AIUCV Prayer Points: Focus - PRAY FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH AND CHRISTIANS

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AIUCV Prayer Points: Focus - PRAY FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH AND CHRISTIANS

 

The ALL INDIA UNITED CHRISTIAN VOICE (AIUCV) has a list of prayer points that are prayed for each month by hundreds of Indians. Each week, on ChristianMetro.com, we feature a portion of the prayer points and hope you fill spend time praying for them as the Lord guides you.

22nd September - 21st October, 2017 PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHURCHES AND CHRISTIANS AROUND THE WORLD

PRAYER POINTS

“Remember the Prisoners as though you were in the prison with them and the mistreated as though you yourself were suffering bodily”: Hebrew 13:3

A – Pray for the persecuted church and christians

A1. State Law Criminalizing Social Boycotts Seen as a Great Victory for Christians in India

(Asia News) - After the 2016 Maharashtra Prohibition of People from Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressed) Act received presidential assent, the state became the first in the country to adopt a law that seeks to enforce strict rules of coexistence among members of different castes and faiths.

The law takes into account all human rights issues and bans discrimination on the basis of moral and social acceptance, as well as political orientation and gender. It even makes it an offence to impose clothing or language requirements on people.

In rural areas, tribal Christians and Dalits suffer harassment for caste and religious reasons. "Social boycotts have serious economic implications since our fellow Christians make up the majority of the poor and day labourers who are denied jobs, food rations and access to village wells," said Sajan George, President , Global Council of Indian Christians.

Let us pray that similar laws will reach the states of Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu where social boycotts are quite rampant against Christians because of their faith identity.

A2. Pastor in Northwest India Endures Beating at Hands of Hindu Radicals

(Morning Star News) - A band of Hindu extremists who had snuck into a house-church service beat a pastor with steel rods and sticks, one of them yelling that they would stop if he shouted, “Hail, Lord Ram [Jai Sri Ram] !”Pastor Harijot Sing Sethi suffered serious head and leg injuries in the Aug. 16 attack in Dabli Rathan village, in Rajasthan.

The young pastor and eight other Christians were attacked on the terrace of the home of Madan Lal Arora, where 20 people had gathered for worship. Police Station House Officer Jagdish Prasad said the assailants were members of the Hindu extremist group Bajrang Dal. Prasad told Morning Star News. “We were able to detain six of the accused, and the investigation is on.”

Let us pray the police will take the case to its logical conclusion and the Christians would be allowed to hold meetings without any hindrance.

A3. Christians Fear Attacks Following Outbreak of Mob Violence.

(Christian Today) - Christians in the district of Haryana and the Punjab are living in fear of attack from followers of the infamous Guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, who was convicted of rape recently.

Judge Jagdeep Singh sentenced the controversial Indian leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect to 20 years’ imprisonment for the sexual assault of two of his female followers, saying Guru Gurmeet deserved the 'maximum punishment' because he had 'projected himself as a god man and taken undue advantage of his position and authority’. The self-styled holy man was found guilty of sexually assaulting two female followers from 1999 to 2002, with prosecutors calling for a life sentence..

Now the lead officer for the British Asian Christian Association in India, Pastor Harjot Singh, has warned that Christians are being targeted and described the mood among Christians in the states of Haryana and the Punjab, where a series of riots have erupted in recent days.

'On hearing about the conviction, followers of Gurmeet rioted in Panchkula. 32 people were killed by fanatical zealots of the sect and an estimated 350 were injured, with further riots expected. Christian leaders were warned about attacks on churches should Guru Gurmeet be convicted. I call upon Christians across the world to pray for a restoration of peace, and an end to the unnecessary violence we have seen in recent days.'

A4. Christians in Madhya Pradesh Remain Under Pressure Despite Six Prisoners Being Released on Bail

Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) - “This is an answer to prayer and my heart is filled with gratitude to God and to Christians everywhere,” Pastor Hate Singh Gundiya told International Christian Concern (ICC) last week as six Christian prisoners in Madhya Pradesh were granted bail by the Indore High Court. Although this news brought great relief to Christians of the Jhabua region, many still fear further outbreaks of intolerance led by Hindu hard-line groups seeking to put pressure on Christians.

The trouble began on May 21 when nine Christians, accompanying 70 children, were arrested in Ratlam by railway police after being falsely accused of attempting to forcefully convert the children they were traveling with to a children’s camp in Nagpur. The children were taken to a government child protection center for two days and then sent to their respective homes. The nine Christian adults were booked under charges of child abduction, human trafficking, and forced conversion under the state’s draconian anti-conversion law. These charges were accepted by police despite affidavits filed by the parents of children attesting that they are both Christians and that the children were travelling with the nine Christians with their consent.

The Christians’ applications for bail were rejected four times in lower courts due to the influence of local Hindu radical groups. While in the lower court, three Christians were released on bail, but six remained in prison until the Indore High Court accepted the plea for bail for the remaining Christians on August 24. Although the bail granted to the remaining six prisoners is a positive development, more must be done to ensure justice. Please pray to this end.

{This matter was reported in the Prayer Letter of June 2017}

A5. Iran Tells Christian Students: Study Islam or be Expelled

Iran (Bosnews Life) – Iran's government has ordered children belonging to families of one of the country's largest house church movements to study the Koran and Shi’a Islam teachings or face expulsion from school, a church official confirmed to Bos NewsLife recently. The Church of Iran movement is also concerned about four jailed members saying one of them "was deported to a feared secret police facility" in the southern city of Shiraz.

The government-backed policy adopted by school authorities in Shiraz and the coastal city of Rasht deprives Christian children of primary and secondary education unless they agree to religious instruction that does not conform to their faith, he confirmed. Parents and other believers might also face prison for openly confessing that Jesus is Lord, seen as blasphemy by strict Islamic authorities, BosNewsLife learned.Pray for the release of the imprisoned Christians and for the revocation of this new directive from the government

A6. School Removes Cafeteria Plaque Thanking God for Food Following Complaint from Atheist Group

United States (Christian News Network) - An elementary school in Virginia has removed a plaque from its cafeteria that thanks God for the food following a complaint from a prominent professing atheist organization.

The plaque at issue, which had been displayed in the cafeteria of Spiller Elementary School in Wytheville, read, “Our Father, we thank Thee for this food. Bless it to the nourishment of our bodies and our lives to Thy service. Amen.” It is not known how long the plaque had been present.

However, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote to the superintendent of Wythe County Public Schools earlier this year after being contacted by a local complainant, whose identity it kept anonymous. FFRF asserted that the plaque was problematic because the prayer could conflict with the beliefs of some students and their families.

The Church-State separation group also contended that the plaque was unconstitutional because it gave the impression that the school prefers Christianity over other religions—or no religion at all.

Pray that the Government law makers would recognize the erosion that is taking place in their country to biblical values and steps would be taken by them to reverse this trend.

A7. 7 Christians Rescued From ISIS in Syria's Raqqa

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF saved seven Christians from ISIS militants in Raqqa province, recently."Our forces have saved two Armenian families today," said Mustafa Bali, Director of the Information Office of the SDF.

Saws Karabidian, a Christian woman who was among those rescued by the SDF, said: "They [ISIS] forced us to wear the headscarf and allowed us to reveal our faces to distinguish us from Muslims. We had to hide our faces to avoid insults.""We were forced to pay tribute by hand and we were humiliated and insulted, what a homeland that makes you pay an additional tax because you are different," Karadij Karadjian, another Christian civilian who was rescued on Tuesday, told SDF fighters. "Today is a new birth for us."Let us remember in prayer the scores of Christians still in captivity all over Syria, facing such untold miseries, that they will be rescued and rehabilitated to a life of dignity and security soon.

A8. Cost of Rebuilding Gives Iraq's Christians Pause

Iraq (World Watch Monitor) – With towns and cities such as Qaraqosh and Bashiqa in Iraq’s Nineveh Plains now liberated from Islamic State (IS) forces and their original inhabitants beginning to return, there is confidence among some local Christian leaders that life is slowly beginning to get back to normal.

“I am optimistic, yes, very optimistic,” says Qaraqosh’s Syriac Catholic Archbishop Yohanna Petros Mouche. “When you look around the villages you see that life is back again.”

The return of Nineveh’s Christians is most visible in Qaraqosh. About 1,500 families – more than 20% of the total Christian population before IS came – have now gone back. A local priest, Fr. George, has helped facilitate the return through a Centre for Support and Encouragement, a project based in Nineveh’s liberated towns to help returnees who fled the IS invasion.

With a big smile he reports: “Some 50 people a day register at our centre to have their homes restored. More will come.”

The centre was built to help families’ co-ordinate the rebuilding of destroyed homes. Fr. George explains that workers at the centre have determined the level of repair of 6,936 damaged homes in Qaraqosh, each categorised as level A-C, depending on their damage: “Level C means that the home is damaged, but can easily be repaired with US$5,000 or less. Level B homes are fully burned from the inside or are more damaged in other ways. Level A means that a home is fully destroyed, collapsed because of a bomb for example. In Qaraqosh we have 4,774 level C, 2,046 level B and 116 level A,” he says..

When a repair grant is approved by the centre, the family gets the money and is responsible for arranging their own repairs. The centre keeps a list of tradesmen ready to take on the work. To maintain accountability, a family must give all receipts for work done to the centre, and return any money not spent. Pray for the efforts in reconstruction and rehabilitation that have commenced in Iraq’s Nineveh plains by Fr George’s agency and other outfits that it would result in the speedy return of displaced Christians.

A9. Iraqi Christians Express Concern about Country's School Curriculum

ICC Note: Chaldean Archbishop Habib Jajou has expressed concern that Iraq’s Ministry of Education is not doing enough to educate students about their country’s Christian history, and that a failure to foster religious tolerance has left Christians fearful that a new ISIS may come to power. Iraqi authorities currently provide Christian religious education in some public schools located in areas with a high Christian population.

Many Christian leaders report a lack of input into school curricula. As Iraq approaches the start of a new school year, education is going to be of increased importance to displaced Christians returning home. Please pray that political stability will soon return to Iraq as large parts of the country are being liberated from ISIS control. Pray that the Christian children will have access to sound Christian history of their motherland.

A10. ICC Assists 200 Families that Were Attacked by Fulani Militants

Washington, DC (International Christian Concern) - In November 2016, the Christian villages of Kigam, Angwan, Magaii, Kikpene and Kiziti suffered massive attacks by Fulani militants in Nigeria. Approximately 200 families were affected by this incident where at least 100 houses were burned down, two churches were demolished, 40 people were killed, and six others were injured. A large population was also displaced since their main occupation is farming and the militants destroyed their crops along with their irrigation water pumps, grain milling machines, food storage, and other assets.

The attack left the families vulnerable and in need of food and shelter. When International Christian Concern (ICC) learned of the situation, we made sure to communicate the urgency of the matter to our Regional Manager for Africa

In order to assist the 200 families, we bought 250 bags of fertilizer of 50 kg each and ten irrigation machines. Since this attack affected so many families, some leaders from the community decided to join this noble cause. The senior Traditional Ruler, members of his council, and the Senior Legislative Aide of the Member of House of Representatives in the Kauru Federal Constituency were present and participated in the distribution of these items to the beneficiaries. Both leaders were very pleased and thankful for the assistance we provided for our Christian brothers and sisters.

Even though these families feel extremely blessed for the assistance we provided, they still fear that the Fulani militant may target them again. Pray for their safety, protection, and peace during this difficult time. Please also pray for the church leaders in the community, so that they can continue to be used by the Lord in encouraging the victims and sharing the Gospel

A11. Kerala Priest Abducted by I S Freed

(TOI): Father Tom Uzhunnalil has been rescued in Yemen, 18 months after he was abducted by Islamist terrorists during a deadly attack on a care home, run by the Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, in the port city of Aden. Fr Tom thanked God and appreciated Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said for his release.

External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj , also played a key role in securing the release of Fr Tom. Her proactive efforts are deeply appreciated. Praise the Lord for answered prayer (This matter was listed in our April Prayer Points.) and please continue to pray for many, still in IS captivity.

B. PRAY FOR CHURCHES AND THEIR LEADERS

B1. Pray For Revival in the Churches in India

Pray for a spiritual revival in all our Churches irrespective of the denomination. Pray that the Holy Spirit pours Himself on the Churches in India in such a mighty manner as in the day of the First Pentecost. Let each Church and each individual member of the Churches experience the Power of the Spirit. Let the fruits of the Spirit dwell richly in every individual who calls himself a believer. Let the gifts of the Spirit be manifested in such a way that the rest of the world will wonder at what is happening to Christians in the world.

Pray that such a revival starts with each one of us individually and spreads to every Church in Bangalore first and widely to all parts of the country. Let not the persecutions that occur in the country hold us back. Cry out to the Lord for such a mighty revival in India.

C. Pray For All Christian Institutions in the Country

Pray for all the Christian Institutions in the country, including Schools, Colleges Hospitals and Medical Colleges spread all over the country. Pray that these Institutions are enabled to function according to Christian principles, upholding noble values and maintaining high standards at all times. Particularly pray for the Theological Colleges and Seminaries in all parts of the country so that they are enabled to train and prepare Christ-like Christian Leaders.

D. PRAY FOR THE NATION

D1. Praying for the Nation

The last one month has been a very testing time for our Nation India. Some of the happenings that the Nation went through are listed below for our attention and our fervent prayers.

In our most populous state of Uttar Pradesh ruled by Yogi Adithyanath, the head priest of Gorakhpur Temple, tragedy occurred in the form of deaths of infants in large numbers in two major Hospitals, one of them being a Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur itself. The tragedy is made worse by the fact that most of these deaths occurred due to Oxygen not being available in the Hospital. To the National outcry on these incidents, one of the reactions of the Chief Minister was that the Opposition is blowing out of proportion small incidents to show the Government in a poor light. Can the deaths of innocent infants due to negligence or poor governance be ever considered as small or inconsequential? Please pray for the state of Uttar Pradesh so that man-made tragedies like this are avoided in future. Also pray for better Governance in the state and for those in authority to act in a more responsible manner.

The second tragedy that occurred in the country was in the state of Haryana where a court delivered a verdict of ‘guilty’ against a godman Ram Rahim Singh, in a fifteen year old rape case. Although it was clear to everyone in advance that the followers of the godman will create chaos after the verdict was declared, the Government in Haryana failed to take adequate measures, resulting in 38 deaths and destruction of crores of Rupees worth of properties due to rioting on that day. The High court of Haryana and Punjab has come down heavily on the Government for its failure. The root cause of this tragedy is the tendency in our country of people in large numbers rallying round those who declare themselves as gods, despite their indulging in heinous crimes such as rape and murder. In this particular case it is the single minded pursuit of the investigating officer who in spite of pressures from all sides, stuck to the cause and brought it to a successful conclusion. We are also grateful to the judiciary for rendering justice to the victims, although it took so many years. Please pray for the people of this country to stop worshipping those who declare themselves as gods in order to indulge in their own selfish and sinful pursuits. Also pray for our political leaders not to cultivate such godmen for vote bank politics. Pray that the Governments and the Police authorities maintain Law and order under all circumstances.
The third tragedy to strike the Nation took place in our own Bangalore where a fearless woman journalist and activist Gowri Lankesh was cruelly shot and killed in broad day light just in front of her own residence. Her cold blooded murder is not an isolated case. Earlier rationalists like Dhabolkar and Pansare in Maharashtra and Kalburgi in Karnataka were also shot dead in a similar manner. None of these cases have so far been solved till now. This shows an ominous trend where dissenting voices are silenced without leaving any clue as to the persons behind these crimes. Please Pray for the freedom of expression of every citizen is protected in this country and his/her right to life ensured. [LV]

E. PRAY FOR NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES

E1. Christian Student in Pakistan Beaten to Death at School

ICC Note: A Christian student, Sharoon Masih, was beaten to death recently by a Muslim classmate in Pakistan's Vehari District. According to Masih's uncle, the Christian student had faced severe discrimination from other classmates due to his Christian faith. Christians in Pakistan face widespread discrimination and in some cases are considered untouchable by the nation's Muslim majority. At times, this discrimination can escalate into deadly violence, as it did at Masih's school earlier this week.

Pray for Sharoon’s parents that they will experience the comfort of heaven as they cope with this tragedy. Also, the Pakistan authorities will pursue the case and bring to justice the perpetuators of this crime. Pray for the leaders of Pakistan that they will act justly in safeguarding the rights and welfare of the minorities in that country.

E2. Nepali Parliament Passes Anti-Conversion and Blasphemy Laws

ICC Note: Nepal's parliament has passed a bill that will make religious conversions illegal and will also establish a nationwide blasphemy law. Many advocates for religious freedom have spoken out against the passage of this bill including Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). According to CSW, the new blasphemy law may be abused to hurt religious minorities. Also, the anti-conversion law was likely passed to target the growth of Nepal's Christian population, which is one of the fastest growing Christian populations in the world.

E3. Pope to visit Myanmar and Bangladesh as Rohingya crisis intensifies

(AFP) – Pope Francis will visit Myanmar and Bangladesh later this year, the Vatican announced, hours after the Catholic leader decried the plight of Rohingya Muslims as they flee fresh fighting between the army and militants.

Francis has frequently lamented the treatment of the Rohingya, a largely stateless Muslim minority who have long lived under apartheid-like restrictions in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine.

Tens of thousands have fled to Bangladesh in recent months to escape fighting between Rohingya militants and Myanmar's army -- with particularly ferocious clashes erupting in the last few days.

It is the first time a pope has travelled to Myanmar and only the second time a papal visit has been made to Bangladesh after Pope John Paul II's trip there in 1986.

Pray that Pope Francis’ visit will promote better understanding between the vulnerable sections of the population and the constitutional agencies and law enforcement authorities in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, paving the way to lasting peace in the region.

E4. Pro-government Armed Thugs Invade Church in Vietnam

Vietnam (Radio Free Asia) – Men in plain clothes and armed with pistols, batons, and pepper spray descended on a Catholic church in southeast Vietnam’s Dong Nai province recently to confront the parish priest over a Facebook post the priest had made urging political reform in the one-party communist state.

The assault, in which the church’s attackers arrived by bus, took place on Sept. 4 at the Tho Hoa parish church, parish priest Nguyen Duy Tan wrote later on his Facebook page.Tan identified at least one of the harassing group as a member of a local pro-government activist group, Tan told RFA’s Vietnamese Service on Sept. 5.

“I recognized Nguyen Trong Nghia of the Red Flags group,” Tan said, adding that he saw other signs of support for the group from local police and other authorities.

Tan told RFA he declined to press charges with police against the group because “they are all on the same side, the side of the Communist Party.”

Pray the Holy Spirit will continue to empower the Christians in Vietnam to continue steadfastly in their faith despite the opposition.

F1. Please pray for Rev. Nebu Skariah, the members of the East Parade Church, where we are meeting today, that the Lord Jesus will abundantly bless their families.

F2. God willing we will be holding our next prayer meeting at Pavanasar Lutheran Church,

60 Cockburn Road, Near Bamboo Bazaar Petrol Bunk, Bangalore 560 051, on Saturday, October 28, 0930hrs to 1300hrs. Please make it convenient to attend the same. Also, kindly invite your friends too.