblical truths and experience of the power and Lordship of Jesus Christ.
  2. That the Polish Ecumenical Council will be successful in bringing about reconciliation, fellowship, and unity of vision among the Bible-believing Christians.
  3. That, centuries of nationalism and religious traditionalism in Poland will be broken down and will give way to genuine conversions to Jesus Christ as the Supreme Lord and only Mediator between God and man.
  4. New Zealand removes Jesus’ name from parliamentary prayer

By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter | Nov 9, 2017, 12:22 PM

https://www.christianpost.com/news/new-zealand-removes-jesus-name-parliament-prayer-206034/

The parliament of the increasingly secular nation of New Zealand has removed a reference to Jesus Christ in a new version of a prayer that is said before the start of every sitting session.

Radio New Zealand reported on Thursday that Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard has already started using the new version despite the period of consultation not yet being over.

The original version of the prayer read:

“Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the glory of Thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honor of the Queen, and the public welfare, peace, and tranquility of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Beside dropping Jesus’ name, the new version also removes references to Britain’s queen, who acts as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

“Almighty God, we give thanks for the blessings which have been bestowed on New Zealand,” the proposed new prayer reads. “Laying aside all personal interests, we pray for guidance in our deliberations, that we may conduct the affairs of this House with wisdom and humility, for the public welfare and peace of New Zealand.”…

Jacinda Ardern, an agnostic, was sworn in as New Zealand’s 40th Prime Minister in a non-religious ceremony in October, becoming the youngest woman to lead the country at 37 years of age.

Ardern reportedly did not include the phrase “so help me God” in her oath of office, and replaced the word “swear” with “solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm.”….

Newshub reported earlier this year that while a century ago New Zealand was one of the most Christian nations in the world, national census data from 2013 found that less than half the population, or 48.9 percent, now identify with the faith…. Lineham added that Asian immigrants, such as Koreans and Filipinos who come to New Zealand, are often “alarmed” at how secular the nation is.

Pray

  1. That the Lord will grant unto the Prime Minister to turn from the error of her ways and to come into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
  2. That God will give much wisdom to the New Zealand Christian Network and enable them to be effective in their work to bring about unity and cooperation among the Christian denominations and to iron out the tensions that exist among Pentecostal churches, in particular.
  3. That the Kiwi/New Zealand as a people will return to the Lord and that New Zealand will regain its reputation in the world as a truly Christian nation.

Christian maths teacher facing disciplinary hearing after calling pupil born female ‘a girl’

Published: November 15th, 2017 |

http://www.christianconcern.com/our-issues/education/christian-teacher-facing-disciplinary-hearing-after-calling-pupil-girl

A respected Christian maths teacher at a school in Oxfordshire is facing discipline for ‘misgendering’ a student.

Joshua Sutcliffe, from Oxford, began working at the school in September 2015 and currently teaches children aged 11-18. … But on November 2, a complaint was made that Joshua referred to a pupil as a ‘girl’, rather than the desired ‘boy’.

Although born as a girl, the pupil had self-declared as ‘male’. Joshua had not been given any formal instruction on how to refer to the pupil. An investigation began immediately, during which Joshua was prevented from teaching and forced to spend all his time ‘in isolation’ in the staff room. He is now suspended, pending a further investigation.

‘Transgender ideology is being imposed’

Responding to the disciplinary process, Joshua commented: “I have been shocked and saddened by the actions of the school, which, in my opinion, reflect an increasing trend of seeing Christians, people like me, being marginalized in the public square, and our beliefs punished and silenced…

“I have never looked to impose my convictions on others, I just try to earnestly live out the gospel of peace.

“I have balanced these factors by calling the pupil by the chosen name and although I did not intentionally refer to the pupil as a ‘girl’, I do not believe it is unreasonable to call someone a girl if they were born a girl.

“The aggressive way in which transgender ideology is being imposed is undermining my freedom of belief and conscience, as well as the conscience of many people throughout our nation who believe that gender is assigned at birth.

“I have a deep conviction that we are all made in God’s image, male and female.”

‘A flood of cases’

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting Joshua said:

“This case is one of a flood of cases we are encountering where teachers are finding themselves silenced or punished if they refuse to fall in line with the current transgender fad.

“We all know how much we change during our teenage years. It is vital that during those years we help our children to live in the biological sex they were born rather than encouraging them to change ‘gender’. If we encourage them to change gender it is not kind and compassionate; it is cruel.

“What we need is a culture in our schools which gives emotional support to children through puberty without encouraging them to make life-long decisions against their natural born biological sex.

“If we collude in the transgender delusion we do not serve our children well, we harm them.”

International media attention

Since Joshua’s story hit the newspapers on Sunday, his case has been featured all over the news – on TV and radio as well as newspapers.

Along with Andrea Williams, Joshua appeared on ITV’s This Morning and has since given interviews to numerous radio stations. Nearly all the major UK newspapers covered the story, including in-depth articles in the Mail on Sunday, the Mirror and the Sun. It’s caught the attention of media around the world too – including the Washington Times and news services across Europe, Russia, and China.

All of this attention has been a wonderful opportunity to share the good news about God and his plan for humanity, created male and female, in his image.

Pray

  1. That the Lord will give Joshua boldness to stand for the truth and cause him to be fully absolved of any offense for referring to the child by the gender in which she was born.
  2. That the Lord will have mercy upon those who are being deceived by the transgender ideology that’s spreading across the globe and open their eyes to the truth.
  3. That as this case has gotten international media attention, that God will use it to powerfully promote the good news of redemption for all – male and female.

Category 2

Israel, the Middle East, and Africa

Scripture: Psalm 47:1-9 NIV 

 

Israel

JERUSALEM —

Weeks ahead of the expected completion of a U.N. database of companies that operate in Israel’s West Bank settlements, Israel and the Trump Administration are working feverishly to prevent its publication.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day,” Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, told The Associated Press.

Israeli officials say that about 100 local companies that operate in the West Bank and east Jerusalem have received warning letters that they will be on the list. In addition, some 50 international companies, mostly American and European, also have been warned. The companies have not been publicly identified, but one official said they include Israeli banks, supermarkets, restaurant chains, bus lines and security firms, as well as international giants that provide equipment or services used to build or maintain settlements.

Israel is the only country that faces an examination of its rights record at each of the council’s three sessions each year. Some 70 resolutions, or about a quarter of the council’s country-specific resolutions, have been aimed at Israel. That is nearly triple the number for the second-place country: Syria, where hundreds of thousands have been killed in a devastating six-year civil war.

Israeli leaders and many non-governmental groups also complain that some of the world’s worst violators of human rights, including Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Congo, and Cuba, sit on the council. (Associated Press, November 26, 2017)

https://www.voanews.com/a/israel-races-to-head-off-un-settlement-blacklist/4137122.html 

Pray

  1. Pray that the U.N. will stop opposing and seeking to destabilize Israel. Also pray that the database of companies operating in the West Bank will not be published.
  2. Pray that the Trump Administration would continue to publicly support Israel as well as oppose the publication of any list of companies operating in the West Bank.
  3. Pray for the peace, protection, and prosperity of Israel.
  4. Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Israel.

 

Egypt

CAIRO — Just days after the worst terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday gave his security forces a three-month deadline to restore “security and stability” in the troubled northern Sinai, the epicenter of an increasingly brutal militant insurgency.

In a televised ceremony marking the birthday of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, el-Sissi authorized his new chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Farid Hegazy, to use “all brute force” against the militants.

“I am mandating Maj. Gen. Mohammed Farid Hegazy before you and the entire people of Egypt to restore security and stability in Sinai,” said el-Sissi. “With God’s benevolence and your efforts and sacrifices, you and the police will restore security and use all brute force, all brute force.” (Associated Press, November 29, 2017)

https://www.voanews.com/a/egypt-president-gives-forces-3-mothns-to-calm-restive-sinai/4141629.html

 

WASHINGTON —  Egyptian officials say 305 people were killed Friday by suspected militants in an attack on a packed mosque in the volatile northern Sinai Peninsula. Twenty-seven of the dead are children.

The public prosecutor’s office said Saturday that 25 to 30 extremists targeted the al-Rawdah mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed, west of the provincial capital, el-Arish. Militants arrived at the mosque in four-wheel-drive vehicles, set off an explosion and then ran inside, where they opened fire on worshipers as they tried to escape. The gunmen also used burning cars to block exits from the building.

Eyewitnesses also said the militants fired on ambulances as emergency personnel tried to evacuate the wounded to hospitals. The state news agency says 128 people were wounded in the attack. (VOA News, November 25, 2017)

The attack targeted a mosque frequented by Sufis, members of a mystic movement within Islam.

https://www.voanews.com/a/suspected- kill-235-in-sinai-mosque-attack/4136204.html

Pray

  1. Pray that those responsible to the death of the 305 people at the al-Rawdah mosque would be brought to justice.
  2. Pray that the Egyptian government and military would reestablish security and stability in the Sanai regions of Egypt.
  3. Pray for the total defeat and dissolution of IS in Egypt.
  4. Pray for the protection, strengthening, and growth of the Church in Egypt.

 

Iraq

WASHINGTON — The World’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, Knights of Columbus, will give $1 million worth of food supplies to an Iraqi archdiocese to ensure that thousands of Christians displaced from their homes by the Islamic State are able to enjoy the Christmas season a little bit better this year.

At a press briefing with reporters Tuesday morning, Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson announced that his Connecticut-based organization is donating up to $1 million in food that will benefit over 15,000 Iraqi families that were forced out of their homes and villages in the Nineveh Plains when IS (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) took over in 2014.

The donation comes as the Knights of Columbus, which has been one of the most active U.S.-based organizations in supporting displaced Christians in the region, has raised over $17 million in the last three years to help Christians displaced by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Earlier this year, the organization followed in the footsteps of the Hungarian government by donating $2 million to the Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil to help rebuild a once predominantly Christian town decimated by the jihadi death cult. (SAMUEL SMITH, CP REPORTER, NOV 28, 2017)

https://www.christianpost.com/news/us-charity-provide-1-million-food-help-displaced-iraqi-christians-christmas-208150/

Bottom of Form

The Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Warda, is urging President Donald Trump to help 20,000 Iraqi Christian families that have been driven out of their homes following attacks and dangers from Islamic extremists. Warda told AFP in an interview published on Tuesday that 20,000 Iraqi Christian families, or around 100,000 people, still need vital assistance following years of attacks by Islamic radicals and other conflicts that have driven them out of their homes.

“This is a just case,” Warda said in his plea to the Trump administration. “They are persecuted, they are marginalized and they are in need,” he said of the Christians.

Warda called on the U.S. to step up its efforts in helping believers, noting that European nations, such as Hungary and Poland, have greatly contributed to the cause. “You are not just helping them because they are Christians, but because they have been persecuted and left behind,” the bishop said. (STOYAN ZAIMOV, CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER, NOV 28, 2017)

https://www.christianpost.com/news/iraqi-archbishop-pleas-trump-save-20000-persecuted-christian-families-208143/

Pray

  1. Thank God that most of Iraq have been liberated from IS control. Pray for the total defeat and dissolution of IS in Iraq.
  2. Thank God for the $1 million-worth of food supplies donated to help the displaced Christians in Iraq
  3. Pray that the US government will increase its efforts to provide aid to the 20,000 Iraqi Christian families who still need vital assistance in Iraq.
  4. Pray for the protection, strengthening, and growth of the Church in Iraq.

Kenya

NAIROBI —  After two elections, several Supreme Court petitions, frequent protests and many other twists and turns, Uhuru Kenyatta finally was sworn in Tuesday for a second term as president of Kenya.

“I undertake today to be the custodian of the dreams of all,” said Kenyatta to a packed sports stadium in Nairobi. “And to be the keeper of the aspirations of those who voted for me, and those who did not. I will be president of all.”

After his August electoral win was nullified, Kenyatta won a second election in October with about 98 percent of the overall vote, after opposition leader Raila Odinga told his supporters to boycott the polls. There was 39 percent overall voter turnout in October, leading some to ask whether Kenyatta had earned a mandate.

Odinga has not accepted Kenyatta’s victory and said Tuesday that the opposition would be conducting its own inauguration in December.

“We have said, this month, on 12 December, we’ll be having the People’s Assembly which will swear me in,” he said. (Jill Craig, VOA News, November 28, 2017)

https://www.voanews.com/a/kenyas-new-leader/4139667.html

Many unresolved issues are holding Kenya from moving forward these include past injustices, corruption at various levels, shedding of innocent blood, ethnicity, stereotyping, idolatry, human rights violations, and marginalization of other communities. (Peter Kegode, IPMI Facilitator, Nov. 26, 2017)

Pray

  1. Pray for Kenyan Christians to engage in fervent repentance according to 2 Chronicles 7:14
  2. Pray for peace and reconciliation to occur at all levels of the society in Kenya and especially at the presidential and governmental levels.
  3. Ask God to meet the needs of the orphans and widows in Kenya.

 

Category 3

Prayer for Movement Day Global Cities, the Persecuted Church and Other Critical Concerns of Asia

 Scripture   –   Psalms 47: 1 – 9

 Thanksgiving:

  • In November we completed multiple video projects which all help tell the story of Movement Day Expressions.
  • On October 26th, Ebony traveled to Kansas City for strategic planning meetings with leaders from Cru City, Luis Palau Association and Mission America Coalition in drafting the 2018 partnership focus areas for the multi-organizational City Gospel Movement team.
  • We’ve initiated planning for an Executive Director’s 2018 gathering to kick off the 100 Cities Summit. 15 MDE leaders will gather to strategically plan towards a 5-year vision for their MD expression.
  • Leaders from the Netherlands and Baltimore have expressed interest in launching an expression of MD.
  • Jurie Kriel has joined our team in a contractor role as a Global Cities Catalyst for Africa.

Pray

  • For our Global Champions as they identify teams of 3-5 leaders to attend the 100 Cities Summit. Pray also for the necessary funding to execute this gathering.
  • For the overarching development of vision and direction for the 100 Cities Summit & Marketplace Leaders Gathering as we continue to plan the framework.
  • For the right candidate to be retained by end of December 2017 for a contractor role as the Manager, Movement Day Expressions.
  • For safety, favor and God’s anointing upon Mac as he travels to Moscow/Asia for meetings with city leaders; and for Ebony, as she represents the NYCLC December 11-12 at Willow Creek Association for meetings on city movements.
  • On December 20th, we’ll convene for a strategic planning meeting assessing 2017 and cementing our 2018 goals. Pray that we clearly discern where the Lord is leading us and that we can create a plan on how to execute well.

 

The Global Persecution of Christians

10 Nations Where People Suffer Extreme Religious Persecution Exposed in Major Report

A major report on religious persecution worldwide has exposed the hostilities that Christians and other religious minorities suffer, revealing that as much as 80 percent of the world’s population lives under high persecution. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief released on Wednesday its latest report, Article 18: From Rhetoric to Reality, detailing the rise in hostilities toward religions.  Currently, some of the most publicized atrocities are taking place in Africa, Asia and the Middle-East and urgent action is needed to address the violations. Within these regions there are some religious minorities which are publicly condemned,” Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations special rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, wrote in the forward.

“Individual members of some minority faiths are at risk of being put on watch lists, being denied access to public services, receiving corporal punishment in the form of hundreds of lashes or even of being assassinated in targeted killings,” he added.

Shaheed explained that despite global efforts to protect religious freedom, “the scale of violations remains enormous, with almost 80 percent of the world’s population living in countries with ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of restrictions and/or hostilities toward certain beliefs.Top of FormAmong its numerous findings, the report featured a list of 10 countries where different religious minorities face significant persecution. The list, in no particular order, began with the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, who are facing an ongoing ethnic cleansing at the hands of security forces. The most recent violence, which began in August, has led to the deaths of close to 1,000 people, while over 500,000 have had to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. The oppression of evangelical Christians in Eritrea was second on the list, highlighting how believers are detained indefinitely for their faith.

“Many of them are subjected to torture, for example, by being bound in contorted positions for lengthy periods, or through prolonged beatings. There are credible reports of female Christian prisoners being beaten on their wombs, allegedly to prevent them from bearing children,” the report exposed.

Other groups, such as Open Doors USA, have also reported on the extreme persecution of Christians in Eritrea, ranking the nation at No. 10 on its World Watch List.

The plight of Falun Gong practitioners in China; Hindus in Bangladesh; Baha’is in Iran; Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia; atheists and Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia; and Hoa Hoa Buddhists in Vietnam also made the Article 18 list. The ninth entry focused on the terror attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt, with hundreds killed since June 2016.

“Despite positive government rhetoric and attendance at Christmas masses, mob violence and Islamist attacks on churches, Copts and their property have increased over the past two years and no licenses to build churches have been granted,” the report explained. (Source: Christian Post Reporter | Oct 26, 2017).

“Vice President Mike Pence has pledged that the Trump administration will come to the rescue of Christians in the Middle East, as persecution of religious minorities in the region continues.”

“He said that Washington will move funding away from the United Nations to the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, in order to directly assist Christian communities in the Middle East.” (Source: Newsweek, October 27, 2017)

Pray

  1. Let us praise God for the continued growth of His Church worldwide despite increased persecution of Christians worldwide.
  2. Let us continue to praise God the resilience believers living particularly in Muslim majority countries in Asia and the Middle East, where they find themselves at greater risk of persecution from both the state and Islamic militants.
  3. For, provision of believers facing increased persecution and for increased opportunities to overcome religious discrimination and isolation, and preserve the Christian witness in these nations.
  4. For the US Government to follow through on its recent pledge of the Trump Administration to come to the rescue of Christians facing persecution in the Middle East.

 

Rohingya – loved by God

“The crisis evolving before our very eyes against the Rohingya people is horrifying. Who are they? They are an ethnically distinct people group whose language has some similarity to Bengali. They are predominantly Muslim and the 1.1 million Rohingya have lived in Rakhine State in Myanmar since at least the 12th Century.”

“Migration is not easy to trace as, for example, during the British rule Myanmar, Bangladesh and India were all ruled as one nation, and so people movement within this region was simply seen as internal. It is thought that many Rohingya moved to Rakhine State as laborers, but were not well received by the local population.”

“The Myanmar government has never accepted them as citizens and does not even record them as an ethnic group within their borders. Since 1982 the Rohingya have been stateless as far as Myanmar people are concerned and many believe they should be sent to Bangladesh, so the sudden flare-up of violence has created the opportunity for a “clear out”.”

“Their story reminds us of the Israelites and their migration to Egypt to survive the famine. Here their freedom was stripped away and they were turned into slaves with no rights. God heard their cry for justice and responded in love.”

“Many people in Myanmar have been persuaded by the national media to view the Rohingya as less than human with no rights. We call on all to correct this lie and a true identity of the Rohingya people be declared as made in the image of God, loved and cherished by God; a God who sees the injustice of their situation and responds. Let us respond with God for justice and life, for restoration and healing, for a place, a land that they can flourish in safety and well-being.”
(Source: Micah Global November 2017 Newsletter)

PRAY

  1. For God’s justice to reign and for His mercy to come in and restore the Rohingya to a place that is set aside for them to flourish.
  2. For God’s intervention into the crisis affecting Rohingya people to lead them to discover God’s redemptive purposes and saving grace in Jesus Christ.

Prayer for North Korea

Foreign Ministers to Discuss North Korea’s Rising Threat at UN

“At an emergency meeting of the council Wednesday following Pyongyang’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, Haley warned that should war break out, “the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”

Haley also called on U.N. member states to cut ties with Pyongyang and urged a full oil embargo to cut off one of the country’s most important and final lifelines.

“I am grateful for what the Security Council has been doing in the last year and a half, but we certainly need to do more,” Bessho said Friday.

He said the last resolution, adopted in late September, is “very robust” and he hopes all member states will “faithfully implement” it.

That resolution imposed tough economic sanctions aimed at cutting off financial and fuel lifelines to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Among the measures was a one-third cut of Pyongyang’s oil imports, as well as drastic reductions to the amount of gas, diesel and heavy fuel oil it could import.

Bessho said Japan is talking with its friends and partners about the best strategy to get North Korea to change its nuclear policy.

“The Security Council is just one arena that may be useful,” Bessho said. “But it is a whole strategy we need to talk about.”

North Korea has ramped up its nuclear and ballistic missile tests this year. (Source:  Adopted from VOA News, December 1, 2017)

Pray

  1. For the North Korean regime to abandon its nuclear ambition and to desist from retreat from its current aggressive posture towards its neighbors and the US in order to avoid a nuclear war that would result in the death of millions of people on the Peninsula.
  2. For the Lord to respond to the cries of the persecuted Church in North Korea and the Christian Community around the world against the terrible oppression and injustices suffered by the people of North Korea, particularly the 70,000 fellow believers serving long harsh prisons terms in concentration camps.
  3. For the suffering Church of North Korea, in spite of persecution, to continue to grow and experience God’s favor and His provision to become a powerful redemptive force in such terrible darkness.

 

Prayer for China

Christians Told to Replace Posters of Jesus with President Xi If They Want Illness, Poverty Relief

Thousands of villagers in southeastern China have reportedly been called to replace their posters of Jesus Christ and other religious imagery with photographs of Chinese President Xi Jinping if they want assistance with poverty and illness relief.  The South China Morning Post reported that the suggestion by Chinese authorities to replace posters of Jesus with Xi hearkens back to the “personality cult” era of Chairman Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China.  It noted that Xi has made it his target to end poverty by 2020, with government officials visiting Christian families in poverty-stricken towns to convince them to fall in line with the Communist Party’s policies as a way to solve their material problems.

Qi Yan, chairman of the Huangjinbu people’s congress, explained the government’s initiative: “Many poor households have plunged into poverty because of illness in the family. Some resorted to believing in Jesus to cure their illnesses.”

“But we tried to tell them that getting ill is a physical thing and that the people who can really help them are the Communist Party and General Secretary Xi.”

Qi further called Christians “ignorant” for believing that God is their savior.  The Huangjinbu township distributed more than 1,000 portraits of Xi, with several families reportedly choosing to hang them in their homes.  The official later insisted that the Communist Party has not been saying that all religious icons need to be taken down, and claimed that it supports the freedom of belief.  One resident of another township in Yugan revealed that officials have been urging believers to remove religious artifacts from their homes as well.

“Some families put up gospel couplets on their front doors during the Lunar New Year, some also hang paintings of the cross. But they’ve all been torn down,” the resident said.

He added that some believers did not do so voluntarily.

“They all have their belief and, of course, they didn’t want to take them down. But there is no way out. If they don’t agree to do so, they won’t be given their quota from the poverty-relief fund,” the man said.

The Communist Party held its 19th National Party Congress in October, which did not present a clear successor to Xi, meaning the president is set to rule for years to come.

Moreover, Xi’s name and ideology was enshrined into the Constitution, elevating him to the level of Mao. Bob Fu, president of persecution watchdog China Aid, which documents the increasing crackdown of Christians in the country, told The Christian Post in a phone interview at the time that the developments can only be concerning for believers. Fu noted that the “clear signal” from the week-long congress is that the atheistic party will seek to “exert total control over all areas of life” of Chinese citizens, including churches.

UCANews, a Catholic news source reporting from Asia, noted that Chinese propaganda is lionizing Xi as a “fearless nationalist leader, a strongman who can restore China to its ‘rightful place’ in the world and particularly the region.”

“As well as upgrading Xi’s image, there has been the crushing of perceived enemies. These are usually groups or people who simply want to change the system to be more inclusive and look after citizens and their rights, nothing more,” it added. (Source: Christian Post, November 14, 2017)

PRAY

  1. Praise God for the survival, resilience and continued growth of the Christian community across China despite the various attempts by the Communist government to decimate the Christian faith in China.
  2. For the Chinese Government to change its stand on requiring poor Chinese Christians to replace crosses of Christ with President Xi’s image in order to receive economic aid.
  3. That the growth will serve as a valuable source of hope and inspiration to those Christians from North Korea, India and other nations suffering persecution for their faith and that the Chinese Church will also serve strategic role in the evangelization and social transformation of nations across Asia

 

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