“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.Vacation Bible School Closed by Hindu Radicals
ICC Note: A vacation Bible school in Virudhunagar district, Tamil Nadu, was closed after Hindu nationalists threatened the programme on its first day. Fifty children, between the ages of 4 and 12, were studying the Bible when men from the Hindu radical group the Hindu Munani barged into the church and demanded the programme be stopped. Similar harassment has been reported by churches across India with many pre-emptively closing programmes that may draw the ire of Hindu radicals.
“The Vacation Bible School has been conducted for well over 50 years across India,” Nehemiah Christie, the executive director of The Synod of Pentecostal Churches, was quoted as saying. “It is sad to see children being exposed to this level of religious intolerance and intimidation.” Pray that the communal mobilization and bullying tactics employed by the hard-line elements, often done with the tacit support of the law enforcement apparatus, may stop immediately.
A2. Uttarakhand Becomes Seventh State in India to Approve an ‘Anti-Conversion Law’
Washington D.C. International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Uttarakhand, has become the seventh state to put into force a Freedom of Religion Law, referred to by many as an anti-conversion law. Christians across the state now fear that Hindu radicals will use the new law to harass the community’s Christian leaders.
According to the law, signed on April 18 by Governor Krishna Kant Paul, forced conversions will be punishable by a jail term between one and five years. If the victim is a minor, woman, or person belonging to either a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, the minimum jail term is two years.
“Almost on a daily basis, we hear about Christians being threatened and abused by Hindu radicals,” Bishop Vinod Tyagi from Roorkie told ICC. “Having the anti-conversion bill passed will be much worse for Christians. I have been threatened a number of times and told to close down my church. They even told me they will kill me if I continue my ministry.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party has held power for only one year in Uttarakhand. The passing and signing of the anti-conversion law took less than six months. The bill was drafted on March 12 and introduced and passed by the State Legislative Assembly, where the BJP enjoys a three-fourths majority, on March 22. The law was then sent to the governor for approval on April 17 and received that approval on April 18. Pray for courage and wisdom for the Christians in these seven states –- Odisha, M.P., Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and the most recent, Uttarakhand, where this anti conversion laws presently exist, not to waver in their faith but steadfastly continue as shining witnesses for their Master and Lord.
A3. Sangh Affiliates threaten Believers in Lalgang to Stop Following Jesus
(Persecutionrelief,Varnasi) The believers of GEMS House of Prayer, Lalgang were threatened by RSS and Bajrang Dal members to leave Jesus or to face ostracism and death. Seven believer families who come from Vaishali District,Bihar were called for a meeting set up by Bajrang Dal members on May 3, in which more than 100 Sangh members were present. They threatened the Christians to stop following Jesus or to face death or to be ostracised from the village. Mr Ravi Bushan, Pastor of GEMS House of Prayer alleged he was threatened and the Prayer House damaged previously and the police refused to heed his appeal, when approached.
Pray for the pastor and his members that they will have the boldness to face these challenges with wisdom. Pray for a change of heart of those hostile to these believers at Lalgang, Bihar.
A4. Gunmen Execute Gruesome Killing of Pastor in Jharkhand
New Delhi (Morning Star News) – Maoists took responsibility for the gruesome slaying of a pastor in eastern India, May 1, but area Christians said they suspected Hindu extremists put them up to it.
Abraham Topno, pastor of Pentecostal Church of God, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Ranchi District, Jharkhand state, who slit his throat and beheaded him, his driver told family members. He was 46.
The body of the pastor, who ministered in the area for more than 20 years, was found with his head severed from his body, and his vehicle was set on fire. Though Maoists appeared to claim responsibility for the killing by leaving a note at the scene saying “Death to police spy,” relatives of the pastor expressed their doubts, saying Hindu extremists likely mobilized Maoists to carry out the execution.
Pastor Topno was ambushed and kidnapped about a half mile from his village of Kubasal while on his way back in a public carrier, a Mahindra truck. About 20-25 unidentified gunmen ambushed the vehicle, dragged the pastor and the driver out and covered their “faces completely with a cloth bag,” reported the driver after returning. The assailants spared the driver.
“The Maoists have claimed responsibility of killing my uncle stating that he was a ‘police informer,’” said Herenz, who roundly denied the allegations against the pastor.
Pastor Nuas Mundu, senior pastor of the Pentecostal Church of God in Murhu village, Khunti District, about 75 kilometers from Topno’s village, said he too suspected that Hindu extremists were behind the slaying.
“We know that he was a vibrant evangelist, a pioneer missionary, and we suspect that Hindu extremists are behind his killing,” Pastor Mundu said. “Maoists will kill anybody for money, and if someone pays them, they will do the job for them.”
Pray for the pastor’s wife and family in this time of grief and pain and for the provision of all their needs. Pray for a political resolution of this long standing Maoists’ problem.
A5. Yet Another Church Forcibly Closed in Algeria
ICC Note: Pressure against Algerian Christians continues as yet another church closes down after receiving a 15- day warning. The authorities claim that they are closing the church because it fails to meet safety standards and the building was originally intended for poultry. This is the same kind of reasoning which the authorities have used to close other churches. Over half of the recognized churches in Algeria have received similar safety standard notifications. Pray that the Algerian authorities would experience a change of heart resulting in removing all their unjust regulations and orders.
A6.Muslim Extremists Kill 16 in Church Attack in the Central African Republic
Central African Republic (The New York Times) – Nairobi, Kenya — Former members of a Muslim militia killed at least 16 people in an attack on a church in the Central African Republic, raising fears that ongoing violence could return to the capital city.
Notre Dame of Fatima, a Roman Catholic Church in the capital, Bangui, was attacked recently with grenades and gunfire by men allied with a rebel group once known as Seleka, an Islamic faction whose takeover of Bangui five years ago set off the country’s continuing conflict.
Several thousand worshipers were at the church at the time, said Kessy Ekomo-Soignet, a grass-roots activist who runs a youth program in Bangui. The church’s priest, the Rev. Toungoumale Baba, was among the dead. To protest the violence, a large crowd carried Father Baba’s body to the presidential palace, witnesses said.
Pray for peace and normalcy to return to the city by the government authorities taking appropriate measures immediately.
A7. House Churches in Beijing Face Increasing Pressure from the Government
China (China Aid) – Two house churches in Beijing reported that authorities in the past week have investigated churches and pressured landlords to cancel the leases on houses of worship.
One of the churches chose to remain anonymous, though a member of this church named Yin said that on Sunday, May 6, the leader of the national security brigade of the Xicheng District Public Security Bureau brought a team of several dozen officers to the church’s service. Though the service was not disrupted, the officials took pictures and investigated the proceedings. On May 8, the national security brigade pressured the church’s landlord to revoke their lease.
“The police called us today,” Yin said, “and forbade us from organizing religious activities in any form. In the morning, the government forced the [Christian] brother who rented the building to sign a letter guaranteeing that he would not participate in any religious activities. We haven’t met with any representatives from the religious affairs bureau yet, and we don’t know how to handle all of this.”
Xu Yonghai, an elder from Holy Love Fellowship spoke to ChinaAid’s reporter on May 9, explaining how his church had also experienced increased pressure from police. “In the past few days, our freedom of religion has been further violated. Our normal activities were disrupted. Pray that the Lord will grant wisdom to these House Church leaders to handle the present challenge they face prudently.
.A8. Egypt Sentences 36 for Church Attacks
Egypt (MNN) – Last year on Palm Sunday, two Egyptian churches, St George Church in Tanta and St Mark Coptic Cathedral in Alexandria, were bombed. A few months prior in December 2016 a third church, Botroseya Church in Cairo, was bombed. Overall, upwards of 70 people were killed and hundreds injured. It seems that the danger Christians in Egypt face is on a continual upswing. Some sources say that 128 Christians were killed in Egypt last year.
An Egyptian military court has sentenced 36 people to death in connection to these three attacks as well as an attack that killed eight policemen in January 2017. According to Daily News Egypt, 48 people stood trial. Thirty-one of these defendants are in prison, and 17 are still on the lam. Pray those declared guilty may experience a change of heart as they await their death sentence.
A9.Tensions Continue in Jerusalem’s Old City
ICC Note: Church leaders in Jerusalem’s Old City say that they are being verbally abused and church property vandalized. Priests point to three causes of this tension: property acquisition demands by Jewish settlers, new tax demands by the city council, and a proposal which would expropriate church lands. The Old City is home to religious sites that are of critical importance to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Pray for the tensions that exist for various reasons may be resolved quickly to the satisfaction of all the aggrieved parties concerned.
- 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 Rev. Dr D. Mohan, the general Superintendent of Assemblies of God – India. 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 Revival in the Churches in India
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 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.
- 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.
- PRAY FOR THE NATION
D1. Pray for the Political Parties and their leaders
The Karnataka elections, for which we have been praying for months, have concluded. On the twelfth of May the elections took place and the results were declared on the fifteenth. The ruling party at the centre viz the BJP has emerged as the largest single party with 104 seats in the 224 seat assembly and the Indian National Congress which was ruling the state for the last 5 years has emerged as the second largest party with78 seats. The JDS of the former Prime Minister H.D.Deve Gowda is the third party with 38 seats.
Behind these figures lies another story of popular vote share of these parties. The Indian National Congress has managed to garner 38% of popular votes, with the BJP having 36% and the JDS having 18%. Why the party with the largest percentage of vote share could only get 78 seats, far behind the score of BJP is for the experts to debate on. But as per our electoral laws it is the number of seats that count and not the percentage of votes gained.
As no party has gained an absolute majority, it is not clear who will form the Govt. In order to keep the BJP out of power in the state, the Congress has offered support to the JDS to form the Govt. Together they have 116 seats in the Assembly which is a clear majority. As this is being written both JDS and the BJP have staked their claims to form the Govt. and the case is before the Governor of the State for a decision.
Let us pray that the Governor gives the correct decision in the matter so that a stable Government is formed in the state well in time, without giving space for unethical political dealings to take place. Let us also pray that the political parties and their leaders will take the proper lessons from the Karnataka election results, so that they benefit in the subsequent elections in the states that follow and in the General elections in 2019. [LV]
- PRAY FOR NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES
E1. Another Church Attack Demonstrates How Religious Freedom is under Siege in Pakistan
Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – The state of religious freedom in Pakistan remains adverse in spite of provisions written in the Pakistani constitution. Article 20 of Pakistan’s constitution guarantees the freedom to profess religion and to manage religious institutions. Yet, Pakistan was still ranked 10th in the world in 2015 in terms of the greatest social hostilities involving religion.
In yet another incident of religious intolerance, unidentified vandals set an under-construction church named Gospel of Jesus Mission ablaze in Paracha Colony, Shahdra town, Lahore on the afternoon of April 15, 2018. The altar, pulpit, dozens of Christian books, carpets, pedestal fans, plastic chairs, and worship instruments were desecrated and burnt to ashes.
In 2018, several attacks on Christians, their properties, and their places of worship speak volumes about the situation of religious freedom in Pakistan. The community as a whole is frightened and worried for what is to come in the future.
Let us pray earnestly for divine intervention resulting in dramatic change all over Pakistan.
E2. Church in Western Nepal Burned by Group of Arsonists
ICC Note: A group of unidentified arsonists reportedly burned a Catholic church to the ground in Nepal’s western Banke District on May 5. Before the attack, the arsonists told locals to stay inside their houses while they broke into and destroyed St. Joseph’s Church in Kohalpur. Hostility against Christians in Nepal is on the rise even though Nepal is home to one of the fastest growing Christian communities in the world. Pray that the hostility against the Christians in Nepal would come to end through the proper implementation of the new constitution adopted by it recently.
E3. Christians in Bangladesh Fear Increased Persecution with Upcoming Elections
ICC Note: Christians and other minorities in Bangladesh fear the political instability caused by upcoming elections will lead to more attacks on their communities. Much of the fear is focused on retribution by hardline Islamist parties who see Christians and other minorities as vote banks for the ruling government. Will attacks on Christians and other minorities increase as the elections near? Pray for the safety of the Christians and minorities in Bangladesh during the coming elections.
E4. Surabaya Christians Still Shocked After the Bombing Attacks
Indonesia (UCA News) – Christians in Indonesia’s second city Surabaya say the community is struggling to recover from shock and loss suffered following suicide attacks on three churches on May 13. The attacks, carried out by members of a single family with links to the Islamic State group, initially killed 13 people and left scores injured. Some of the bombers included young children.
Another attack on police headquarters the following day by another family — including an 8-year-old girl — left at least four dead and 10 injured. Since then the death toll had risen to 25.
“Parishioners are still haunted by trauma,” said Fransiskus Xaverius Ping Tedja, security coordinator at the Santa Maria Church. The Catholic-run church was the first one attacked and where at least six people lost their lives. Despite the bombing church activities are still going as usual, including daily Mass, said Tedja.
“There has been an increase in the number of people attending Mass, because they want to pray together for the victims,” he said. Pray for peace and grace from the Lord to overcome the shock and loss suffered.
F1. Please pray for Pastor Yaswanth Kumar, the members of the Shekinah Gospel Prayer Fellowship, 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, June 23,2018 at Indiranagar Methodist Church, 13th Main,100 Feet Road, Bangalore 560 008. Please make it convenient to attend the same. Kindly invite at least one other concerned friend for this prayer meet.