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Lent Prayer - Saudi Arabia

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Lent Prayer - Saudi Arabia

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Lent Prayer - Saudi Arabia

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Saudi Arabia

The Saudi government will not allow any un-Islamic religion to be practised in public in their country, according to a tradition from Muhammad. All the country’s citizens must be Muslim, and all non- Muslim places of worship are forbidden. Conversion to Christianity is punishable by death, so the small number of Saudi Christians are forced to practise their faith in extreme secrecy. Members of the mutawaah (religious police) patrol the streets enforcing restrictions on behaviour based on the government’s extreme and puritanical version of Islam, known as Wahhabism. The 2011 uprisings in the Middle East prompted King Abdullah to announce a number of economic and political reforms, but none of them involved religious freedom.

saudi-arabia-4x3.jpg
Muslims walk around the Kaaba in Mecca,
Islam's most sacred site
Image: Wikimedia Commons, omar_chatriwala

Despite international pressure the government has hardly taken any steps to curb the expression of extremist views. School books for 2010/2011 still educate children to hate other religions and sometimes even encourage the use of violence. Some textbooks label Jews and Christians as “enemies of the believers”. Also some government-approved Wahhabi Muslim clerics issue fatwas (religious edicts) and preach sermons that justify violence against Jews and Christians, reportedly sometimes praying for their death.

More than a million expatriate Christians are thought to be living in Saudi Arabia. They are supposedly allowed to worship in private, but in practice the mutawaah sometimes disrupt and raid private Christian meetings. In January 2011 two Indian Christian men, Yohan Nese and Vasantha Sekhar Vara, were arrested after the religious police raided a private home where they were attending a prayer meeting. Officials physically abused them during interrogation and put pressure on them to convert to Islam. A Saudi court sentenced the two men to 45 days in prison, but they were released only on 12 July after six months of confinement. Soon afterwards they returned to India.

Pray for Eyob Mussie, a Christian man from Eritrea, who was arrested on 12 February 2011 after going to a mosque in Jeddah to meet and talk with local Muslims. First threatening to execute him, the Saudi authorities decided in July 2011 to deport Eyob back to Eritrea, another very hard place to be a Christian. Pray for his safety and that of the million Christian expatriates living in the country. Pray that isolated Saudi believers will find opportunities to connect with other Christians and that the government will relax its strict repression and let Christians in Saudi Arabia serve the Lord in peace.

This article is taken from

Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent 2012” -  Download.

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  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 17 hours ago

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

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  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi’s final appeal hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow (14 April) having been deferred twice. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 having been falsely accused of insulting Muhammad following an argument with Muslim co-workers. Aasia has been languishing in jail since the accusation was made in June 2009. Pray that her appeal will finally go ahead and that the judges will have the courage to acquit and release Aasia; there are concerns that they may give in to pressure from hardline Islamists who have been calling for her execution. Pray that Aasia, her husband and children will know the Lord’s peace as they await the verdict. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

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