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“Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. ” Acts 12: 5
The Power of Intercession “Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. ’” Daniel 10: 12
The Reason for Intercession “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. ” Romans 8: 27
Intercession for Persecuted Christians: The Four Focus Nations • Belarus in Eastern Europe • India in South Asia • Israel/West Bank and Gaza in the Middle East • Uzbekistan in Central Asia
Background Although a democratic republic in name, Belarus is a dictatorship in practice. All religions are considered equal before the law, but the new religious law is used to oppress evangelicals. When the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine melted down in 1986, Belarus was harder hit than the Ukraine itself. One-fifth of the country was seriously contaminated and is now considered uninhabitable.
Persecution Authorities repress evangelicals through a new religion law, arrests and trials of church leaders. The new religion law, sometimes called “the most repressive law in Europe, ” states that all unregistered religious activity, communities with fewer than 20 members, and any religious activity in private homes (apart from occasional, small-scale meetings) are considered illegal.
Please Pray • Pray for wisdom for Christians, as they continue to minister under repressive conditions. • Pray that the Belarussian government will yield to international pressure and drop its repressive religion law. • Pray for greater co-operation among Christians to replace the mistrust between many denominations.
Background India's racial, ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity is staggering. It is the most populous functioning democracy in the world. Though the majority of the people are Hindu, India is a secular nation with constitutional freedom of religion for all religions.
Persecution Despite constitutional freedom of religion, anti-conversion laws are in place in several states, giving support to militant groups and resulting in ongoing violence against Christians. Reports of village churches being destroyed and church leaders being threatened by local Hindus continue to be a daily reality in India.
Please Pray • Pray that India’s leaders will continue to uphold the constitution by maintaining religious freedom. • Pray for protection for pastors, evangelists and missionaries as they share the Good News of Jesus. • Pray that Christians may show the love, grace and forgiveness of Christ to their persecutors. • Pray that Indian Christians will bring the gospel to the many unreached people groups of their country.
Background Following World War II, the British withdrew from their mandate of Palestine, and the UN partitioned the area into Arab and Jewish states, an arrangement rejected by the Arabs.
Background Subsequently, the Israelis defeated the Arabs in a series of wars without ending the deep tensions between the two sides. The loss of most of their land in 1948 and the conquest of the remainder by Israel in 1967 dominates the life of Palestinians. Israel faces ongoing pressure from groups of radical Palestinians.
Persecution In Israel, there is persistent discrimination and some attacks against Christians, as well as some vandalism of churches. In West Bank and Gaza, there is serious social pressure against converting to Christianity and some intimidation from Islamic groups.
Please Pray • Pray that the intense half-century of conflict between Arabs and Israelis will be resolved. • Pray that Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Arabs may meet the Prince of Peace. • Pray for spiritual unity within the Christian church in this region. • Pray for growth in maturity of pastoral leadership. • Pray for protection of Christians during times of upheaval.
Background When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, Islam Karimov, the former Communist Party leader, was elected as president of the new country. Immediately repression of political opposition began. Uzbekistan became a police state with practically no freedoms. Islam is the main religion.
Persecution Religious communities are required to officially register and police have made unannounced visits to churches, closing those which cannot immediately produce their registration papers. Evangelism, missionary activity and religious instruction are forbidden by law. Only approved religious organizations can be registered. Registration is frequently refused or delayed.
Please Pray • Pray for continued strength for Christians facing charges and harassment from authorities. • Pray for more co-operation among the main groups of Christians in Uzbekistan, and for more outreach by Christians to Muslims. • Pray for recognition of churches by the government. • Pray for indigenous Christian leadership to be raised up.
Thank you for praying.