268 posts categorized “Intercessory Prayer”

April 11, 2014

EGYPT: Prayer Request

Each week VOM posts a new prayer need at www.iCommitToPray.com, the online prayer meeting for our persecuted brothers and sisters. This week's request is for the family of a young woman brutally killed by radical Muslims in Egypt:

68_MARYSAMEHGEORGESFAMILYMary Sameh George, a 25-year-old Christian who lived with her parents and sister in Cairo, was brutally attacked and killed on March 28 by pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators. As she does each Friday, Mary was on her way to deliver groceries and other necessities to a poor family in the Ein Shams area when she was stopped by a group of protesters. When protesters spotted her gold cross necklace, they dragged her out of her car and repeatedly stabbed and choked her to death. Her family was devastated when they learned of her murder; her fiancé's mother was so grief-stricken that she died shortly after learning of Mary's death.

Will you commit to pray for Mary's family as they grieve her loss? Add your voice online to pray for Mary, and invite your Christian friends to join in also.


March 18, 2014

A Secret Prayer Request

Believers in hostile and restricted nations must often pray and worship in secret. They risk their freedom, their physical and emotional well-being, and even their lives for sharing the gospel message with others in their families and those around them. They trust the words of Jesus when He said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).

Your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are encouraged when they hear how you have been praying for them, and they depend on your steadfast prayers. We consistently hear how God is working in their lives and using them even while they take great risks; they find more courage and strength because of prayers of readers like you.

Our VOM contacts try to give us as many pertinent details as possible, but they also must do so with extreme caution. This week, we received a very sensitive and urgent prayer request. Our VOM contact wrote:

In an Arabic country, a passionate local believer was informed by his father and his tribe’s leadership that he and others who decided to follow Christ had one week to return to Islam. If they do not, the family and tribe have decided they will be killed. This believer has already suffered greatly for his witness. Moreover, several of his closest friends have also been targeted and persecuted terribly because of their faith. Please pray for this brother and the others affected by this tribe’s decision. May God give them courage and wisdom in knowing how to respond. And may He work powerfully on the hearts of those who plan this scheme.

Will you please join us in prayer for this brother in Christ and his fellow workers?

“Ann Kay” is a writer for VOM. She learned about VOM five years ago when she read Tortured for Christ and began receiving the newsletter. She is passionate about reaching the world for Christ and sharing stories of the persecuted church.


February 4, 2014

500+ Prayers Lifted for Chinese Christians

Last November VOM launched www.iCommitToPray.com, a web site designed to be an online prayer meeting for the persecuted church.

Each week a new request is posted, and visitors are invited to type in their prayers, so that others may join in with them and be encouraged by them, similar to the prayer meetings that might happen at your local church on Wednesday nights or Sunday nights or at some other point in the week.

Last week's prayer request was this:

Zhang_shaojie
Zhang Shaojie

Pastor Zhang Shaojie, 49, and Yan Beibei, 23, were allowed to see their lawyers on Jan. 15, 2014, after two months in detention. They were among 12 Christians detained for their involvement with the Nanle County Christian Church in November and December 2013. Pastor Zhang, who has been charged with fraud and “gathering a mob to disrupt public order,” asked his lawyer to express his thanks to “all the people in the world who are paying attention to Nanle County Christian Church” and are remembering those in custody. One of the prisoners attempted suicide after being beaten by authorities. Pray for their resilience and faith, as many of them and their family members have been beaten.

More than 500 people, in 30+ countries, had posted prayers on behalf of these Chinese believers in the first four days after the request was posted.

Will you join with them? Go to www.iCommitToPray.com and read the requests, and lift your voice along with the thousands of other voices crying out to God on behalf of our persecuted family.

Register on the site to be alerted by email every time a new request is posted.

When we visit with persecuted Christians around the world and ask them how we can help, their first request is that we PRAY for them.

Will you commit to pray for the persecuted church?


January 21, 2014

Pray for Peace in Syria: Geneva II Conference Opens Jan. 22

Church leaders in Syria are calling for intercessory prayer as the Geneva II Conference begins on Jan. 22 in Switzerland. Representatives from both the government of President Bashar al-Assad and the Western-backed political opposition are scheduled to meet for the first time in three years. Their goal is to find a peaceful way to end the conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 130,000 people and left millions more displaced. 

Pray_Blog

Patriarch Gregory III Laham, the leader of the Greek Catholic Church, has called all Christians and Syrian citizens to “pray for true reconciliation in Geneva II” and has stated that "the key to the success of Geneva II is faith-based, human, cordial, national, and truly Syrian reconciliation."

In June, 2012, officials from the United States, Russia, and other major powers met in Geneva and agreed on what is known as the Geneva Communiqué, which is meant to serve as a road map for the “transitional government” in Syria. However, numerous difficulties continue to arise as there are conflicts as to who truly represents the Syrians opposed to the current government as well as which countries should be invited. U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon withdrew an invitation to Iran to attend the Jan. 22 meeting after the Syrian opposition threatened to boycott the conference if Iran, who backs Assad’s government, attends.

The World Council of Churches issued a statement on Jan. 17 which was compiled by the participants of a two-day meeting, including Syrian church leaders, which urged all delegates to the Geneva II peace conference to pursue an immediate end to all armed conflict. Additionally, they called for all parties to release kidnapped persons, and finally, they urged the UN Security Council to implement measures to end the flow of weapons and foreign fighters into Syria.

Kidnapping is a common tactic being employed by a variety of radical groups opposed to the Syrian government, including factions of radical Muslims. In some cases, the groups have not identified themselves. In others, demands have been made of the release of detained Syrians being held by the government. Amongst those missing and detained are three priests, two bishops, and at least 12 nuns and three young orphans under their care from Ma’aloula (some sources say 13 nuns). Fr. Michel and Fr. Maher have been missing since Feb. 9, 2013. Fr. Paolo has been missing since early August, 2013. The Metropolitan bishops, Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulous Yazigi have been held since April 22, 2013. The nuns have been held since December, 2013.

Syria_MapReligiously motivated persecution of Christians has also occurred during the Syrian conflict. On Jan. 8, two Christians were ambushed by militants who shot at their vehicle as they were travelling outside of Homs. Fadi was killed, and upon seeing the cross he was wearing, he was decapitated. Firas was left for dead, but he was able to escape with his life.

VOM is helping to equip and encourage Christians who continue to work in Syria despite the dangers. In addition to providing material assistance to those Christians who have been impacted by the war, VOM also works with church partners in Syria to distribute New Testaments, Bibles and study Bibles.

Please join Christians around the world in praying for Syria. VOM has received reports that an increased number of Muslims have come to know Christ in the midst of the conflict. Ask God to continue to embolden Christians, empowering them to be courageous witnesses during this time.

Sources: Middle East Concern, U.N.

“Ann Kay” is a writer for VOM. She learned about VOM five years ago when she read Tortured for Christ and began receiving the newsletter. She is passionate about reaching the world for Christ and sharing stories of the persecuted church.


January 2, 2014

New Years Resolutions: Pray More

It's the time of year when many are planning and thinking about changes they want to make in their lives. Thousands of Americans...maybe even millions...will resolve to excercise more, to eat healthier food or some other change that they want to make in their lives.

On our Facebook page, we asked our friends if they would pray differently for persecuted Christians in 2014. Many said yes. Some said they would pray more faithfully. Others said they would pray with more knowlege and understanding. Some said they would pray for specific countries that they had not prayed for regularly in the past.

Prayer is the number one request of our persecuted brothers and sisters. It is the first thing they ask of VOM workers when we visit them. And their request is NOT that we'll pray that their suffering will stop and all the persecution will cease. Their request is that we pray that they will remain faithful in spite of the persecution they face.

What about you? Will you pray differently this year for persecuted Christians? More often? More passionately?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


December 23, 2013

Repost: MOVING TOWARD MUSLIMS: The Only Intercessor

Throughout 2013, "Anna" has written posts for the PersecutionBlog about friendship, culture, and Kingdom-living from her home in the Middle East. This Christmas week, as we celebrate a Savior who came to earth to save Muslims (and everyone else), we thought it might be good to review some of the lessons Anna has shared with us throughout the year. Friday we’ll have a brand-new post from Anna, her final post for 2013.

Kris kept a little notebook on hand. The Name Notebook. On her trip through several Muslim countries, she met dozens of people. At a salon, Kris took the names of the beauticians she met. From bathroom cleaners to teenagers sitting beside her in a coffee shop, if she got to know them personally, she asked their names and wrote them down in the Name Notebook. Why? To pray for them.

104-0447_IMG As believers, we have many people praying for us: perhaps Bible study leaders, parents, and friends from church. But most Muslims don’t have that privilege. If you know a Muslim by name, have you ever considered that you may be the only praying Christian in his life? Perhaps no one else but you is bringing him before our Father God, interceding for him in prayer.

If Jesus has made you right with God, you are particularly poised to intercede for Muslims in a powerful and effective way (James 5:16). Petition, prayer, intercession and praise in the name of Jesus draws on the authority of His Name as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Don’t know how to begin praying? Like Kris, you could record the name of any Muslim you meet and begin to pray for his salvation. Or, if you meet a Muslim, you could pray with him right then and there! First ask his permission then pray aloud a simple prayer of blessing upon him, his business, or his family. 

Or maybe your new friend has an immediate need, like Abdullah did. I met Abdullah on his way home to visit an ailing sister. After listening with concern, I asked for his sister’s name. Sara. “I will pray for Sara to be well.” I went on to explain, “Jesus the Messiah has power and authority to heal our bodies as well as our hearts.”

Perhaps you don’t know any Muslims personally? Then pray through the Middle East news, naming specific Muslim dignitaries, authors and artists. Or pray through VOM’s newsletter. As you come upon the name of a Muslim persecutor, or someone’s hostile family member, could you find it in your heart to pray for him? First repent of any hatred you might be harboring (Psalm 66:18) and then pray for his salvation.

I heard of a man who walks around a mosque in his city once a week, interceding for the Muslims who worship there. He prays for Jesus to reveal himself in an undeniable way in their lives. Quietly and simply, with no banners or megaphones, he asks the Lord for a harvest of souls among Muslims in his city.

There are many ways to go about praying for Muslims. You might even start a Name Notebook like Kris. However you pray, know a unique privilege is yours: you could be the first believer to truly intercede on a Muslim’s behalf.

Your turn: What creative ways have you discovered for intercession? Are there specific Muslim friends you pray for regularly? Please share in the comments.

"Anna" loves Jesus and wants to see Him cherished by her neighbors and people everywhere. Anna is a pseudonym, and all names in her posts are changed for security reasons.


December 13, 2013

Weekly Prayer Requests

How can you pray for persecuted Christians this week? Here are some specific requests for this week. (Feel free to print them out and take them with you to church this weekend to share with Christian friends and others who will pray with you.)

NIGERIA — Christians Displaced by Muslim Insurgents

VOM Sources

Between May and September of 2013, Boko Haram militants killed more than 60 people and caused 14,000 to flee their homes in the Gwoza community of Borno state, Nigeria. Three young Christian girls were kidnapped and abused by the group for three weeks during the same period. The militants also occupied, burned or destroyed many churches, schools and homes of Christians. The violence has forced about 6,500 Christians to seek shelter in area refugee camps, and another 5,000 have fled to the bordering country of Cameroon. VOM staff took the three girls who were abducted to the VOM-supported Stephen Center, a boarding school for victims of persecution in Nigeria, where they are recovering. Psalm 71:20–21 Prayer_requests

 

COLOMBIA — Pastor Killed for Refusing to Close Church

VOM Sources

Pastors in Colombia’s Putumayo province continue to face extreme pressure to close their churches or face execution by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). According to a VOM worker, the pastor of a Pentecostal church in Puerto Guzman, Putumayo, was recently killed for refusing to close his church. And the FARC told the pastor of the Christian Cross Church in Puerto Humbria, Putumayo, that they would kill him, too, if he didn’t close his church. John 14:19

 

IRAN — Church Leaders Released from Prison

Mohabat News

After 220 days in prison, Pastor Farhad Sabokrouh and another church minister, Naser Zamen-Dezfuli, were released on Dec. 4, 2013. On Dec. 23, 2011, Iranian authorities raided their Assemblies of God church service and arrested everyone in attendance, including children. Several hours later, the authorities released everyone but Pastor Sabokrouh; the pastor’s wife, Shahnaz Jayzan; Naser Zamen-Dezfuli; and another church member, Davoud Alijani. The four were later released on bail, but in October 2012 they were each sentenced to one year in prison for “converting to Christianity, inviting Muslims to convert and acting against state security through evangelistic activities.” The four were summoned to court on May 1, 2013, to begin serving their sentences. Davoud Alijani was sent to Karoon prison in Ahvaz, while the other three were transferred to Sepider Prison in Ahvaz. Davoud and Shahnaz remain in prison. 1 Peter 2:20–21

Image credit: PossAbilities Prayer Team


December 3, 2013

Pray for the Persecuted Church All Year Long

"Every time you kneel down and pray for Vietnam, you are working with us in Vietnam."

— Vietnamese pastor with more than 30 years of ministry experience

Prayer continues to be one of the main requests we receive from our persecuted brothers and sisters. Agreeing with them in prayer for their faithful witness for Christ in spite of the hardships and persecution they face brings us into fellowship with them. 2014calendar

“After going through what I went through, seeing other Christians go through suffering, having other Christians encourage me and pray for me, it all brought me closer to Christ.”

— Awuna Sunday, injured in a bomb attack at a Nigerian church

The Voice of the Martyrs’ 2014 Prayer Calendar is an excellent tool to help us remember our persecuted family in prayer each day throughout the year. Each day features a prayer request from one of the hostile or restricted nations where Christians face harassment and persecution for their faith.

The calendars also make an outstanding gift to help your Christian friends join with you in prayer for the persecuted church, and quantity discounts mean you can order multiple copies for less than $1.50 each. Give one to your pastor, to members of your Sunday School class and to other Christian friends.

Click here to order your 2014 VOM Prayer Calendar.


November 1, 2013

New Web Site encourages prayer for persecuted Christians

A new web site is live this week in conjunction with the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP), which churches around the world will commemorate this Sunday, November 3.

The site, www.iCommitToPray.com, invites Christians around the world to commit to pray for those persecuted because of their faith in Christ and to share their prayers with other believers.

“The first request of our persecuted family, when we go and visit them, is that we pray for them,” said Todd Nettleton, spokesperson for The Voice of the Martyrs, which developed and launched the new site. “iCommitToPray.com grew out of our desire to fulfill their request.”

The site will be updated with current prayer needs from hostile and restricted nations weekly so that Christians can remember to pray for the persecuted every week, not just one week in November.

“The idea for this site really grew out of activity we already saw on the VOM Facebook page,” Nettleton said. “We often post prayer requests, and we began to see people comment on the post and type in their prayers for those currently being persecuted. And others would be encouraged by that, and add their own prayer in the next comment, and so on. At times we could even print out those prayers and show them to the Christians in hostile and restricted nations, and they were incredibly blessed to see very tangibly that Christians around the world hadn’t forgotten them and were lifting them up in prayer. We want iCommitToPray.com to be a site dedicated to that kind of prayer and encouragement.”

Users who register on the site can post their written prayers, then invite friends to join with them in prayer through social media.

“What we envision for iCommitToPray.com is a great prayer meeting for persecuted Christians. But instead of gathering in a church, or someone’s living room, Christians will gather online to pray for the persecuted church,” said Nettleton.


October 14, 2013

Saudi Arabia: No Religious Freedom

This week offers a tremendous opportunity for prayer that those of the Muslim faith visiting Saudi Arabia encounter Christ.

Saudi-mapThis week, men and women from as many as 190 countries will make the journey to Islam’s holiest city in order to complete haj — a pilgrimage that all Muslims are expected to complete at least once in their lifetime if they are financially and physically able. As over two million Muslims converge on Mecca, Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage that started on Oct. 13 and ends Oct. 18 this year, pray they might have dreams that point them to Christ or that they even meet Christians as they travel to the kingdom to fulfill their religious duty.

Saudi Arabia is ranked as the second-most oppressive nation for Christians. Even foreigners visiting the country risk jail, expulsion, lashings, torture and even death for sharing their Christian faith with Muslims or even practicing it.

In this country that allows no religious freedom, men and women who have decided to follow Christ do so despite the great costs. Some must flee for their lives. In May 2013, a woman known only as “the girl of Khobar” fled the country after her father threatened to kill her because she had converted from Islam to Christianity. The woman’s family accused two of her male coworkers of brainwashing her and helping her flee the country. One, a Saudi, received 200 lashes and two years in prison for helping her flee. The other, a Lebanese Christian, was sentenced by authorities to 300 lashes and two years in prison for converting her.

Like the Lebanese man, Christian expatriates from other countries, particularly Eritrea, India and the Philippines, are often targeted by Saudi religious police and face severe punishment for proselytizing or even meeting together for private worship.  Mussie Eyob, a 33-year-old Eritrean Christian and a convert from Islam, was arrested in Feb. 2011 for preaching to Muslims and sentenced to death. Numerous groups, including The Voice of the Martyrs’ readers, prayed and contacted authorities, and instead of death, Eyob was deported back to Eritrea in Nov. 2011.

On Jan. 21, 2011, just prior to Eyob’s arrest, Indian Christians were targeted by religious authorities who raided their prayer meeting. Four escaped, but Vasantha Sekhar Vara, 28, and Yohan Nese, 31, spent 45 days in prison and were subject to beatings and harsh conditions in the overcrowded prison. When pressured to convert to Islam, both men remained committed to Christ. Vasantha told his pastor, “If I have to die for my God, I will die for him here.”  Released and deported to India in July 2011, the two are examples of what Christians often face in Saudi Arabia. Their house church is still in danger of being discovered by religious police.

YOUR TURN: How will you pray for Christians and Muslims in Saudi Arabia during this week of heightened spiritual significance?  

Sources: VOM sources, Reuters

Ann Kay is a writer for VOM. She learned about VOM five years ago when she read Tortured for Christ and began receiving the newsletter. She is passionate about reaching the world for Christ and sharing stories of the persecuted church.