Monthly Prayer Agenda

January 2019 Prayer Agenda

Created: Thursday, 03 January 2019 03:20
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Welcome to the January 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.  

Category One

Prayer for North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe

Scripture: Philippians 3:13-14

Prayer for Revival in the United States of America

Prayer For Pastors  Across America

Pastors across America that are leaving the ministry in droves.

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 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.

PRAY

  1. 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.
  2. For a solution to the crisis by the thousands of migrants from South America amassed at the US/Mexico border seeking asylum in the US.  

 

Prayer for Children Across America

In 2018, IPMI added a prayer focus on children in the US to its monthly teleconference agenda. We covered many issues including, religion/witchcraft, illnesses; drug addiction, children with parents in jail, gender confusion, and foster children.

To begin 2019, let us pray for a spiritual awakening among our young adults, teenagers, and children:

PRAY

  1. Father God, we pray that our young adults, teens and children may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
  2. We pray that all confusion, compromise and rebellion will be cast down/aside and the truth of the Gospel will permeate hearts, minds and spirits.
  3. We call in the backsliders and speak life to the Word that is in them and agree with the prayers of parents, relatives and friends – that they may fulfill the giftings and callings God has for them.
  4. We pray for revival in our homes, churches and on all school and college campuses in the United States. Pour out your Spirit, Lord, and raise up the generations NOW to do exploits for Your Kingdom.

 

South America and The Caribbean

 

Nicaragua protesters flee to Catholic Church

Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega has outlawed protest as he seeks to erase any traces of the nationwide tax revolt that first broke out in April. Since then, his forces have killed 300+ citizens and jailed 550+ protesters. They have beaten, robbed and arrested journalists who were covering the protests. After Ortega’s forces burned alive a family of six in their own home, some journalists fled the country. But many protesters are fleeing to the one safe haven left in Nicaragua—the Catholic Church.

“The church has become the last space where citizens can freely express themselves, and demand their rights,” said lawyer Martha Molina. For example, recently at Managua’s Metropolitan Cathedral some congregants broke out chanting “Liberty!’ and “Justice!” Outside, others planted wooden crosses. Each was inscribed with the name with someone killed during the protests. On the roof, demonstrators hoisted a giant Nicaraguan flag. The flag has become a symbol of the uprising. Consequently, the Nicaraguan government has outlawed such use of its own flag!

Death threats to the press and the church

It is coming close to outlawing the free press. So says Miguel Mora, director of the 100% Noticias news channel. Policemen recently detained him six times in one week. One told him, “You’re responsible for the death of police. If you keep f-ing around, we’re going to kill you and your whole family.” Now Mora says, “The logical next step – which I fully expect them to take – is to send their paramilitaries to close us down altogether.

But they have not yet threatened to close down churches. In fact, at the beginning of the uprising, the government looked to the Catholic Church as a mediator with the protesters. Ortega himself had embraced the Catholic Church in his 2006 election campaign. Yet this past July Ortega called clerics “coup-mongers”. He accused them of stockpiling weapons. He labeled Managua’s most prominent bishop, Silvio Báez, as a “terrorist” and “fascist.” He told Báez to “leave Nicaragua.” Many clerics have received death threats.

But they remain, and their churches remain open as refuges to protesters. In contrast, many of the evangelical churches have sided with Ortega. They have so compromised their witness that they seek to export his 35-year-old Sandinista revolution instead of the gospel. We must pray that the church will become God’s light in of these dark times, and not just a shelter for one side or the other.

Related sources for Nicaragua protesters flee.

Cathedral protests highlight Ortega's broken alliance with Nicaraguan church.

‘We’re going to kill you': Nicaragua's brutal crackdown on press freedom.

Pray

  1. Bring President Ortega to a true understanding of the Christianity he once espoused.
  2. Cause Catholics and evangelicals to find unity in the essentials of the faith.
  3. Reveal divine solutions to the issues of taxation and benefits financing that the two sides are fighting over.
  4. Bring freedom to those who are unjustly imprisoned, and relief to those who are unjustly threatened.
  5. For Venezuela, to show their source of strength is not the Russian military, but the righteousness that exalts a nation from desperate straits.

 

Revival across Europe

  1. Jeremy Hunt [UK foreign secretary] orders global review into persecution of Christians

THE GUARDIAN | Patrick Wintour and Harriet Sherwood | Wed 26 Dec 2018 [adapted]

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/26/jeremy-hunt-orders-global-review-into-persecution-of-christians

The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has ordered an independent, global review into the persecution of Christians of all nationalities amid claims that not enough is being done to defend the rights of nearly 200 million Christians at risk of persecution today.

The unprecedented Foreign Office review will be led by the Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen, and will make recommendations on the practical steps the government can take to better support those under threat. It will be specifically directed at the persecution of Christians, and not religious minorities in general, reflecting the foreign secretary’s view that since Christianity is the established faith in the UK, it is legitimate for the state resources to be devoted to the review. The review is due to report by Easter.

Hunt believes that growing persecution of Christians in some countries is often a symbol of wider persecution. Christian groups claim as many as 3,000 Christians were killed in 2018, a doubling of last year’s figure.

The move comes as the government continues to face criticism for not offering sanctuary to Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who spent eight years on death row after being convicted of blasphemy, and is still in custody almost two months after her conviction was overturned by the supreme court. Pakistani authorities say her life would be at risk from Islamic extremists if she were freed. Her husband and children are also in hiding.

Britain already stands up for minorities across the world, including Jehovah’s Witnesses and Yazidis, and the foreign secretary is keen that Christians are offered the same level of backing. According to Pope Francis, “It seems that the cruel and vicious persecution of the Roman empire has not yet ended. A new Nero is always being born to oppress believers solely because of their faith in Christ.

  PRAY

  1. That the global review of Christian persecution ordered by the UK government will result in concrete action to defend the rights of the 200 million Christians at risk of persecution for their faith today.
  2. That the practice of the UK media to trivialize and downplay the reality of Christian persecution, will be exposed and reversed.
  3. That more and more churches and their leaders will become sensitized to the plight of fellow Christians threatened with persecution for their faith and get involved in efforts to bring relief and deliverance to them.

 

  1. Christian man 'beaten and threatened by Islamic extremists' in Pakistan faces imminent deportation from UK

'It’s shameful – we are a Christian country yet we can’t help them' [ADAPTED]

MAY BULMAN| DEC. 26, 2018

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/home-office-christian-man-pakistan-asylum-seeker-islamic-extremists-a8698356.html

A Christian man who was allegedly beaten and repeatedly threatened with execution by Islamic extremists in Pakistan is facing imminent deportation from the UK.

A church community in Birmingham has been left shocked after Asher Samson, 41, was detained while attending a weekly signing event with the Home Office in Solihull on 26 November.

Mr Samson told The Independent he was “terrified” at the prospect of being sent back to his home city of Abbottabad in Pakistan. He first arrived in the UK in 2004 to carry out his theology training in order to become a pastor, but later applied for asylum after receiving threats from Islamic extremists during visits home, he said.

His asylum claim was rejected earlier this year and Mr. Samson is now being held in Morton Hall Detention Centre in Lincoln where he has been told he will be deported.

Due to religious persecution in their home country, Pakistan, his entire family has left, Mr. Samson said. One sister went to New Zealand while he and two other siblings, who both have spousal and unmarried partner visas, settled in the UK after their father Samson Khurshid died.

Friends of Mr. Samson, who say they fear he is in "mortal danger", have started a petition for him.

The grant rate for asylum applications dropped from 33 percent to 30 percent in the two years to 2017, while the overall number of applications fell by 8 percent.

The Home Office said it would not comment on individual cases.

PRAY

  1. That the UK Home Office will give serious consideration to Mr. Samson’s plight and prevent his deportation to Pakistan where he risks being killed for his faith.
  2. That the various forms of persecution that Christians are threatened within the UK itself will also be exposed for what it is.
  3. That the government will not fail to address persecution that Christians face in the UK as they seek to practice their faith.
  1. Spain violence against women: Outrage at teacher's murder

BBC| December. 18, 2018

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46597045

The murder of a 26-year-old woman who had crossed Spain for a teaching job has sparked outrage in the country, the latest high-profile case to put the spotlight on gender violence.

Laura Luelmo's partially naked body was found near the southern village of El Campillo after five days of searching.

She had traveled 500km (310 miles) to take up her first full-time job.

The issue made headlines around the world earlier this year following the trial of five men accused of gang raping an 18-year-old woman during the San Fermín bull-running festival in July 2016 in Pamplona.

The men, who became known as La manada (the wolf pack), were acquitted of rape and convicted on a lesser offense of sexual abuse. Judges said the woman had not been assaulted as no intimidation or violence was involved.

The decision sparked large demonstrations and a debate over the country's legislation and gender violence in general.

Officials who searched her home believe Ms. Luemo went out for a walk or run before disappearing, as they did not find her sports gear, smartphone, and purse.

Her body was found among some bushes in a remote area outside El Campillo with signs of sexual violence, El Mundo newspaper reports.

It showed signs that she tried to defend herself and marks on her neck that could suggest death by strangulation. She seems to have been struck on the head.

Many have also reacted to a message Ms Luemo retweeted in 2015, which said: "They teach you not to go alone in dark places instead of teaching monsters not to be one. THAT's the problem."

Schools across Spain observed a minute's silence while some demonstrated against gender violence. In 2017, the country's general council of the judiciary received more than 166,000 complaints of violence against women, a 16.4% increase from 2016.

 

PRAY

  1. That Christians in Spain will rise up and take the lead in efforts to counter the violence against women in their country.
  2. That the men who committed the atrocities will be brought to justice.
  3. That Christian men will demonstrate the example of Jesus Christ in His treatment of women, and that it will serve as a powerful alternative to the warped concept of manhood that prevails in the society.

 

Category 2

 Israel, the Middle East, and Africa

 

Scripture— Psalm 36:1-10

Iran

On December 6, several intelligence agents raided the home of Amir Taleipour, 39, and his wife Mahnaz Harati, 36. They proceeded to arrest the couple in front of their daughter (aged 7). Amir and Mahnaz have been held in detention since their arrest. They have not been allowed to communicate with family members, nor permitted access to legal assistance. Their daughter is now being cared for by family members.

Iranian Christian ministry leaders have noted that they have come to expect increased numbers of arrests of Christians in Iran around Christmas, but that the situation in 2018 is more severe than in recent years. Commenting on reasons for this surge, one leader remarked that the Christmas season is a period when many Iranians are attracted to Christianity and that the state seeks to deter this interest through campaigns of intimidation. (Lindy Lowry, Open Door USA, December 24, 2018)

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/pray/pray-with-parents-arrested-in-front-of-7-year-old-daughter-in-iran/

Reportedly, about 13 plain-clothed members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (a branch of Iran’s armed forces) raided four homes on the morning of December 2, arresting Farzad Behzadi, 30, Abdollah Yousefi 34, and the two sisters Shima Zanganeh, 27, and Shokoofeh Zanganeh, 30, confiscating their books, phones and computers.

The sisters, Shima and Shokoofeh, were taken to security offices in Ahvaz for interrogation and reportedly were physically assaulted during the questioning. On Wednesday, December 12, the young women were transferred to Sepidar Prison, part of Iran’s notorious prison network known for its cruel and brutal treatment of prisoners of conscience. A judge has set an extremely high bail of 500 million Toman (about $44,000) for each woman. The whereabouts of Farzad and Abdollah remain unknown.

The arrests are part of the recent intense crackdown on Christians ahead of Christmas. Open Doors recently reported that more than 100 Iranian Christians had been arrested in one week (a total of 150 in the last month). The onslaught of arrests is part of the government’s attempt to “warn” Christians against sharing their faith over Christmas,  Mansour Borji, advocacy director of religious freedom organization Article 18, told World Watch Monitor. (Lindy Lowry, Open Doors USA, December 17, 2018)

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/pray/pray-with-iranian-christian-sisters-assaulted-and-arrested/

Pray

  1. Pray that the Lord will strengthen and encourage the Christians arrested for their faith. Also, pray for their release.
  2.  Pray that the whereabouts of Farzad and Abdullah will be made known. Also, pray that Amir and Mahnaz will be allowed to communicate with their family and engage a lawyer.
  3. Pray that state security will cease targeting citizens on account of their religious belief
  4. Pray for the protection and continued success of ministries targeting Iran such as Elam Ministries. Also, Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Iran.

Syria

BEIRUT, LEBANON — Alarmed by a U.S. decision to leave Syria, Kurdish leaders who run much of the north are urging Russia and its ally Damascus to send forces to shield the border from the threat of a Turkish offensive. Their call for a return of Syrian government forces to the border, which Kurdish fighters have held for years, points to the depth of their crisis in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to withdraw forces.

Talks with Damascus and Moscow appear to be the focus for the Kurdish leadership. Their worst fear is a repeat of a Turkish attack that drove Kurdish residents and the YPG militia out of Afrin city in the northwest earlier this year. (Reuters, December 27, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/let-down-by-us-syrian-kurdish-leaders-look-to-russia-and-assad/4718436.html

President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria will have dire consequences for tens of thousands of Assyrian and Kurdish Christians in the northeast, self-administered part of the war-torn Middle Eastern nation, a global affairs expert warned.

It was reported Wednesday that planning is underway for a “full” and “rapid” withdrawal of the about 2,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Syria. Trump even went on Twitter to declare that the Islamic State had been defeated and that defeating the group was the only reason for U.S. presence there during his presidency.

 “ISIS is not defeated,” Johannes de Jong, a Netherlands-based director of Sallux, an association that serves as the political foundation for the European Christian Political Movement, told The Christian Post. “[The U.S. withdrawal] means basically that you sacrifice the Christian community of northeast Syria for the Jihadists. If that happens, it is the end of the ten thousands of Christians in Northeast Syria.” (Samuel Smith, CP Reporter, December 19, 2018)

https://www.christianpost.com/world/trumps-troop-withdrawal-sacrifices-syrian-christians-gives-victory-to-jihadis-activist.html

Pray

  1. Thank God for the defeat of IS in most of Syria. Pray for the complete defeat of all remaining pockets of IS members in Syria.
  2. Pray for peace to be reestablished in Syria. Also, pray that IS will not be reestablished in Syria once the US troops leave.
  3. Pray for the protection of tens of thousands of Assyrian and Kurdish Christians in the northeast of Syria.
  4. Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Syria.

Egypt

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces have killed 40 suspected militants in three separate incidents in North Sinai and Giza, the ministry of interior said on Saturday, a day after a deadly bombing on a Vietnamese tourist bus in Giza killed four people. The ministry did not say whether the suspected militants were connected to Friday's attack, but said its forces killed 30 people during raids on their hideouts in Giza where it said "terrorist elements" were planning a series of attacks targeting state institutions and the tourism industry. Security forces also killed 10 suspected militants in North Sinai, where the country is fighting an insurgency led by Islamic State. (Reuters, December 29, 2018)

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/egypt-security-forces-kill-40-suspected-militants-after-tourist-bus-bombed/ar-BBRyB8f?li=BBnbfcL

CSW has learned that Egyptian police have arrested a number of people in connection with the attack on pilgrims visiting the Monastery of Anba Samuel the Confessor in Minya on 2 November 2018, in which seven Christians were killed and 18 injured. The attack on the bus carrying the group of Christians occurred about 300km from Sohag. The assailants arrived in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, opened fire on the bus and then disappeared into the desert.

In other news, the Egyptian Prime Minister approved the legalisation of 168 churches and worship buildings last week. The decision was made during a meeting of the ministerial committee overseeing issues relating to building and renovating churches and worship buildings. Applications were approved for 126 buildings belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Church, and 42 belonging to the Evangelical Church. (Christian Solidarity Worldwide, 12 Dec 2018)

https://www.csw.org.uk/2018/12/12/press/4171/article.htm

 

Pray:

  1. Thank God that several people responsible for the murders of seven Christian pilgrims have been arrested. Pray that justice would be done.
  2. Thank God that the Egyptian government is taking action against Islamic militants.
  3. Thank God that the Egyptian Prime Minister approved the legalization of 168 churches and worship buildings. Also, Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Egypt.

 

Sudan

CAIRO — An independent union of Sudanese journalists launched a strike Thursday in support of "legitimate" popular demands for freedom and democracy, the latest in a series of work stoppages and protests calling for longtime President Omar Bashir to step down. A union statement said the three-day strike is also a protest against authorities' "barbaric" assault on press freedoms, including censorship and confiscating newspaper editions. Street protests have swept most of Sudan since Dec. 19, with chants evoking those of the Arab Spring in 2010 and 2011.

Amnesty International said 37 people have died in the first five days of the protests. The government has acknowledged fatalities but gave no figures. The United States, Britain, Norway, and Canada called on authorities to investigate the use of live ammunition against protesters. (Associated Press, December 27, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/sudan-journalists-go-on-strike-in-support-of-protests/4718023.html

KHARTOUM, SUDAN —  At least three Sudanese protesters were wounded by gunshots Tuesday when security forces dispersed rallies in the capital, witnesses said, after a week of demonstrations against President Omar al-Bashir's three-decade rule. A witness said security forces barred protesters at one location in Khartoum from marching on the presidential palace by firing tear gas and shots in the air. Three witnesses told Reuters that three protesters had been wounded by gunshots, one of them in the head.

Economic bind

Rising prices, shortages of basic commodities and a cash crisis have driven protesters to the streets across Sudan to demonstrate against al-Bashir, who took power in a military coup backed by Islamists in 1989. (Reuters, December 25, 2018)

https://www.voanews.com/a/sudanese-protesters-dispersed-after-week-of-rallies/4715846.html

Sudan produces huge quantities of sesame, wheat, cotton, varieties of fruits and vegetables that are exported to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The country has huge resources of Gold and other minerals the current economic hardships have resulted in serious shortages of essential necessities, include, food bread, fuel, currencies in ATM, which have led to demonstration and protests for the regime.

Over 60% of the mangoes produced …go to waste due to poor roads, high levels of insecurity and general lack of development including lack of water, electricity and social amenities. There are strict restrictions to movement that must be approved by the state agents. (Peter Kegode, IPMI Facilitator, December 27, 2018)

Pray:

  1. Pray for peace to prevail in major cities of Sudan including Khartoum El-Obeid, Kassala, Kosti, Kadugli, Nyala, El Fasher, Port Sudan.
  2. Pray that the rebels and militia groups shall be transformed by the holy spirit into peaceful co-existence with the rest of the society
  3. Pray that development agencies and donors will release resources to improve the railway line, roads and airport infrastructure to support agricultural products reach the global markets.
  4. Pray that the mango pulping project will succeed and attract other development partners to invest in the infrastructure and change the lifestyle of local communities.
  5. Pray for the ease and freedom of movement in the area and the region and for the growth of the Church of Christ in Sudan.

 

 

Category 3

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

Scripture   -   Psalms 6: 7 - 13

PRAY

Movement Day Expressions

  1. Pray that God would anoint the emerging leaders that were in attendance during the 100 Cities Summit
  2. 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!
  3. Ask God to nourish every newly cultivated and reestablished relationship fostered during the week of the 100 Cities Summit.
  4. Pray for our Global Hub Leaders, as they cultivate relationships within their respective regions to advance unity within the body of Christ
  5. Pray that God would strengthen the Movement Day expressions team as we plan 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.

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.  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, 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."

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. This week, Nigerian Christian leaders 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)

 

PRAY

  1. 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;   
  2. 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 for them to halt their evil actions against Christ and His church, to come to a full knowledge of Christ, and aid in the spread of the Gospel and expansion of God’s Kingdom worldwide.  

 

Pakistan

Asia Bibi's neighbors want her dead: There is no forgiveness for insulting Muhammad.

Asia Bibi’s former neighbors believe she deserves to be executed for allegedly insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad even though her confession was coerced.  The accusation of blasphemy, one of the most serious crimes in the Islamic-majority country, led to Bibi's imprisonment on death row for eight years before she was finally acquitted by the Pakistani Supreme Court in October and granted freedom, though she is still being detained and unable to leave the country.

The controversial decision to free Bibi sparked widespread unrest and protests by Islamic hardliners in the country who declared their opposition to international pressure influencing the judges. While persecution watchdog groups and human rights organizations have condemned Pakistan for its blasphemy laws, the villagers in Ittan Wali told the Telegraph that Bibi confessed to insulting their faith at the time and her death sentence should stand.

Bibi's family continues to live in danger in Pakistan where they spent Christmas waiting for an asylum offer from another country.(Source: Christian Post, December 28, 2018)

PRAY

  1. For the continued safety and protection of Asia Bibi and her family in Pakistan as they await an Asylum offer from another country.   
  2. For a quick offer of Asylum to the Bibi family from one of the various nations from which Asylum is being been sought.  
  3. For God, by His sovereign grace to open the door for the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, to be proclaimed throughout Pakistan.

North  Korea

Why Is Kim Jong Un Afraid of Christianity? Group Points to Clash Between Jesus and 'Supreme Leader'

A persecution watchdog group has explored the reasons why North Korean leader Kim Jong Un remains "afraid" of Christianity, which go to the heart of people's beliefs about Jesus."It's likely because people who are following Jesus and who are committed to one another mean there are people he can't control, and who follow a greater King. It means there are people who practice radical love for each other and for Jesus — who won't so easily follow him and the lies of his regime," Open Doors USA suggested. "This is why Christians continue to be seen as 'dangerous' and are also part of the hostile class, according to the country's social system called songbun. What this means is that anyone who is known to be a follower of Jesus is immediately assumed to be a hostile political figure." 

The organization, which lists North Korea as the No.1 worst persecutor of Christians around the world, noted that Christianity "directly challenges the notion of any Supreme Leader and the idea that there is any master outside of Jesus Christ. Additionally, Christianity offers a new way and identity for people in North Korea. Both aspects of faith are direct threats to the ruling family of North Korea." Kim continues making moves to meet major world leaders, though the consequences of that for the suffering minorities in his country, including close to 300,000 Christians, are yet unclear.Top of Form Back in May, the congressionally-mandated 2017 International Religious Freedom report by the U.S. found that there are between 80,000 to 120,000 people trapped in North Korea camps, many imprisoned for their faith.

"The government continued to deal harshly with those who engaged in almost any religious practices through executions, torture, beatings, and arrests," the report stated. "An estimated 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners, some imprisoned for religious reasons, were believed to be held in the political prison camp system in remote areas under horrific conditions. "Religious and human rights groups outside the country continued to provide numerous reports that members of underground churches were arrested, beaten, tortured, and killed because of their religious beliefs."

Christian defectors have spoken of torture they have suffered at the hands of the North Korean regime. Believers are often thrown in prison or even executed if they are found with a Bible. Amid the uncertainty for believers, Open Doors urged people to pray (Source: The Christian Post, October 25, 2018)

PRAY

  1. For persecuted Christians in North Korea to remain loyal to Jesus Christ and the call to spread the Good news of Christ’s Kingdom across the land despite persecution from the North Korean Government; and that their love for Christ will cause many to be won to Jesus Christ.
  2. Pray for the continued growth of the church across North Korea despite increased persecution.
  3. Pray for a change in the hearts of the North Korean regime, that they would see the love of Jesus as the road to truth and peace,"

China

Pastors in China Prepare to Lose Their Lives for Preaching the Gospel, Defying Communist Crackdown

In the face of an ongoing Communist crackdown, pastors in China have vowed to continue preaching the Gospel, even if it costs them their lives.

Aaron Ma, a representative of Open Doors' Ministry in China, told The Christian Post in an email on Thursday that the watchdog group has so far heard of one case of Bible burning in the country. The incident, where Communist Party officials burned Bibles and crosses in Henan, was captured on video and shared online earlier this month by activists, including ChinaAid President Bob Fu, whose group monitors the persecution of believers in China.

Concern has also risen over instances where state officials have been forcing some Christians to sign papers rejecting their faith. Ma noted that the circumstances leading to the increasing crackdown on churches in recent years has been building for decades. While the country has had different religious regulations to manage religious activities since the Open Policy on economic development in the 1980s, enforcement of such regulation had been loosened. This allowed for churches to bloom throughout several provinces after the 2000s, with only larger unregistered churches with close overseas connections experiencing sporadic crackdowns.

President Xi Jinping, and especially the revised religious regulations that took effect in February, have changed things.

Ma said the regulations have led to more cases of shutting down churches, confiscation of church property, and the growing threat of landlords refusing to lease premises for church meetings. "Along with the enforcement of revised religious regulation in February 2018 and increasing pressure of banning church meetings in unregistered religious venues, more and more local churches are preparing to divide into small groups for church meetings (depending on the region, some from 200 to less than 100, some from 100 to 30, some from 30 to 10), or even revert back to house meetings," he added. (Source: The Christian Post, September 22, 2018).

Pray

  1. For pastors and house churches across China facing various forms of persecution resulting from the ongoing communist government crackdown by the Communist government to remain faithful to the Lord in spite of these various forms of persecution aimed at stifling the growth of Christianity across China.
  2. 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. 
  1. For the continued growth of the church across China to facilitate the expansion of Christianity across Asia.

     

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