NIGER: Mob Torches Churches After Mosque Sermon

NIGER: Mob Torches Churches After Mosque Sermon

A mob of Muslim radicals attacked two churches in Niger’s third largest city on 13 June following an imam’s inflammatory message.

The protestors burned an Assemblies of God church in the Zaria neighbourhood, along with the pastor’s car, as well as the Life to the Full Christian Church.

The imam in Zaria had denounced a new government bill on the exercise of worship, saying it was against Islam, though he later said he had misunderstood the bill.

Police arrested 178 rioters following the attacks. No one was injured in the attacks, but the Assemblies of God church was completely destroyed. “Please pray for the Christians in Niger”, a VOM contact said. “Many are afraid.”

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Ask the Lord to uphold the Christian community. Pray the Lord will take away their fear.
  • Pray the church members will not give up meeting together. Ask the Lord to use this incident to unify and strengthen the church.
  • Pray for the imam and the rioters. Ask God to have mercy on them, soften their hearts and bring them to repentance.

Post your prayer for Niger in the comments below.

IRAN: Christian Convert Family Targeted in Bushehr

IRAN: Christian Convert Family Targeted in Bushehr

Iranian Christians request prayer for eight Christian converts recently arrested in the city of Bushehr, south-west Iran, seven of whom are still detained.

Human rights organisation Article 18 reports that on 1 July, intelligence agents raided the homes of Christian converts and arrested eight people, including five members of one family: Sam Khosravi (36), and his wife Maryam Falahi (35); Sam’s brother Sasan (35), and his wife Marjan Falahi (33); Sam and Sasan’s mother, Khatoon Fatolahzadeh (61), as well as Pooriya Peyma (27), and his wife Fatemeh Talebi (27), and Habib Heydari (38).

Security agents also confiscated Christian literature, pictures, crosses, laptops, mobile phones, IDs and bank cards. A source reported that the arrests were conducted with unnecessary severity and in the presence of small children.

Security agents, in a further show of force, arrived in six cars to arrest the matriarch, Khatoon Fatolahzadeh. She was later released the same day on account of her age.

According to Article 18, the seven other Christians remain detained, with no access to lawyers, and are being held in solitary confinement in the MOIS (Iranian Intelligence) office in Bushehr.

Source: Middle East Concern

  • Ask God to uphold those detained and help them to respond wisely during interrogation. Pray they will be encouraged by God’s abiding presence.
  • Pray the Lord will give His peace to all those who were arrested and also the children who were present at the time.
  • Pray the authorities involved will have an opportunity to repent and come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Post your prayer for Iranian believers in the comments below.

EGYPT: 127 Churches Approved

EGYPT: 127 Churches Approved

A committee established by the Egyptian government has approved legalising 127 churches who were previously operating without a permit. This brings the total number of legalised churches by this committee to 1,021.

The committee is a result of a 2016 law which purported to streamline the legalisation process for churches. Egypt has a long history of regulating the building of churches, but many churches were not able to complete this process. Instead, they were built illegally. The 2016 law included the creation of the committee which would reportedly legalise all churches existing before 2016 – an estimated number just reaching over 3,000.

The government has faced heavy criticism for its slow record of retroactively applying legalisation to these existing churches. The 2016 law was supposed to make it easier for new churches to go through the legalisation process. However, President Sisi’s government has a worse record than his predecessors when it comes to approving new church buildings.

Most of the Middle East’s Christians live in Egypt, where they are subject to indiscriminate mob violence, discrimination, and other acts of persecution. The federal government has made several symbolic gestures towards Christians but has not taken steps to ensure that the root causes of persecution are addressed at a local level. The official state religion is Islam, leaving Christians to live as second-class citizens.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Thank the Lord for the recent progress made. Pray the Egyptian church will be encouraged by this development.
  • Ask the Lord to bless the local church with a renewed boldness and readiness to share the Gospel with those who do not yet know Him.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to be at work in changing hearts and minds towards Jesus, in all levels of society in Egypt.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

MALI: Christian Village ‘Virtually Wiped Out’

MALI: Christian Village ‘Virtually Wiped Out’

Approximately 100 Christians were massacred by Muslim terrorists in the West African nation of Mali last month.

On 9 June, armed Fulani Muslim militants invaded a predominately Christian village in Sobame Da, and killed men, women, and children. Officials say they found at least 95 bodies. The attackers also killed animals and set fire to houses.

“About 50 heavily armed men arrived on motorbikes and pickups,” a survivor named Amadou Togo said. “They first surrounded the village and then attacked – anyone who tried to escape was killed.” A security source at the scene said that the village “had been virtually wiped out.”

No terror group claimed responsibility for the massacre. It has been reported that, every person who died was a Christian.

West Africa is home to some of the most brutal attacks against Christians in recent years that have claimed thousands of lives. Mali was thrown into unrest after Islamic jihadists took over the country in 2012. The violence became so severe the entire Malian government resigned in April.

Sources: Open Doors,  BBC, AFP, CBN News

  • Ask God to pour out His Spirit of love, order and calm over these communities. Pray for safety and protection.
  • Ask God to intervene and bring the persecutors to justice.
  • Pray that God’s grace and mercy would be at work in this tragedy.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

PAKISTAN: Appeal Adjourned for the Seventh Time

PAKISTAN: Appeal Adjourned for the Seventh Time

Zafar Bhatti has been in prison since July 2012, charged with sending blasphemous text messages. In 2017 he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

He denies any involvement and the mobile phone used to send the messages was not registered to his name. He has appealed the sentence, yet hearings have been repeatedly adjourned. The latest court date was set for 19 June, but it too was delayed – for the seventh time. The hearing is now rescheduled to take place on 12 September.

Zafar, who is in poor health, struggles with diabetes and depression. Anticipation of acquittal had been high, since the judge stated at an April hearing that there was no evidence against Zafar and that he should be released. However, delays have served to exacerbate the emotional trauma.

Mehwish Bhatti, who visited him on 20 June reports, “He was disheartened badly…. There was nothing I could do…but to encourage him through the Word of God. Please keep him in prayer….”

Sources: Church in Chains, Release International

  • Please remember Zafar, along with his wife Nawab. Pray that they will sense the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, giving them a deep peace and joy.
  • Pray for the hearing in September, that there will be a favourable decision so that Zafar will finally be freed from prison and reunited with his family.
  • Ask God to touch the hearts of the accusers, bringing them to repentance and faith in Christ.

Post your prayer for Zafar Bhatti in the comments below.