February 2018 Prayer Agenda

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Category One

Prayer for North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe

Scripture Reading: Habakkuk 3: 1 – 6.

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. (Source: Christianity Today)

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 for the Advancement of Religious Liberties across America

Football Coach Punished for Praying After Games Denied Hearing by US Appeals Court

A Washington state high school football coach, who was suspended for kneeling in prayer after the end of football games, has suffered another legal setback in his quest to be reinstated and it is looking more likely that he might have to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Joe Kennedy, who coached at Bremerton High School before he was suspended in 2015, was denied his request on Thursday for an en banc hearing before the entire United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel ruled against him last August.

“A judge of the court called for a vote on the petition for rehearing en banc. A vote was taken, and a majority of the non-recused active judges of the court failed to vote for en banc rehearing,” a court document reads.

The Ninth Circuit court’s August ruling came after a federal district court ruled that the Bremerton School District was justified in its course of action against Kennedy and refused to force the school district to reinstate the football coach. The appellate court ruled that Kennedy’s public prayer could be seen as a public school endorsement of religion, thus a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

“Banning all coaches from praying just because they can be seen is wrong and contradicts the Constitution,” Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty Institute, a conservative religious freedom law firm representing Kennedy, said in a statement. “We will keep fighting on behalf of Coach Kennedy until his religious liberties are fully restored, including appealing this case to the Supreme Court of the United States.”

Religious freedom advocates have maintained that if the school district’s punishment of Kennedy goes unchecked by the courts, a dangerous precedent will be set, not only for Christians but followers of other religions as well.

“It is disappointing that the Ninth Circuit would refuse to hear Coach Kennedy’s case en banc, especially in light of the extreme, far-reaching opinion issued by the three-judge panel,” First Liberty Deputy General Counsel Mike Berry said in a statement. “If this decision is allowed to stand, Jewish teachers, can be fired for wearing a yarmulke insight of students. Catholic teachers are at risk if they wear a crucifix, and Muslim teachers may face discrimination for wearing a hijab to work.”

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According to court documents, Kennedy began his prayer tradition of kneeling on the 50-yard line at the end of football games in 2008. Though he waited until everyone was off the filed to pray silently, he was frequently joined by members of his teams. There wasn’t a problem with the prayer tradition until an employee with another school district complained about his prayer in 2015.

He was soon ordered to stop praying after games. Despite the order, Kennedy stayed true to his faith and continued with his post-game prayer tradition. His contract wasn’t renewed. He filed a charge of religious discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Bremerton School District and then a lawsuit in 2016. (Source: The Christian Post)

PRAY

  1. For justice to be done in the religious discrimination lawsuit case of High School coach Joe Kennedy, who was fired from his job for praying at the end of a football game.  Pray also for the reinstatement of his job and for his religious liberties to be fully restored in the outcome of this case.
  2. That the outcome of this case will result in the curtailment of religious discrimination  and in the advancement of religious freedom in all educational institutions across America to facilitate the free course of the Gospel and the advancement of the Christian faith in these places of institution of learning where atheism, secular humanism and all other forms of ungodliness are rampant.

The Evangelization and Discipleship of America’s Children and Youth

Gen Z Is the Least Christian Generation in American History, Barna Finds

Teenagers today are the most non-Christian generation in American history as only four out of 100 teens hold a true biblical worldview and one out of every eight teens identify as non-heterosexual, a new survey released by one of the nation’s leading evangelical polling firms has found.

The Barna Group announced Tuesday the findings from its new research project, “Gen Z: The Culture, Beliefs and Motivations Shaping the Next Generation,” sponsored by the Georgia-based Impact 360 Institute.

Barna’s research discovered that more teens today who are part of Generation Z (born from 1999 to 2015) identify themselves as agnostic, atheist or not religiously affiliated.

The study indicates that 35 percent of Generation Z teens considered themselves to be atheist, agnostic or not affiliated with any religion. By comparison, only 30 percent of millennials, 30 percent of Generation X and 26 percent of Baby Boomers said the same.

The study shows that almost twice as many teens in Generation Z (13 percent) claimed to be atheist than millenials (7 percent).

“Gen Z is different because they have grown up in a post-Christian, post-modern environment where many of them have not even been exposed to Christianity or to church. So that is a really unique shift,” Brooke Hempell, Barna’s senior vice president of research, said during the survey’s rollout event at Grace Midtown Church in Atlanta.

“There are a lot of churches that are empty in this country. Gen Z is the one who is really showing the fruit of that. There are many of them [who] are a spiritual blank slate. For the first time in our nation’s history, that is more and more common.”

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The research also found that just 59 percent Generation Z teens considered themselves Christian or Catholic. By comparison, 65 percent of millennials and Generation X and 75 percent of Baby Boomers identified as some form of Christian.

Although nearly six in 10 Generation Z teens identified as Christians, Barna’s research shows that only four percent of Generation Z held a “biblical worldview.”

“The percentage of people whose beliefs qualify them for a biblical worldview declines in each successively younger generation: 10 percent of Boomers, 7 percent of Gen X and 6 percent of Millennials have a biblical worldview, compared to only 4 percent of Gen Z,” the study explains.

The study also found that just four out of 10 Generation Z teens agreed that the Bible is “totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches.” Meanwhile, just 61 percent of “churched teens” agreed that the Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches.

Just 85 percent of churchgoing Generation Z teens believed that Jesus Christ was “a real person who was crucified by Rome and was actually physically raised from the dead.”

According to the data, 28 percent of Generation Z teens believed that “science and the Bible are complementary.” By comparison, nearly half of Boomers (45 percent) and more than one-third of Generation X respondents (36 percent) said the same.

“For [many], they are going to fall on the side of science,” Hempell continued. “A quarter of Gen Z would say, ‘I don’t see the Bible and science getting along so I am just going to go with what science says because to me that is the truth.'”

Other findings show that 12 percent of Generation Z identified sexually as something other than “hetrosexual,” with seven percent saying they are “bisexual.”

Additionally, seven out of 10 Generation Z teens said that they think it is acceptable to be born one gender and “feel like another.” Three out of 10 teens reported knowing someone who had changed their gender identity.

“I think about what we might do to use discernment and I am asking you how it is in your church and your context, in your ministry could help kids [today] have a more robust experience of what it means to be Christian,” he added. “We need to be thinking theologically. We need to challenge them. They are ready to be challenged more than the church is willing to challenge them.”(Source: The Christian Post)

PRAY

  1. For greater effectiveness among local churches and other Christian ministries seeking to reach children and teenagers to be better able to help those they minister to within the church to come to a deeper experience of Christ and of the Christian faith.
  2. For greater effectiveness among the various Christian outreach organizations across America to reach and disciple the growing number of teenagers considered to be agnostics, atheists or not religiously affiliated.
  3. For the Church across America to take a united stand in prayer against all forms of attacks being waged by “Principalities and Powers of Darkness” against the children and youth of this nation.

South America and The Caribbean

 

Hungry Venezuelans incite food riots.

Facing skyrocketing prices for scarce food supplies, mobs of Venezuelans are hunting for whatever small sustenance they can find. For instance, in the western state of Merida, mobs recently attacked and plundered a state-run food collection center, a supermarket, and a truck carrying corn.

Nationwide, the socialist government forced more than 200 supermarkets to slash their prices. The food quickly vanished and very little was replenished. As a result, since Christmas, the “season of giving” has turning into a frenzy of taking whatever the famished mobs can find. Some raided a field and slaughtered about 300 cows grazing there, according to Merida opposition lawmaker Carlos Paparoni. Some have stooped to eating dog food, and even the dogs themselves.

Others have staged protests and repeatedly called for President Nicholas Maduro to resign. In retaliation, Maduro has accused his critics of “hate crimes.” When two Roman Catholic bishops, Victor Hugo Basabe and Antonio Lopez Castillo, pleaded for government corruption to end, Maduro initiated a Supreme Court investigation and high-level prosecution of them.

More and more people are fleeing from Venezuela to the neighboring islands of Curacao, Aruba, and Bonaire. On January 9 a boat crashed on the ways to Curacao, killing five. Maduro ordered a blockade of those island nations, blaming them for allowing smuggled goods and causing further food shortages in Venezuela. Clearly, both the people and the government are growing increasingly desperate as the nation descends into chaos. Only God can save them. He is willing if we pray.

Sources:

Food riots grip western Venezuela, mob reportedly slaughters cattle in field.

At Least 3 Dead, 16 Injured in Venezuela Unrest Over Food.

Venezuela president orders 2 bishops probed for hate crimes.

Venezuela: 16 survive migrant boat crash;  death toll now 5.

 

PRAY:

That God will:

  1. Provide for His church in both practical and miraculous ways during this crisis, as He did with Israel in the desert.
  2. Make His church a source of provision and salvation to others.
  3. Show all hungry Venezuelans His way to sustenance and prosperity.
  4. Lead them to hunger and thirst for righteousness in their nation, and show how He can fill them.
  5. Raise up new leadership who, by His authority and guidance, bring Venezuela into a new era of good governance.
  6. Make Venezuela a testimony to His great grace.

 

Revival in Europe

  1. European Court asked to rule on deportation of Afghan Christian convert facing execution

Christian Today staff writer Fri 19 Jan 2018 8:53 GMT

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/european-court-asked-to-rule-on-deportation-of-afghan-christian-convert-facing-execution/124083.html

An Afghan Christian convert in Switzerland may face persecution and execution if his extradition back to Afghanistan is successful, according to religious freedom advocates ADF International.

ADF said yesterday that it had filed an expert brief with European Court of Human Rights on behalf of the Afghan facing extradition by the Swiss government, anonymized as ‘AA’.

ADF said Swiss authorities, who have rejected AA’s application for asylum, were ‘turning a blind eye to the situation of religious minorities in Afghanistan’. Formerly Muslim AA converted to Christianity while in Switzerland, but in Afghanistan ‘apostasy’ and ‘blasphemy’ against Islam, the state religion, is a crime punishable by beheading.

ADF urged the European court to defend religious freedom, saying it ‘has a mandate to safeguard the rights of all people and to protect especially the most vulnerable’ and that extraditing AA back to a country hostile to his faith contravened the European Convention on Human Rights.

‘Christian converts face torture, imprisonment and death when returned to Afghanistan. Switzerland and other countries should not become complicit with the oppression of religious minorities but seek to protect potential victims,’ ADF’s director of European advocacy Robert Clarke said.

ADF’s legal counsel Jennifer Lea, who filed the intervention with the Court, said: ‘This case is about an Afghan citizen, who has sought the help of the European Court of Human Rights to shelter him from deportation and likely persecution in his home country.

‘International law is very clear on the fact that no country should return a refugee to territories where his or her life could be in danger. Afghanistan is not a safe place for a Christian convert.’

PRAY

  1. That the European Court of Human Rights will act to shelter the Christian convert from deportation and likely persecution in Afghanistan, his home country.
  2. Pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit and reformation of the Church in Switzerland so that it will once again become a champion for Biblical Christianity.
  3. That the authorities in Switzerland will take the persecution of Christians seriously and make their defence a priority in their laws and policies.

 

  1. Western Europe’s transgender policy is a ‘tragedy’, says Russian Orthodox spokesman

Christian Today staff writer Tue 16 Jan 2018 11:36 GMT

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/western-europes-transgender-policy-is-a-tragedy-says-russian-orthodox-spokesman/123806.htm

Western Europe’s gender policy is ‘an enormous tragedy and next generations will see its repercussions’, according to the Russian Orthodox Church’s spokesman on foreign affairs.

Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev) of Volokolamsk, the head of the Moscow patriarchate’s department for external Church relations, made the comments on the Rossiya’24 television channel on Saturday, according to the website tass.com.

He said: ‘The decisions taken in many European countries nowadays are enforced by the same ideology which has already destroyed many families, the ideology which claims that an individual can choose gender, that even in their childhood a person can define who will be their partners in the future – same-sex or not

‘All sex reassignment surgeries are based on lies and deceit,’ he added. ‘The lies are introduced through ideology, which in its turn comes through school education. It is an enormous tragedy of contemporary Western Europe and the entire contemporary Western world. Perhaps, only next generations will understand the scope of the tragedy.’

Metropolitan Hilarion continued: ‘It means a human being’s external characteristics are possible to be alternated. So let’s suppose a man will look like a woman. However, such a man cannot have a baby and will never become a real woman.’

He said that the Church ‘will always come forward against these lies and deceit’, adding: ‘What is a mental disorder, what could be corrected and cured, is presented as a norm and people are forced to disfigure themselves. There are many cases when people come to senses. When they have undergone toughest operations, reassigning gender or changing skin colour. Afterwards, they realise they have been merely deceived but nothing can be repaired.’

Transgender people are legally allowed to change their gender in Russia, but frequently face discrimination and hostility. The conservative Russian Orthodox Church has steadfastly condemned both transgender procedures and homosexuality.

Pray

  1. That the Lord in His mercies will lift up a divine standard to counter and bring about the total defeat of Western Europe’s transgender ideology on every front.
  2. That more and more Christians will be emboldened, strengthened and equipped to resist, challenge and work towards the total defeat of this ideology and related practices.
  3. That the Lord will raise up ministers and ministries to reach, heal and restore those who have been damaged – spirit, soul and body – by the deception and lies behind this ideology.

Spanish evangelicals report unprecedented growth, now more than 4,000 churches

Christian Today staff writer | Wed 24 Jan 2018 8:40 GMT

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/spanish-evangelicals-report-unprecedented-growth-now-more-than-4000-churches/124470.htm

Evangelical churches in Spain are steadily on the rise, with the traditionally Catholic country seeing 87 new places of worship in the past six months, bringing the total number of evangelical premises to an unprecedented 4,045.

The figures, which show sustained growth of evangelical churches throughout Spain, come from the bi-annual report of the Observatory of Religious Pluralism of the Spanish Justice Ministry on worship places in Spain, and were reported by Evangelical Focus.

The data include Anglican and Adventist denominations’ places of worship. But it is evangelical churches that are most on the rise, as is the case across Latin America.

Evangelical Focus noted that during the 8th Spanish Evangelical Congress held in July 2017 in Madrid, it was revealed that there were then 3,800 evangelical places of worship.

The head of ‘In Depth Evangelism in Spain’, Máximo Álvarez, said the growth trend is ‘not only sustained, but on the rise’.

‘A church and a half is being planted in Spain every week, six churches a month, that is, 82 churches a year. The figures keep growing thanks to initiatives of church planting that are being carried out by churches and denominations’, said Álvarez in an interview with Spanish online news website Protestante Digital.

The figures mirror a major increase in evangelical churches in Latin America, at the expense of the Catholic Church.

Between 1900 and 1960, 90 per cent of Latin Americans were Catholics, but in the last fifty years, that figure fell to 69 per cent, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center in 2014 showing that nearly one in five Latin American countries now consider themselves Protestant.

Pray

  1. Thank the Lord for the growth in the number of Biblically-based churches in Spain;
  2. That the Lord will strengthen the hands of those individuals, churches and denominations who have been labouring in in-depth evangelism Gospel, and that they will prosper without hindrance from the established churches or otherwise;
  3. That Spain will continue to experience unprecedented growth in conversions to Christ and in the number of churches that base their faith on the witness of the Holy Scriptures and in the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Category 2

 Israel, the Middle East and Africa

 Scripture (Heb. 12:22-29 NIV)

Israel and Palestine

LONDON —  U.S. President Donald Trump has questioned whether peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians will ever resume. Trump made the remarks in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he accused the Palestinians of disrespecting the United States after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during his recent visit to the region.

Trump threatened Thursday to cut aid to the Palestinians. “That money is on the table and that money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace,” he told reporters. “Because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace, and they’re going to have to want to make peace too, or we’re going to have nothing to do with it any longer.”

According to State Department figures, the U.S. provided slightly more than $290 million in foreign assistance for the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2016. Separately, Washington contributed an additional $355 million to the U.N. agency that supports Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA. But this year, the U.S. has significantly cut its assistance to UNRWA, announcing a $60 million contribution. Only a portion of U.S. funds go directly to the Palestinian Authority, with much of the assistance routed to nongovernmental groups and humanitarian partners working there.

By contrast, in 2016, Washington provided Israel with $3.1 billion in military aid. Under a 10-year bilateral military aid package signed under President Barack Obama in 2016, that amount will increase to $3.8 billion a year starting in 2019. (Henry Ridgwell, VOA News, January 26, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/trump-davos/4224745.html

NEW YORK —  The United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees launched a $500 million funding campaign this week in the aftermath of a decision by the Trump administration to substantially cut the U.S. contribution to the agency this year. The announcement two weeks ago that Washington has committed $60 million this year instead of its traditional $350 million, shocked and upset Palestinian refugees.

It also left the UN agency, known as UNRWA, scrambling not to disrupt services to the 5 million registered Palestinian refugees it assists in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

“We provide schooling to over 500,000 children in 700 schools around the region,” said Peter Mulrean, UNRWA’s New York director. “We provide healthcare, 9 million visits in 150 clinics last year. We have 1.7 million Palestine refugees who are food insecure, a million of them in Gaza. These are things that you don’t stop from one day to the other.”,

Tensions have been high between the Palestinian Authority and Washington since President Donald Trump announced December 6 that he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy there. (Margaret Besheer, VOA News, January 23, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/unrwa-launches-500-million-fundraising-bid-after-us-cuts/4220320.html

Pray

  1. Pray for the peace, protection, and prosperity of Israel. Also thank God that the USA government has continued its support for Israel both publicly as well as with financial and military aid.
  2. Ask God to give President Trump and his administration wisdom in dealing with the Palestinian leadership.
  3. Pray that humanitarian and medical aid would get to the Palestinian refugees.
  4. Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Israel.

 

Iraq

In the wake of Vice President Mike Pence’s announcement last October that the United States government would provide direct aid to persecuted Iraqi Christians struggling to rebuild following the liberation of the Nineveh Plains, the Trump administration has taken concrete steps to follow through on its promises.

Trump’s administration announced that it has renegotiated an agreement with the U.N. to ensure that vulnerable Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities victimized by the Islamic State in Iraq will get the U.N. assistance they were previously denied.

The administration has also announced that it’s accepting proposals by private organizations on the ground in Iraq to receive direct assistance from the U.S. government to rebuild the ancestral homelands of Christians and other minorities destroyed by the jihadi death cult.

According to a press release sent out by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the agency has ensured that $55 million of its $75 million payment to the U.N. Development Program Funding Facility for Stabilization in Iraq “will address the needs of vulnerable religious and ethnic minority communities” in the Nineveh Province. (Samuel Smith, CP Reporter, Jan 13, 2018)

https://www.christianpost.com/news/trump-designates-55-million-help-christians-religious-minorities-rebuild-iraq-213575/

 

BAGHDAD — Iraq hopes to raise billions of dollars at a conference next month to fund reconstruction after its costly war against the Islamic State group, but many fear the country’s endemic corruption could undermine the appeal. Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State group in December after driving the extremists from nearly all the territory they once held, but three years of grueling combat has taken a devastating toll, leaving entire towns and neighborhoods in ruins.

Neighboring Kuwait will host an international conference in mid-February aimed at rallying support for Iraq’s reconstruction. The United Nations, the United States and Saudi Arabia support the initiative, the details of which have yet to be made public. (Associated Press, January 23, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/iraq-seeks-aid-rebuild-after-is-donors-could-be-wary/4220726.html

Pray

  1. Thank God that the US government has taken concrete steps to provide aid to the vulnerable Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities.
  2. Pray that Iraq will successfully raise the funds they need to rebuild the country. Also pray for the efficient use of the funds raised and that corruption will be minimal and would not undermine the successful rebuilding of the country.
  3. Pray that former IS militants would come to know Christ as Lord and Savior.
  4. Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Iraq.

 

Iran

Two Iranian Christians were sentenced to a total of eight years in prison by a revolutionary court in December 2017, after being convicted of national security-related crimes.

Suroush Saraie and Eskandar Rezaie, who are both members of the Church of Iran denomination, each received seven years sentence for ‘creating a group that works against national security’, and an additional year for ‘propaganda against the state.’ Both men are appealing the verdict, which was handed down on 28 December 2017 by the 4th Chamber of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz. During the same court hearing, a Christian woman named Zahra Norouzi Kashkouli was sentenced to a year in prison for ‘being a member of a group working against the system.’ She too is appealing the sentence.

Mr Saraie and Mr Rezaie were initially arrested on 12 October 2012, along with five other Christians, during a raid on a prayer meeting. They were later found guilty of ‘action against national security’ and ‘propaganda against the order of the system’, for which Mr. Saraie received a two-and-a-half year sentence on 16 July 2013. His sentence was upheld on appeal and he was jailed in July 2014. Mr. Rezaie was given a one year sentence, which he began serving in July 2015.

Mr. Saraie was released early from Adelabad Prison in November 2015, and Mr. Rezaie was released during the same month.  However, Mr. Saraie and Mr. Rezaie were both rearrested in July 2017 and were returned to Adelabad Prison. They were released a few months later, after meeting bail payments of US$ 95,000 and US$ 140,000 respectively. (Christian Solidarity Worldwide, January 11, 2018)

http://www.csw.org.uk/2018/01/11/news/3815/article.htm

Pray

  1. Pray for the release of Suroush Saraie, Eskandar Rezaie, and Zahra Norouzi Kashkouli who have been imprisoned for their faith in Christ. Also pray for the release of other Christians who have been imprisoned for their faith.
  2. Thank God for the growth of the Church in Iran. Also pray for the salvation of Moslems in Iran.
  3. Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Iran.

 

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

GENEVA —  The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights is urging the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate the alleged killings by security forces during anti-government protests Sunday.

The U.N. human rights office warns this latest crackdown by security forces in Democratic Republic of Congo indicates a recurring pattern of repression against political opponents of Congolese President Joseph Kabila. It says U.N. monitors have recorded at least six deaths and 68 wounded during anti-Government demonstrations in the capital Kinshasa. They also report live ammunition has been used against protesters, 121 people have been arrested and tear gas has been fired into churches in various parts of the country.

U.N. human rights spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, notes U.N. monitors also were attacked during the demonstrations. She says her office is calling on the government to investigate all incidents of alleged use of excessive force against demonstrators and U.N, personnel by security officers. She tells VOA there is no certainty the government will heed this call, but, adds the Congolese leadership has an obligation to investigate. (Lisa Schlein, VOA News, January 24, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/un-calls-for-probe-of-protestors-killing/4221703.html

KINSHASA — The head of Congo’s Catholic church condemned the government of President Joseph Kabila on Tuesday for a deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, suggesting his country was becoming like a prison. Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo has been ratcheting up a conflict between the government and one of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s most powerful institutions, as the church increasingly becomes a focal point for opposition to Kabila’s efforts to stay in power with no mandate.

Security forces shot dead at least six people and wounded dozens more as they fired tear gas to disperse a protest on Sunday that the Catholic church had organized, triggering widespread international condemnation. “We were dispersed by tear gas, stun grenades and live bullets. We have again seen deaths, injuries, priests being arrested, and the theft of citizens’ property,” Monsengwo said at the church in the capital Kinshasa. “Christians were prevented from praying. Others were prevented from leaving by … police and military who were armed as if they had been on a battlefield,” he said.

Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his mandate in December 2016 has triggered a series of street protests in which scores have been killed in Kinshasa. It has also emboldened armed rebel groups in different parts of Congo. (Reuters, January 23, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/congo-becoming-like-a-prison-under-kabila-says-combative-cardinal/4221444.html

 

GENEVA —  The International Organization for Migration warns that many people in the Democratic Republic of Congo will die if international donors do not plug the enormous funding gap that is depriving millions of people from receiving crucial humanitarian assistance.

IOM DRC Chief of Mission Jean-Philippe Chauzy says the humanitarian situation in the country has dramatically deteriorated during the past year. He says more than 13 million people will need international assistance to survive. Chauzy says the U.N. Humanitarian Response plan for DRC will officially be launched Thursday in the capital of Kinshasa. He says the plan calls for $1.68 billion for 2018, which is twice the amount requested last year. The additional amount is to meet the growing needs. ((Lisa Schlein, VOA News, January 17, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/people-in-drc-face-death-as-money-for-humanitarian-aid-dries-up/4212271.html

Pray:

  1. Pray for an end to the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Also pray that those responsible for the murder of innocent civilians would be brought to justice.
  2. Pray that international donors would provide funds for humanitarian aid for the DRC. Also pray that humanitarian aid would get to those in need.
  3. Pray for the protection and safety of Christians in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  4. Pray for church leaders to have wisdom to guide their congregations through the political unrest in the DRC.
  5. Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in the DRC.

 

 

Category 3

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

Movement Day Update

Pray and Give Thanks

  • 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.

The Global Persecution of Christians

“A recent report by Aid to the Church in Need documents that persecution of Christians today is worse than at any time in history.”

“Not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith groups. But ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution.”

“In some countries the situation was already so severe, it is hard to imagine how it could be any worse. Other countries (like China) have seen intolerance on the rise, as evidenced by a clampdown on dissent clergy and the destruction of churches.”

“Most of the countries where persecution against Christians is the most intense are Muslim countries (though North Korea and China are notable exceptions). Former Representative Frank Wolf has been on Point of View many times and recently called for the United State to take “bold action” to prevent Christianity in Iraq from disappearing altogether. Of course, ISIS remains a threat to Iraq’s minority groups but they also face threat from a Baghdad-sanctioned Shiite militia.”

World Summit

“Earlier this year, the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians was held in Washington, D.C. More than 600 victims and advocates from 130 countries gathered to raise awareness of the plight of persecuted Christians.”

“During the summit’s final session, the organizers put forth a declaration that called for all believers to declare their allegiance with those who suffer for Christ’s name. They pledged to promote awareness of persecuted Christians as well as pray and urge other believers to pray for those being persecuted. It also called for churches and individual Christians to provide practical assistance to the persecuted church.”

Ignored and Forgotten?

“Today Christians are being murdered and churches are being destroyed. We hear very little about it. Some of the attacks have made the news. More than 60 people were killed at the Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad. Since that massacre, an estimated 100,000 Christians have left the country.”

“In Nigeria, armed men and bombers killed over 40 in a Christmas Eve attack. More than 200 Muslim rioters burned homes, churches, and police stations when the Nigerian people elected a Christian as president.”

“In Egypt, terrorists detonated a bomb at Saints Church in Alexandria as worshippers left a New Year’s Eve service. The attack killed at least 23 of those attending Mass as the Coptic Christian church.”

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The Scriptures admonish us to pray for those who are being persecuted. Hebrews 13:3 says, “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” And Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12:26 that, “When one member suffers, all members suffer with it.”

Source: Adapted from the article, Christians Are More Persecuted Than Any Other Faith Group By Kerby Anderson | Wed 24 Jan 2018 7:34 EST  Read the full article at https://www.christianpost.com/voice/christians-are-more-persecuted-than-any-other-faith-group.html

Pray

  1. For courage among Christians in nations that are hostile to Christianity and actively persecute Christians.
  2. That persecuted believers around the world will grow in grace and increase in faith as they face persecution.
  3. That persecuted Christians around the world would be empowered by the Spirit of the Lord to continue to live for Christ and to promote and advance the cause of Christ’s Kingdom despite persecution.
  4. For the millions of persecuted believers around the world in need of food, medicine and finances to receive the help they need to survive.

Pakistan

Pakistan Cracks Down on Charities, World Vision Given 90 Days to Leave

The government in Pakistan has ordered 27 international aid groups, including World Vision, to shut down alleging they were working in unauthorized areas and aiding human rights campaigners. The groups have been given 90 days to leave. The 27 groups that have been asked to leave by Pakistan’s interior ministry include Action Aid, Plan International, Trocaire, Pathfinder International, Danish Refugee Council, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, Oxfam Novib, and Marie Stopes, according to Reuters.

Pakistan’s Minister of State for Interior Affairs, Talal Chaudhry, told Reuters the nonprofits were doing work in Pakistan “which is beyond their mandate and for which they have no legal justification.” He added that the groups spent “all their money” on administration and are not doing the work they said they were doing. Chaudhry said the number of nonprofit groups grew after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. “But there were also a number of NGOs that are used, knowingly or unknowingly for activities that conflict with Pakistan’s national interests.”

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The government’s edict is being seen as part of a crackdown, which includes disappearance of civil society activists and is supposedly aimed at quelling free speech. Reuters estimates that at least 14 people have been picked up and interrogated from major urban centers including journalists, political workers and social media activists.

World Vision in Pakistan, which is working with children and youth to provide them with access to education, protection, sustainable income generation, healthcare, food and better care within their homes and communities, says it is appealing the decision. A spokesman from the group told Christian Today: “World Vision is cooperating fully with the government of Pakistan on this matter and we hope our appeal to this decision will be positive so that we can continue our work with the children of Pakistan.”

World Vision Pakistan has worked with roughly 800,000 children since 2015 and now “fears for their well-being if our programs are ended.”

“Our primary concern is the continuation of our work with some of the most vulnerable children in Pakistan,” it said.

Last November, Pakistan’s television regulatory body banned all 11 Christian TV channels airing in the country and arrested at least six cable operators for defying the order. (Source: The Christian Post)

PRAY

  1. For God to open new doors of opportunity to the Christian community in Pakistan to share the Gospel.
  2. For World vision and other Christian organizations working in Pakistan to be able to continue their work among the poor and vulnerable children of Pakistan

North Korea

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un loves showing off the nation’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapon tests.

But according to a new report, the constant testing has depleted a slush fund the dictator uses to run his people.

“Due to Kim Jong Un’s extravagant spending, the slush fund from his father, Kim Jong Il, is running out,” a source told Radio Free Asia this week. “It won’t be easy to control North Korea’s high-level executives, who are [cunning] like raccoons.”

The report details that about 100,000 North Koreans are working outside of the country, sending back nearly half a billion dollars each year. They apparently get that money through several illicit activities like counterfeiting and drug production.

The report also says the rogue nation’s participation in this year’s Winter Olympicsin South Korea is actually a way to receive charity money for the fund.

“This report comes after the U.S. again tightened sanctions against the hermit nation this week, cracking down on nine entities, 16 people and six North Korean ships accused of helping North Korea’s weapons programs.”

(Source:  Adapted  from article,  “Report: Kim Jong Un is draining his slush fund over

nuclear missile tests”.  The Huffington Post, January 27, 2018)

Pray

  1. For the North Korean regime to abandon its nuclear ambition and to focus the use of its resources used to develop nuclear weapon to pursue the economic development for the general welfare of the North Korean people.
  2. For the Lord to respond to the desperate cries of the persecuted Church in North Korea, including the approximately 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.

China

Christians in China Fear Persecution Will Get Worse After Authorities Bomb Evangelical Megachurch

“An evangelical megachurch was destroyed by Chinese Communist authorities Tuesday in the country’s northern Shanxi province, sparking fears among Christians that the persecution they suffer will soon get worse.”

China Aid said in an update Wednesday that Chinese military police detonated explosives inside Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, destroying the $2.6 million house of worship, which was owned by the Christians who worshiped there.”

“A demolition crew broke apart the remaining pieces of the church after the explosion with diggers and jackhammers.”

“Lampstand’s head Pastor, Yang Rongli, had previously spent seven years in prison on charges of assembling a large crowd to disturb traffic order, and has been under police surveillance since his release in October 2016.”

The Guardian reports that a Catholic church in the neighboring province of Shaanxi was also demolished in a similar fashion last month, which is stoking fears among Christians that the widespread crackdown on churches continues in full force.”

“As many as 1,200 crosses have been removed from churches in Zhejiang province since 2015, with officials arguing that many of the demolitions have been down to building code violations.”

The Associated Press noted that the evangelical megachurch had a congregation of 50,000, and had been targeted by police on a number of occasions. Officials reportedly hired thugs to smash the church and take its Bible during the crackdown in 2009, when Rongli was arrested.”

“Christians have protested against church demolitions, with  video captured in Shanxi in August showing a clash between Catholics and government representatives who were using bulldozers to destroy church property.”

“The believers in the video could be heard shouting “Jesus save me!” and “Mother Mary, have pity on us,” and successfully blocked the government’s efforts.”   (Source: Christian Post, January 12, 2018)

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. That the unprecedented growth of the church in China 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 a strategic role in the evangelization and social transformation of nations across Asia
  3. For the Chinese Government to desist from its practice of demolishing churches across China.
  4. For pastors and congregations whose churches have been demolished to not only overcome  the huge challenges associated with the destruction of their buildings but these congregations would continue to grow, as a testimony of the faithfulness of God.

Speak Your Mind


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