In recent months, Christian persecution in Sri Lanka has intensified owing to the rise in Buddhist nationalism in the country.
Extremist Buddhist groups such as the Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Strong Army) and the Sinhala Rawaya (Sinhala Echo) have incited religious disharmony and carried out attacks, targeting both Christian and Muslim minorities in the country.
In a wave of violence, around 30 churches have come under attack this year alone. In 2012 there were 52 reported incidents of persecution. Quite alarmingly, these attacks have occurred with impunity, with little or no state action to prosecute those responsible.
In addition to the violence, local governments and police have ordered many churches to close down, claiming that they are not authorised by the state.
In a recent incident in the Hambantota district, authorities called on certain evangelical churches to confirm their legality, warning church leaders that failure to do so would result in the closure of the churches.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission
• Pray that Christians in Sri Lanka would place their trust in the Lord in this time of trouble.
• Pray that the Lord would protect Christian leaders in the country who are at risk of violence.
• Pray that those inciting religious tensions and persecuting Christians would experience a change in heart, repent, and come to know the saving grace of God.
• Pray that church leaders would depend on the Holy Spirit to discern the appropriate response to the situation.