Sunday, November 9, 2008

Praying for the Persecuted Church

The International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the persecuted church is this Sunday 9th November*. Please join us and hundreds of thousand of others to intercede on behalf of those who live in nations which are restricted and hostile towards the gospel.

The time that we spend in prayer has an eternal impact on the lives of people throughout the world. Through prayer, circumstances change, closed doors are opened, resistant people are made receptive and leaders are installed or removed.

Please pray:
- The Lord will give courage to His people who are enduring persecution for His Name
- The Lord will place His restraining hand on those who seek to harm His people
- Churches facing government opposition will stand firm in their ministry
- Christians will have opportunities to reach out with the Gospel without fear of intimidation or harassment
- Servants of the Lord will be able to deliver Bibles and Christian literature to places where they are most needed
- Christians who have been left without pastors and teachers may be kept strong in their faith
- Christians who have been imprisoned for their faith will be released safely
- The Lord will restrain the callousness and brutality of prison guards in their treatment of Christians in prison
- Pray against the increasing problem of young Christian girls being kidnapped, raped and forced to marry
- Those who have lost loved ones by martyrdom will be comforted and strengthened by God during their grief
- Christian pastors will be kept from danger and strengthened in their faith as they care for the people of God
- New converts may be protected and provided for should their family turn against them.
- The current laws in many restricted nations forbidding evangelism, missionary activity and religious instruction, will be repealed

"In the death camps I knew that there were people praying for me. It gave me the spiritual strength I needed to live as a Christian and to trust God. It is the same for everyone in the camps and prisons today." Underground Church pastor, Cambodia
The air is still thick with tragedy in Orissa state. Someone just told me the story of a Christian widow he chanced upon in the state capital, Bhubaneswar, who chokingly related the story of her husband's death. She said that he fled from an angry mob that came to his house in the night of August 28, but he was caught and told that he and his brothers and all their families must convert to Hinduism or he would be killed. He resisted the pressure, so they tied him to a tree, took kerosene from his brother's house, poured it over him and set him on fire. He escaped when the plastic ropes holding him melted, but had suffered serious burns. He died the next day. Traumatised, his widow left the body in the house, which began decomposing and attracted dogs. After three days, he was buried, although the body was exhumed by investigating police the next day. Their house was destroyed by one of the mobs systematically attacking Christian targets, and its contents looted. The widow and her four children now live in a relief camp, wondering what their future could possibly hold.

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