Every week we highlight a few very vital prayer requests that we have been focusing on this week. Today, I invite you to join in praying with us for the following three vital requests we've picked out for you. Please share these with your family, Sunday School class, pastor, bible study and home fellowships.
Hebrews 13:18 - Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.
CHINA -- Government Plans Increased Regulation of Christian Worship -- VOM Sources, China Daily Newspaper
The Chinese government is planning to tighten regulations on Christian worship this year, according to a report in an English-language newspaper in China. China's State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) has announced that it will "guide Protestants worshiping at unregistered churches into worshiping at government-sanctioned ones." A VOM source in China confirmed that during a detention in 2010, police told him they would stop being "nice" in 2011. The newspaper report also stated that "SARA will strengthen regulation of foreign nationals' group religious activities in China and resist foreign infiltration under the pretext of religion." This new policy could mean increased persecution of Christians in China, especially those who worship in unregistered churches. Christians faced similar pressure from the government before the 2008 Olympics, when Christians were detained, forced from their homes and put under house arrest. Pray that Chinese Christians are spiritually prepared for this fresh wave of persecution and that it will not intimidate new believers.
ETHIOPIA -- Muslims Warn Christians to Convert, Leave or Die -- VOM Canada
Muslims in the city of Besheno posted notices on the doors of Christians' homes warning them to convert to Islam, leave the city or face death. Three Christian leaders were forced to flee the city and two Christians were forced to convert to Islam. Other Christians have been harassed and physically abused since the notices were posted. The Christian community in Besheno consists of only about 30 believers, and Christians there have been targeted by Muslims for many years. Evangelist Kassa Awano remains in critical condition after Muslims attacked him on Nov. 29, 2010. A few days after the attack, nearly 100 Muslims surrounded a vehicle carrying Christian leaders who were on their way to negotiate for peace with Muslim leaders. Two men, Tesema Hirego and Niggusie Denano, were seriously wounded in the attack, and the other Christian leaders suffered minor injuries. On Jan. 2, Muslims assaulted Temesgen Peteros with a knife after he testified against the Muslim attackers in court. Pray that God will enable Christians in Besheno to share the gospel boldly and lovingly. Pray that their persecutors will come to know Christ's love through the lives of the Christians.
1 Timothy 4:10
INDONESIA -- Mob Attacks Churches Over Court Decision -- Release International
A Muslim mob in Temanggung, Indonesia, attacked three churches last week after a Christian convicted of blasphemy received a sentence they thought was too lenient. About 1,500 Muslims threw stones at police and chanted "kill, kill" as they broke courthouse windows and burned vehicles. The rioters then targeted several churches in the area. The Indonesia Bethel Church, two kilometers from the courthouse, was badly burned, damaging part of a kindergarten on the property and six motorbikes. The Temanggung Pentecost Church was also burned as the mob chanted "burn, burn!" The Church of St. Peter and Paul was vandalized, and its leader, Pastor Saldhana, was badly beaten, according to Release International. Release also reported that a church-run orphanage and medical center were destroyed in the violence. Pray for the congregations and Christian workers affected by the violence, and pray that peace will be restored in Temanggung, Central Java.