Wednesday, September 29, 2021

. . . for states where Christians are persecuted and/or religious liberty is threatened.

By Elizabeth Kendal 

In 1960, the Church was predominantly white, Western and middle class. 

Most Christians lived in majority-Christian states with secular governments, rule of law, and Judeo-Christian foundations. These were safe environments, where Christians generally represented the mainstream of culture. 

Today, due to the phenomenal efforts of Christian missionaries and indigenous believers throughout the developing world, the Church is predominantly (around 80 percent) coloured, non-Western and poor. 

Consequently today, hundreds of millions of believers live as vulnerable, counter-cultural Christian minorities amidst Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist and animist majorities and/or under totalitarian regimes. 

In such environments, Biblical truth and Christian witness is routinely deemed divisive, offensive, a threat to social cohesion, and even a risk to national security! 

This is despite the fact that as followers of Jesus, Christians work tirelessly to extend health care and education, food and shelter, justice and human rights all society's 'harassed and helpless' (Matthew 9:35-38).

In many developing countries -- many of which are known for their internal conflicts, appalling human rights abuses, and lack of religious freedom -- followers of Jesus are viewed as an intolerable problem to be either controlled or eliminated. 

The times in which we live are times of escalating persecution.  Anti-Christian hostility is on the rise globally, including in the West which is rejecting its own cultural foundations and values thereby forcing Christians to become counter-cultural. 

Ultimately however, the LORD will be exalted and glorified as the Holy Spirit works in and through the Church that Jesus Christ is building . . . not by might, not by power, but by the Spirit of the LORD of hosts (Zechariah 4:6); I [Jesus] will build my Church, and the gates of hell hall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

Remember: "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood . . . With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." (from Ephesians 6:11-18)

"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds." (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

So may "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Click here for other helpful material, including A Prayer for the Persecuted, which was especially written to be used by small groups and in church worship services. 

For more details on any specific country, search the labels/archives of Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin.

Father, we pray for . . .

one of the most war-ravaged and desperately needy countries in the world.
•  May Taliban rule only serve to convince Afghans of the falsehood and moral poverty of fundamentalist Islam; may the LORD redeem the situation to bring about an awakening that leads Afghans to seek and find the One who truly is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). 
 "And God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light." (Gen 1:3)
•  May God intervene to bring about the demise of the Taliban, al-Qaeda,  Islamic State Khorason Province (ISKP), and all who seek to exploit, repress and plunder the people of Afghanistan.
•  May the Lord protect, sustain, comfort and build his Afghan Church -- may the gates of hell not prevail against her (Matthew 16:18). May Jehovah jireh (God our provider) provide Afghan believers with their every need -- whether they be inside Afghanistan or scattered throughout the Afghan Diaspora.
•  May God continue to bless the imperiled, long-underground Afghan church with great growth. 
•  May the Lord intervene in Afghanistan to bring peace and freedom.

where the government's tenuous peace with Islamic fundamentalists depends in part on its willingness to restrict and repress Christianity.
•    May the largely young, mostly Berber Church continue to grow in faith, grace and numbers. trusting in the LORD in all circumstances.
•  May al-Qaeda and Islamic State not get a foothold in Algeria.
•  May the Lord intervene in Algeria to bring about religious liberty.
•  Pray for President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

an authoritarian Turkic Muslim state where fundamentalist Islam is on the rise, as is a very toxic Armenophobia. Belligerent, oil-rich, and home to some very strategic oil and gas pipelines, Azerbaijan routinely threatens the region's Christian Armenians, especially the Artsakh Armenians - a remnant of which remains in Azerbaijan's Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. 
•   May the Lord give grace to the authorities, that they may distinguish between good and bad, blessing and threat; so that the church need not be swept up in anti-terror measures that target 'non-traditional' and 'foreign' religion.
•   May God intervene for the remnant Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh so they might have security, liberty, hope and a future.
•   May the church grow in faith, wisdom and numbers.
•   Pray for President Ilham Aliyev.
•   Pray for the president of neighbouring Armenia, President  Nikol Pashinyan.
•   Pray for Nagorno-Karabakh leader, President  Arayik Harutyunyan.

as the nation's secular roots are eroded, along with liberty and rule of law.
•    May Bangladeshis reject intolerant fundamentalist Islam; may Islamic State (IS) not get a foothold.
•    May Bangladesh's persecuted Christian minority not lose hope. May they endure their trials and hardships as shining lights, with wisdom and grace.
•    May the Lord bless his precious Church, be her shield and defender, and add to her number.
•    May the Lord of hosts protect Christian pastors, aid workers and missionaries from attacks and assassination by Islamic militants claiming allegiance to IS.
•    Pray for the Christian and other non-Muslim, non-Bengali Pharsis (indigenous hills tribes) of the Chittagong Hills Tracts (CHT) -- for they are victims of state-sanctioned colonisation, Islamisation, military violence and other gross human rights abuses. May the Lord intervene for them.
•    May the Lord intervene to stop the predatory mass migration (colonisation) of Bengali Muslims into the CHT.
•    Pray for Prime Minister (Ms) Sheikh Hasina.

a dictatorial state where religious freedom is tenuous.
•   May the Church grow in faith, wisdom,  grace and unity in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:3) across denominational lines, ready for the future.
•    Pray for President Alexander Lukashenka.
a Buddhist kingdom on the eastern edge of the Himalayas.
•  May the king and the parliament have the courage and conviction to pursue genuine liberty without fear.
•  May the people grow in confidence that openness and liberty need not spell the end of that which is precious, good and beautiful in their culture.
May Bhuddist nationalism not get a foothold.
 •  May the local church have wisdom, sensitivity and grace in all things as they face a resurgence of hostile, popularist Buddhist nationalism.
•  May the Lord build his Church in Bhutan.
•  Pray for young, reformist King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (40).

a restive and divided state with lingering, simmering tensions.
•   May Bosnian Muslims reject the intolerant, fundamentalist and imperialistic Islam that threatens liberty and peace.
•   May true reconciliation emerge out of truth and repentance.
•   May the Church be a shining example of love and unity in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:3) across denominational and ethnic lines, for the sake of the Gospel of grace which is Bosnia's only hope.
•   Pray for Presidents Šefik Džaferović  [Bosnian (Muslim)], Željko Komšić [Croat; (Catholic)] and Milorad Dodik  [Serb (Orthodox)].

a diverse, needy, majority Muslim (60 percent) state with a tradition of openness, tolerance and religious harmony; there is a growing church.
In February 2022, elected president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré (a Catholic) was ousted in a military coup after soldiers mutinied over lack of support adn resources.
•   May the Lord protect Burkina Faso -- especially its churches, pastors, aid workers and missionaries -- from Islamic militants most of whom are associated with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
•   May Australian doctor Ken Elliot (82), kidnapped by AQIM fighters on 16 January 2016, be delivered alive and well to be reunited with his family and other loved ones. He is currently being held in Mali with other hostages; their situation is dire.
•   Pray for Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who has been inaugurated as Burkina Faso’s president; pray in particular for wisdom he tackles the growing Islamic jihadist terrorist threat.

BURMA (Myanmar)
a restive, multi-ethnic state dominated by a central Burman Bhuddist regime.
On 1 February 2021, the Burmese military (Tatmadaw) seized power in a military coup d'etat and declared a 12 month state of emergency.
•   May the Lord bless the Church with great wisdom as she navigates a very challenging environment involving military violence and new anti-conversion laws designed to "protect" Buddhism.
•   May there be an end to the racial (ethnic Burman) and religious (Buddhist) supremacy that is at the root of Burma's multiple internal military conflicts. May peace and religious freedom be realised.
•    May the Lord sustain his long-suffering, persecuted church and intervene on behalf of Burma's long-persecuted ethnic minority Christian peoples.
•   May the Lord intervene to stop the flow of soul-destroying drugs into Burma's ethnic minority region.
•   May the Lord intervene in Wa region to bring an end to the escalating repression and persecution of the Church at the hands of the China-backed United Wa State Army.
•   Pray for ousted leaders President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
•   Pray for the ‘Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw [Assembly of the Union: i.e. parliament]’ (CRPH) special its envoy to the United Nations, Dr Sasa, an inspirational, highly regarded ethnic Chin and Christian. 
•   May the Lord bring peace, justice and liberty to Burma.

a poor and conflit-wracked French-speaking, mostly Christian (76%) country that since March 2013 has been divided between a government-controlled south and an Islamic militant-occupied north. 
•   May God sustain and preserve his Church in face of gross insecurity and unrelenting violence.
•   May all foreign jihadists be driven from CAR and may all evil foreign plots be exposed and countered.
•   May CAR's Christians put their faith in the LORD as they care for the displaced and grieving, and as they navigate a very challenging and dangerous environment.
•   May the Lord give CAR's church leaders great wisdom as they lead the way in peacemaking, reconciliation and international advocacy. Pray especially for internationally recognised peace-makers Catholic Archbishop of Bangui, Mgr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga; the President of the Islamic Council, Imam Oumar Kobine Layama; and the President of the Evangelical Alliance, Pastor Nicolas Guérékoyaméné-Gbangou.
•   Pray for President Faustin-Archange Touadéra and Prime Minister Henri-Marie Dondra.

CENTRAL ASIA (general) -- the majority-Muslim, former Soviet Republics of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan -- where authoritarian regimes are resisting openness, repressing Christianity and struggling against revolutionary and jihadist Islam.
•    May the Lord grace Central Asian leaders with a commitment to religious liberty and with discernment in matters of national security.
•    May the Lord bless and comfort believers who have been imprisoned, fined or beaten for their worship or witness.
•    May the Lord build and fortify his Church in Central Asia, supply her needs and add to her number.
[For more on Uzbekistan, see below: 'Uzbekistan'.]

a most strategic nation, politically, economically, militarily and spiritually!
•   May China's leaders heed the call for religious freedom so that China's Christians might worship freely without fear or danger; so that Bibles and theological studies may be accessible to all who desire them; and so China's evangelists may witness freely and safely across the nation and throughout the world.
•   May the Church may continue to grow in grace and number in spite of escalating oppression and hardship. May the Lord raise up more pastors, evangelists and apologists to meet the enormous demand (Matthew 9:37-38).
•   May the Lord be a shield and fortress to those courageous believers who witness for Christ, gather to worship, homeschool their children, and pray for their nation despite the threat of  beatings and imprisonment and severe hardship.
•   Bless China's imprisoned believers -- mostly pastors and Christian lawyers. May the Lord heal their physical and emotional wounds, and may the ever-present Holy Spirit comfort, counsel and uplift their hearts -- for the glory of the God.
•   Pray for President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang

a divided nation where peace is tenuous.
•    May grace be granted to this profoundly divided, formerly Christian-dominated nation that has suffered betrayal and Islamic violence by rebels backed by former colonial power France.
•    May the Church look to the Lord for the healing of the nation.  'I am the Lord your healer.' (Exodus 15:26)
•    May increased security pave the way for increased witness and church growth. Father, send out workers into your harvest field (Matthew 9:38).
•   Pray for President Alassane Ouattara (a Muslim from the north), who was re-elected in Oct 2020 for a controversial third term.

a socialist dictatorship where persecution has escalated markedly since February 2019 when Christians come out in force to advocate for Biblical values and the government responded by labeling them 'counter-revolutionaries'. 
•    pray for Cuba's imprisoned and persecuted Christians, including home-schoolers, journalists and pastors.
•    Pray for President Miguel Diaz-Canel, the President and First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.

a nation transformed by amazing revivals in the 20th century, but now suffering from endless conflict on account of greed, corruption and syncretism (nominal Christianity blended with occultism).
•    May God protect the Christians of the north-east against the new threat posed by Islamic State (IS-DRC).
•    May the Lord sustain his Church as she seeks to serve and heal. May the LORD be a shield and fortress to every mission station; may he protect his children from the appalling violence of armed militias, jihadists and occultists.
•    May D.R.Congo know revival again, and may the power of the evil one be broken.
•    Pray for DRC President Félix Tshisekedi, and Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde.

a land known for its Pharaohs, pyramids and slavery; a land known for its Coptic (Egyptian) Christianity; a land invaded by Arab Muslim in the 7th C; a land of promise (Isaiah 19).
•    May more and more Egyptians awaken to the reality that Islam is not the solution to corruption, violence, immorality and economic malaise, and that fundamentalist Islam leads only to increased repression, regression and strife.
•    May Egyptians seek and find the truth that will set them free and bring justice, healing and blessing to their land.
•    May the Lord be a shield and fortress to the long-suffering, persecuted Copts (Egypt's indigenous Christians -- the true descendants of the Pharaohs).
•    May attempts to incite Islamic jihad against the Copts fail.
•    May Coptic and Arab believers lean on the LORD for wisdom, strength, protection and comfort. May they hold on to the promise of Isaiah 19:16-25 and never lose hope. May they resist the temptation to put their trust in earthly 'saviours'. May they instead, in faithfulness and trust, fix their eyes upon Jesus Christ their healer and Saviour, and trust in the God who has said: "Blessed be Egypt my people."
•    Pray for President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
•    Pray for grace and wisdom for the head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II.

a violently repressive nation of human rights abuses, secret prisons and torture where around 160 Christians are imprisoned because of their faith.
•    May the Lord sanctify his Church and redeem her suffering. May she grown in faith, grace and unity in the Holy Spirit across denominational lines to emerge from these years of trial refined and glorious.
•    May the Lord intervene for the sake of his people. May he liberate Eritreans by miracles from his own hand (Isaiah 59:14-19).
•    May peace with Ethiopia pave the way for real reform in Eritrea.
•    Pray for President Isaias Afewerki.

an immensely strategic nation -- often referred to an island of Christianity in a Sea of Islam -- a land of amazing history, blighted by political and ethnic troubles.
•    May the government be graced with divine wisdom and courage as it pursues justice, reconciliation and transformation.
•    May justice and rule of law prevail; and may those plotting evil and division be thwarted.
•    May religious liberty be advanced and may the Church be united across ethnic and denominational lines, particularly for the purpose of mission and prayer.
•    Pray for Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali (44) and thank the Lord for him (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2019). An ethnic Oromo, Dr Abiy is a security expert with a PhD (2017) in conflict management.  He is also a Protestant Christian, convert from Islam. May the Lord keep Dr Abiy and his family safe (he has already survived one assassination attempt). May the Lord walk with him, keep him humble, and use him for his glory. May Dr Abiy's vision of a strong and united Ethiopia become a reality -- for the glory of God. 
EUROPE (general)
For decades now, western Europe has been rejecting Christianity while appeasing, advancing and even embracing both cultural Marxism and Islam. Is God judging Europe by giving them exactly what they want -- in "flood" proportions? (cf Isaiah 8:5-8)
Please pray:
•    that Europeans will remember the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:11-20) and "return", so that the battle might be turned back at the gate (Isaiah 28:5-6).
•    that the Lord will grace Europe with a fresh outpouring of his Holy Spirit for awakening, revival and reformation. May Europe's Christians look to the LORD for peace and the transformation of society.

where the Hindu concepts of caste and karma ensure India remains one of the world's most cruel and unequal societies; while the rise of Hindu nationalism -- which exploits religion for political gain and establishes religious apartheid -- ensures India is rapidly becoming one of the most dangerous places in the world for Christians. [Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) is a fascist ideology which insists that India is the homeland and holy-land of the Hindu race. Christians are not permitted to witness, and are expected to "return" to Hinduism. Those who refuse are treated as traitors and a treat to social cohesion and national security.]
•    May God intervene so that Indians will reject Hindu nationalism (Hindutva) and religious apartheid. May the hindutva agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP -- which also rules over many states -- be thwarted, paralysed, hamstrung and turned on its head. May the Lord redeem everything for HIS good purpose. (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).
•    May the God who breaks through (2 Samuel 5:17-21) break through the bulwarks of pride and privilege that make India's upper castes seemingly impenetrable -- especially the high caste Brahmins (priestly caste) who see egalitarian Christianity as a threat to their inherited power and privilege.
•   May the  Lord grant Christian leaders great wisdom as they advocate for religious liberty, equality and security, and as they navigate Hindu nationalist policies including anti-conversion laws and seek protection from Hindutva violence, forced conversions and impunity. Lord, protect the courageous pastors and evangelists who risk life and liberty to witness and lead worship and prayer, and to baptise new believers in this hostile, incendiary environment.
•    May the Lord sanctify his precious Church, ridding her of any ingrained racism and caste discrimination. May he bless every courageous act of witness, for the glory of the LORD in India.
•    May the Lord sustain, protect and bless his church in Indian-administered Kashmir where a wave of Islamic persecution has hurt the church and forced many Christians to flee. May he grace the Church with boldness along with great wisdom in an increasingly dangerous environment. May all Gospel witness be blessed and effective.
•    Pray for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (a proud Hindu nationalist).

the world's most populous Muslim nation, home to 225 million Muslims.
•    May Indonesians profoundly and loudly reject intolerant, fundamentalist Islam. May religious liberty be preserved, treasured and advanced. May the Lord  frustrate the ways of the wicked (Psalm 146:9) and protect his churches, pastors, evangelists and worshippers during these days of Islamic radicalisation and terrorist threat. May the Lord sustain and sanctify his Church. May she shine as a beacon with a message of hope for millions of disillusioned, still wonderfully open Indonesian Muslims.
•    May God our Father intervene in the Papuan Provinces (formerly Irian Jaya / West New Guinea), so the slow, systematic genocide of the Christian Melanesian Papuan people might cease.
•   May the Lord clear the way for the Papuan Church to blossom in security and liberty, in all grace. May he sustain and protect those courageous Papuan voices, including many church leaders, who risk much to speak out for justice, righteousness and liberty.
Bless and comfort your people O Lord; may they not lose hope. May they look to the LORD of hosts for deliverance from Indonesian military tyranny and racial-religious hatred.  
•    May the Lord protect, preserve, comfort and encourage the severely persecuted Christians of Aceh province, the only province under Sharia law.
•    Pray for President Joko Widodo (Jokowi): may the Lord give him wisdom and courage and use him for his divine purpose. May the opposition - the Suharto-era political elite, who hold a majority in parliament - not be permitted to thwart much needed and wanted reforms.

a most strategic nation, rich in history and culture, now captive to revolutionary Islam and a belligerent theocracy.
•    May the Almighty Sovereign God intervene in Iran for the sake of his precious church which is growing and eager to share the message of salvation, healing, freedom and transformation with those who are hungry for truth and brimming with potential.
•    May the Lord sustain and preserve his persecuted and threatened church, adding to their number daily those who are being saved.
•    May the Lord protect and bless Iran's pastors and evangelists, her numerous Christian prisoners and her new believers (apostates) for whom life is tenuous.
•    May the Lord protect, preserve and deliver those imprisoned, often in life-threatening conditions, on account of their faith and witness. May they know the loving presence of the Lord. 'But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.' (Psalm 3:3)
•     May our gracious Lord continue to bless the Iranian church in the diaspora with great growth and maturity. May she stand as a witness to the whole world, that Jesus Christ is Lord -- that he is merciful, gracious, faithful, powerful and absolutely wonderful.
•    May God continue the amazing and exciting work he is doing among Persians. The spiritual battle is heating up and persecution is intensifying. Please Pray!
•    Pray for Ayatollah Ali Khameni, who is terminally ill.
•    Pray for President Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline Islamist.

where the indigenous Assyrian nation is struggling to survive. Numbering 1.4 million in the 1980s, a mere remnant of some 200,000 remains -- virtually all of whom are traumatised, destitute and displaced in Nineveh and Iraqi Kurdistan.  Lord have mercy!
•    May the Lord sustain and protect pastors and believers from Islamist attack and lawless violence. May he comfort his people and anoint the Church with strength, grace and wisdom from the Holy Spirit, so she may endure and be "salt" and "light" to those around her.
•    May God bless all those who are aiding and assisting the traumatised Church including local Christians who are carrying the bulk of the burden, and donors around the world who are giving generously to help those churches cover the cost of food, clothing and shelter. May the Lord bless those local Muslims who have put aside religious differences to aid those in need.
•    May the Lord be mightily at work in and through his people in the midst of the Kurds, inspite of rising Kurdish nationalism and the threat it poses.
•    May the Lord protect and preserve the Nineveh Plains and all Assyrian lands from predatory land grabbing by Shi'ite Shabaks (Baghdad's and Tehran's proxies) and Kurdish nationalists eager to colonise and then annex the Nineveh Plains into a future Kurdish state. May their plots not succeed!
•    May the displaced and traumatised Assyrian Christians hold on to faith and not lose hope. May they remember the promise of Isaiah 19:23-25, and that the nation, Assyria, will be "a blessing in the midst of the earth" -- and the work of HIS hands.
•    Pray for peace and justice in Northern Iraq.
•    Pray for the President of Iraqi Kurdistan, Nechirvan Barzani.
•    Pray for Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

a restive state with simmering tensions that could erupt and hurt the Church at any time.
•    May the Lord our God, guard, preserve and sustain his Church so she might grow in faith and unity in the Holy Spirit across ethnic and denominational lines. May she lean on the Lord and trust in the Lord through these days of uncertainty.
•    Pray for Jordan's King Abdullah.

where religious liberty is in decline and Soviet methods of social control -- such as forced psychiatric treatment -- are making a comeback.
•    May God intervene in Kazakhstan to reverse its slide into darkness. May Kazakhstan's citizens be awakened to reject and protest this shameful and dangerous regression. May the Holy Spirit bless all gospel witness with effectual transforming power.
•    Pray for President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

where Christians are being targeted for violence (mostly in the east), as intolerant fundamentalist Islam grows and spreads and as al-Shabaab jihadists enact revenge for Kenyan military counter-terror operations in Somalia.
•    May the Lord be a shield around every church and a fortress to every believer. May he grace the government with clarity and conviction to uphold religious liberty and rule of law. May the God of all grace awaken Muslims to the Light of Life, and frustrate the way of the wicked (Psalm 146:9b).
•    Pray for wisdom and strength for President Uhuru Kenyatta.

where many decades of pro-Albanian, anti-Serb policies – initially under the Turks, later under Tito, and eventually under the US and NATO – have resulted in this province (the historic heartland of the Serbian nation and Serbian Orthodox Church) being colonised and dominated by Albanian Muslims and illegally separated from Serbia.
•    May the Lord comfort Kosovo's remnant Serbian church. May the mostly Protestant Albanian church reach out to her, demonstrating love in pursuit of reconciliation and unity across ethnic and denominational lines, for the future of Kosovo and the glory of God.
•    May the Lord intervene for Kosovo's remnant Serbs: may security, and human and cultural rights be improved and protected.
•    Pray for Prime Minister Albin Kurti.

a poor, land-locked country, ruled by a Communist regime which deems Christianity a "foreign [Western] religion" and a threat to national security (i.e. Communist control) and social cohesion.
•    May the Lord intervene in Laos to end cruelty and tyranny and bring justice and liberty.
•    May God our Father sustain and protect his sorely persecuted church. May he bless those who have been dispossessed, beaten, imprisoned and tortured on account of his name; may he comfort them and supply their every need. May the Lord bless their witness and build his Church.
•    Pray for President Thongloun Sisoulith.

which has been heavily infiltrated by Sunni militants from Islamic State (IS) and al-Nusra (al-Qaeda) who, along with Iranian proxy Hezbollah (Shia), are a threat to the peace of this fragile, multi-confessional state.
•    May the Lord grace Lebanon's leaders with cool heads, wisdom, discernment, and integrity, especially as they facilitate the return of Syrian refugees.
•    May Christian leaders have divine wisdom to lead the Church in the way of the LORD. May they look to you and trust in you amidst insecurity and threat.
•    May God our Father protect, sustain and unify his precious people in what is increasingly becoming a failed state.
•    Pray for Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and President Michel Aoun.

which is now a failed sate where conflict, radicalisation and Islamic intolerance are threatening the church's very existence.
•    May the various jihadist factions fighting and causing chaos in Libya be wracked with confusion and infighting until they wear themselves out! May some of the fighters grow weary of fighting and seek a better way.
•    May the church have wisdom and courage as she just seeks to survive and witness. May the Holy Spirit bless all witness and may Christ build his Church in Libya.

a melting-pot of Asian cultures where harmony is sometimes tested by racial and religious tensions.
•    May the Lord intervene in Malaysia so that Malaysian Muslims might reject the intolerant fundamentalist Islam that threatens peace. May Malaysians reject politicians who play the Islam card for political gain, adding fuel to the fires of religious intolerance.
•    May the Lord bless the Malaysian church; may there be unity in the Holy Spirit across racial and denominational lines. May the Church shine as an example of the harmony that is achievable through Jesus Christ. May the Spirit of God bless church leaders with wisdom as they face the effects of advancing Islamisation.
•    May the Lord give all Malaysia's Christian leaders divine wisdom to navigate the sensitive language issue and the ban that prevents Christians using the word 'Allah' (the Malay word for 'God') - a ban that effectively renders Malay-language Bibles illegal. Lord help them!
•    Pray for Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

where a glorious tropical island setting hides a cruel, repressive, Islamist reality.
•    May the Lord stir an awakening among Maldivian Muslims and magnify reformist voices. May Maldivians profoundly reject intolerant fundamentalist Islam.
•    May our gracious and compassionate God shield the long-suffering and imperiled Maldivian Church. May he bless and comfort them and supply all their needs while adding to their number.
•    Pray for President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

a vast land-locked and poor Muslim country with a relatively free society in the more fertile south, but jihadist sanctuaries dotting the northern desert.
•    May issues of poor governance  be rectified and legitimate Tuareg grievances be addressed so the pattern of recurring unrest might end.
•    May the Lord bless churches and ministries with fruit for their labour as they seek to spread the good news of the Gospel through a desperately needy nation.
•    May the Christians held hostage by Islamic jihadists be delivered alive and well.
•  Pray for Interim President Assimi Goïta.

Constitutionally a secular state with religious freedom guaranteed. However, 
many indigenous peoples practice 'Traditional Catholicism', that is, a Catholic-pagan syncretistic religion in which Aztec and Mayan sacrifices are made to images of Jesus and Catholic saints behind which are 'a whole pantheon of ancient Mayan gods'. 
'Traditional Catholics' retain the animist belief that the gods/spirits must be kept appeased and that failure to offer sacrifice will result in disaster such as illness, crop failure etc. Consequently, Protestant Christians who refuse to sacrifice are routinely persecuted, boycotted and expelled from these communities.
•    May the Lord intervene in Mexico to ensure that all Mexicans may enjoy their constitutional right to religious freedom in peace and security.
•    Pray for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
MIDDLE EAST (general)
which is awash with intolerant fundamentalist Islam and wracked with insecurity and repression.
•    May the Lord bless the Christian ministries that witness in this region -- especially gospel radio and satellite TV ministries. May he provide all their needs so the gospel can continue to infiltrate this repressed, largely closed, chaotic and dangerous region.
•    May Muslims across the region be awaken to their need of a Saviour who can not only forgive sin, but radically transform the individual and society.
•    May the Lord sustain and preserve his vulnerable, threatened Church in this the birthplace of the Church. May Jews and Muslims be added the the Church daily as they are being saved. May the Lord bless, comfort and encourage his people – may they never lose hope.
•    May our Sovereign God forge unity in the Church: may historical and political grievances be forgiven for the sake of solidarity, brotherly love and unity in Christ Jesus (John 17:21). May Jesus Christ be praised all across the Middle East and may peace reign for the glory of God.

an Islamic kingdom with a reasonable degree of openness and liberty, but which is witnessing the rise of intolerant, demanding, fundamentalist Islam.
•    May God intervene in Morocco so that openness, tolerance and progress not be thwarted by advances in fundamentalist and political Islam.
•    May the Lord grace King Mohammed VI -- the driving force behind reforms -- with discernment and conviction, that he might be an instrument in the hand of God to do good for all Moroccans. May Islamists not be permitted to set the agenda and may religious freedom be observed in practice.
•    May the Lord bless the Church with wisdom and strength for endurance, adding to her number daily.
•    Pray for King Mohammed VI; and for Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch.

an East African nation with deep divisions, the legacy of many decades of civil conflict. The country is 60 percent Christian, with Muslims (19 percent) comprising a majority only in the northern-most coast province of Cabo Delgado. Since October 2017, the government has been fighting Islamic insurgents. Terrorism escalated markedly after the group linked up with and pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
•    May the Lord grace President Filipe Nyusi and his government with all the humility, wisdom, insight and fortitude they will need to address the legitimate grievances of the northern Muslims, and defeat the Islamic State insurgents who pose a threat to the wider region. 
•    May our sovereign God intervene in Mozambique to protect, sustain and grow his Church and preserve religious liberty; may every wicked plot aimed at shattering peace, shredding security and dividing communities be thwarted.
•    Pray for President Filipe Nyusi - that he may he be true to his promise to govern for "all Mozambicans".

a Himalayan former Hindu kingdom which, after a decade of openness, liberty and phenomenal Church growth, now has a new constitution (passed 2015) which enshrines 'secularism'  but appeases Hindu nationalists by also enshrining anti-conversion laws.
•    May the Lord grant  the Church wisdom and courage as she navigates the changed and now dangerous environment.
•    May the Lord bless and sustain the Church as she serves the nation in the name of Jesus.
•    Pray for President (Ms) Bidhya Devi Bhandari, and Prime Minister (Mr) Sher Bahadur Deuba.

a poor, land-locked country which, despite being 97% Muslim, is also proudly secular. Having been infiltrated by Boko Haram and other radical Islamists, Niger experienced its first major Islamic anti-Christian pogrom in January 2015 -- leaving the Christian community devastated. Praise God that the violence was loudly and widely condemned.
•   May the Lord preserve and bless his precious Church; may the believers draw near to the Lord for grace and strength.
•    May the Lord open the eyes and soften the hearts of Niger's Muslims so they might be open to receive the Gospel.
•    Pray for President Mohamed Bazoum.

a strategic country, with a Muslim north, a Christian south, a volatile 'Middle Belt' and a dynamic, witnessing Church. There is a Christian Crisis in the North and Middle Belt where violence against Christians is escalating; the country seems to be teetering on the brink of civil war.
•    May the LORD burst through against Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Fulani Muslim aggression, Islamic imperialism and racial-religious hatreds. May jihad and intolerant fundamentalist Islam be rejected.
•    May the Lord intervene to sustain and ultimately liberate all the women and children being held captive or as slaves of Boko Haram.
•    May the Lord generously anoint Nigeria's pastors, evangelists and lawmakers with the Holy Spirit of power to lead many to Christ, especially in the troubled Muslim north where Christians are severely persecuted and threatened. In this land of immense spiritual warfare, may the Lord raise up more workers and send them out into the harvest field.
•    May the Lord bless the churches and Bible colleges, as well as all courageous believers who continue to witness and worship despite threats of violence and terrorism. May the Lord be their shield and fortress. May he frustrate the ways of the wicked; may their evil plots come to nothing! May the Lord be praised throughout all Nigeria!
•    May the Lord intervene to prevent the further Islamisation of Nigeria.
•    May the Lord intervene to keep the peace, especially as Nigeria emerges from the massively rigged elections of February-March 2019.
•    Pray for President Muhammadu Buhari.

a dynastic dictatorship.
•    May God intervene to bring justice and liberty to this land of severe oppression and unspeakable suffering. May cruelty, hunger and totalitarianism come to an end; may the prisoners be released; may the nation open up; may the King of Glory come in (Psalm 24).
•    May the Sovereign Almighty God reverse the fortunes of North Korea.
•    May Pyongyang  once again be a city where the Lord is worshipped and praised. And may deliverance come quickly (Psalm 31:2).
•    Pray for leader Kim Jong-un.
•    Pray also for South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
•    May all efforts to bring peace to the Korea Peninsula and liberty to the north be blessed.

an Islamic state and one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian.
•   May God give the Pakistani government the strength and resolve it needs to pursue justice and security for all Pakistanis regardless of religion.
•    May the Lord awaken Pakistani Muslims to the reality that intolerant Islam brings nothing but conflict, repression and pain, while inhibiting growth and development. May those who have hated and persecuted Christians without cause be ashamed. May Pakistan experience a miraculous reversal of fortunes.
•    May neither the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) nor Islamic State not get a foothold in Pakistan.
•    May the Lord, bless, sustain, protect and comfort Pakistan's sorely persecuted and gravely imperilled Church.
•    Pray for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

a mostly Catholic country with a Muslim south, much poverty and troubling lawlessness.
•    May the Lord bless those who risk much to witness and serve among the Muslims of the south, especially those within the Bangsamoro autonomous region; may their sacrificial labours not be in vain.
•    May the Lord grant all Christian leaders and pastors great wisdom and fortitude as they assist those suffer due to natural disaster, crippling poverty or extra-judicial killings.
•    Pray for President President Duterte.

an enormous, multi-ethnic country with a long history and dynamic culture.
•    May God graciously restore the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25) by bringing revival and reformation to the Russian Church. May the Lord embolden and fortify the church for mission and spiritual warfare.
•    May the Russian Church be free of corruption and missional in outlook. May the Holy Spirit bring conviction of sin and deep repentance to those who have been complicit in Soviet evil or insensitive to the needs of others.
•    May God's love be shed abroad in the hearts of Russian Christians enabling unity in the Holy Spirit across racial and denominational lines, so that together they might tackle Russia's immense social problems -- the fruits of decades of brutally enforced atheism -- in the name of Jesus.
•    Pray for President Vladimir Putin.

where, despite suffocating repression, the Spirit of God is at work proving that nothing will be impossible with God (Luke 1:37).
•    May the Lord protect and preserve Christian expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia - especially poor Asians and Africans who are routinely persecuted and arrested for meeting together.
•    May the Lord protect, nurture and bless Saudi Christians who must live as secret believers.
 •    May the protect Saudi Christian refugees keeping them hidden from Saudi intelligence and the agents who hunt them down in to the farthest corners of the earth. 'Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.' (Psalm 17:8)
•    May the church in Saudi Arabia live and grow in faith and in number; and may "justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" (Amos 5:24).
We praise you LORD that the crucified and risen Christ is being worshipped, albeit secretly, in the heartland of the Arabs and of Islam. Lord our fortress, place your protective hand over each precious Saudi Christian, for their lives are gravely imperiled. Lord our shepherd, lead each Saudi convert in your light and wisdom.
•    Pray for King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS). 

a traumatised, war-ravaged land of new believers, secret believers, persecuted believers and martyrs.
•    May the Lord sustain, protect, bless and comfort his threatened and imperilled church, and bring al-Shabaab terror to an end.
•    May the Creator God speak order into the chaos and light into the darkness.
•    May al-Shabaab be decisively defeated; may all foreign jihadists be expelled.
•   May the Holy Spirit stir in the land to awaken this devastated nation to the truth that can set them free. "And God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light." (Gen 1:3)
•    Pray for President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed 'Farmaajo', and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.

a land delivered from Islamic domination, only to turn on itself in tribal violence. 'We struggle not against flesh and blood . . ' Ephesians 6
•    May the Lord would bless this newest of nations, restoring the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25).
•    May the Lord grace South Sudan's leaders with wisdom, discernment and humility; may he rid all leaders of corruption and selfish ambition. May this war-weary people be blessed with peace and unity in spirit across tribal lines.
•    May the church that grew through years of war, now grow amidst peace with thankfulness; may Islam never get a foothold in South Sudan.
•    Pray for President Salva Kiir.

a beautiful island that has known war and struggles with ethnic-religious tensions.
•    May God give Sri Lanka's political leaders the wisdom and strength to resist the political temptation to play the race-religion card and appease Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists at the cost of religious freedom and peace -- especially in the wake of Easter terror attacks.
•    May the Lord bless and protect his precious church as she serves the nation in the name of Jesus and models peace, love and unity before a war-weary, suspicious and divided people.
•    May the Lord comfort his traumatised church; may he grant pastors great wisdom and grace and as they deal with pain and insecurity; may the Lord grant peace to those who lost loved ones in the Easter terror attacks. May the Lord supply all their needs.
•    Pray for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, both ardent Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists.

an Arab Islamist state with a long history of persecution, Islamic jihad and even genocide.
•    Praise God, Omar el Bashir is no longer the president.
•    Praise God for Sudan's inspiring Forces for Freedom and Change; may the Lord bless all their efforts. 
•    May ethnic cleansing, Islamic jihad and persecution of the church cease.
•    May the Lord intervene on behalf of the African Christians of the Nuba Mountains who live with the threat of genocide. Lord have mercy!
•    May the Lord intervene to reverse Sudan's fortunes so that justice, equity and liberty might be realised and so hundreds of thousands of refugees from Sth Kordofan and Blue Nile, presently languishing in camps in South Sudan, might be able to return home to liberty and security with hope for the future. (Psalm 10)
•    May the Lord comfort and bless his long-suffering church -- particularly the church in Khartoum (which is under constant pressure) and in the Nuba Mountains (which suffered so terribly from aerial bombardment and regime-engineered famine under the previous regime).
•    May the Lord bless those who deliver food and medical aid to the Nuba Mountains. Lord, keep them safe and provide all their needs. Lord build your Church; may the gates of hell not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
•    May peace prevail.
In January 2021, reformist Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned, having previously been ousted in October 2021 in a military coup through which General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan appointed himself Chief of Sudan's Sovereignty Council. PRAY FOR SUDAN.

once one of the safest and freest countries for Christians and for tourists anywhere in the Middle East, now largely in ruins due to a war imposed on it by foreign powers (specifically Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, which were seeking regime change in Damascus so as to restore Sunni hegemony and open the way for 'Sunni' oil and gas pipelines).
•    May the Lord be a shield and stronghold to Christians living outside of government-held areas; may they be protected from jihadist attacks.
•    May the Lord preserve and defend the Christian remnant in Syria's north-east province of Hasakah as they struggle against Turkish incursions and Kurdish nationalism.
•    May the Lord preserve, defend and bless the Christians who have chosen to remain in Syria's new northern war zone so they might minister, witness and 'maintain the presence of Jesus'.
•    May God our gracious Father care for the multitudes of displaced believers and facilitate their homecoming in safety.
•    May all Syrian believers be fully assured of the Lord's loving presence (Romans 8:35-39). May they look to Christ for all things in all circumstances. May the Lord comfort and encourage them and supply all their needs.
Lord, quiet the tumult of the peoples (Psalm 65:7) and bring the counsel of the nations to nothing (Psalm 33:10), that the will of the LORD may prevail.
•    May the Lord sustain and protect all the Christian refugees struggling to survive in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.
•    May the LORD intervene to end all Turkish and Islamic terror in Syria; may all foreign forces be expelled and all transnational jihadists eliminated.
•    May this land -- the land where the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians (Acts 11:26) -- become a land of mission, grace and blessing once again.
•    Pray for President Bashar al-Assad.

where an increasingly radical Muslim minority is becoming more aggressive and assertive (and close to being a majority).
•    May the Lord bless the Tanzanian Church with revival, so the land might be re-evangelized and so Muslims might come to Christ.
•    We pray for an awakening among the political leadership -- may they realise what is at stake. May the authorities have courage and conviction to reject appeasement and uphold rule of law.
•    Pray for President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

where the volatile and threatening situation created by the Arab Spring has settled and people are finding their feet.
•    May the Church's voice be heard in these days of disillusionment. May there be an awakening among Muslims and a turning to Christ as the Gospel is recognised as truth. May freedom and security be preserved.
•    Pray for President Kais Saied.

a NATO member, US ally, jihadist patron, and terror sponsor.
•    May the Lord magnify the voices of thousands of anti-Islamist and pro-secular Turks -- including thousands of dissidents (journalists, generals, soldiers, artists etc) imprisoned on false charges of conspiracy.  May justice prevail.
•    May the Lord grace his Church with divine wisdom as she navigates her steadily Islamising environment. May seized church properties be restored.
•    May the Lord bless, protect and preserve Turkey's remnant Greek, Armenian and Assyrian Christian communities. May all Christian witness be blessed with Holy Spirit power.
•    May there be an awakening among Turkey's disillusioned Kemalist (secular) Muslims that leads them to Jesus Christ.
•    Pray for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

a majority Christian state with religious freedom, where Muslims are concentrated in Eastern Province; districts have a high degree of self-government.
•    May the central government have wisdom and courage to tackle to the rising Islamic intolerance in Eastern Province. May political patronage and impunity come to an end.
•    May the Lord comfort and bless those pastors and Muslim converts who have suffered horrendous persecution in Eastern Province on account of their Christian faith. Some have lost everything, including family members and their sense of security. May the Lord provide all their needs.
•    Pray for President Yoweri Museveni.

where hundreds of thousands have been displaced in a conflict that is tearing the already divided state apart.
•    May the Lord give the Church clarity and insight, wisdom and grace, courage and strength to do what is right and what is needed to bring reconciliation and healing to the land.
•    May Ukraine learn how to sit comfortable in between East and West, and may foreign meddling be exposed and rejected, for the sake of your Church and for the gospel in Ukraine.
•    Pray for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

•    that she will remember the Lord and 'return', before God's judgment falls upon her (Deuteronomy 8:11-20).
•    In mercy, O Lord, pour out your Spirit and embolden your church with zeal for your truth, for mission and for prayer. Bless, sustain and encourage faithful Christians whose livelihoods, reputations and even security are being threatened on account of Culture Change. May the church embrace your call to be counter-cultural, so she might shine rather than fade through these days of deepening darkness.
•    May the Spirit who worked in and through William Wilberforce to transform Britain once before, move through the UK again with awakening power that the battle might be turned back at the gate (Isaiah 28:5-6).
•    Pray for the government of the UK, in particular for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

•    that the Spirit of God who transformed America through Great Awakenings, would, in mercy and grace, transform America again. Instead of burning with zeal for "religion" and "rights", may the hearts of Americans burn with humbling love for the Lord Jesus Christ.
•    Bless, sustain and encourage faithful Christians whose livelihoods, reputations and even security are being threatened due to Culture Change. In this increasingly godless age, as selfishness, materialism, indulgence, corruption and violence escalate, may the church embrace your call to be counter-cultural, so that she might shine as beacon, exalting the LORD of hosts and turning back the battle (Isaiah 28:5-6).
•    May America remember the Lord and 'return', before God's judgment falls upon her (Deuteronomy 8:11-20).
•    Pray for President Joe Biden and the entire government of the USA.

a mostly-Muslim, mostly-Turkic former Soviet republic that is now slowly opening up with a view to reclaiming its historical and central place on the renewed 'Silk Road'.
•    May the Lord continue to build his Church in Uzbekistan, including among Uzbek converts from Islam, who continue to come to Christ despite persecution.
•    May greater openness bring with it greater religious freedom, even as Uzbekistan struggles with dangerous jihadist and revolutionary Islam.
•    May the authorities come to realise that Christians and Christianity pose no threat to Uzbekistan . . . Indeed, may they remember that Christianity once thrived in Uzbekistan -- long before Islam ever arrived, and long before Tamerlane moved to exterminate it.
•    Pray for President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the former prime minister who was appointed president in September 2016 after the death of long-time Soviet dictator Islam Karimov. Though part of the old repressive establishment, he seems cautiously eager to take Uzbekistan in a different direction.

where a Communist dictatorship is escalating its repression of all dissent - most of which is led by Christian pastors, human rights lawyers, writers etc.
•    May the Lord intervene in Vietnam, so that the Vietnamese would reject totalitarianism and racism and be able to discern Communist propaganda from truth. May the masses develop a hunger for justice, righteous, equity and truth.
•    May the Lord raise up more courageous Christian leaders, pastors and advocates and bless their service in the name of Jesus.
•    May the Lord sustain and comfort those who are in prison and those are suffering violent persecution on account of their faith, ministry and advocacy.
•   May the Lord protect and bless the Degar / Montagnard (Hills tribes) Christians of the Central Highlands. May justice roll down like a river (Amos 5:24).
•    Pray for the President and Communist Party chief, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc

the bread-basket that, through mismanagement, became a basket case.
•    May the nation be liberated from despots who exploit racism, hatred and greed to advance their own ends: may their end be their downfall. May the Lord reverse Zimbabwe's fortunes and cultivate a desire for justice, peace and unity. May persecution of the Church be a thing of the past; may the church be in prayer and may praises and thanksgiving resound across Zimbabwe. 
•    Pray for President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

"[Lord], we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name." (from Daniel's prayer in Daniel 9)

"So now, O Lord our God, save us from [our enemy's hand], that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord." (from Hezekiah's prayer in Isaiah 39)

Now unto him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)

"Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb." (the chorus from heaven: from Revelation 7:9-12)


Elizabeth Kendal is an international religious liberty analyst and advocate, and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology.

She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).