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Tuesday, July 12, 2005Prayers for July 12, 2005
"O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips."
From The Voice of the Martyrs
CHINA (VOM sources)
On July 7th, Pastor Cai Zhuohua, the leader of six Beijing-area house churches, was put on trial for alleged "illegal business practices." Pastor Cai was on trial with his wife, Xiao Yunfei; his wife's brother, Xiao Gaowen; and Gaowen's wife, Hu Jinyun. Guards allowed only three family members inside, and Cai's mother was prohibited from entering. Although there weren't enough seats for family members, the judge invited more than 20 law school students as guests to observe the trial. Cai and all three of the other accused Christians revoked their written testimony because they were forced to sign the record under torture. The lawyers tried to present evidence that the case involved Cai's unregistered church activities, but the judge would not allow any arguments about religious issues. Cai was arrested last September 11th, at a bus stop where he was dragged into a van by state security officers. The pastor has registered a business with the Chinese government, but the business does not have a license to print religious material. Authorities found more than 200,000 pieces of printed Christian literature in a storage room managed by Cai. The trial verdict has not been announced and may be postponed for as much as a year. (Click here)
Pray God will comfort these faithful believers as they await the outcome of the trial. Pray their Christian friends will remain faithful to Jesus and fearless in their faith. Pray that during this time of preparation for the Olympic Games, the authorities will find it expedient to release these prisoners. Polite letters of protest can be sent to the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C., at the following address:
Ambassador Yang Jiechi
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Click here to visit our website and view a sample letter to a government official.
Police have arrested five more in connection with the murders of two Christian ministers in Andrha Pradesh state, bringing the total to seven militant Hindus connected to the killings. They admitted to the killings, saying they were emboldened to make these attacks by a high court ruling in the state of Orissa, that had revoked a death sentence given for the 1999 attack, in which Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were burned to death. The ringleader's death sentence was commuted to a life sentence. Dave Stravers of Mission India says they expect the persecution to continue because the gospel is being received all over India in openness and ways that it was never received before, causing a violent reaction from Hindus.
Pray God will give hope and courage to all those in India who are following the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray God will have mercy on the Hindus and reveal His Son to them.
During the month of June, Hindu extremists launched a series of violent attacks against Catholics in India, causing concern among the Catholic community. Ten young men attacked a Catholic convent in Rajgir, Bihar state, on June 21st, fleeing with valuables and cash. Two weeks earlier a group of men broke into a convent in Raxaul, also in Bihar, demanding cash and seriously injuring an elderly nun. On the same night, a convent in Sokho village, southeast Bihar was attacked. Other incidents were reported in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Kerala states. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India has appealed to central and state governments to take action against the perpetrators.
Pray God will comfort the hearts of all who were attacked and give them the grace to forgive. Give thanks and praise to God that no one was killed. Pray the attackers will repent and come to know the One who can give them eternal forgiveness.
NIGERIA (Compass Direct)
Nigeria has formally joined the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in spite of protests by Christian leaders who see the move as the continuation of the Islamization of the country by Muslims. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's finance minister, announced the membership of Nigeria as the 55th member of the Islamic bank on Wednesday, June 15th. Christian and Muslim legislators in the lower chamber of the National Assembly adamantly opposed each other on Wednesday, May 25th, while debating Nigeria's decision to become a member of the bank. Okonjo-Iweala said the government decided to take the membership because, "The IDB is a multilateral development financing institution which promotes economic and social development of member states." A Muslim legislator claimed that Nigeria's membership in the Islamic bank will attract about $200 million to the country annually. (Click here)
Pray God in His merciful power will not allow any Islamic financial influence to hinder His work in Nigeria. Pray the Lord will cause Muslims to find that their material wealth does not bring lasting joy. Pray for seeking hearts that will find the One who is calling them to accept His love and peace.
SAUDI ARABIA (Missions Insider)
An Indian missionary is suffering greatly at the hands of the police. Brother Samkutty, who had traveled to Saudi Arabia earlier this year at the invitation of Christian friends who had asked him to speak in Indian churches, was arrested March 22nd, by Saudi religious police. They found on him the names and numbers of other Indian Christians whom they arrested May 28th. Although five of the eight who were arrested have been released, Samkutty remains in prison where he and fellow Indian inmates are subjected to continuous beatings. They join more than 40 others who have been arrested in recent weeks in what International Christian Concern has called Saudi Arabia's largest crackdown on Christians in a decade. The country's royal family has claimed individuals are permitted to practice any religion in their own homes, but this was not the case with the recently arrested Indian Christians. While spokespeople for the Saudi government have firmly denied that any such arrests are taking place, information received from Christian Aid's contacts in India speaks to the contrary.
Pray the Lord Jesus will bring strength and comfort to Samkutty and his friends in prison. Pray the Holy Spirit will guide and protect all Christians in Saudi Arabia who are meeting to worship their Savior. Pray international pressure will force Saudi authorities to follow their own laws regarding freedom of worship in homes.
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