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.
17th January - 16th February, 2018 PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHURCHES AND CHRISTIANS AROUND THE WORLD
“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. Series of Attacks Leaves Christians Feeling Nervous Going Into Christmas Season
(The Indian Express) - As the countdown to Christmas was underway, some stray attacks against the festival from fringe right wing outfits in three north Indian states were reported. The incidents have unnerved the minority community, prompting Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the apex decision making body of the Catholic Church in the country, to comment that the community was “losing confidence in the government”.
Carols and conversion allegations near Satna, Madhya Pradesh: More than 30 priests and seminarians singing carols at a village near Satna in Madhya Pradesh were detained by the MP police on December 14, 2017, after activists from Bajrang Dal lodged a complaint against them for forcible conversion. The accused belonging to the St Ephrem’s Theological College in Satna had been conducting a carol singing program, which, according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, has been a routine practice during Christmas season for the past three decades. Six of the accused were booked under Sections 3 and 4 of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act. Further, eight priests who went to the civil lines police station to inquire about the detained priests, were also held and their car set afire outside the police station. The CBCI has alleged that the police did not play a fair role in the case.
Christmas program disrupted in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan: Members of fringe groups Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad reportedly disrupted a Christmas event on the night of December 20 at a community center in Pratapgarh district and manhandled a few organizers and attendees. They were accompanied by the police who claimed to have received a tip off about forced conversions at the event. “The program was organized without permission, and the police had got information that religious conversions were being conducted,” said SP Shivraj Meena, “A team of officials went there and found the conversion allegations were false”. Pray that the National leadership of the BJP will condemn these violent activities of the Hindu radicals and take appropriate measures to protect minority rights.
A2. Christians Granted Bail After Being Arrested for Praying Over Sick Man
India (UCAN) - Seven Christians were granted bail on Dec. 19, after being arrested for allegedly hurting the religious feelings of Hindus 15 days earlier. The group, which included two pastors, was praying at a house in Mathura district of northern Uttar Pradesh when about 25 Hindus burst in on them. The attackers reportedly accused those present of using words that were offensive to Hindu gods.
A. C. Michael, a Catholic leader and former member of the Delhi Minorities Commission, said that on Dec. 4 there had been threats to burn down the house where the prayer meeting was being held.
He told ucanews.com that the two pastors visited the area for the first time on the request of a local woman to pray for her sick husband. "They are accused of using certain words, which were never used, he added.” Hindu radicals have widely enjoyed complete impunity for their attacks on Christians, which is a major contributor to the escalation in attacks .Pray for the spiritual transformation of these misguided elements.
A3. Police Force Christian Pastors to Apologize to Radicals
(Christian Post) - Two pastors, who were attacked and beaten by Hindu extremists right before the beginning of a three-day Gospel meeting in Chhattisgarh state, were forced to apologize because their conference and the words of Jesus caused radicals to be offended.
A local pastor told Morning Star News, a non-profit news agency that reports on Christian persecution, that pastors Vijay Jogi and Santosh Rao were coerced by police into signing an apology letter to a mob of Hindus who prevented them from holding their Gospel meeting at Railway Grounds in Charoda.
"Pastor Vijay Jogi and Pastor Santosh Rao were receiving the people at the entrance," Pastor Amos James told the agency. "Suddenly a mob of 70 Hindu Dharm Sena and Bajrang Dal activists gheraoed (encircled) the entrance, and Pastor Jogi and Pastor Rao were beaten and summoned to the police station."
Jogi explained that before the start of the meeting, he had received a call from local police warning them to call the meeting off. It wasn't until after the attack that they realized that "these people will not let us conduct prayers."
Although Christian leaders in the area have had no issues holding events in that location in the past 20 years, the Hindu mob reportedly claimed that the pastors needed to have approval for the event from the sub-judicial magistrate in addition to approval from the railway police. Pray that Christian leaders would act with wisdom and tact in conducting public meetings in a hostile environment.
A4 .Police Injure 8 in Attack on Peaceful Protest Led by Women and Children
(Asia News) – Eight activists, including a nun, were injured in clashes with police in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, while participating in a protest march against the destruction of a Cross.
The incident occurred recently near the residence of Forestry Minister K. Raju. The march was organized by the Kerala Latin Catholic Women's Association. Dozens of nuns and children took part, demonstrating against a Cross demolished in a village in the mountains.
Ramesh Chennithala, leader of the opposition in the state, denounced the use of force by the police, who reportedly used batons to disperse the women. He called for the opening of an investigation against the perpetrators. Pray for a fair investigation to take place and the guilty brought to book.
A5. Iranian Pastors Asking for Prayer and Wisdom as Unrest Continues
ICC Note: As unrest continues in Iran, underground church leaders are asking for prayer on how to approach the situation. First, they are seeking wisdom on whether they should openly do ministry among those who are protesting.
Secondly, they are seeking to discern how Iran as a nation can become free so that Christians have freedom of religion. Exactly how the unrest will impact the church is of great concern to many leaders. The regime has responded to the unrest in a predictable manner: with harshness. Iranians are weary of the regime’s harshness and are eager for change to come to their country.
A6. For the First Time, Christmas Returns to Mosul, Iraq
ICC Note: For the first time in three years, Christmas has returned to Mosul. The city was captured by ISIS in the summer of 2014, and immediately imposed a harsh regime of Islamic extremism on the city. Most Christians fled, with only the old and disabled staying behind hoping to find some mercy that was never given. Christmas was outlawed. Mosul was liberated from ISIS earlier this year, and many former residents have returned. Christians, however, have been slow to return to the city. It is estimated that only 60 families have returned. Even so, the city is today celebrating Christmas for the first time since its capture by ISIS. Let us pray this will be a first step towards a new beginning for the Christians of Iraq towards normalcy
A7. Christian Children Threatened by ISIS Suffering Trauma No One Should Ever Experience
ICC Note: The trauma experienced by Christian children in Iraq and Syria has left a deep impression of pain on an entire generation. Their personal faith is often amazingly deep, as their tender age did not prevent them from having to ask the question “am I willing to die for Christ?”
Islamic extremists such as ISIS make no distinction between adults and children, the militants will target any Christian regardless of age. Many children display symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and treatment is not available. How this will affect an entire generation who will soon become adults has yet to be seen. Pray for relief and rehabilitation agencies to direct their attention to the treatment of post – traumatic stress experienced by children.
A8. Algerian Authorities Close Bookstore Accused of Illegally Printing Bibles
ICC Note: Police have closed a church in Algeria, which included sealing the portion of the church featuring a bookshop. The shop was raided by police last month, and the owner was accused of illegally printing Bibles and evangelistic brochures. No proof of the allegations was found during the raid.
Algerian Christians are routinely watched by authorities and often harassed with legal difficulties. The law does not prohibit conversion from Islam, but anyone who attempts to convert a Muslim to another religion does so at the risk of paying a hefty fine and five years imprisonment. This is in spite of a constitution that provides for the freedom of conscience and worship. Let us pray that if Algeria is truly sincere about pursuing religious freedom, it will do more to protect the rights of Christians.
A9. Eritrean Government is Using New Strategies to Persecute Christians
ICC Note: Eritrea has long been a persecutor of Christians. Since 2002, every form of Christianity besides three denominations has been banned from worshipping or practicing their faith. In the past this has meant that when groups of evangelical Christians are caught in church, bible studies or prayer groups, they have been arrested and held for long periods of time. Often this is in the worst conditions imaginable, shipping containers with no electricity or plumbing.
Now however, the government has started arresting entire families accused of being Christian in their own homes. They raid and seize the families and their property. They then separate children from parents and ensure that the Children are not able to gain support from other Christians. Pray for the Lord’s empowerment to endure such hardships and that these trials will end and families reunited.
A10. Judge Sides with Humanists Challenging Prayer at Graduation, Ceremony at Chapel
ICC Note: Some time ago the American Humanist Association (AHA) issued a letter of complaint to South Carolina’s Greenville School District after an elementary school hosted its graduation ceremony at a local university’s chapel and held prayer during the ceremony.
The AHA eventually filed a lawsuit, and a federal judge recently sided with the group, calling prayer at public graduations “cultural residue” left behind from historical traditions. The judge requested that the two parties resolve the matter between themselves within the next 60 days, after which it will be reviewed by the court if left unresolved. Pray that the judiciary, District and local bodies would not restrict and hinder the fundamental rights of practicing Christians
B. PRAY FOR CHURCHES AND THEIR LEADERS
B1. Pray for the Church leaders, Archbishops, Bishops, Presbyters, Pastors, Gospel Workers and all those who work in the Lord's Vineyard so that they sincerely practice what they preach and their teachings and preaching are always in consonance with the teachings of the Bible. Pray that they never stray from the straight and narrow path. Particularly pray for the Catholic Archbishop of Bangalore, Most Rev. Bernard Moraes, the Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India, Rt. Rev. Prasanna Kumar Samuel the Bishop of the CSI Central Karnataka Diocese, Bishop N L Karkare, the Methodist Bishop of Bangalore and the Chairman of the Full Gospel Assemblies of God. Pray that the Churches under their charge give such a testimony that the rest of the world finds reasons to praise God because of them.
B2. Pray for all the churches in India particularly the Catholic Church, the CSI, CNI, Marthoma Church, the Evangelical church of India, Lutheran Churches, the Methodist Church, Syrian Orthodox Church, Jacobite Syrian Church, Full Gospel Assembly of God Churches, Evangelical churches, Brethren Assemblies, the Seventh day Adventist Churches, the Mennonite Churches, Pentecostal Churches, the Believer’s Church and many other Independent Churches in India.
Pray that these churches remain true to the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ as revealed through the word of God. Pray that the Churches are more conscious of the values they practice in the lives of its members rather than in the number of their adherents so that each member of the Church becomes the Gospel read by those who see them. Pray that the Church becomes instrumental in reforming the society in which they live instead of getting polluted by the filth they find all around them.
B3. 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 CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATIONS, PUBLICATIONS, LITERATURE SOCIETIES AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA PROPAGATING THE GOSPEL
C1. Pray for the many Christian Organizations that work in our country such as ,Prison Ministry of India, India Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth with a Mission, National Missionary Society, Indian Missionary Society of Tinnevelly, Union of the Evangelical students of India, Gospel for Asia, Karnataka Evangelical Association, Sunday school club of India, Ambassadors for Christ, Blessings Youth Mission, India for Christ Ministries, Emerging Youth Leaders, India Missions Association, Friends Missionary Prayer Band, Maharashtra Village Ministries, Indian Evangelical Mission, Missions India, Thiruvalla, GEMS ,MUT, Sunday School Union,, Scripture Union, Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission , RZIM and all other missionary organizations in the country.
C2. Pray for the Far East Broadcasting Association, Evangelical Literature Service, ISPCK, India Bible Literature, Masihi Sahitya Sanstha, World Cassette Outreach, The Gideon’s International in India, India Every Home Crusade, TAFTEE, St. Paul’s Publication, Operation Mobilization, Gospel Literature Service, Asian Trading Corporation, Forerunner Magazine, Sunday School Association of India, Christian Legal Association of India, Quiet Corner Prayer Movement , Live School (www.liveschool.org) and other Christian Agencies. Pray that God will bless all efforts going on in this country to spread the word of God.
C3. Pray for Christian Social Service Organizations as they serve the poor and needy people in India: Missionaries of Charity, Catholic Relief Organization, EFICOR, World Vision, CASA, and Mission to the Blind, Hospitals and Ministries catering to the Blind, those suffering from leprosy and mentally challenged People.
C4. 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. 2018 To Be Another Difficult Year for Christians
(Eurasia News) - As a turbulent year winds up, Indian Christians look to the New Year with apprehension amid growing violent bigotry. Many are hoping that the government will do more to contain hate crimes against religious minorities such as Christians and Muslims.
The year 2017 saw the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party, already controlling the national government, extend its rule to 18 of 29 states.
Presentation Sister Anastasia Gill, a member of the Delhi Minority Commission, said minorities are feeling insecure.
Every day at least five cases of religion-based violence were reported, mainly in the states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, she said. She added that fanatically nationalist Hindu forces were responsible for the erosion of religious freedom.
With national elections due in 2019, fanatics could seek to divide the electorate on religious lines in order to secure more Hindu votes for the BJP. Some of these militant groups have the ultimate aim of establishing a “Hindu-only” India.
Muslim and Christian leaders say in the past three years, since the BJP came to power in New Delhi, minority communities have faced worsening persecution.
This had included physical attacks such as Hindu militant lynching of people involved in the slaughter for meat of revered cattle.
When BJP came to power in 2014, there were only three violent attacks on people that year over the treatment of cattle, but this was up to 24 in 2016. 2017 saw an all time high of 34 incidents in which people were attacked for alleged involvement in the transport or slaughter of cattle. At least 29 people died. Most of them were Dalits, formerly known as untouchables, but Muslims were also killed.
Let us pray for the national leadership of the BJP that there will be a review of their national agenda for this nation and they will in all sincerity uphold the sacred ideals of the Indian Constitution and ensure the harmony of all people groups and the true development of all sections of the Indian populace.
E. PRAY FOR NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES
E1. Christian Communities Celebrate Christmas in Yangon after 50 years
Myanmar (Herald Malaysia) – The Christian communities in Myanmar, Catholic and Protestant, have publicly celebrated Christmas in the streets of Yangon, for the first time in 50 years.
In the past Christmas was strictly confined within the walls of churches, several liturgies, feasts, processions, took place in the city, especially from 23 to 25 December, with the specific authorisation of the government authorities of the region of Yangon.
According to Fr George Mg, these activities are a sign of the growth of religious freedom in Myanmar. Christian woman Naw Nilar San, of the Baptist Church, remarked that “in 50 years I have never experienced this kind of Christmas feast, many Christian singers sang Christmas hymns, and Christians offered food and drink to the people of Yangon, without any discrimination, bringing everyone a greeting and a wish for peace.”This year is very significant in the history of Burma because Christians were allowed to celebrate Christmas publicly with the people of the city. Praise God for this answer to Prayer. Pray this freedom will continue in the years ahead.
E2. Bishop of Wenzhou Peter Shao Zhumin freed after 7 months
ICC Note: Bishop of Wenzhou Peter Shao Zhumin was abducted by Chinese government last year and has been under surveillance for his underground church activities. He has not been unable to perform his Episcopal duties and had to go through “re-education.” The government wanted to coerce him into signing a paper listed with four conditions for him to be registered by state. He refused. Since January 3 he has regained freedom and is no longer under police custody. Praise the Lord for answered prayer. Continue to pray for the Bishop’s boldness in the face of ongoing challenges and for his general wellbeing.
E3. Petrol Bombs were thrown at church in Kota Baru, Malaysia
ICC Note: A Methodist church in Kota Baru was damaged in early January in what police believe was an act of vandalism. The suspect(s) allegedly threw the objects from the Sultan Yahya Petra Bridge near the places of worship at midnight. Luckily no one was injured. Police believe the same perpetrator(s) committed both acts and are seeking help from the public for information to assist their probe. Pastor Goo Siew Lai of the Kota Baru Chinese Methodist Church said it was the second attack against the church this month. Pray the authorities would act swiftly and bring to book the perpetrators of the misdeed. Pray for a change of heart of these radicals.
F1. Please pray for Rev.Prem Mitra, the members of the St Marks Church, where we are meeting today, that the Lord Jesus will abundantly bless their families
F2. God willing we will have our next prayer meeting on Saturday, February 24 , 2018 at Living Hope Community Church, D M Complex, OPP VV Convention Hall, Near Bank Avenue, Babusahib Palya, Bangalore560 043. Please make it convenient to attend the same. Also, kindly invite at least one other concerned friend for the program.