A VOM partner asks that we pray for a mosque leader in Pakistan who started a Bible study course two months ago. ‘Mohammed’ is a respected Muslim leader who teaches the Koran to children.
He told Christian workers that he feels no peace in his life and that he has many problems. The believers told Mohammed that he needs Jesus. They gave him Christian books and a copy of the ‘Jesus’ film.
Two days later, he told the Christian workers that he had shown the movie to his entire family and that they all enjoyed it.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Pray for Mohammed and his family; ask the Holy Spirit to fully reveal the truth of the Gospel to them so they may experience its transforming power.
- Pray the Lord will continue to grant further opportunities to the evangelistic team. Pray the Lord may bear much fruit through them. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers in Pakistan (Matthew 9:38).
- Pray that many Muslims in Pakistan who feel unsatisfied or disillusioned by Islam will come to find rest in Jesus.
PAKISTAN: Raped, Forcibly Married and Converted to Islam
Two South Sudanese pastors, accused of waging war against the state in neighbouring Sudan, were released from prison but have lost an appeal to have their travel ban lifted.
The appeal to lift it was rejected after it came to light that the country’s security services imposed the ban.
Reverends Yat Michael and Peter Reith were released from prison in Sudan on 5 August but were unable to leave the country. They were first arrested in December 2014 and January 2015 respectively.
Both men, from the Presbyterian Evangelical Church, had been accused of undermining the constitutional system of the Sudanese Penal Code, waging war against the state, disclosure and receipt of official information or documents, arousing feelings of discontent among regular forces, breach of public peace and offences relating to insulting religious beliefs.
Sources: International Christian Concern, Truth Uganda
- Pray for the success of local efforts to ensure that the travel ban is lifted and that the pastors and their families can leave the country and resume their lives.
- Pray for the safety of these two pastors from extremists who may wish them harm because of their faith.
- Pray the Lord will use the faithfulness of both pastors as a witness for the Gospel in Sudan.
SUDAN: Update on Pastors on Trial
An Iranian Christian has been released from prison after a three-and-a-half-year sentence for “propaganda against the regime” and “acting against national security”.
Alireza Seyyedian, a Church of Iran member, was originally sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, 90 lashes and a fine, but his sentence was reduced in May 2013.
After his initial sentencing in March 2012, he attempted to flee across the Turkish border, but was caught and imprisoned.
Harsh conditions took their toll on Alireza’s health, with reports of him suffering insomnia, depression and stress related symptoms.
Around 90 Iranian Christians are still in prison.
Sources: World Watch Monitor, The Voice of the Martyrs USA, Middle East Concern
Many people sent letters of encouragement to Alireza during his time in prison. To write to other Christians imprisoned for their faith, please visit www.vom.com.au/write-prisoners/
- Pray for Alireza; may the Lord restore him to full physical health and spiritually strengthen him. Ask the Lord to protect him and help him as he rebuilds his life.
- Pray for the many Christians who remain in prison in Iran. Ask the Lord to minister to them and help them to endure. Pray for their release.
- Pray letters sent to prisoners will be an encouragement to believers and a witness to inmates and guards.
IRAN: Religious Freedom in Decline
Hindu radicals in India beat Pastor Augustine Jayraj and two other Christian men and had them arrested by local police on 23 July because of their Christian outreach to a village.
A group of 20 RSS members (a Hindu nationalist organisation) stopped the playing of the Jesus film partway through the video, locked the three men in a room and called police.
The men were beaten, arrested and charged with forced conversions.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
• Pray that the pastor and these Christian workers will be able to continue their ministry and will be spurred on to boldly preach the Gospel. Pray for their physical healing.
• Pray the Christians in the area will not be discouraged but will act as valuable witnesses for the Gospel.
• Pray for the RSS members and the police involved; may the Lord bring them to see the message of the Gospel is a free gift and not the result of coercion (Ephesians 2:8-9).
INDIA: Christian Leader Killed by Militants
Islamic State (IS) militants have captured dozens of Christian families after seizing a strategically located town in the central Syrian province of Homs on Friday 7 August. At least 230 people were kidnapped or detained, including dozens of Christians, some of whom were taken from the Dar Alyan monastery in Qaryatain, the town captured overnight after intense fighting with the Syrian army.
Among those seized were 45 women and 19 children, including 11 families, some of whom were on a list of persons suspected by the militant group of “collaborating with the regime.” The families of hundreds of Christian and Muslim residents of Qaryatain have lost contact with them since the militants captured the area. He fears that IS may also target other Christian population centres in Hawwarin and Sadad.
Towns like Qaryatain are key to IS because they are along the Damascus-Homs Highway, a route used to ferry supplies and fighters. The Syrian army has launched a large-scale counter offensive to recapture the city, which lies in a region where some of Syria’s largest gas fields are located, but so far has made no significance advances.
Last February, the hard-line jihadists abducted at least 250 Assyrian Christians, many of whom were women and children, during raids on villages in north-eastern Syria. The fate of many of these civilians is unclear, as is that of a number of other priests who have gone missing and are believed to be held by the militants, according to Christian groups.
Sources: International Christian Concern, BBC, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
- Pray to the Lord for the many who are being forcefully held by IS militants; ask the Lord to strengthen, protect and uphold them. Pray they will not despair but trust in Him.
- Pray He will deliver them from their captors and reunite them with their loved ones.
- Pray the suffering felt by so many may somehow be used by the Lord for good. Pray for members of Islamic State.
SYRIA: Christians in Damascus Living in a Battle Zone