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CSW: The righteous cry out

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Prayer needs for this week - Saturday 23 December

Dear Peter

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17

It’s sometimes surprising to remember that the first Christmas was a dangerous time for all involved. King Herod’s hunt to kill the new Messiah lent a very real danger to the story, that’s often lost amid the cosy retellings. And the danger remains real for many Christians all over the world. 

In most of the countries we work in, Christmas paints a big target on churches and communities of Christians. It’s a time when they’ll all be gathered together, celebrating a major Christian festival. This is why it’s especially important to pray for Christians around the world at this time: for their protection, safety and peace.

Here’s a few of the most urgent prayer needs this Christmas:

Nigeria

  • On Christmas Eve 2016 Fulani herder militia attacked Goska village in southern Kaduna during a curfew, killing 11 people. Tomorrow will be one year since the attack – please pray for God’s peace and comfort for the survivors. 
  • Pray for the protection of villagers in central states from attacks by Fulani militia, and for Christians in the north-east from attacks by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. 
  • This month has seen a particular surge in Fulani militia violence in Adamawa State, where over 100 people have died since late November: pray for this violence to end.

Eritrea

Iran

Burma

Mexico

Central African Republic

  • Armed groups have split into further factions which has caused an increase in violence, and in turn led to large numbers of people being displaced from their homes; and tensions between communities are high in places where fighting has fallen along ethnic and religious lines. The Church is working on rebuilding trust between religious communities, and in the city of Bangassou the Catholic church continues to protect 2,000 Muslims who have sought refuge in the church grounds.

Kenya

  • Please pray for Christians in the coastal region along the border with Somalia. The Somali Islamist terror group al Shabaab ramped up attacks on Kenya, and between May and September over 50 people were killed. As the majority Christian community celebrates Christmas, please pray for protection over religious buildings, which al Shabaab has historically targeted during celebrations.

Sudan

  • The government continues to place ever increasing restrictions on the Christian community, particularly those living in the capital, Khartoum. Pray specifically for churches that have been demolished during 2017: that their congregations would be able to find a place to worship this Christmas time. 
  • In 2015 churches in Khartoum and Port Sudan were informed by authorities that they were not permitted to hold processions during their Christmas celebrations. Pray that Christians across the country would be free to hold their Christmas Day parade. 

Mexico

This week, we’re praying for Mexico, where communities in some regions are split along religious lines. Local leaders often use harsh measures to try to force religious minorities living among them to conform to the majority faith. But it’s not just religious minorities who are under threat: Mexico is also the most dangerous country in the world to be a Catholic priest.

 

Sunday 
It’s become incredibly dangerous for priests to carry out their work: since 2012, at least 25 Roman Catholic priests and lay leaders have been murdered or forcibly disappeared by violent criminal groups. The Vatican has listed Mexico as the most dangerous place in the world for priests, for eight consecutive years. Today, please pray God’s protection over priests in Mexico as they carry out their duties.

Monday 
On Christmas Day, please pray for Christians who have nowhere to celebrate one of the most important festivals in the Christian calendar because local authorities have prohibited them from worshipping. Pray they they’d be able to find somewhere to celebrate the birth of Christ, safely, peacefully and joyfully. 

Tuesday 
On 4 December more than 60 Baptists and Jehovah’s Witnesses were violently expelled from their homes in Jalisco state because of their religious beliefs. Community leaders destroyed their homes to make it even more difficult for them to return. Two years ago 20 Baptists were expelled from the same community and have not been allowed back. Please pray that God would provide for them and move the government to resolve their cases.

Wednesday 
Members of religious minorities are frequently excluded from their communities because of their religious beliefs. In some cases they lose access to clean water and electricity, or are harassed, intimidated and even driven out of their homes. Today, please pray for a spirit of tolerance and peaceful co-existence in these communities.

Thursday 
It’s particularly tragic when children are stopped from going to school just because their parents follow a different religion to the rest of the community. If the situation worsens to the stage where they’re forced to leave their homes, this disrupts the children’s education even more. Pray that all Mexican children would have access to education no matter their faith or their parents’ faith.

Friday 
Many of these cases worsen because the local government fails to act to uphold religious freedom, and the harsh discrimination goes unpunished. Today, pray that the local government would react quickly to violations of religious freedom, and that justice would be served.

Saturday
Father God, we bring to you all those in Mexico who are cast out from their communities simply because of what they believe. Bring peace where there is division and justice where there is none, we pray. Amen.

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CSW is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice. Christian Solidarity Worldwide, PO BOX 99, New Malden, Surrey KT3 3YF. Registered Charity No. 281836


Posted on 23 Dec 2017

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