‘Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.’ Isaiah 33:2
Often, it seems as if all we can do is come to God for strength and salvation – as this verse from Isaiah says, to rely on him as we get up every morning, and long for him throughout the day. This simple prayer for grace and strength is especially timely as we continue to receive news from Sudan, where the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) has continued to refuse to hand power to a civilian-led government.
Over 100 people were killed and at least 600 injured, with 70 incidents of sexual violence, in brutal attacks on protestors on 3 June, when the main protest site in Khartoum was violently cleared. Following the attack, the TMC also shut down the country’s internet. This has had the effect of preventing information about the attacks from being made known, as well as leaving Sudanese people abroad unable to check up on the safety of their friends and family.
Earlier this week the TMC rejected a proposal made by Ethiopian mediators to facilitate the handing over of power to civilians. Another demonstration is planned for 30 June, where over a million people are expected to participate. It will be the single largest protest since the 3 June attacks, and there are fears that excessive force will be used to disperse civilians. Please pray that the demonstration takes place peacefully.
The TMC came to power on 10 April after the military forcibly removed President Bashir from office. The protests, which began in December 2018 after a government decision that tripled the price of bread, continue to call for democracy and widespread political, social and economic reforms.
The recent actions of the TMC show that the window of opportunity for change in Sudan, following the removal of President Bashir, is rapidly closing.
In summary, please pray:
- Pray that the mass demonstration on 30 June goes ahead peacefully.
- Pray for the TMC to hand over power to a civilian administration.
- Pray for every Sudanese national in and outside the country as they work towards a better future.
- Pray for an inclusive and peaceful Sudan where everyone is treated equally regardless of their gender, religion, ethnicity, social background and economic status.
Since December 2015, at least 40 churches or church-related buildings such as seminaries have been partially or completely destroyed in the La Araucanía and Bío Bío regions. The most recent target at the time of writing was a Catholic church, burned down on 8 January 2019.
Sunday 30 June
Following Chile’s Universal Periodic Review (a process whereby every UN member state has its human rights record reviewed by other member states every four years) in January, pray that the recommendations are accepted and implemented by the Chilean government to improve human rights in the country.
Monday 1 July
Though the government launched an investigation into the arson attacks in 2016 and some people were arrested, the attacks continued. Pray that the Chilean government would proactively identify congregations at risk and provide protection and reconstruction assistance to churches whose buildings have been burnt down.
Tuesday 2 July
Handwritten notes, signs and pamphlets have been found at many of the sites of the attacks, the content of which indicates that churches are a specific target. Leaflets found at the sites of two of the churches included a threat to burn ‘all the churches’. Pray for protection over churches in La Araucanía and Bío Bío.
Wednesday 3 July
The attacks have sown fear among Christians in La Araucanía and Bío Bío, with many congregations worried that their church or church buildings might be the next target. Pray for God’s protection over the churches left standing, and for courage and peace for the congregations.
Thursday 4 July
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10. Pray this verse over Chile today.
Friday 5 July
Many of the targeted churches have members from very low income backgrounds, and they now face a very difficult situation to rebuild their churches after the complete destruction of the building and contents. Pray that these congregations would find somewhere else to worship or teach in safety, and that God would provide a way for them to rebuild.
Saturday 6 July
Heavenly Father, we continue to commit the attacks on churches in Chile to you. We ask you to guard the churches in La Araucanía and Bío Bío from further harm, and fill their congregations with your spirit and strength. Amen.