Welcome to the March 2019 Global Prayer Agenda featuring major concerns affecting the nations of our world, and the growth of Christ's church universally for the advancement of world evangelism and the establishment of God's Kingdom. This agenda was specially prepared for use during the Monthly Global Prayer Teleconference sessions by a few members of the team of leaders facilitating these monthly global prayer calls. The agenda is structured into three main categories for the convenience of our users. As you join us in prayer about these various issues, during this month, we trust that you will find the experience spiritually rewarding. We also extend a special invitation to join us for our next Monthly Global Prayer Teleconference.
Prayer for North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe
Scripture: Psalm 46 – God, the refuge of His people and the conqueror of the nations.
Prayer for Revival in the United States of America
Some Important Facts on the State of the church and spiritual needs of the nation
- Based on the current rates of retention and evangelism, it's estimated that 42 million young people could leave the church by 2050. That is over one million young people walking away from the church each year.
- If, however, we can revert to Gen X rates of retention and evangelism, that number can be reduced to only 20 million.
- Every year, about 4,000 churches are planted in the US and every year about 3,700 churches close. Based on population growth rate we need to triple church planting in the next five years. By 2050 it is estimated that the US will need to 416, 000 new churches. (Source: www.thegreatopportunity,org)
Needs of Pastors across America
- At any given time, 75% of pastors in America want to quit. (Church Resource Ministries – 1998)
- More than 2000 pastors are leaving the ministry each month. (Marble Retreat Center 2001) (Source: www.Standaloneministry.org)
These needs underscore the dire need for spiritual revival in the church in America.
- For pastors across America experiencing loneliness, the burning out effect, other challenges of the pastoral ministry that impact negatively on their families or considering quitting the ministry as a result of discouragement to turn to the Lord, the only Rock of our Salvation for spiritual comfort, assurance, and strength. Indeed, all other grounds or bais of faith or worship are sinking sand.
- For all pastors facing all types of moral failure that continue to undermine the credible witness of the church as salt and light of this nation, to turn to the Lord in prayer and repentance to help to facilitate revival in the church for the spiritual healing and transformation of the nation so urgently needed at this time.
- For a revival in the church across America resulting in the growth of the church, through the additions of millions of new converts, particularly millennials and establishment of thousands of new churches.
Prayer for US Government: Solution to Major Immigration Challenges
As for American policy, an immigration website notes that “The United States has been the top destination for international migrants since at least 1960, with one-fifth of the world's migrants living there as of 2017. Despite its long history of immigration, the United States has oscillated between perceiving immigration as a valuable resource and as a major challenge.”
According to Wikipedia, “In absolute numbers, the United States has a larger immigrant population than any other country, with 47 million immigrants as of 2015. This represents 19.1% of the 244 million international migrants worldwide, and 14.4% of the U.S. population.”
Against this background of a vibrant and dynamic history of immigration in America, let us pray regarding the current challenges facing the US immigration system, now considered broken and in urgent need of reforms.
- For the President and Congress to work together on reforming US immigration laws to address the growing problem of illegal immigration. Pray for solutions that are just and fair in keeping with Biblical standards.
- For a solution to the crisis caused by the thousands of migrants from South America amassed at the US/Mexico border seeking asylum in the US.
Prayer regarding children:
‘Momo’ Suicide Game Hacks YouTube Kids, Fortnite & Peppa Pig, Tells 8-Yr-Old to Stab Himself in Neck With Knife
With mounting news stories surrounding the dangers invading YouTube Kids and children’s games over the past couple weeks, it’s becoming clearer that the Internet is not a safe space for our kids, regardless of protective algorithms and filters. Violence is increasing, pedophiles are infiltrating YouTube, suicide instructions are surfacing in innocent games — and all with little effective effort being made to ward off the dangers threatening our youth.
Just yesterday, Faithit covered a story on a 7-year-old child who was told to kill herself on YouTube Kids, and today’s news is just as rattling. An Edinburgh mother named Lyn Dixon reports the encounter her 8-year-old son had with the ‘Momo Challenge,’ a game played on YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp and other platforms that encourages kids to self-harm and eventually kill themselves…… “He showed me an image of the face on my phone and said that she had told him to go into the kitchen drawer and take out a knife and put it into his neck,” Dixon told the Daily Mail on Tuesday. “We’ve told him it’s a load of rubbish and there are bad people out there who do bad things, but it’s frightening, really frightening.”…
… Other countries where the challenge has been reported since last year include the United States, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Spain, Scotland, Colombia, India, and Pakistan. Over 130 teen deaths have been reported in Russia alone…
…One UK school just issued another warning to parents after an alarming discovery was made that the ‘Momo Challenge’ is getting into other children’s platforms.
“We are aware that some nasty challenges (Momo challenge) are hacking into children’s [programs],” tweeted Northcott Community Special School. “Challenges appear midway through Kids YouTube, Fortnight, Peppa pig to avoid detection by adults. Please be vigilant with your child using IT; images are very disturbing.”
If children refuse to follow the directions of the creepily intimidating Momo character, they are threatened with acts of violence or death, such as “being killed in their sleep.”…
…Don't wait until it’s too late. Talk to your kids about the ‘Momo Challenge’ today, and share this message with the parents you know on Facebook…
- Father, we renounce, reject and repent of the spirit of suicide that is attempting to seduce and kill our children through social media and online
- We reject the spirits of murder, fear, intimidation, and lies that are randomly and without warning assailing our children as they innocently participate in online activities targeted to children.
- Father, we pray for your spirit of wisdom and the discerning of spirits to operate in our children so that none will fall prey to these evil enticements and suggestions.
- We speak life, hope and a Godly future over all our children and grandchildren. We declare and decree that they shall fulfill ALL the days and the plans and purposes the Lord has for them.
South America and The Caribbean
"World powers watch Venezuela collapsing"
Little doubt remains that socialist Venezuela is now a failed state. Infrastructure has broken down, and almost 90% of Venezuelans live in poverty. President Nicholas Maduro has managed to hang on to power after winning the widely-discredited May elections. But one day after his swearing-in ceremony last month, a rival president arose. Juan Guaido, 35, leader of the National Assembly, claimed constitutional authority to step up as interim president. Moreover, he said he would do so only if he won the support of the military, the people, and world powers. Venezuela’s Catholic Church, for one, has been an outspoken critic of Maduro’s policies which have devastated their parishes.
"We are all here in the same boat, without electricity, without water, without medicines, without gas, and with an uncertain future," Guaido said. "We're all immersed in this crisis except the usurper."
Guido has recently traveled to Colombia and Brazil to gain support for his presidency. He plans to return to Venezuela even though authorities have threatened him with imprisonment if he does. But that imprisonment would meet with stiff international opposition.
Rival resolutions on Venezuela at the UN
Already the US has recognized Guaido and urged the world to “pick a side”. Accordingly, Britain, France, Spain, and Germany recognized Guaido after Maduro failed to arrange for new elections. Canada, Israel, Australia, and most Latin American countries have added their support for Guaido. Now the US promotes a UN resolution condemning Maduro's blockade of international humanitarian aid. But Russia seeks a counter-resolution criticizing any attempt at foreign intervention in Venezuela.
Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Cuba, and other tyrant-led countries keep backing Maduro’s dictatorship. China and Russia are propping up Venezuela’s collapsing economy. Russia is also propping up its military. Consequently, Maduro has conducted military exercises to show the world his readiness to defend his power. In response, Guaido ordered the military not to shoot or repress the people during the massive protest activity which is growing around the country.
What will happen if the military does shoot at protesters, as it did in 2017 killing hundreds? Will more Venezuelan military units defect and take the protesters’ side? Then will the US give armed support to the defectors? Subsequently, will Russia, which has already flown a fleet of bomber planes to Venezuela, arise to defend its ally? We must pray against foreign military interventions that would turn this conflict into a proxy war. Instead, we must pray for divine intervention for Venezuela!
As West turns on him, Venezuela's Maduro flexes military muscle.
Opposition launches protests to oust Maduro as U.S.-Venezuela tensions rise.
US, Russia present rival UN draft resolutions on Venezuela.
- God's Provision of needed food, water, and other necessities for all Venezuelans while the power struggle is working out, and show them Jesus is their true Savior.
- Peace and protection to the demonstrations that are taking place.
- Foreign powers from turning the conflict into a proxy war.
- God's divine intervention into the affairs of the nation resulting in a miraculous turnaround, for the benefit of the people and His glory.
Revival across Europe
Issues for Prayer – Europe
- 'Don't take my Bible' - video of street preacher arrest goes viral
Mon 25 Feb 2019 | by Alex Williams
Footage of the moment police in London arrested a street preacher has been viewed 1.8 million times.
A video also appears to show the man's Bible being confiscated after officers in the north of the city accused him of "causing problems" and "disturbing people's days."
The Metropolitan Police told Premier: "Police were called to Southgate Underground Station at 1.52pm on Saturday, 23rd February in response to concerns raised about a man's behavior.
"An arrest was made to prevent a breach of the peace. The man was then de-arrested, and no further action was necessary."
Lawyers at the Christian Legal Centre, which has previously defended street preachers facing arrest, said it was working to identify the man and potentially offer him advice.
Anglican clergyman and former chaplain to the Queen, Rev Dr. Gavin Ashenden was among those expressing support for the evangelist online.
He said: "Perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury and the House of Church of England bishops might like to protest in favor of the poor and marginalized street preacher at the hands of policemen who neither know nor apply the law?"
Church of England priest in Hereford, Fr Matthew Cashmore said:
"The way his bible was removed is horrendous. These officers should be ashamed of themselves for the way they dealt with this."
Archbishop Cranmer tweeted:
Dear @metpoliceuk, Setting aside the appalling ignorance of these two officers, would you handle a copy of the Qur'an like that?
- That the Lord will console, strengthen and embolden this preacher and raise others to continue preaching the Gospel of salvation in London and throughout the UK;
- The police and relevant authorities will be held to account for their mistreatment of the preacher and the general harassment that Christians suffer for their faith;
- That the Lord will greatly bless and grant ongoing success to the Christian Legal Centre that they will be able to continue defending and protecting the freedom of Christians to live their lives by the Christian faith.
"Report warns of 'increasing anti-Christian hostility' in France."
Staff writer | Sun 17 Feb 2019 15:07 GMT
A religious rights organization has called on France's public officials to do more to stem attacks on churches and Christian monuments.
A new report by the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe documents a wave of assaults on Christian sites across France in the past few months. The report reveals that in the first eleven days of February, there were ten recorded attacks on churches in France.
They include arson and vandalism at a Catholic cathedral in Lavaur and acts of vandalism at three parish churches in the Vendee region where statues and windows were damaged.
Despite the spate of assaults, the observatory said that the nation's leaders are not doing enough to help protect churches from attacks and that the media too are paying 'little attention'.
The organization fears that the incidents are a sign of 'increasing anti-Christian hostility' in the country. It is trying to increase awareness of the threat to French churches while at the same time calling on public officials to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
'France is of particular concern now — while anti-Christian attacks are better documented here than in other European countries, the media pays little attention to them,' said Ellen Fantini, executive director of the observatory.
'While the government recognizes Christians and Christian sites are being targeted, they don't seem high on the agenda when it comes to the political will to provide protection.'
She continued: 'We join local officials and churches in condemning these senseless and disturbing acts.
- That the perpetrators of the hostilities towards Christians will be brought to justice;
- That the media will bring the increasing hostility towards Christians into the public arena, so that the political leaders and public officials responsible, can deal with it;
- That the Christians, on the whole, will recognize the increasing hostility and be united in their stand against this new wave of assault on the Christian faith.
"Azerbaijan erasing its Armenian Christian past."
February 26, 2019, |
Azerbaijan has been erasing its Armenian Christian past, destroying medieval churches, cross-stones, and tombstones. This erasure of the Christian past has also taken place in Turkey and elsewhere. In Turkey, all over the Middle East, and in Central Asia there are mosques built on the former sites of Christian churches.
It is an attempt to efface all traces of the Christian presence, to give the impression that no Christians ever lived in a particular area from which they were driven out, and no injustice was done. This is one reason why it is so important for Christians and all people of good will to preserve historical memories of the Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian genocides of the early twentieth centuries, and all other incidents of the persecution of Christians throughout history.
On paper, the country is secular, and religion is tolerated, but in reality, churches are subject to excessive surveillance by the government https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/azerbaijan/).
The indigenous Christians with a Muslim background face the most severe persecution both by the state and from family, friends and, community. Some converts will be locked up for long periods and be beaten and may eventually be expelled from their communities. As a result, converts will do their best to hide their new faith in becoming secret believers.
On 28 January 2018, police raided a Sunday worship service of a Protestant church in Azerbaijan's second city Gyanja. Police phoned the schools of children present at the service. Fines were to follow.
On 31 January, Azerbaijan's Constitutional Court in the capital Baku wrote to Baptist pastor Hamid Shabanov in Aliabad to tell him it would not be considering his further appeal against a large fine. He had been fined for holding worship meetings without state permission. (http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2350).
Despite harsh persecution, the evangelical church in Azerbaijan is still growing. In 1991, there were only 40 evangelical Christians in the nation, but today there are about 10,000! Mission Eurasia's flexible leadership training program School Without Walls (SWW) has also been steadily growing, and their students are fearlessly sharing the gospel with their neighbors (https://missioneurasia.org/azerbaijan/).
- That God will strengthen and protect those who face persecution and pressure from family, friends, and community because they convert to Christianity from Islam;
- That the Christians in Azerbaijan will be united and continue to grow and fearlessly shine the light of Christ even in the face of religious persecution.
- That Mission Eurasia will be increasingly successful in training and equipping young Christian leaders to be bold in their witness and effective in their service, as leaders in their churches and communities.
Israel, the Middle East, and Africa
Scripture— Ps. 99:1-9
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing indictment for alleged corruption, says he will lead Israel for "many more years." "Don't believe all the spin," Netanyahu told Israelis during a televised address Thursday. "But it's up to you. It's not up to the civil servants. It's not up to the television studios. It's not up to the pundits and journalists."
The prime minister is suspected of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts from billionaires — including expensive champagne and cigars — and doing favors for an Israeli media magnate in exchange for favorable coverage in newspapers and the internet. (VOA News, February 28, 2019)
The Warsaw summit on the Middle East held earlier this month served as the latest reminder of the growth of unofficial relations between Israel and Sunni-Arab Gulf states. The conference saw Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu share a platform with foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Yemen, and Oman. These Persian Gulf countries have no official ties with Israel as of now but are nevertheless expanding their engagement with the Jewish state.
This partnership is fueled by the shared threat posed to the Middle East by radical Shi’ite Iran. Tehran’s nuclear program and regional expansion program threaten Israel and Arab states alike, creating an opportunity for cooperation that has grown considerably in recent years. (JNS, February 27, 2019)
WASHINGTON – Republican members of Congress have introduced a bill that would recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The bill has no Democratic cosponsors and has not received the backing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) – nor of the Trump administration, which remained silent on the bill on Wednesday.
Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin put forward the measure, stating: “The United States has been committed for over 40 years to ensuring Israel’s security from attacks emanating from across the Golan Heights. The threat Iran poses to America and Israel requires acknowledging the reality of Israel’s control over the territory as a matter of national security.” (Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post, February 27, 2019)
- Thank God for the bill recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that has been introduced to the US Congress. Pray for this bill to be passed.
- Pray for God’s will to be done in the general elections on April 9th. Also, pray for God’s will to be done in the possible indictment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
- Thank God for the Warsaw summit on the Middle East. Pray for improved relations between the Sunni-Arab Gulf states and Israel.
- Pray for the continued success and protection of Operation Exodus—a Christian ministry helping Jews to relocate to Israel. Also, pray for Operation Exodus to have a greater profile worldwide.
- Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Israel.
The president of Sudan has declared a state of emergency, dissolved his cabinet and appointed military generals to replace the Governors of 18 states that make up Sudan. The citizens have reacted by going to the streets to protest this latest development and demand for change of regime. According to the Sudan Tribune media, this latest development makes it even harder for Sudan to continue on the path of political dialogue for both the political and economic problems facing the country. (Peter Kegode, IMPI Facilitator, February 27, 2019)
The United States has expressed its “deep concern” about Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s declaration of a one-year nationwide state of emergency amid growing anti-government protests.
“We continue to evaluate the impact of President Omar al-Bashir’s announcement last Friday,” U.S. Acting United Nations Ambassador Jonathan Cohen told a meeting of the Security Council on Monday. “We’re deeply concerned about the declaration of a national state of emergency and call on the government of Sudan to respect the rights of all individuals in Sudan, bring an immediate end to the violent repression of peaceful protests, and seek accountability for those responsible for violations and abuses.”
Two months of protests triggered by a declining economy and rising commodity prices have rocked the country. Demonstrators have called for the 75-year old president to step down. His security forces have responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.
Activists say at least 56 people have died during the demonstrations, a figure the government disputes. (Margaret Besheer, February 25, 2019).
- Pray for a peaceful solution to the political and economic problems facing Sudan.
- Pray that the Spirit of the LORD will surround the18 military generals now in charge of 18 states in Sudan.
- Pray for Godly wisdom and Counsel for the government and leaders of Sudan.
- Pray for revival and growth of the Church of Christ in Sudan.
Central African Republic (CAR)
GENEVA — The World Food Program is airlifting 36 metric tons of life-saving food to 18,000 people in Zemio, Central African Republic. The WFP reports Zemio, a region 1,000 kilometers east of the capital Bangui, is unreachable by road because of insecurity and transport difficulties.
This is the first time in a year that the U.N. World Food Program has launched an airlift of this scale in the Central African Republic. The WFP says the worsening security situation and impossibility of bringing food supplies into Zumio by road has created a food and nutritional crisis in the region. The operation involves eight airlift rotations. WFP has completed six of them. The remaining food supplies are being airlifted to families in Zemio on Wednesday. (Lisa Schlein, VOA News, February 27, 2019)
CAIRO — Central African Republic's government on Tuesday initiated a peace deal with 14 armed groups following unprecedented talks aimed at ending more than five years of conflict. The agreement represents rare hope for one of the world's poorest nations, where religious and communal fighting erupted in 2013. Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in a conflict that has sent two people to the International Criminal Court.
"The difficult time starts now, and that is implementing the Khartoum Agreement. ... This agreement is crucial for peace," said Herbert Gontran Djono Ahaba, speaking on behalf of the rebels. The talks that began Jan. 24 in Sudan's capital were the first-ever direct dialogue among the warring parties. (Associated Press, February 05, 2019)
- Thank God that the World Food Program airlifted 36 metric tons of life-saving food to Central African Republic (CAR). Also, pray for the food to those in need.
- Pray for improved security in Zemio and other areas in CAR.
- Thank God for a peace deal between the CAR government and 14 armed groups. Also, pray for the smooth implementation of the peace deal.
- Pray for the exposure and removal of corrupt government officials and leaders in CAR.
- Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in CAR.
Some 35,000 Nigerians have crossed into Cameroon over the past two months, fleeing attacks by Boko Haram or fighting between the group and government troops. They add to a refugee population in the region that now tops a quarter million. Many of the refugees are children in need of medical care, says refugee spokesperson Elvis Aseto.
"We have a population of over 20,000 children here. We need help. The items that were distributed are now [completely used up]. ... We need UNHCR for that support, and we are now appealing for help in the name of the Lord," Aseto said.
Xavier Bourgois, the spokesperson of the U.N. refugee agency in Cameroon, says the agency and its partners have been providing humanitarian aid to the refugees who come in critical condition. (Moki Edwin Kindzeka, VOA News, February 27, 2019)
NGAOUNDERE, CAMEROON — Cameroonian police officers, assisted by members of the country's elite corps, seized hundreds of containers of fuel illegally transported from Nigeria by suspected Central African Republic rebels in the northern town of Mbe, Cameroon. Rigobert Ojong, a member of a task force of military, police and civil society members, created three weeks ago to stop the illegal fuel trade, said the group received a tip that the fuel was on its way to the C.A.R., where it would be used by rebels fighting the central African state's government.
"We have put aside personnel dedicated to this fight, within the framework of this task force, and we have been able to intercept about 1,500 drums of fraudulently imported fuel. If we go by the price in the black market, we are talking about more than 3 billion CFA francs [$5 million] a year," Ojong said. (Moki Edwin Kindzeka, VOA News, February 26, 2019)
- Thank God that Cameroon law enforcement officials have been able to seize hundreds of drums of fuel being transported illegally from Nigeria by Central African Republic rebels.
- Pray that more humanitarian would get to the Nigerian refugees living in the Cameroons. Also, pray especially for the health and wellbeing of the over 20,000 refugee children.
- Pray that medical care would get to the refugees in the Cameroons.
- Pray that the Church in Cameroon would seize the opportunity and minister God’s love to the refugees. Also, pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Cameroon.
Prayer for Movement Day Global Cities, the Persecuted Church and Other Critical Concerns of Asia
Scripture - Psalms 29: 1 - 11
Movement Day Expressions
- Pray that God would anoint the emerging leaders that were in attendance during the 100 Cities Summit
- Pray for financial provision as leaders are planning their 2019/2020 Movement Day expressions. We have a total of 26 expressions on the calendar for 2019!
- Ask God to nourish every newly cultivated and reestablished relationship fostered during the week of the 100 Cities Summit.
- Pray for wisdom, fresh vision, encouragement and profound anointing upon both the next Movement (3/12-15), Movement Charlotte (3/16), Movement Day Dubai (3/16) leadership teams.
- Pray for our Global Hub Leaders, as they cultivate relationships within their respective regions to advance unity within the body of Christ
- Pray that God would strengthen the Movement Day expressions team as we plan for Movement Day Global Cities 2020.
- Pray for the Movement Day expressions team as we have strategic conversations to build out the framework for Movement Day Global Cities 2020.
The Global Persecution of Christians
"Open Doors Lists Top 10 Persecutors of Christians Worldwide"
Over 215 million believers are persecuted with intimidation, prison, and even death for their faith in Jesus Christ across the world, Open Doors USA says in a report, listing the top 10 persecutors of Christians.
Half of the top 10 human rights offenders toward Christians are Islamist terror groups, including the Islamic State terror group, also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh. The brutal and targeted attacks from ISIS have driven many Christians to flee countries like Iraq, where Christianity has had a presence for nearly 2,000 years, the report says. "Ten years ago, there were nearly 1 million Christians living in Iraq, with a large majority of the population living in Mosul. Today, ISIS has been driven out of Iraq and Syria for the most part, but now they are spreading to Southeast Asia. Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi is the current leader of ISIS in western Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan," it notes. While Islamic State was listed as No. 1, the list is not comprehensive or in particular order, the ministry notes.
The second persecutor of Christians listed is the al-Qaeda terror group,
The far-right Hindu nationalist movement" seeks to wipe out any religious expression, including Christianity, that falls outside of the Hindu faith, the report says. It mentions the Hindu nationalist association Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, which "has created a culture war and made it very dangerous and difficult for many Christians living in the region who are often forced out of villages, beaten and arrested for believing in Jesus." The governing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in India is seen as the political wing of the RSS.
Fifth on the list is the al-Shabaab terror group, which is "in many ways the Eastern African version of al-Qaeda." "Al-Shabaab has terrorized the country of Somalia for the past decade and is recently focusing its attacks on the neighboring country of Kenya. In 2015, a Kenya college campus faced an attack where Christian students were specifically targeted, killing 148 in total. Any place al-Shabaab controls operate under Sharia law, which includes the slaughtering of anyone who identifies as Christian."
Another top persecutor is the Boko Haram terror group in Nigeria, "whose belief is that any sort of Western influence is heresy, especially Christianity." "Boko Haram has conducted raids, bombings, and assassinations against any target it deems Western, especially churches and schools. They have taken out contracts on influential Christian leaders and are also at war with the Nigerian government," says the ministry.
Next on the list are Muslim Fulani herdsmen in northeastern Nigeria, who have been accused of aligning with Boko Haram.
The 2017 Global Terrorism Index described the herdsmen, who attack Christians regularly in southern Adamawa, as terrorists in 2014. According to the index, the Fulani are responsible for as many as 60,000 deaths since 2001. Nigerian Christian leaders have warned that if the current rate of massacres continues, with hundreds of believers being killed each month, Africa's most populous nation is on the brink of decimating its Christian population by 2043.
Open Doors further identified as a top persecutor radical Islam, which continues to spread, "aiming to bring many parts of the world under Sharia Law." "The movement, which often results in Islamic militancy and persecution of Christians," is expanding in Asia, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and in African countries like Egypt, Nigeria, and Somalia.
Also making a list are drug cartels in Colombia and Mexico. "On top of the danger that these groups bring to ordinary citizens, Christians are specifically targeted," the report says. "A soul won for Jesus is a soul lost for them," it quotes a pastor from Colombia as saying. "They know that too." "For this reason, Christian evangelists are particularly targeted. Drug cartel leaders know that they are the greatest threat to their way of life."
Rounding out the top 10 on the Open Doors list is "the ultimate enemy," or Satan. "It's easy to read this list and feel hopeless in the face of so much evil. However, in Ephesians 6 we're told our war isn't a physical war, it's a spiritual one. Behind all of the atrocities listed above is Satan, who prowls this world like a roaring lion," the ministry explains. "We are also told that God's kingdom is forcefully advancing and that in the end, Satan is overthrown and all things are made new."
Open Doors said it published the list because "Jesus commanded us, directly, to pray for our enemies." "Pray that God would stop their actions, change their hearts and shine the brilliant light of the gospel onto their path." (Source: Christian Post - June 2018)
- For the over 200 million Christians worldwide suffering persecution with intimidation, prison, and even death for their faith in Jesus Christ across the world to experience the blessings of the Kingdom promised by Christ to those who suffer persecution for righteousness;
- For the leaders of ISIS, al-Qaeda terror group, Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations involved in the wide-scale persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
- Pray that God would stop their actions, change their hearts and shine the brilliant light of the gospel onto their path."
"Christian Woman Beaten, Bloodied, Chased Out by Hindu Attackers; Vows to Return With Gospel"
A 22-year-old Bible school student from India shared details of a violent attack where she and her mother were dragged and beaten by fellow villagers for their faith. Bahia told persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA, whose ministry partners have been assisting her, that she had been a Christian for almost seven years.
Despite heavy pressure to convert back to Hinduism, she refused to do so, even though some family members gave in. She described one incident where Hindu hardliners chased her across a bridge, and after she fell and lost consciousness, they dragged her from the stream below and began beating her. The anger apparently stemmed from an incident where a woman in the village passed away, and for an unexplained reason the Christians were blamed for it and chased out.
"We refused to give up our faith, which made them very angry," Bahia said of the attackers. “It's my deep desire to share God's word. I want to tell everyone that Jesus didn't just die for foreigners. He died for everyone. That's my message to the people in my village, to the people in India and people outside of our country."
Attacks on Christians in India have been ongoing for years, especially in villages and rural areas where they are offered little police protection and are targeted by Hindu radicals. In March, a Christian pastor was forced to flee for his life in the village of Kondri, Madhya Pradesh state, after attackers beat churchgoers at his house church in the middle of prayers, and vowed to burn down his home. (Source: The Christian Post )
- Thank God for Bahai’s testimony of faithfulness to God amid severe persecution and also for her steadfastness in witnessing for Christ there in India.
- For the protection of Bahai and other Christians across India who are offered little police protection and are targeted by Hindu radicals who have pledged to cleanse India of all Christian influence.
- For the growth of the church and the spread of the Christian witness across India despite intense persecution.
"North Korea prison camp survivor: 'Am I a Christian? Yes. I love Jesus. But I deny it'"
North Korea took her name, stripped her clothes and shaved her hair. But there was one thing they couldn't take from "Prisoner 42": her faith in Jesus.
She survived what seemed like a death sentence after fleeing to China during a famine to feed her family. Watchdog organization Open Doors USA estimates she was one of 250,000 imprisoned North Koreans—50,000 of whom are political prisoners jailed for their Christian faith. She spent one year in solitary confinement and was released after two years of hard labor.
North Korea has been the No. 1 persecutor of Christians on the group's annual list for 18 years now. Open Doors was hopeful that diplomatic efforts -- including the 2018 Winter Olympics and the Trump-Kim summit -- would mean easing pressure and violence against Christians. But that has not been the case.
Christ followers are still seen as a "threat" to the Kim family's ideology and quickly erased from society either by death, detention centers, re-education camps, or maximum-security hard labor prison campus known as Kwan-li-so. As for "Prisoner 42," she was released after two years. But she said she had to lie to stay alive. She told Open Doors the first thing she plans to do is find her husband and children. "We haven’t seen each other in years," she said. "But God has watched over me here in this North Korean prison, and I pray and believe that he also watches over my family every second of every minute of every hour of every day." She added: "I need to tell them about this loving God."
- For the Lord to respond to the desperate cries of the persecuted Church in North Korea, including the approximately 50,000 fellow believers serving long, harsh prisons terms in concentration camps.
- For the continued growth of the church in North Korea and the spread of the Christian influence despite increased persecution
- For the ongoing South Korean and US-led peace settlement negotiation with North Korea to result in the advancement of religious freedom in North Korea.
"China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years."
Officially, the People's Republic of China is an atheist country, but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seems to have supplied. Christian congregations, in particular, had skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976 signaled the end of the Cultural Revolution. Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world's number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.
China's Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre's Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline. By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil, and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted. (Source: The Telegraph, February 2019).
- Praise God for the tremendous growth of the Church across China, despite ongoing persecution and the various attempts of the Communist Government to stifle the growth of the church.
- Pray against all the various efforts of the Chinese Government to restrict the growth of house churches across China, including demolition of church buildings, removal of crosses and banning free access to Bibles.
- For the growth of the church across China to facilitate the expansion of Christianity across Asia.