THE AID AGENCY FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH www.barnabasfund.

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prayer

to help you pray for the persecuted church

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012

NOVEMBER 1 - 4 Thank you for your prayers for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, which make such a difference to them. We sometimes have to change or omit their names for security reasons, and we have only limited space to share their stories. But the Lord knows the people and places we are praying about. Thank you for your understanding. Please do not feel limited by the specific prayer requests, but pray as you feel led. groups that back them. Lift up to the Lord our brothers and sisters in Syria who are suffering so grievously in this crisis; ask that He will be their refuge and their fortress (Psalm 91:2) at this troubled time, and that God will bring about a swift end to the conflict. Saturday 3 Pray for the tens of thousands of Christians in North Korea who suffer unspeakable cruelties in the country’s notorious prison camps. Many prisoners are worked to death while enduring severe physical and psychological torture. They receive very little food and will eat anything edible for nourishment, including snakes and rats. Some are executed. The camps are mainly located in mountainous regions and are enclosed with barbed wire and electric fences, making escape very difficult. North Korea heads many lists of the world’s worst persecutors of Christians, and the succession of a new leader, Kim Jong-Un, in 2011 has brought no improvement. Pray that our brothers and sisters will stand firm in their faith in these appalling conditions, and that their sufferings will be relieved. Sunday 4 Pray for the many churches who are observing Suffering Church Sunday today or later this month. This year the SCS resources we have produced focus on Barnabas Fund’s Proclaim Freedom campaign, which seeks to bring the plight of the persecuted Church to the attention of those in authority. They include a special feature on the churches in the Middle East and North Africa, whose safety and very existence is currently threatened by a rising tide of aggressive Islamism. Pray for Christians in these countries at this difficult and challenging time, and

November
Thursday 1 Today is the Barnabas Fund Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We are encouraging Christians worldwide to dedicate time today to praying for our brothers and sisters who suffer because of their faith in Christ. A prayer guide is available from our website, www.barnabasfund.org/scs, or you can join our Facebook event or Twitter feed for prayer updates throughout the day. As you join in this chorus of prayer, remember before the Lord the International Prayer Summit being held in London, and the many smaller prayer events that have been organised around the world. Ask God that in answer to the prayers of many Christians today He will grant His gracious favour to His suffering people (2 Corinthians 1:11). Friday 2 Many Christian families have seen their lives torn apart by the violent conflict in Syria between government and opposition forces. Thousands of Christians have lost their homes, incomes and possessions and are now unable to afford food and other basic necessities. As well as being caught in the crossfire of a conflict that is not their own, Christians are particularly at risk of attack by opposition forces and the militant
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NOVEMBER 5 - 8 pray that the campaign will effectively promote freedom and respect for human rights for persecuted Christians throughout the world. Monday 5 Pray for Nima, a 17-year-old Iranian Christian boy who has been left to care for his 12-year-old sister single-handedly. Nima’s parents, Fariba Nazemian and Homayoun Shokouhi, have been languishing in prison without charge since February 2012, on suspicion of taking part in Christian activities, evangelising and disturbing national security. Nima was arrested along with them, but was released on bail after 36 days. With no support from other family, he has been working in a shoe shop to support himself and his sister Helma. He has to send half of his wages to cover his parents’ prison expenses. Pray that the Lord will protect and comfort Nima and Helma during this harrowing separation from their parents, and that He will provide for all their needs. against the state” and “action against the [Islamic] order”, are pretexts for locking him up because of his Christian faith and ministry. He now has difficulty walking owing to the severe injuries he has sustained from guards and other inmates; he is also losing his eyesight. He has been denied medical treatment and kept in his cell despite his frail state. Pray that the Lord will heal his physical and mental injuries and protect him from further harm, and that he will remain firm in his faith. Wednesday 7 Give thanks that Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was acquitted of apostasy from Islam and released on 8 September. The court in Tehran found him guilty of evangelising Muslims and sentenced him to three years in jail. But he was set free because he had already served this period behind bars. Pray for the safety of Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. Pray also that the international attention this high-profile case has attracted will result in the abolition of the Islamic apostasy law, which prescribes the death penalty for any adult male Muslim who leaves Islam. Give thanks that, despite the danger, large numbers of Iranian Muslims are turning to Christ. Pray that the Lord will protect them. Thursday 8 Praise the Lord that Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl with Down’s syndrome who was arrested under Pakistan’s notorious “blasphemy law”, was freed on bail on 7 September. Rimsha was accused of desecrating the Quran, which carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. It has since been suggested that she was framed by the imam of the local mosque, who is said to have planted burnt pages of the Quran in the bag of rubbish from the family home. Pray that the Lord will protect and comfort Rimsha in her ongoing ordeal, as she still faces the possibility of having to stand trial. Pray also for an end to violent attacks on Christians in Pakistan, which are continuing unabated.
BARNABAS PRAYER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012

Nima (17) cares for his sister alone while his Christian parents are in jail

Tuesday 6 Pray for Behnam Irani (41), an imprisoned Iranian pastor whose life is in grave danger because of the regular beatings he receives. The charges against Behnam, of “action

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NOVEMBER 9 - 12 Friday 9 The arrest of Rimsha Masih (see above) gave an opportunity to some sections of the Muslim community in her village of Maherabad to fulfil their desire to expel their Christian neighbours. After Friday prayers that same week, Muslim residents took an oath in the mosque to drive out the Christians. The mullahs issued an ultimatum giving them a month to leave, and shopkeepers and landlords refused to do business with them. The community fled the area, some staying with relatives and others being temporarily housed in church buildings. A leading Pakistani Muslim who has spoken out for Rimsha has suggested that the Muslims forced the Christians out so that an Islamic school could be built in the village. Pray that all the needs of these Christians will be met, and that the Lord will comfort them in their ordeal. Saturday 10 Praise God that the mistreatment and arrest of Rimsha Masih has attracted international condemnation. It is rare for a case of anti-Christian persecution to come under the spotlight, but the shocking treatment of such a vulnerable girl has led to high-profile criticism. Both the United States and France spoke out against her arrest, calling for the Pakistani authorities to intervene. Politicians within Pakistan and even Muslim groups have joined the chorus of protest. In 2011, however, two politicians who called for the reform of Pakistan’s “blasphemy law” were assassinated. Pray that the shining of the international spotlight on these pernicious laws, which are so often used against Christians, will lead to their repeal. Sunday 11 “When our pastor informed us about the contribution of food we were so happy and prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ who provided us with food... We are thankful to Barnabas Fund for stepping forward
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at this difficult time.” Barnabas Fund received these words of thanks from Salamat Masih and Yasmeen Bibi, Pakistani Christians who have a daughter with special needs. Their community was forced to flee their village of Maherabad, near Islamabad, owing to violence and discrimination following the arrest of Rimsha Masih. Barnabas Fund is helping all the displaced Christians with food parcels. Pray that the Lord will bless our support for this community, and that the Christians driven from Maherabad may be able to rebuild their lives.

Barnabas is supporting these Christians in Pakistan, who fled their homes after Rimsha Masih was arrested for blasphemy

Monday 12 Christians in Egypt are facing a challenging new era as President Mohammed Morsi, of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, begins to assert his authority. Morsi has tightened his grip on Egypt’s media by shutting down outlets that were critical of him or the Brotherhood, and removing or replacing the personnel of others. In the political sphere, influential rivals have been removed, while Islamists have been placed in positions of power. Pray that God will keep His

NOVEMBER 13 - 17 children in Egypt safe during this turbulent time when they are enduring so much pressure, and that the rise of Islamist oppression and violence will not be allowed to continue unchecked. Tuesday 13 Since the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt, there has been a marked increase in the number of Christian girls and women disappearing, being forcibly converted to Islam and married against their will to Muslim men. This was the disturbing conclusion of a report, Tell My Mother I Miss Her, released on 18 July. Its title was a direct quote from a victim, “D”, in a recorded phone conversation to her father after her abduction. She appealed for help to escape, but the family has been unable to rescue her. Pray for them, and the hundreds of other Christian families undergoing a similar ordeal. Pray also that this report will lead to decisive action by the Egyptian authorities to protect Christian girls and women. Wednesday 14 The Church in Egypt is being subjected to “cheap political blackmail and political thuggery”, according to Christian rights’ group Copts Without Chains. This was their response to demands from Islamists in the Constituent Assembly at the end of August that the Church’s funds be brought under state control. This seems to be yet another attempt to intimidate and restrict the Egyptian Church, but the Islamists’ demand may have an even more sinister agenda: to deflect growing public concern regarding Muslim Brotherhood finances and affairs. Pray that church leaders will respond wisely and that the Church in Egypt will be allowed to continue its ministry without state harassment and interference. Thursday 15 “Kill or physically attack the enemies of the religion of Allah – the Christians in all of Egypt’s provinces, the slaves of the Cross.” This was the command given to “all brothers and sisters” in leaflets distributed by militant Islamist organisations in Egypt. A financial reward was offered to those who helped to “achieve Allah’s rights against his enemies”. Egypt’s Christians are facing increasing pressure and persecution from supporters of the new Islamist government. Pray that the Lord will keep them safe from violence. Friday 16 “God is real. When we believe, we are healed from sickness and immediately delivered from the possession of evil spirits. We cannot deny the reality of God’s power.” This bold testimony was the response of Tongkoun Keohavong, a village leader from Laos, when faced with the choice of renouncing his faith or facing violence and eviction. Over 30 villagers from Tongkoun’s village of Nahoukou, in Savannakhet province, put their faith in Christ between February and August. Five Christian families were then summoned before village officials on 7 August and told to recant and stop gathering for worship. Pray that the threats against them will not be carried out, and that the villagers will be able to lead their Christian lives in peace. Saturday 17 Pray for Bountheung, a Christian leader in Borikhamxai Province in central Laos, who was arrested in late August for converting 300 people to Christianity. The Christian residents of Nongpong village, who came to Christ after meeting Bountheung, were also faced with the stark ultimatum: either renounce their new faith or face eviction from their homes. The government controls or interferes in many of the activities of churches in Laos, as it recognises only certain Christian denominations. Give thanks for the new faith of these 300 villagers, but pray that Bountheung will be released, and that the religious freedom of Christians in Nongpong and elsewhere in Laos will be upheld.
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NOVEMBER 18 - 21 Sunday 18 Pray for the vulnerable Christian community in West Java, Indonesia, where two churches were forcibly closed in late July and early August. The congregations, in Bogor and Bandung, were the latest in a series of churches in the area to face harassment. The large tent used to house the 500-strong Bogor congregation while they awaited a permit for a building was sealed off on 7 August. The authorities denied that Islamist pressure had forced their hand, claiming there had been local opposition to the presence of the tent. On 29 July, protestors sealed off the building in Bandung. Lift up to the Lord these congregations in the face of such obstruction to their meeting together, and pray that Christians in West Java will be able to meet without the danger of harassment. Monday 19 Pray for Christians of South Sudanese origin, who have been stranded in Sudan since the South voted to become independent in July 2011. Hundreds of thousands were stripped of their citizenship and are now trapped in dire conditions of poverty, often unable to work or send their children to school. Many live in makeshift shelters, where flooding has made conditions even worse. Christians are not welcome in Sudan: Islamist president Omar al-Bashir intends to make the next constitution 100% Islamic and strengthen sharia law, which treats non-Muslims as second-class citizens. Pray that as the Lord’s people in Sudan face these menacing conditions, He will be their strength and their shield (Psalm 28:7). Tuesday 20 In early September, Barnabas Fund launched a major rescue operation to airlift 2,000 of the neediest Christians trapped in Sudan to safety in South Sudan. Around 800 women, mostly widows, and 1,200 children are being taken from Khartoum to Juba, where they will be able to begin new lives with the support of the Church there. After overcoming some major obstacles by the grace of God, the first of twelve chartered flights arrived in Juba on 19 September. Give thanks for this safe arrival and for the 157 Christians now living in relative security in South Sudan. Pray that the remaining flights will proceed smoothly and without hindrance, and that the Lord will bless those arriving in Juba as they begin to put down roots in their new home. Wednesday 21 The assassination of a radical Muslim cleric with suspected links to the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab sparked riots in Mombasa, Kenya, at the end of August. Five churches in the coastal city were attacked as Muslim youth clashed with police in two days of violence. At least four people were killed. Al-Shabaab responded by calling on Kenyan Muslims to “take all necessary measures to protect their religion”. Since Kenya sent troops into neighbouring Somalia in October 2011 to fight al-Shabaab militants, there have been a number of attacks by the group, including the targeting of churches and Christian gatherings. Pray that

Barnabas is helping 2,000 South Sudanese Christians to return home

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NOVEMBER 22 - 26 Islamic militancy will be restrained in Kenya and that Christians there will suffer no further violence. Thursday 22 Lift up to the Lord Eva Abdullah, a 17-year-old convert from Islam to Christianity, who has been jailed for two years in Tanzania. Eva was falsely accused of desecrating a Quran by a group of radical Muslims after she refused to return to Islam. It is thought that the judge who sentenced her on 26 July had been bribed by Islamic militants. Eva was disowned by her parents when she became a Christian three years ago. Give thanks that the Lord hears the needy and does not despise His captive people (Psalm 69:33); pray that He will comfort Eva in her ordeal and strengthen her in her faith, and that justice may be done for her. Friday 23 Equipping leaders and future leaders with a deeper knowledge of the Bible’s teachings is hugely important for their spiritual development and ministry. Barnabas is supporting a Bible school in Central Asia that provided theological education to 42 students in the last academic year. Undertaking such study involves great risk: somebody must always be on alert in case a new person entering the church is a secret agent. But the students were so keen to acquire more knowledge and skills for their ministries that the school was extended for a month and a half. Give thanks to the Lord for the enthusiasm of these students to go deeper into their faith. Pray that what they have learned will greatly impact their communities, and that the Lord will keep them safe while they study. Saturday 24 Lift up to the Lord our struggling Christian brothers and sisters in Azerbaijan, as a legal decision to close Greater Grace Church in the capital, Baku, was upheld by the country’s highest court of appeal on 31 July. This was an important test case for religious freedom; the church is the first to be closed since a strict Religion Law requiring all churches to re-apply for registration was introduced in 2009. The church, which has a congregation of nearly 500, had previously been legally registered and denies having ever broken the law. Pray that this decision will be reversed by the Supreme Court, and that the congregation may remain strong in their faith despite this official hostility towards their church. Sunday 25 “The situation has got markedly worse since July and we don’t know why.” Lift up to the Lord Protestant Christians in Turkmenistan as they face increasing harassment from the authorities. In one incident a Christian man’s house was raided; his mother was intimidated, and his business closed down. He was forced to leave the area. Throughout the summer, incidents of this kind, and of legal action being taken against Christians, became increasingly common. Although Turkmenistan’s constitution grants religious freedom, a Religion Law passed in 2003 forbids any activity by unregistered religious groups, and Christian activity is often suppressed. Pray for Christians in Turkmenistan, that the Lord will be their shield during these trials and a rock in whom they can take refuge (2 Samuel 22:3). Monday 26 Pray for the Christian residents of a village in Serdarabad district, Turkmenistan, who were threatened with expulsion from their homes at a village meeting called by imams and local officials. The leaders also threatened to keep Christian children under close scrutiny at school; there have been a number of instances of
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NOVEMBER 27 - 30 Christian pupils suffering discrimination. Pray that the threat of expulsion will not be carried out, and that the Lord will bring peace to this vulnerable community. Pray also that He will protect and strengthen Christian children in Turkmenistan in their school and home lives, that they may grow up strong in their faith. Tuesday 27 Give thanks that Bahrain’s monarch has granted a plot of land for the building of a new church in Awali. This welcome move goes against a ruling earlier this year by Saudi Arabia’s most prominent religious scholar, the Grand Mufti, who called for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula. The king’s grant of a 9,000-square-metre area of land was gratefully received by senior church leaders, but the decision attracted criticism from Muslims both within and outside Bahrain. Pray that the king will not be swayed from this gesture, which has been described by a church leader as “a sign of openness”, by the opposition to it. Pray also that this will serve as an encouragement to other Muslim-majority countries to extend a hand of goodwill towards Christians. Wednesday 28 Converts from Islam to Christianity in Saudi Arabia are in deadly peril. Wahhabism, an extreme and puritanical version of Islam, is strictly enforced in the country: apostasy from Islam is punishable by death, and the public practice or spreading of any religion other than Islam is strictly forbidden. Pray for two men, one Saudi and one Lebanese, who, at the time of writing, are awaiting trial for allegedly helping a Saudi woman convert to Christianity and flee the country. The woman fled to Lebanon and is now said to be in the UK. Give thanks for her conversion, but pray for God to overrule in this case and that the men will be released unharmed. Pray also that the Lord would protect other converts from Islam in Saudi Arabia.
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Thursday 29 “We are afraid the anger will engulf us.” An Egyptian Christian expressed the concerns of many of our brothers and sisters in Muslim-majority countries as violent protests erupted against a film that Muslims judged to be offensive to Islam. During one demonstration in Cairo, a Muslim cleric burned a Bible in front of thousands of Muslim protestors, while several Christians in Egypt were harassed or attacked. A church compound was destroyed in Pakistan (see 5 December), and threats were also made against Christians in Sudan. Minority Christian communities are often associated in Muslim minds with the West because of their faith, so they readily become targets of Muslim rage. As hostility between Muslim-majority countries and the West continues, pray for protection for vulnerable Christians and for an easing of tensions. Friday 30 Pray for the millions of Christians who will go to bed hungry tonight because of the pressure and persecution they suffer as a result of their faith. They may be desperately poor owing to long-standing discrimination, as in Pakistan, or displaced from their homes by anti-Christian violence and unable to work or afford food, as in Syria. The family breadwinner may be imprisoned, or forced into hiding by hostility from the local community, leaving the family with no source of income. Give thanks for Barnabas’ Feeding Fund,

This Iraqi Christian family in Syria receive food parcels from Barnabas

DECEMBER 1 - 4 which enabled us to feed 60,000 Christians in long-term projects in the year to June 2012, and ask the Lord to help us continue to meet this basic need for His persecuted people. Michael had willingly given a lift home to two of his Hindu friends; he was not seen alive again. Praise God for this unexpected and welcome decision, and pray that it will deter future anti-Christian violence in Orissa. Monday 3 Christians in India continue to be the target of brutality by Hindu extremists. Edwin Raj, a Christian from Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu state, was killed on 26 August when a mob attacked a prayer meeting in Sasthancode village. The mob then proceeded to go on a violent rampage in a nearby village; two Christians, Gnanamuthu and his son Johnson, were beaten when they tried to stop them. They were taken to hospital with serious head injuries. On 13 August, three Christian women were harassed and beaten by around 15 men in the same district; they were still recovering in hospital two weeks later. Lift up to the Lord the Christians in this area as they face danger from Hindu extremism, and ask that He would protect them from future violence. Pray also for healing for those who have been injured in these attacks. Tuesday 4 A church building in West Bengal, India, was attacked on 23 August by a group of youths who have repeatedly harassed the congregation and smashed several windows over a number of years. They gather in front of the building, where they gamble and use offensive language during worship services and ministry activities. The group threw faeces and threatened a Christian woman who appealed to them to stop vandalising the building. Pray that the Lord will continue to give this congregation the grace to respond to their persecutors in a Christ-like manner, and that the youths will be won over by this witness to the Gospel.

December
Saturday 1 Continue to remember four Christians from the UK whose claims of religious discrimination in the workplace are before the European Court of Human Rights at the time of writing. They include Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin, who were both barred from wearing a cross openly at work. Yet in a landmark ruling on 5 September, the European Court of Justice decided that people from outside the EU who are unable to practise their faith publicly are entitled to claim asylum in EU countries. Praise God for this decision, which should make it easier for Christians to escape oppressive regimes elsewhere, and pray that the freedom of Christians in the EU to express their own faith publicly will not be restricted. Pray especially for a positive outcome in the current court cases. Sunday 2 Give thanks for a rare and significant move towards justice for Christians in Orissa state, India, who have suffered so deeply from violence by Hindu extremists. A court has ordered that the killers of Michael Nayak, a church leader whose murder in July 2011 was originally registered as accidental death, should be brought to justice. Michael’s family had protested against the original verdict of a motorcycle accident, as his only injury was a hole below the ear and his motorbike was not significantly damaged. The evening before,

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DECEMBER 5 - 8 Wednesday 5 Pray for a congregation in Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, whose church compound was destroyed by Muslim rioters on 21 September. The attack was sparked by anger over the controversial film Innocence of Muslims. A church building, a Christian school and library, and the homes of two pastors and the head teacher, were looted and torched by hundreds of rioters armed with authorities. The local Prison Administration Bureau also rejected their request to see Gao, despite offering no valid reason for the decision. Gao’s family have not been allowed to see or even speak to him since March and are very concerned for his safety and well-being. He was moved to the prison in December 2011 after years in police custody. Pray that he will be allowed to contact his family and lawyers, and that the authorities will soon relent and release him (Hebrews 13:3). Friday 7 “We will keep the faith… If we perish, we perish.” At a meeting of Nigerian church leaders in September a senior leader from Maiduguri reported that 100 bombs have exploded there, some of them at schools. Another leader, from Tabara state, described how 25 churches in the Jalingo area have been destroyed, a bomb detonated in another, and church members unable to find employment because they have Christian names. Two congregations in Bauchi state have been completely wiped out. Pray for the Church in Nigeria as it faces such intense persecution from militant Islamists, and for the leaders as they seek to guide their congregations through these troubled times. Saturday 8 Give thanks to the Lord that Islamic leaders in Nigeria have urged an end to the violent campaign of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, who have carried out many acts of violence against Christians in an effort to establish an Islamist state in the North of the country. One leader said that a ceasefire was “urgently expected for the sake of humanity … and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians”. Praise God for the bravery of these leaders in speaking out, when others who have done so have been targeted by Boko Haram. Pray that their influence will help to bring the group’s campaign to an end

Christians survey the wreckage of a church building in Mardan, Pakistan, that was torched by Muslim rioters

clubs and sticks. The local church leader said that the attack, which lasted more than three hours, seemed to be pre-planned as the assailants arrived with petrol. The authorities made only minimal efforts to stop the violence. Pray for protection for Christians in Muslim-majority contexts, whose property and lives are so vulnerable at times of tension with the West. Thursday 6 Imprisoned Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng continues to suffer gross injustice at the hands of the Chinese authorities. In the latest instance, two human rights lawyers engaged by Gao’s brother travelled in August to the remote part of the country where he is being held, only to be turned away by the prison
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DECEMBER 9 - 13 very soon, and that Muslims in Nigeria will allow Christians to live out their faith in peace. Sunday 9 Many Christians in Nigeria live under the constant threat of terrorist outrages. On 6 August, 20 Christians were killed in an attack on Deeper Life Church in Otite, Kogi state. Gunmen stormed an evening service, blocked off the exits and opened fire on those trapped inside. Fifteen people died at the scene and a further five in hospital. On the same evening, evangelist Ali Samari was shot dead in Maiduguri, Borno state. Although no-one claimed responsibility for either of these attacks, fighters from Boko Haram had previously warned Ali to leave his home. Pray that the Lord will comfort those who mourn our murdered brothers and sisters in Christ, and that their killers will be brought to justice. Monday 10 “By refusing to designate Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organisation, the United States is sending a very clear message … that the murder of innocent Christians and Muslims who reject Islamism … are accepted losses.” Archbishop Nicholas Dikeriehi Okoh, Primate of the Church of Nigeria, gave this message during an official visit to the United States, which was sponsored by Barnabas Fund. The US State Department has refused to designate Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organisation, believing that its violence is due to competition for economic resources, despite the group’s professed religious motives. Pray that the church leader’s visit will lead to the US taking stronger action against Boko Haram, and that its violence may swiftly be brought to an end. Tuesday 11 Pray for Pastor Audu Gadzama and his family, who came under attack by Muslim gunmen in Nigeria on 10 August. The attackers entered his church and shot the pastor’s 24-yearold son Thomas in the leg. They fired at him as well but missed before going to the family’s home. The gunmen forced Pastor Audu’s wife and two other children to lie on the ground while they torched the house and church. The family managed to escape and hid in the bushes as the gunmen fired shots and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“god is great”). Pray that the Lord will heal all the physical and psychological wounds caused by this attack and protect this family from any further harm. Wednesday 12 Pray for around 160 residents and staff of a Christian-run village for leprosy patients in Gia Kai province, Vietnam, who were “terrorised” by abuse and threats during a raid by police. Christian symbols were removed or destroyed, and picture of Ho Chi Minh, who established Communism in Vietnam, was placed in the chapel. Residents were also ordered to remove the church bell and knock down the bell tower. The Church is at the forefront of caring for the 18,000 people with leprosy in Vietnam, but despite this work, the Communist authorities remain extremely suspicious of Christians. Pray that the Lord will comfort those traumatised by the raid, and for greater security for the Church in Vietnam. Thursday 13 Mainly Christian ethnic groups in Burma (Myanmar), such as the Chin, Kachin and Karen, continue to be persecuted despite the country’s recent political reforms. Government attacks on the Chin people include intimidation and harassment, sexual violence, forced labour and closure of churches. A military offensive in Kachin territory has also led to widespread violence, and many Christians have fled their
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DECEMBER 14 - 16 homes. Pray that this ruthless campaign of persecution will be brought to an end, and that the Lord will uphold His people in Burma with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). Friday 14 “If you don’t want to be Buddhist, we can arrest you, we can put you in prison, we can do anything we want to you. You are just like a toy in our hands.” This threat was made to a Christian pupil at a government school in Burma. Pray for children from the mainly Christian Chin minority, who often encounter threats and discrimination at Buddhist monastery schools or free government schools for minorities. They may be coerced to convert to Buddhism or be forced to shave their heads or wear monastic robes; they may also be beaten for refusing to recite Buddhist scriptures. This year, however, the parents of 59 Christian children from very poor communities were delighted that their children were able to attend a regular government school because Barnabas Fund paid their school fees. Give thanks that these children will no longer suffer ill-treatment or pressure to convert, and pray that they will be salt and light amongst their peers at their new schools (Matthew 5:13-14). Saturday 15 Praise God that election results in Libya did not show the expected significant gains for Islamist parties, in the first election since the revolution, on 16 July. The National Forces Alliance (NFA), a comparatively secular and liberal coalition of parties headed by ex-interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, won 39 of the 80 seats reserved for political parties. The NFA says that while Islamic sharia law should be the main source of legislation, all religions and sects should be respected. But there are serious concerns that results for the remaining seats, reserved for independent candidates, will see Islamists gain the ascendancy after all. Pray that Libya will not succumb to Islamist rule like its neighbours, Tunisia and Egypt, and for protection for the very small number of Christian converts from Islam in the country. Sunday 16 The prospects for Christians in Tunisia have become even bleaker after the ruling Islamist party introduced a bill on 1 August that would outlaw insulting Islam. The bill would make “insults, profanity, derision, and representation of Allah and Muhammad” punishable by up to two years in prison. Although the legislation claims also to protect churches and synagogues, Christians and other minorities will be at greatest risk from its use or misuse. Although Tunisia does not have a “blasphemy law”, some people have been punished for acts judged offensive to Islam. Pray that opposition to the bill will lead to its being withdrawn, and that the government’s attempts further to Islamise the country will be frustrated.

These Christian Chin children are able to attend a regular government school with help from Barnabas

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DECEMBER 17 - 21 Monday 17 “The Hindu extremist said that he would plant a bomb at our church if we did not help his group. But when I asked what type of help he wanted he hung up.” This threatening phone call was received by Robin Rai, the minister of a church in Lalitpur, Nepal. The church was the target of a bombing in 2009 by the Nepal Defence Army (NDA), which killed three people and injured more than a dozen. Other church leaders have also received threats, and the NDA, which wants to reinstate Nepal’s Hindu monarchy, have circulated leaflets ordering Christians and Muslims to leave the country. Pray that the threat against this church will not be carried out, and that the Church in Nepal will stand firm in the face of this intimidation (Ephesians 6:13). Tuesday 18 “After the first two sips, it was very tough for me to breathe,” said Rita James, one of eleven Christian student nurses who were the victims of a suspected poisoning in Pakistan. Three of the women required intensive care treatment. The students fell ill after drinking tea during a study session at the hostel of the Karachi Civil Hospital on 29 July. It is thought that poison may have been added to the tea while it was left unattended. The nurses may have been targeted for breaking Ramadan fasting rules, which forbid eating and drinking during daylight hours, although this incident occurred after nightfall. Pray that the women will be healed of any remaining illness or discomfort, and that those responsible for their suffering will be held accountable. Wednesday 19 A 20-year-old Christian student in Pakistan was severely beaten by Islamists who kidnapped him on 29 August. His abductors, a radical Islamic group, were trying to convert him to Islam. The young Christian man was tied up with chains, physically assaulted and threatened with death; it is thought that his captors may also have given him mind-altering drugs. He was eventually found by police and returned to his family but has been seriously affected psychologically by this traumatic ordeal. Pray that the Lord will heal his bodily wounds, and that He will turn His face towards the young man and give him peace (Numbers 6:25) as he recovers from this intense trauma. Thursday 20 The growing but vulnerable Church in Sri Lanka came under increasing pressure in August, with attacks on church leaders and harassment of church members blighting two districts. On 9 August a senior pastor and his wife in Deniyaya district were set upon by a mob of 40 men. The pastor suffered injuries to his body and legs and his wife was thrown from their motorbike. Their assailants later threatened two other church workers in the same district. In the previous week, the house of a pastor in Horana Kaluthara district was attacked. The attackers smashed all the windows during the night, leaving the pastor’s three oldest children traumatised. Pray that the Lord would comfort those injured and psychologically scarred by these attacks, and that violence against Christians in Sri Lanka would soon abate. Friday 21 Pray for Pema Sherpa, a house church pastor from Gelephu in Bhutan, who was beaten about the head and chest by a government official on 31 July. Pema had been summoned along with three other church leaders by the official, who warned them not to conduct worship services in their homes. After the other leaders had left, the official drew a “patang”, a traditional Bhutanese sword, and threatened Pema’s life. Pray that the Lord will heal Pema and bind up his wounds (Psalm 147:3). State-sponsored persecution such as this is common in the strongly Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan. Pray that the Lord will strengthen His Church in Bhutan and protect Christians there from harassment by the state.
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DECEMBER 22 - 26 Saturday 22 “Armed gangs of jihadists have begun to sow terror. Christians are often portrayed as friends of the regime… This propaganda gives terrorist groups, infiltrators among the rebels, a pretext to attack us.” A Christian leader expressed the plight of many of Syria’s Christians after Jaramana, a mainly Christian and Druze suburb of Damascus, came under attack on 28 August. A car bomb targeted a funeral procession, killing at least 12 people, including five children, and injuring around 50. Because Christians have been generally well treated by the government of President Assad, they are widely perceived by the opposition to support him. Pray that the Lord will be with those who are injured or mourning in their distress, and that He will protect His Church in Syria from further attacks. partners on the ground, Barnabas is helping to provide the food, clothing and medicine that our brothers and sisters desperately need. Pray that this support will reach them quickly, and that the Lord will sustain them in their ordeal. Monday 24 In another dreadful episode for the beleaguered Christians of Syria, the mainly Christian town of Rableh was blockaded for two weeks in August by anti-government forces. Snipers prevented anyone from leaving, and they shot dead three men who attempted to do so. Bridges were blown up and roads rendered impassable, so that food and medical supplies ran short; the electricity supply was also disrupted. The opposition fighters were eventually driven out by the Syrian army. Pray for the Christians in Rableh as they recover from their ordeal and consider whether to stay or leave. Ask the Lord to watch over them wherever they go (Genesis 28:15). Tuesday 25 As we give thanks today for the birth of the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), pray for the millions of Christians around the world who live under the shadow of disadvantage, discrimination and persecution. Pray that as they celebrate His coming they may experience the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), and that they may take heart from the knowledge that He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Pray that He will guard them from their enemies as they gather in His name this Christmas, and that in the coming year the pressures on them may be relieved. Wednesday 26 Concerns that Christians were being forcibly converted to Islam in the Gaza Strip sparked protests in July that highlighted the dire plight of the tiny Christian population there.

Distribution of aid from Barnabas to needy Syrian Christians

Sunday 23 Barnabas is helping to support the thousands of Christians in Syria and other countries who have been displaced by violence during the civil war. Many have fled to Jordan, Lebanon and Greece, while others have migrated within Syria. Working through church
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DECEMBER 27 - 30 Dozens of Christians staged a demonstration on 16 July, claiming that Islamists are using any means to convert Christians, including fear, blackmail and the use of chemical substances. The Christian community has been increasingly marginalised and harassed since the Islamist group Hamas came to power; their daily lives are extremely difficult, and the Christian population has shrunk rapidly. Pray that the Lord will protect His people in the Gaza Strip from violence and forced conversion. Thursday 27 Praise the Lord for a welcome show of respect for Christianity in Iraqi Kurdistan. A school textbook that was judged offensive to Christians was withdrawn from the education system in September. The textbook covered aspects of Christianity and Judaism and included disparaging statements about Jesus Christ. The autonomous region of Kurdistan has also welcomed tens of thousands of Christian refugees from elsewhere in Iraq and offered them muchneeded help. But sadly their position is now more precarious, owing to growing insecurity and economic hardship. Pray that Christians in Iraqi Kurdistan will continue to find it a safe haven where they can practise their faith without insults and harassment. Friday 28 Pray for the congregation of Holy Trinity Pentecostal Church in eastern Moscow, whose church building was abruptly torn down by the authorities in the middle of the night of 6 September. The shock demolition was described as a “Soviet approach” by Mikhail Odinstov, an aide to Russia’s Ombudsperson for Human Rights. The church has a long history of harassment by the authorities. The pastor may also face prosecution after holding a service amid the wreckage following the demolition. Pray that he and the congregation will find strength and peace in the Lord at this time, and that Christians in Russia will be able to meet without fear of harassment. Saturday 29 Pray for Christians in Turkey as they face continuing restrictions on their freedom to practise their faith. The government had suggested that the new constitution that is now being prepared would give better protection to the small Christian minority in the country. But now the ruling party is trying to have compulsory Islamic religious education retained in the draft, despite a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights that this flouts Turkey’s human rights obligations. It is also refusing to agree that the state should be impartial between religious groups. As discussion of the new constitution continues, pray that it will establish genuine freedom of religion for Christians and other nonMuslims in Turkey, and also their full equality with Muslims. Sunday 30 Church leaders in Colombia are often caught in the crossfire of the long conflict that racks one of the most violent countries in the world. An estimated 20-30 are killed every year, many targeted by illegal armed groups because of their refusal to support the gangs’ activities. In a recent incident, Henry Rodriguez (44) was shot dead as he left his church in Bogota on Sunday 16 September. He was gunned down by two men on a moped in what appears to have been a targeted killing by professional hit men. Pastor Rodriguez left a wife and three children. Pray for them in their shock and grief, and for protection for pastors throughout Colombia. Pray too for an end to the destructive cycle of violence.
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DECEMBER 31 Monday 31 Many people in the non-Western world think that the Western New Year is a Christian festival, so it is often a time of increased harassment and violence against Christian minorities. For example, at New Year 2012 the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram issued a three-day deadline for Christians to leave the North of the country, and the previous year 21 International Headquarters The Old Rectory, River Street, Pewsey, Wiltshire SN9 5DB, UK Telephone 01672 564938 Fax 01672 565030 From outside the UK Telephone +44 1672 564938 Fax +44 1672 565030 Email info@barnabasfund.org USA 6731 Curran St, McLean, VA 22101 Telephone (703) 288-1681 or toll-free 1-866-936-2525 Fax (703) 288-1682 Email usa@barnabasaid.org Australia PO Box 3527 Loganholme QLD 4129 Telephone (07) 3806 1076 or 1300 365 799 Fax (07) 3806 4076 Email bfaustralia@barnabasfund.org Christians perished in a suicide bomb attack on a church in Alexandria, Egypt. Pray for protection for our brothers and sisters at this time. Pray especially for converts from Islam, who are especially vulnerable, that in the coming year they may be blessed by the Lord under whose wings they have come for refuge (Ruth 2:12).

UK 9 Priory Row, Coventry CV1 5EX Telephone 024 7623 1923 Fax 024 7683 4718 From outside the UK Telephone +44 24 7623 1923 Fax +44 24 7683 4718 Email info@barnabasfund.org Jersey Le Jardin, La Rue a Don, Grouville, Jersey Channel Islands JE3 9GB Telephone 700600 Fax 700601 Email bfjersey@barnabasfund.org New Zealand PO Box 27 6018, Manukau City, Auckland, 2241 Telephone (09) 280 4385 or 0800 008 805 Email office@barnabasfund.org.nz

www.barnabasfund.org
Barnabas Fund is a Company registered in England Number 4029536. Registered Charity Number 1092935 Cover: This Pakistani Christian woman has received support from Barnabas Fund following the floods of 2010-11 © Barnabas Fund 2012 16
BARNABAS PRAYER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012

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