Monday, November 14, 2011

Remember the Persecuted

In my sermon at Faith Bible Church yesterday I took time to speak of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church which a few (not nearly enough) congregations observed throughout the world this weekend. However, we take this great tragedy quite seriously and we know one day isn't enough to demonstrate our solidarity with our grieving brothers and sisters.

Christians are being harassed, intimidated, denied basic rights, imprisoned, tortured and killed -- simply because they believe in Jesus and seek to honor His Lordship in their lives. It is a persecution which is particularly pronounced in Islamic and Communist countries but even Western nations have begun marginalizing Christianity and seeking to deny religious freedom.

Therefore, prayers, assistance to those persecuted (whenever we are able) and courage to speak out against the injustice and brutality is always in order.

Here, from Prayer Digest, are just a few of the Christians who need our prayers:

At least six churches were bombed in widespread attacks by Islamist militants in northern Nigeria that left 150 dead. Gunmen burst into one church during a prayer meeting, leaving two women dead and at least 12 people injured, some critically. Boko Haram extremists are committed to seeing sharia law extended throughout Nigeria.

House group leader Noorollah Qabitizade, in prison in Iran since his arrest last Christmas, has tried to share his faith and organised prayer meetings in prison. He has been threatened with the death penalty and promised freedom if he will renounce his faith, but has refused to do so.

New legislation is proposed to restrict religious activity in Azerbaijan, including a maximum five years’ imprisonment for distributing unapproved religious literature.

Ayman Nabil Labib (17) was beaten to death at school in Egypt by Muslim classmates after he refused to conceal a cross tattoo on his wrist. Two students have been arrested.

 Zubaida Bibi (35), a Christian mother of four, had her throat slit by a Muslim colleague at the factory where they worked in Pakistan after she resisted his attempt to rape her. Christian women in Pakistan are particularly vulnerable to rape by Muslim men.

 The Burmese army has destroyed churches, attacked worshipers and imposed severe restrictions on Christian activities in Kachin state. The state is more than 90 per cent Christian.

For more on how you can effectively minister to the persecuted Church, please utilize this web site.