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Prayers for the Persecuted this Easter

Prayers for the Persecuted this Easter

Easter is a time of great joy for those of us who celebrate – large family meals, extra church services, visits to the Show and Easter egg hunts. Our long weekend here in Australia is often so filled to the brim with festivities, we may miss time to reflect.

For Christians in restricted nations, Easter can look different. While we parade and party, they may face an increased risk of persecution. It has also been known as a time of year where churches are targeted in violent attacks.

Pressure, extra surveillance and disapproval from family are just some other ways these Christians can feel the squeeze of persecution at Easter.

Despite this, they are faithful and hold fast to the message of hope. Even with the risk, they continue to go to church and celebrate.

During this season of great hope, may we take the time to reflect on the love of Jesus and also pray for our brothers and sisters. If Christ calls us to love as He did, then one way we can love others is by praying for them. Prayer as Christians can be our love in action.

So how do we pray for the persecuted this Easter?

  1. For strength and comfort

 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?Psalm 27:1 (NKJV)

God is the giver of incredible peace and comfort and if there is one thing we can pray for, it’s that our brothers and sisters in Christ will be filled with that comfort. That God would uplift them with His strength and give them the inexplicable peace that only He can give.

  1. Boldness

“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NKJV)

We praise God that so many persecuted Christians are bold in their faith, despite their lack of freedom. We praise God that they remain faithful to Him even in the most difficult circumstances. But we also pray for added boldness. That they would gain a deeper understanding of the faithfulness of God, that He goes before them and guides them and that they will be filled with inner strength. We pray that this Easter, they will experience a new boldness for proclaiming the Gospel.

  1. Salvation

“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:26 (NKJV)

Easter is a powerful season for people to find Him! The love and message of Christ can change the very hardest hearts. We continue to pray that in this time, people will find God and be changed forever.

We hope you’re encouraged to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord this Easter and to also think of and pray for our brothers and sisters doing the same thing, in different circumstances.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

PAKISTAN: Terrorist Threat to Pakistan Churches

PAKISTAN: Terrorist Threat to Pakistan Churches

Authorities in Pakistan fear that a terrorist linked to Islamic State is planning an attack that could target Christians in Punjab province at Easter.

The bomber is likely to try to carry out a suicide attack in Lahore, according to a contact of VOM’s partner office in the UK.

Easter has been a particularly dangerous time for believers in Pakistan. Last year four members of one family were shot dead in Quetta by terrorists deliberately targeting Christians.

During Easter 2016, a suicide bomber targeted church-goers at a park in Lahore, killing more than 70. Most of the victims were women and children.

Source: Release International

  • Thank God for the witness of His church in Pakistan and ask Him to protect His people. Pray especially for safety at Easter church services and celebrations.
  • Pray that the authorities will put in place effective measures that would prevent any attack from happening.
  • Ask God to convict all those whose hearts are filled with hatred towards Christians to repent of their actions and turn to Christ.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

NORTH KOREA: Defectors Sharing the Gospel

NORTH KOREA: Defectors Sharing the Gospel

Mrs Han, a North Korean defector, is determined to share her faith with her countrymen.

After defecting a few years ago, Mrs Han came to know Christ in South Korea. She then joined a VOM training program for defectors that teaches the basic tenants of the Christian faith. Those who complete the first course are invited to advance to the missionary training course, in which they are taught to share the Gospel with other North Koreans.

After completing both courses, Mrs Han made this statement at her graduation: “If the 30,000 North Korean defectors are to share the Gospel with the 23 million North Koreans, each of us must share the Gospel with 770 people. But I do not believe this is an impossible or difficult task.” Mrs Han is determined to play her part in this immense, but not impossible, task.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Pray for Mrs Han and other defectors who are reaching out to North Koreans with the Gospel.
  • Ask God to give opportunity, strategy and wisdom to share the light of Christ in this dangerous and difficult place.
  • Praise God for the way He is making himself known to North Koreans both inside and outside the country.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

UGANDA: Boy Stands for Christ Despite Beatings

UGANDA: Boy Stands for Christ Despite Beatings

Joshua, a 10-year-old Ugandan boy, has been beaten by his father and uncle ever since they learned three months ago that he had left Islam to follow Jesus. Despite the repeated beatings, Joshua has not wavered in his faith. He loves Jesus and knows the suffering is worthwhile.

Joshua began attending church one year ago after his sister became a Christian; she was beaten for a week when her father learned of her conversion.

The children’s father warned them that he would kill them if they left Islam, but Joshua knows Jesus is worthy of his devotion. Joshua’s father still forces him to attend mosque every week, but he simply prays in the name of Jesus. Then, on Sundays, he secretly attends church.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Pray that Joshua and his sister will remain strong in their faith despite the recurring beatings. May they receive much support and encouragement from their church family.
  • Pray that their pure love for Christ will be a light to the family and draw them to the truth of the Gospel.
  • Pray too that Joshua can help his Muslim friends accept Jesus.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Post a prayer in the comments section below.

 

NIGER: Five New Churches in Two Years

NIGER: Five New Churches in Two Years

Christian workers on the ground in Niger report a chain reaction of disciple-making over the last two years.

One man who went through a VOM-sponsored church planting program went on to share the Gospel with seven others. After those seven people were well-developed in their faith, they each went to seven different villages to share their faith there.

In every one of those villages, at least one person accepted the Gospel. “From these seven disciples, five vibrant churches have been created”, wrote a VOM contact. “The new believers are like the early church as they are pooling together their resources amongst themselves to contribute to the building of a church building.”

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Praise God for the spread of the Gospel in Niger. Thank the Lord for the powerful witness of these new believers.
  • Pray these believers will remain firm in their faith, develop in Christian maturity and take every opportunity to share the love of Christ with other members of their community.
  • Pray the church in Niger will become a light to other nations in Africa.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate