Invitation to Prayer ... Wednesday
Thank you for joining me in prayer for the children of the world. If you can, we'd love to have you pray together with us this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. The church is not currently offering lunch service. If you'd like to have lunch together, please bring a sack lunch and we can eat together.
Also, Faces of Children is now on Facebook! I invite you to like our page so that you can see regular stories, prayer needs, and updates from partner ministries.
All the best,
Open Doors recently published their 2017 World Watch List, ranking the top 50 countries where Christians face the most severe persecution for their faith. This week, I'd like to invite us to pray for families living in the top 3 countries.
In each of these countries, children are caught up in the persecution right alongside their parents. They undoubtedly have watched as their parents are arrested, tortured, imprisoned and killed for their faith. In some cases, they have suffered the same fates. These children have known the ridicule and isolation that comes from a belief system not accepted by the majority. And they face an uncertain future where things like school, education, and even their livelihoods might not be protected due to their faith.
As we pray for these families, let's pray they also know the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. May they feel upheld by His mighty arms and know His strength and love and presence.
Once again, North Korea is ranked as the most oppressive place in the world for Christians, #1 on the World Watch List. In this totalitarian communist state, Christians are forced to hide their faith completely from government authorities, neighbors and often, even their own spouses and children. Due to ever-present surveillance, many pray with eyes open, and gathering for praise or fellowship is practically impossible. Worship of the ruling Kim family is mandated for all citizens, and those who don't comply (including Christians) are arrested, imprisoned, tortured or killed. Entire Christian families are imprisoned in hard labor camps, where unknown numbers die each year from torture, beatings, overexertion and starvation. Those who attempt to flee to South Korea through China risk execution or life imprisonment, and those who stay behind often fare no better.
Through local partners, Open Doors is serving Christians in North Korea by providing them with emergency relief aid, including food, medicine and clothes, as well as Bibles, books and other discipleship materials. Open Doors partners in China also provide shelter and aid for Christians who have fled the country, as well as training for those who wish to return to North Korea for ministry.
Prayer Points for North Korea:
• Pray for North Korean believers who are languishing in prison camps, and for the proclamation of the gospel both in and outside the prison walls.
• Also, pray that Christians in the country would have access to Bibles and fellowship.
• Pray that God would open Kim Jong-Un's eyes to the surpassing glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Somalia has been on the World Watch List since 1993. Islam was already firmly established in Somalia before the arrival of Christianity, and as a result, life for believers is defined by hostility. Somalia's tribal system - as an informal way of governing Somalia - is very resistant to modern government models, including democracy, which means that Christians have absolutely no voice in society. Since the downfall of Ziad Barre in 1991, Somalia has become a safe haven for Islamic militants. Christian converts from Islam in the country have been facing a great deal of persecution, and martyrdom is very common. The mere suspicion of one's having renounced Islam leads to a rushed public execution.
To aid believers in Somalia, Open Doors works through local partners, providing underground Christians with discipleship training, Bibles and Christian books, along with community development programs and more, helping these believers to survive on the outskirts of society.
Prayer Points for Somalia
• Pray for Christians in Somalia who risk martyrdom if their faith is discovered and struggle with keeping it to themselves.
• Pray that they would have wisdom and discernment in sharing the gospel with others, along with a quiet boldness and sense of God's presence with them.
• Pray for Christians in Somalia who are isolated from the larger Body of Christ.
Christians in Afghanistan experience extreme persecution. Severe pressure on believers, resulting from Islamic oppression, is exerted mostly by families, friends and community, but also by local religious leaders. The state authorities are weak, and Islam is viewed as a welcome unifying factor, especially as society agrees that conversion away from Islam cannot be tolerated. Many who convert from Islam to Christianity are murdered once their extended families learn of their new faith. In other families, Christian converts are delivered to mental hospitals under the premise that no one in their right mind would ever choose to leave Islam. In any case, converts usually lose their rights to personal property and possessions, effectively leaving them destitute. This can occur even upon the mere suspicion of conversion - a fear tactic that leads family members to react all the more harshly in curbing even the slightest hints of interest in Christianity.
To help persecuted Christians in Afghanistan, Open Doors provides emergency aid, counseling, literacy training, radio programs, vocational projects, biblical and pastoral training courses and more.
Prayer Points for Afghanistan
• Pray for believers in Afghanistan who lack fellowship, especially new converts who fear telling anyone about their faith in Christ.
• Pray for those who lose worldly possessions to persecution when they gain eternal life.
• Pray that they would be able to forgive their persecutors to the glory of God.
Rounding out the top ten: Pakistan | Sudan | Syria | Iraq | Iran | Yemen | Eritrea
Praying with you,
Carrie J. McKean
Faces of Children Director
First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas
(432) 684-7821 x153
* Name changed to protect her privacy.
If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org