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Wednesday, April 26, 2006Prayers for April 25, 2006
"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."
Prayers for April 25, 2006
From The Voice of the Martyrs Visit: Persecution.com
Pray for CHINA
CHINA (Compass Direct)
The court judging house-church leader Zhang Rongliang acknowledged, "There is insufficient evidence and ambiguous facts," and has submitted the case to the Zhengzhou City Intermediate People's Court asking for legal advice. The Zhongmu City People's Court made the request after a two-hour court hearing in April, during which Zhang (charged with falsifying a passport) argued his right for a passport as a Chinese citizen. Zhang also denied the accusation he was behind "attaining passport through cheating" for three of his co-workers. Henan police arrested 55-year-old Zhang without charges on December 1, 2004. Only months later were charges brought against him.
Give thanks to God the court acknowledges the weakness of the charges against Zhang. Pray he will be completely exonerated and released very soon. Pray Chinese authorities will recognize they need not fear Christians.
(China Aid Association)
China Aid Association's field investigators in China report seven foreign evangelical church leaders including five Americans and two Taiwanese were interrogated for five hours on March 23, 2006. Eighty Chinese house-church leaders from 20 provinces were attending a meeting with Christian leaders from America. These 80 leaders represent 25 Chinese minority groups. The five Americans are from churches in Greensboro, North Carolina. Among them two are white Americans and three are Chinese Americans. Since the two white American pastors are still inside China and some of the released Chinese pastors are still monitored by the Chinese security agents, their names are not available to the public. CAA learned this raid was directly orchestrated by the director of the Public Security Bureau of Yunnan province and carried out jointly by the officers from the provincial public security, national security, foreign affairs office, religious affairs bureau and military police officers. According to an eyewitness, the Chinese officers' attitudes were very rude, and they refused to show their IDs and even ate all of the food prepared for the pastors' lunch. The foreign religious leaders were accused by their interrogators of being foreign religious infiltrators. At 2:00 p.m. (Beijing Time), following a five-hour marathon interrogation, all of those arrested were released, and some were followed back to their home provinces.
Pray God will protect the faithful believers who are still under surveillance. Pray authorities will see Christ in them. Pray the Lord will continue to grow His body in China.
Pray for EGYPT
EGYPT (ASSIST News Service)
Muslims and Coptic Christians have clashed in Alexandria, Egypt, after a Coptic worshipper was stabbed to death in church. Egyptian officials have blamed the attacks on extremists, but Coptic Christians say the government is not doing enough to protect them. On Saturday, April 15th, thousands of Copts joined the funeral procession for Noshy Atta Guirgis, the Coptic Christian killed during the attacks on four Coptic churches in Alexandria on Good Friday. Seventeen Copts were also injured during the attacks. Muslims clashed with Copts who were peacefully marching on Saturday along the funeral route in Alexandria. The Copts were protesting statements made by Egyptian officials about the church attacks. The BBC reported that while the Egyptian government has stated a "deranged" man was arrested for carrying out all the attacks at the three churches, some Copts believe they were carried out simultaneously as part of an anti-Christian plot by extremist Muslims. In a statement, the Alexandria Clergy Council and the Alexandria Laymen Council condemned the official statements by Egyptian officials on the attacks as "deceptive" and lacking in "transparency." According to Dr. Monir Dowoud, president of the International Christian Union, Copts in Egypt have been the victims of severe human rights abuses and oppression for many years.
Pray the Holy Spirit will give Coptic Christians boldness to proclaim their faith and the mind of Christ to forgive their enemies. Pray the witness of Christians will be to the glory and praise of God. Pray many Muslims will tire of continual violence and seek the Prince of Peace.
Pray for ERITREA
ERITREA (Compass Direct)
In addition to the jailing of another Protestant pastor in February, authorities have also jailed 70 Muslims for opposing the government appointment of the chief mufti. Informed sources in Asmara confirmed in early April the 70 Muslim prisoners arrested in the past two years are confined in one cell at the Wongel Mermera center. Most of the 28 jailed pastors and priests from the Protestant and Orthodox churches are also held at the Wongel Mermera center, where prison authorities have gathered them into one cell to keep them from "influencing other prisoners with the gospel." Asmara sources have confirmed the arrest of Pastor Daniel Heilemichel of the Charismatic Word of Power Church, taken from his home on February 23rd. "His wife is in great distress," a local Christian told Compass, noting the couple had been married just a month prior to Heilemichel's arrest.
Pray Jesus Himself will be in the midst of the imprisoned Eritreans. Pray the Holy Spirit will strengthen the Christian prisoners to be both bold and loving in their witness. Pray millions of Christians worldwide will come boldly to the throne of grace and these suffering Christians will obtain God's mercy and grace in their great need.
Pray for INDIA
INDIA (Compass Direct)
Two weeks ago, Hindu leaders attending a centenary celebration of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) converted at least 344 tribal Christians to Hinduism. Although police were present, they took no action to enforce Orissa state anti-conversion laws that require official permission for such events. The so-called "reconversions" took place on Sunday (April 9th), as key Hindu dignitaries encouraged the Christians to blow conch shells and recite Hindu scriptures in a symbolic "return" to Hinduism—though most tribal people are traditionally animist, not Hindu. The RSS had set a target of reconverting more than 10,000 people. Observers said intense media scrutiny lowered conversion numbers.
Pray our forgiving Father will gently draw those who were pressured to "reconvert" back into His loving arms. Give thanks to God the media attention helped lower the conversion numbers. Pray the Lord will empower Christian evangelists to continue bringing many Hindus and animists into His Kingdom.
An anti-conversion bill passed by the Rajasthan state assembly last Friday (April 7th) is unconstitutional and could lead to an "explosive situation" in the state, Christians say. Religious tensions in the state are already high following the March 16th arrest of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Thomas, president of Emmanuel Mission International. Thomas is charged with hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindu community. "In the context of the ongoing harassment of Christians in Kota district, Rajasthan, the anti-conversion law will lead to an explosive situation," Dr. John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council, told Compass.
Pray God in His omnipotent power will block the plans of Hindus in Rajasthan state who plan to use the anti-conversion bill to persecute believers. Pray Christians will know the inner peace that comes from their faith in Christ. Pray for the Hindus who have never known the joy of salvation.
(ASSIST News Service)
India's Supreme Court has granted Hopegivers' founder Bishop M.A. Thomas relief from an outstanding arrest warrant. The 72-year-old Thomas had been forced into hiding for more than two months because of death threats from radicals and persecution by anti-Christian local authorities. Meanwhile, Dr. Samuel Thomas, Hopegivers' co-founder, has now been held in jail for 33 days on the charges of "creating communal disharmony." His bail hearing has been delayed three times.
Praise God Bishop Thomas no longer has to remain in hiding. Pray Jesus will strengthen Dr. Samuel Thomas with a sense of His comforting presence. Pray the witness of Dr. Thomas' forgiving love will lead many to seek his Savior.
Pray for NORTH KOREA
NORTH KOREA (Jubilee Campaign)
This week has been designated "North Korean Freedom Week." The activities kicked off with a concert and program April 22nd in Lafayette Park (across from the White House) to appeal to the world to free all abductees held in North Korea. Throughout the week there will be many events calling attention to the plight of Christians in North Korea. There will be an all-night prayer vigil for North Korean refugees, jailed humanitarian workers and repatriated North Koreans. On the 28th and 29th there will be prayer vigils in Los Angeles and Houston, respectively. In a statement promoting North Korea Freedom Week, Charles W. Colson said, "Living here in the United States, it is hard for us to imagine that up to 200,000 people, including thousands of children, are held in the horrid political prison camps of North Korea. The religious and political oppression in North Korea is unimaginably brutal."
Pray God in His mercy will answer the prayers of the millions of Christians who are pleading for the release of their brothers and sisters in North Korea. Pray Jesus will comfort the suffering believers with His loving presence. Pray the light of Christ will shine brightly to overpower the spiritual darkness in North Korea.
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