Monthly Prayer Agenda

Category One

Prayer for North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe

 Scripture Reading: Ps 145: 1 – 11.

 

Prayer for Revival in the United States of America

 Pastors  Across America

If the church in America is to experience revival to bring spiritual healing and transformation to the nation, that revival must begin first among pastors, the leaders of God’s house.  Over the next couple of months, we will focus our prayers on pastors across America.

Top 2 Causes for Pastors Leaving Ministry and More Statistics

More than 70% of pastors do not have a close friend with whom they can openly share their struggles. The dominant cause for pastors to leave the pastoral ministry is burnout. Number two is a moral failure. These are alarming statistics. And there are many more:

  • 80% of pastors believe the pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families (Life Enrichment Ministries – 1998)
  • Only 50% of pastors felt that the education they received adequately prepared them for ministry. Most pastors rely on books and conferences as their primary source of continuing education. (George Barna – 2002)
  • 25% of all pastors don’t know where to go for help if they have a personal or family conflict or concern. 33%  have no established means for resolving conflicts. (George Barna – 2002)
  • 40% have no opportunity for outside renewal like a family vacation or continuing education. There is a very clear relationship between the amount of time a pastor takes for personal renewal and his satisfaction in his job. (George Barna – 2002)
  • 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)

 Pray:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. For those institutions and agencies that provide all types of spiritual support to pastors, including seminaries, denominations and the local church to do a more effective job of training, mentoring and caring for the spiritual, emotional, social and family needs of the pastors they serve.  

Prayer for the Government, Upcoming Mid-term Elections, and Appointment of New US Supreme Court Justice

 1 Timothy 2: 1 -6

 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, four who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, six who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”

PRAY

As we pray for the US Government, the upcoming Mid-term elections and the new Supreme Court Appointment, let us do so with Paul’s instructions in 1 Tim. 2: 1- 6   

  1. For President Donald Trump and his Cabinet, All Members Congress, the Judiciary, State Governors and other State Legislators and Mayors, across America for wisdom to govern the nation in equity and fear of God.  Pray also that God’s divine intervention in the affairs of the nation’s Government will result in the healing of our deeply divided nation, and in the advancement of the moral, social and economic well being of the nation for general the benefit of all Americans and the advancement of His kingdom locally and internationally.
  2. For all candidates seeking offices in the upcoming mid-term elections and also for God’s will to be done in the appointment of persons to these offices, who are honest, God-fearing and committed to serving the nation in pursuit of justice and equity for all regardless of their political allegiances.
  3. For, God’s will to be done in the appointment of the next Supreme Court Justice, a person that not only knows the law and can apply it but one who will do so in fear of God and through the admonition of the Word of God.                                

Children Across America

Number Of American Children In Foster Care Increases For 4th Consecutive Year

November 30, 20177:11 PM ET (from NPR)

RICHARD GONZALES

"A new government report says the number of children in the U.S. foster care system has increased for the fourth year in a row, due largely to an uptick in substance abuse by parents."

"Government data also shows that drug abuse by a parent was a factor in 34 percent of the cases in 2016, up from 32 percent in 2015. About 92,000 children were removed from their homes due to the substance abuse of at least one parent."

Jim Denison | Denison Forum on Truth and Culture | Thursday, May 24, 2018

"There is a critical shortage of foster parents in America today. As one example, the city of Philadelphia has issued an “urgent” plea for more foster homes."

"At the same time, the city has halted referrals to Catholic Social Services (CSS), an agency that has worked in the city for decades and oversees about one hundred foster homes. The Wall Street Journal explains the reason: the agency holds Catholic beliefs about same-sex marriage."

PRAY

  1. Pray for all children removed from their homes through no fault of their own. Pray for God’s peace and protection.
  2. Pray that more Christians would volunteer as foster parents and that Christian agencies will not be discriminated against and lose their contracts with the government because of their Biblical stance on marriage and the desire for all foster children to be in families with both a Mother and Father.
  3. Pray for those parents whose substance abuse has taken over to the extent they are not able to care for their children. Pray, they will have an encounter with Jesus, be delivered and their families restored.=

South America and The Caribbean

Mexican silence zone shuts down media

"Why don't we hear more about the Mexican drug war which has claimed 200,000+ lives since it began in 2006? Because in the past 18 months, 18 journalists have been killed while covering drug trafficking in Mexico. Authorities found the latest corpse of a journalist, Hector Gonzalez Antonio, with visible signs of torture. This occurred in Ciudad Victoria, capital of the state of Tamaulipas, which borders on Texas. The Interamerican Commission of Human Rights (ICHR) has labeled Tamaulipas and part of Veracruz as a “silence zone”.

"In a silence zone the press, under intimidation, neither investigates nor reports certain criminal activities. Specifically, drug trafficking, human trafficking, prostitution, extortion, illegal business deals and corruption in customs go unreported. Criminals and cartels exercise a free hand without fear of public exposure. In fact, in some cases, criminal organizations have dictated to journalists what to say about violent episodes."

"The era of the silence zone began in 2006 with an unprecedented attack of gunshots and explosives on the office of the daily newspaper El Manana in Tamaulipas. Since then other media such as the daily Expreso and Televisa, both also in Tamaulipas, have suffered attacks. Criminals have even hunted down and killed bloggers who report anonymously on illegal acts. Furthermore, authorities have resolved less than one percent of cases of attacks against journalists. Afghanistan is the only country in the world where it is more dangerous to practice journalism."

"In this huge silence zone, millions of people cannot find out who is perpetrating the chronic violence. They cannot know where the attacks take place or who is targeted. They live under a reign of terror in which telling the truth carries a death sentence. We must pray that God sets them free from such cruel bondage to drug lords." (Source: The Belize Prayer Network)

PRAY for God to do The Following :

1 Show His way out of every temptation to join or cooperate with criminal gangs.

2 Alert their targets and cause their attacks to fail.

3 Expose their evil plans, and empower witnesses and authorities to bring them to justice.

4 Exalt freedom of speech in the silence zone, and the Lordship of Christ in drug-lord territories.

5 Raise up Christian leaders with the divine power to demolish more drug-lord strongholds in Mexico.

6 Turn back the wave of drug-related violence which has claimed 200,000 lives since 2006.

7 Release waves of revival which will cleanse the land, and pour out His Spirit on all Mexico

Revival across Europe

Supreme Court victory for a heterosexual couple in civil partnership fight

Wed 27 Jun 2018 | by Press Association

https://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/Supreme-Court-victory-for-heterosexual-couple-in-civil-partnership-fight

A heterosexual couple fighting for the right to have a civil partnership has won a ruling at the UK's highest court that they are being discriminated against.

Five Supreme Court justices unanimously allowed an appeal by Rebecca Steinfeld, 37, and Charles Keidan, 41.

They are currently prevented from having a legal union through the route of civil partnership because the Civil Partnership Act 2004 says only same-sex couples are eligible.

The academics, who live in Hammersmith, west London, suffered defeat at the Court of Appeal in February last year but were given the go-ahead in August for a Supreme Court hearing.

The panel of Supreme Court justices, including the court's president, Lady Hale, heard the couple's case in May and announced their decision on Wednesday.

The judges granted a declaration that the 2004 Act was "incompatible" with human rights laws on discrimination and right to a private and family life.

In commenting on the ruling by the Supreme Court to allow the heterosexual couple to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage, Andrea Williams, Director of Christian Concern and Christian Legal Centre stated, "We know that what God loves and what God honours, is marriage between a man and a woman" (http://www.christianconcern.com/media/andrea-williams-comments-on-civil-partnerships-case-marriage).

PRAY

  1. That the Christian community will be steadfast in upholding God’s standard for marriage and that they will recognize and resist the temptation and the pressure to compromise by accepting either same-sex marriage or civil partnerships or both.
  2. That God will give Christian leaders and ministers the wisdom and the strength to handle the cases that come before them, in a manner that honors God and His standards and at the same time is redemptive.
  3. That the laws and regulations of the UK government will be conducive to and supportive of the Biblical view of marriage.

"Orban sees himself as the defender of Christian "

Natalie Huet | last updated: 21/06/2018

http://www.euronews.com/2018/06/21/-orban-sees-himself-as-the-defender-of-christian-europe-

European leaders in favor of a restrictive migration policy gather in Budapest on Thursday for a meeting of minds, a day after Hungary passed legislation criminalizing help to asylum seekers.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is set to hold talks with the Hungarian, Czech, Slovak and Polish prime ministers, who have fiercely fought back the EU’s attempts to relocate asylum seekers from Italy and Greece.

Under Hungary’s “Stop Soros” laws voted on Wednesday, people who help migrants seek asylum in the country could face jail time. The move has been strongly criticized by European leaders and human rights groups. Lawmakers also passed an amendment stating that an "alien population" cannot be settled in Hungary - a swipe at Brussels over its quota plan.

On “Good Morning Europe”, European affairs journalist Stefan de Vries explains Orban’s motives and the headache his anti-immigrant policies are giving the EU.

“Viktor Orban sees himself as the defender of Christian Europe,” he said. “And we’ve seen it in other countries as well: being tough on immigration attracts voters.”

“There is a procedure to exclude a European member state, but this has never been used in the history of Europe and it would be very difficult, because it’s very unpopular, especially in these times when populist parties are getting more and more votes,” he added.

“So the European Union can yell, can shout, but in the end, it’s Viktor Orban who wins.”

Pray

  1. That Victor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, and his government will be successful in protecting Hungary’s security and preserving its Christian culture, without ignoring the plight of immigrants and refugees;
  2. That Hungarian Christians will be united in reaching out to the spiritual and physical needs among them – including those of immigrants and refugees;
  3. That God will stir up, empower and strengthen Hungarian Christians to promote the saving gospel of Jesus Christ and His kingdom as the ultimate solution for the Hungarian people on the whole, regardless of their political persuasion.
  1. Christian persecution is happening in Europe - The European Parliament is asked to act on it

The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe has collected over 2200 cases since 2006.

EUROPEAN DIGNITY WATCH AUTHOR Roxana Stanciu 20 JUNE 2018 13:00 h GMT+1
http://evangelicalfocus.com/blogs/3601/Christian_persecution_is_happening_in_Europe_The_European_Parliament_is_asked_to_act_on_it

“We get to talk about [intolerance against Christians] around the world, not paying any attention to the fact that on our doorsteps and our streets, there is Christianophobia and intolerance…. We need to start saying: No. Enough is enough. We do not have to face this any longer”.

These were the introductory statements of Nathan Gill, MEP, who recently hosted a panel discussion in the European Parliament on intolerance against Christians in Europe.

Several international experts, lawyers, and leaders of religious freedom organizations spoke on the topic.

Gill emphasized that if Europe neglects its heritage of religious liberty, then it is ignoring the sacrifices of its ancestors, who have worked and fought in order to “give us a Europe of freedom and a Europe of democracy.” …

Evidence of Christian persecution in Europe

Ellen Fantini, from the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe, pointed out clear evidence that Christian persecution is happening in Europe. The organization she represents has collected over 2200 cases of intolerance or discrimination against Christians in Europe since 2006. The Observatory’s 2018 Report provides over 500 such cases from 2016 and 2017.

Fantini said the report “demonstrates that the situation for Christians covers a broad range of marginalization and hostilities that we can't find acceptable in Europe”. Fantini gave examples where freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and parental rights of Christians in Europe were not respected despite the EU’s very clear regulations protecting them. ...

A detailed analysis of many more other cases of discrimination against Christians can be found in the observatory’s online report.

Pray

  1. That the evidence of Christian persecution in and throughout Europe, which has been presented, will not be ignored by the European Parliament;
  2. That Christian leaders in Europe will visibly unite in standing up and speaking out for those who are experiencing various forms of persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ;
  3. That decisive action will be taken by the appropriate European authorities to ensure that Christians in and across Europe can practice their faith freely and in good conscience before God.

Category 2

 Israel, the Middle East, and Africa

 Scripture—Ps. 99:1-9 (3 Min) 9:22 – 9:25

Iran

The United States has expressed "deep concern" about Iran's re-arrest of prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was detained Wednesday by security agents at her Tehran home. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert issued a statement Thursday, calling on Iranian authorities to immediately release Sotoudeh and hundreds of other people who she said are "currently imprisoned simply for expressing their views and desires for a better life."

In a Wednesday phone interview with VOA Persian, Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, said she telephoned him about her arrest because he was not at home at the time. Khandan said Sotoudeh told him the agents were sending her to Tehran's Evin prison to serve a five-year sentence for a conviction handed down in absentia five years ago. "If she was sentenced in absentia, why didn't she get a letter or notification saying 'you received this sentence, come and present yourself'?" Khandan asked. (Payam Yazdian and Michael Lipin, VOA News, June 14, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/iran-re-arrests-human-rights-lawyer-rights-groups-outraged/4438948.html

Pray

  1. Pray for the release of human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. Also, pray for the release of Christians who have been arrested for their faith in Christ.
  2. Pray for the protection and effectiveness of Christian missionaries in Iran. Also, pray for the success of ministries, such as Elam ministries that seek to reach Iran with the gospel.
  3. Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Iran.

Iraq

An Iraqi air strike in eastern Syria has claimed the lives of 45 members of Islamic State, Iraq's military said Saturday. Iraq's Joint Operations Command said F-16 warplanes launched an assault on three houses Friday in the town of Hajin, where IS leaders were meeting. Among those killed were the militant group's "deputy war minister," one of its "media emirs," the leader's personal courier and its police chief, the military said in a statement.

Iraq has launched several aerial attacks against IS in Syria since last year. The strikes were executed with the approval of the Syrian government and the U.S.-led coalition. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in December IS had been defeated in the region but the group is still active in pockets along the border with Syria. (VOA NEWS, June 23, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/iraqi-military-says-45-is-members-killed-in-air-strike/4451510.html

BAGHDAD —  Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are announcing a political coalition amid talks to form a new government. Al-Sadr's political bloc won the largest share of seats in May parliamentary elections. He has already joined in a coalition with the second-place bloc led by Hadi al-Amiri, a Shiite militia leader who has the support of Iran. Al-Abadi's bloc came in third in the polls.

Al-Sadr and al-Abadi announced their new alignment at a press conference Saturday, without mentioning the coalition with al-Amiri. Both al-Abadi and al-Amiri are said to be eyeing the position of prime minister in a new government. Al-Sadr, who is not a member of Parliament, is not. (Associated Press, June 23, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/iraqi-pm-announces-coalition-with-elections-winner/4451799.html

Former presidential candidate and Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is being pressured by multiple religious freedom groups to lift a hold he placed on a bill that proponents say would benefit Christians and Yazidis who faced genocide at the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

This week, Paul's office has received letters from the International Religious Freedom Roundtable — a politically diverse coalition of human rights advocacy organizations and activists — the Catholic fraternal organization Knights of Columbus and the county chairmen of the Kentucky Republican Party. The letters all have the same basic message and call on the senator to lift the hold he placed on H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act, earlier this year.

Although Paul initially supported the House version of H.R. 390, his hold on the measure comes as the bill was amended in February by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The amendment added several statements to the legislation that some critics say have "transformed" the bill entirely into "a Russia-bashing neocon bill that has little to do with genocide or with aid of any kind to victims of the Islamic State." (Samuel Smith, CP Reporter, Jun 8, 2018)

https://www.christianpost.com/news/rand-paul-standing-in-way-of-bill-to-aid-christians-displaced-by-isis-224750/

Pray 

  1. Pray for the total and complete defeat of IS in Iraq and Syria.
  2. Pray that a unified and staple government would be established in Iraq.
  3. Pray that the US legislators would pass H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act that would fund humanitarian aid for Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria.
  4. Pray for the protection, strengthening, and growth of the Church in Iraq.

Nigeria

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has called for calm after 86 people were killed in clashes between mostly Muslim herders and Christian farmers in the central Plateau State.

Buhari vowed Sunday that "no efforts will be spared'' to find the attackers and prevent future attacks.

While the statement from his office did not specify a death toll, state police commissioner Undie Adie said "86 persons altogether were killed" in the attacks that began Thursday. Adie said six other people were injured and 50 houses were destroyed.

The long-running battles for land resources between the herders and farmers in Africa's most populous country could prove deadlier than the Boko Haram extremist insurgency, which has killed at least 20,000 people in less than a decade. (VOA News, June 24, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/nigeria-officials-86-killed-in-herder-farmer-clashes/4453122.html

Fulani herder militia perpetrated at least 106 attacks on communities in central Nigeria in the first quarter of 2018, claiming 1061 lives, according to research by CSW. An additional 11 attacks on communities recorded in the south of the country claimed a further 21 lives.

The figures were compiled by CSW UK and Nigeria using organizational records, a timeline issued by the Office of the President of the Nigerian Senate, #MiddlebeltMassacres in Twitter, Nigerian news sources and the Council of Foreign Relations’ Nigeria Security Tracker. CSW also documented seven instances of violence targeting Fulani herders or communities within the four-month timeframe, in which 61 people lost their lives. Two of them occurred in the south of the country.

Armed with sophisticated weaponry, including AK-47s and on at least one occasion, rocket launchers, the herder militia is believed to have killed more men, women and children in 2015, 2016 and 2017 than Boko Haram, in what local observers increasingly describe as a campaign of ethno-religious cleansing. In an illustration of how closely this violence correlates with religion, the local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) recently revealed that herders have destroyed over 500 churches in Benue state alone since 2011. (Christian Solidarity Worldwide, 25 Jun 2018)

https://www.csw.org.uk/2018/06/25/press/4011/article.htm

Pray

  1. Pray that the Nigerian government would take strong action to bring to justice those responsible for the death of 86 people, most of whom are Christians.
  2. Pray that the Nigerian government would follow through and act to prevent future attacks on the Christian farmers from the Moslem Fulani militia.
  3. Pray for God to comfort the families whose loved ones have been killed. Also pray for those whose homes and property have been destroyed by the Moslem Fulani herdsmen.
  4. Pray for the protection, growth, and strengthening of the Church in central and northern Nigeria.

Mozambique

On Friday, the U.S. embassy in Mozambique issued a security alert, warning all U.S. citizens to avoid visiting the Palma district in Cabo Delgado province, and urging those already there to “consider departing the area immediately.” The embassy issued the warning “in light of information pointing to the likelihood of imminent attacks on government and commercial centers in the area.”

In the past two weeks, Mozambique has witnessed at least three brutal attacks by armed militants that police have linked to an Islamic group in the northern part of the country. This alarming rise of terror attacks has caught experts and policy analysts by surprise. “I was surprised it happened as quickly as it has,” says Alex Vines, head of the Africa Program at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. “There’s [been] a real deterioration since October of last year.” Mozambique experienced its first jihadi terror attack in October 2017, when militants attacked a police station and a military post in the coastal town of Mocimboa da Praia, killing two policemen.

In the latest attacks blamed on the group known as Mozambique al-Shabab by the government, militants, armed with knives and machetes killed five people in the Quissanga district of Cabo Delgado on the night of June 6. A day earlier, seven people were hacked to death in Macomia district, while more than 100 houses were torched. On May 27, 10 people, including children, were decapitated after they were allegedly abducted from the villages of Monjane and Ulumbi, near the coastal town of Palma, also in Cabo Delgado. (Ibrahim Ahmed, VOA News, June 11, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/experts-alarmed-at-rise-of-jihadi-terrorism-in-mozambique/4434140.html

June 10, 2018

Official Statement from Iris Global:

Since October 2017, there has been a group of militant extremists responsible for scores of attacks against government institutions and civilians in the north of Mozambique where we live.

They are targeting anyone who opposes their brand of terror. In the last few weeks these attacks have intensified in frequency and brutality. Each attack has involved killing and burning houses. People were beheaded in at least six villages, two of which are within two hours drive of our Pemba base. Villagers are fleeing for their lives, carrying nothing with them, and have become refugees in the bush or on offshore islands.

We are praying for peace in Mozambique and our hearts mourn for the families who have lost loved ones. Our leadership team is in constant prayer, daily evaluating the situation to determine the best precautions for our staff. Based on the current situation, we feel confident to remain home in Pemba with our missionaries and Mozambican team. However, the government has canceled visas for our Harvest School students for security reasons, and they are having to leave within a few days for South Africa where the school will continue.

Please pray with us in this troubling time for God’s strength for our brothers and sisters living all over our province of Cabo Delgado, that we can all shine more than ever in these dark days. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our admin team in California.

This is our official statement, and other information is not endorsed by Iris.

https://www.irisglobal.org/

Pray 

  1. Pray for peace to be reestablished in the Palma district in Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique.
  2. Pray that those responsible for the violence and at least 10 murders would be brought to justice
  3. Pray for the protection and effectiveness of missionaries and ministries such as Iris Global that serve the Lord in Mozambique.
  4. Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Mozambique.

Category 3

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

 Psalms 47: 1 - 9        

PRAY  

1. For 100 Cities Summit.

  • Pray that this gathering would accelerate the launch of Movement Day Expressions globally
  • Ask God to foster divine connections, collaborations and deepen unity amongst the leaders in attendance
  • Pray for each Movement Day city leaders’ planning, collaborative partnerships which will transform the city.
  • Prayer for the personal and physical strength, of each Executive Directors families as they deepen their leadership investment in their own respective city’s. 10 cities have now confirmed 2019 gatherings;15-20 additional city/regions are launching MD expressions in 2019 & 2010 –
  • Prayer for God’s perfect timing, provision of resources, favor, God’s anointing upon the work

 2. Movement Day 2019 & 2020

Prayer for the remaining Movement Day Expressions

A. Movement Day Oslo

  • Pray for provision as leaders are strategizing and handling logistics for this first time

            gathering

B. Movement Day NYC

  • Pray that God will continue to guide the leading team of MDNYC, as they implement new ideas to impact New York city

C. Movement Day Africa

  • Pray for the 1500 leaders from 35 key African Cities that are gathering representing different spheres of society.
  • Pray for the vision to unite and empower Christian leaders across the African continent so that their cities are impacted through positive influence in urban issues such as; fatherlessness, education, poverty and unemployment.
  • Pray for the Global Cities Leaders Community as they convene in Africa for the first time

The Global Persecution of Christians

Open Doors Lists Top 10 Persecutors of Christians Worldwide

 Christian Post

Published: June 28, 2018 

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. The report, released this week, notes that hostility against Christians is particularly intense in some areas "due to the focused efforts of either one person or a larger system bent on smashing or squeezing out Christians in the region."  

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. 

The second persecutor of Christians listed is the al-Qaeda terror group, which has not been in news much but "has continued to fight in countries throughout the Middle East, often marking Christian communities as specific targets."  The report mentions particularly Yemen, where Christian converts from Islam are particularly at risk as they are already treated as outcasts by their own communities. "As Al-Qaeda takes advantage of distracted governments, Christians in their path experience intense persecution. Ayman al-Zawahiri, is the current leader of Al-Qaeda."

Third on the list is North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who met with President Donald Trump at a summit in Singapore earlier this month for an agreement on denuclearization.North Korea continues to be the most hostile place in the world to be a Christian. According to Open Doors, anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are suffering in labor camps in that country. In 2016, a report by the U.K.-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide revealed the gruesome methods the communist government in North Korea has used to torture and kill Christians. "Documented incidents against Christians include being hung on a cross over a fire, crushed under a steamroller, herded off bridges and trampled underfoot. A policy of guilt by association applies, meaning that the relatives of Christians are also detained regardless of whether they share the Christian belief."

Hindu nationalists, "whose mission is to make India a complete Hindu nation by 2021," are also listed as a top persecutor of Christians. "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."

Fifth on the list is the al-Shabaab terror group, which is "in many ways the Eastern African version of al-Qaeda."

Another top persecutor is the Boko Haram terror group in Nigeria, "whose belief is that any sort of Western influence is heresy, especially Christianity.".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.

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 the list are drug cartels in Colombia and Mexico.(Source: Christian Post, July 3)

PRAY

  1. For the protection of believers suffering persecution around the world because of their faith.
  2. 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.
  3. For the millions of persecuted believers, around the world in need of food, medicine and finances to receive the help they need to survive.

India

Indian Pastor Jumps Out of Moving Car in Attempt to Escape Execution by Hindu Radicals

A pastor in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu tried to escape a radical Hindu mob that was trying to execute him by jumping out of a moving vehicle after it attacked him and his son. Police have reportedly refused to file charges against the attackers.

Pastor Jayaseelan Natarajan and his son, who have been trying for years to construct a church in the Karur District, were attacked on June 20 at the church construction site in the Thozilpettai area by a mob who opposed the pastor's desire to build a home for his house church congregation.

Morning Star News reports that the pastor and his son were attacked by the mob of about 20 Hindus believed to be associated with the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh after they were accused of running a brothel.

Ranjendran Ramasamy, Natarajan's lawyer, told Morning Star News that no police action had been taken against the Hindu attackers a week after the attack occurred.

"Police refused to register an FIR [First Information Report] based on Pastor Natarajan's complaint," he said. "This shows how politically powerful the attackers are, that even police can't name them in a FIR."

The attack against the pastor and his son comes as India is ranked as the 11th-worst nation in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA's 2018 World Watch List. Over the last few years, Christians in India have experienced increased persecution as the nation has steadily risen higher on the World Watch List in recent reporting years.

"Because Hindu radicals view Christians as outsiders, they are experiencing increased persecution," Open Doors, a leading persecution watchdog, explained in a factsheet. "These radicals are intent on cleansing the nation of both Islam and Christianity and employ violence to this end."

In May, prominent Hindu leader, Om Swami Maharaj, expressly warned Christians in India to "leave now" or be forcibly expelled.

Christians in India have also been at risk of being accused of forcible conversion, an act that is outlawed in certain states. In a number of instances, Christian adults traveling with children on their way to Christian camps or Bible programs have been arrested on grounds that they were trying to forcibly convert Hindu children.

In addition, there are frequent reports of religiously motivated killing, riots and assaults on religious minorities in the Hindu-majority nations.

In its 2018 International Religious Freedom report, the U.S. State Department explained that the U.S. embassy and the four consulates general have discussed religious and tolerance issues with the ruling and opposition parties, as well as leaders of various faiths.

"Embassy officials also engaged officials from the National Commission for Minorities and the National Human Rights Commission, political leaders, state and local officials, religiously affiliated organizations, and civil society groups from all religious communities," the report says.

In its 2018 report, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom once again called on the State Department to label India as a "Tier 2" country, which signifies nations engage or tolerate systematic, ongoing, or egregious" religious freedom violations.

PRAY

  1. For the family of Pastor Natarajan and members of his congregation to experience God’s grace and comfort as they seek to deal with the tragic circumstances that led to his death;
  2. For Pastors Natarajan’s persecutors and those responsible for causing his death. Pray for these persecutors to be brought to justice and also, as a result of his cruel death that many of his persecutors will come to know Christ.  
  3. For the continued growth of the Christian witness across India despite increasing persecution
  4. For the protection of Christians facing increased persecution from Hindu radicals, that are intent on cleansing the nation of both Islam and Christianity and employ violence to this end.

 North  Korea

WHAT DOES PEACE BETWEEN THE KOREAS MEAN FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS?

IN RESPONSE, THREE QUESTIONS IMMEDIATELY COME TO MIND:

  • What does this mean for the 300,000 Christians who are forced to keep their faith a secret?
  • What will the denuclearization and peace talks do to help expedite the release of over 50,000 Christians suffering in hard labor camps because they believe in Jesus?
  • Will we see more intellectual and religious freedom in the North in response to these peace talks with the South—and later with the U.S.?

“It’s hard to answer these questions. A landmark visit like this could indeed signal a shift—even a subtle one—in North Korea’s hardline stance as a closed and militant country. And it’s possible that this visit is the beginning of answered prayers to relieve some of the pressure on persecuted believers in the North.”

“So what does peace between the Koreas mean for persecuted Christians? In short, nothing yet. But it should continually spur us on to remember the suffering Body of Christ in North Korea.”

“These talks are also a great reminder to take action. One thing we can do right now is to urgently ask President Trump to make human rights and religious freedom part of his upcoming talks with Kim Jong-un.”

“We spoke with John Choi, a Christian refugee from North Korea, about the upcoming talks between President Trump and Kim Jong-un and he encouraged the church in the West to raise their voices: “I pray Christians will urgently appeal to President Trump to put pressure on Kim Jong-un when the two leaders meet. If President Trump is silent, it will imply the West doesn’t care about the incarceration, torture, and execution of Christians. There can be no true peace if Kim Jong-un continues to persecute Christians.”

(Reference: Adapted from an article published in The Christian Post and Open Doors)

PRAY

  1. For total intellectual and religious freedom of North Korean Christians that hangs in the balance and the rapid growth of the church in North Korea.
  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. The Us Government while negotiating a peace settlement with North Korea, to put pressure on the North Korean Government to increase religious freedom in North Korea.

China

China Bans Bibles from Online Sellers Like Amazon

“Last week, Chinese social media users began noticing that they couldn’t find Bibles listed on some of their nation’s most popular e-commerce platforms.”

“Shoppers who searched the word Bible on retailers such as Taobao, Jingdong, Dang Dang, and Amazon.cn began receiving a “no results” response, reported the South China Morning Post.

Search analytics revealed a significant spike in the keyword Bible on March 30. But by April 1, analytics showed a zero, suggesting that the word may have been censored, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.”

“Two days before the Bibles were banned from online purchase, the Chinese government released a document outlining how it intends to promote “Chinese Christianity” over the next five years. According to the document, one of the government’s key objectives is to reinterpret and retranslate the Bible in order to enhance “Chinese-style Christianity and theology.”

“Among China’s main religions—which include Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, and folk beliefs—Christianity is unique for having its holy text banned from commercial brick-and-mortar bookstores. Until the internet, Bibles could only be obtained via church bookstores (because they lacked a barcode), a reality that in the past has dissuaded house church Christians wary of official Three-Self churches from purchasing the text. A joint venture between the Amity Foundation and the United Bible Societies, Amity Printing Company is the only press in China allowed by the government to print Bibles.”

“The company reported in 2017 that “more than 160 million Bibles have come off our production lines.” However, many of these copies are sold overseas. The Bibles distributed in China through Amity also do not include commentaries, footnotes, or other study tools.

China’s Bible crackdown may renew a debate about whether Bibles should be smuggled into the world’s most populous country. While some have seen the action as unnecessary and dangerous to believers living in the country, others have seen it as a strategy that works in tandem with Amity. As Gary Russell, now the president of China Harvest, told CT in 2010:

Amity Press Bibles are legal, authentic, and available in many areas, and have made a substantial contribution to the need. But the Amity route is limited in quantity, variety, and distribution. Editions for children and pastors have barely been addressed. And millions of Chinese still have no regular access to a Bible.”

“Given these realities, covertly supplying Bibles to China is not only legitimate—it is a necessary element of obedience to Christ. While civil authorities are to be honored and respected, their authority is delegated by and limited under God. Restrictions against evangelizing and providing Scripture are not legitimate, and those who love God and China serve well by increasing the country’s Bible supply”

“This latest crackdown on China’s Christian community comes two months after the government began implementing a number of regulations on faith. Under these restrictions, religious groups must gain government approval for any sort of religious activity, including using one’s personal home for a religious practice, publishing religious materials, calling oneself a pastor, or studying theology.” (Source: Christianity Today, April 15, 20128).

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 all attempts by the Chinese Government to restrict the availability and distribution of the Bible in China to fail. 
  3. For the protection of those organizations and individuals involved with the distribution of Bibles in China..

Micah Global Triennial Consultation September 10 -14, 2018in the Philippines

Overarching Theme: Integral Mission and Resilient Communities: addressing poverty, injustice, and conflicts

  • Day One: Resilience and God’s Mission: our starting point is to ensure all we are doing is drawn from our call from God to participate in His Mission
  • Day Two: Resilience in the Pursuit of Justice: God’s mission is one of liberation, restoration, and reconciliation and we are called to demonstrate this and disciple our nations towards it What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God – Micah 6:8
  • Day Three: Resilience in Compassion: in God’s story throughout the Bible we see Him, again and again, rescuing, restoring and healing
  • Day Four: Resilience in Disaster Responses: building capacity of communities and responders to stand through the shocks that come through political, economic, environmental, social and spiritual instability · Day Five: Resilience in Partnership: the task requires a united effort, the call requires a united spirit and the desired impact requires solidarity.

(Adapted from http://micahgc2018.org/.  IPMI is a member of Micah Global. For more about the organization visit their website)

PRAY

  1. For the Conference leaders and  planning team and overall success of this 4-days global event which seeks to address poverty, injustice, and conflict in nations around the world;
  2. For God’s provision to meet all the needs of the conference, including those desiring to attend the conference but do not have the financial resources to cover the cost.  

                                                                

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