We get a newsletter each month from our sharing network (a sort of insurance for Christians belonging to a Church). In it each month is this section on praying for the persecuted church. Since we typically aren’t informed via mainstream news or even FoxNews (there is a Christian World News once a week on TBN, though!) regarding persecutions happening around the world, I thought I would share it here so the rest of you may be blessed as you labor in prayer for these Believers that are sharing in the sufferings of Christ.
Iran: 70 arrested
Iranian authorities arrested more than 70 Christians in January after a roundup that occurred near Christmas 2010. 7 Christians were released in late January after a month in solitary confinement, while 26 Christians remained in jail. Sources told Elam Ministries that as many as 120 Christians have been detained since Christmas. Most were released after interrogations and reportedly were forced to sign statements saying they would not attend church again. It’s believed that the latest crackdown by the Islamic regime occurred following speeches by religious and political figures in summer and fall. The leaders condemned Christian home fellowships as a threat to the state.
Pray that the Iranian Christians would stand firm in their faith, be protected from the state, and continue to meet when they can. Pray also for ministries trying to help them covertly. Finally, pray for the conversion of religious and political leaders in Iran to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Eritrea: 100 Christians arrested
More than 100 Christians have been arrested in the African nation of Eritrea since December 30 in raids on churches. In one raid, December 31 on a church in the capital, Asmara, all 41 members present were arrested, questioned and beat. More than 60 more believers were taken into custody in raids on January 1 and 9. Another Christian, Seble Hagos Mebrahtu, 27, died in a military camp on January 1, reportedly because she was refused treatment for malaria. Sources say that Seble was “tortured after being found reading a Bible at her home.”
Pray that Eritrean Christians will persevere in faith and continue to glorify God while enduring this harsh persecution.
Pakistan: Woman still in custody
Asia Bibi, a Pakistani wife and mother sentenced to death for allegedly blaspheming Muhammad, is still remaining in custody. Asia’s conviction and sentencing has led to turmoil and debate over the blasphemy law in Pakistan. A governor who supported Asia and called for the repeal of the blasphemy law was assassinated. The Voice of the Martyrs team in Pakistan is concerned for Asia’s safety in prison.
Pray for her safety and for the safety of her family. Pray also that the blasphemy law, frequently used against Christians in Pakistan, will be repealed. Finally, pray for Asia’s release if it has not already been granted.
Laos: Believers arrested during meal
11 Believers, including a pastor, were arrested on January 4 at the pastor’s home while eating a meal and taken away at gunpoint. 2 men were released the next day, but the others, including two children ages 4 and 8, were taken to a provincial prison and charged with holding a secret meeting without approval. Pastor Wanna was also imprisoned in 2010 for leading people to Christ. When he was released, he was told not to hold worship meetings in his home, but resumed doing so immediately, choosing to obey God rather than men.
Please pray for the Lao believers who were arrested, that their faith will not weaken and that God would use this experience to deepen their commitment to Him. Pray also for Pastor Wanna, who likely is receiving the harshest treatment.