Daily Prayer - February 2023

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Since the Myanmar military coup, which took place two years ago today, many Christians have been killed and thousands displaced from their homes by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military). The Tatmadaw has for many years persecuted the Christian-majority Chin, Kachin and Karen ethnic groups, as well as the large Christian communities in Kayah and Shan states, and the Muslim-majority Rohingya, but anti-Christian violence has worsened since the coup. Soldiers have attacked Christian villages and camps for internally displaced persons with artillery, laid mines around civilian areas, and desecrated church buildings. Pray for an end to violence in Myanmar, and that the Lord will be a shelter for His people in time of trouble (Psalm 9:9).

Thursday 2 February 2023

A church building in Moebye, Shan State, Myanmar, was occupied by Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) soldiers, who then laid mines around the building to prevent anybody from using it after they had left. Prior to the occupation, heavy shelling of the town killed a seven-year-old boy and destroyed around 100 homes. The area had already suffered military attack – more than 5,000 people were forced to flee their homes in June 2021. Pray that targeted attacks on Christians in Myanmar will cease. Ask that those displaced from Moebye and elsewhere in Myanmar will find safe havens from which they can rebuild their lives.

Friday 3 February 2023

Rice crops in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar have been diminished by both flooding and conflict this year, a situation that could worsen the global food crisis given that South-East Asia accounts for 40% of the world’s rice exports. Thankfully, at the time of writing, the rice harvest in Thailand and Vietnam has been unaffected. Pray that the Lord will ensure the continued production of rice in this region, as well as other food staples around the world, so that people in South-East Asia and elsewhere will receive their food at the proper time (Psalm 145:15). Pray also for our Christian brothers and sisters in these countries, living as minorities and facing a variety of challenges.

Saturday 4 February 2023

A coalition of more than 200 charities, aid agencies and non-governmental organisations has estimated that one person dies of hunger every few seconds. In an open letter the coalition stated, “Fifty million people are now just one step away from starvation.” Cry out to God on behalf of hungry people around our world, especially Christians who in many places are among the first to suffer and the last to receive help. Pray that God, who promises to provide for the needs of all His believing children (Philippians 4:19), will bring an end to the global food crisis. Until then, pray that He will continue to bless the work of Barnabas Aid’s food.gives programme in reaching the hungry with food.

Sunday 5 February 2023

Sovereign Lord, we pray for Christian lawyers entrusted with defending Your people who face unjust accusations because of their faith in You, as well as lawyers of other religions who are willing to represent persecuted Christians. We ask for wisdom, discernment and clarity of judgment for advocates in Pakistan to defend robustly those accused falsely of “blasphemy”. We pray for insight for lawyers representing Christians in Iran arrested for belonging to “house churches”. Please grant them and others worldwide skill in defending the weak, poor and oppressed. May the supreme Advocate, the Holy Spirit, bring to mind truths that will lead to successful outcomes for all who love the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose Name we pray. (Psalm 82:3-4, John 14:26)

Monday 6 February 2023

Praise the Lord that prayers for Iranian Christian convert Naser Navard Goltapeh have been heard. Naser was unexpectedly pardoned and released from the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran on 17 October, and he has now returned home. Naser, 61, served nearly five years of a ten-year sentence for “acting against national security with the intention to overthrow the regime”. Give thanks for Naser’s freedom and ask that God will restore him after his long ordeal. Pray that other Christians imprisoned for their faith will also be released, and for the continued safety of all Christians in Iran, especially during this period of tension and instability. Ask that the government will be moved to see Christians as an asset to their society in turbulent times (Matthew 5:16).

Tuesday 7 February 2023

One of the tactics applied by the Iranian authorities to halt the spread of Christianity is to send Christians into internal exile, hundreds of miles from their home province, for years at a time. Christian converts Miss Maryam Mohammadi and Mr Abbas Soori, both in their mid-40s, were given sentences of two years’ internal exile and banned from travelling abroad, for membership of a “house church” (see Barnabas Prayer, November/December 2022, 14 November). Pray that the Lord will comfort them both, and other Christian converts similarly sentenced, in their social isolation. Ask that what man intended for evil, God will turn to good (Genesis 50:20).

Wednesday 8 February 2023

The authorities in Saudi Arabia have reportedly increased the number of executions carried out, with at least 128 people executed in 2022, nearly double the number executed the previous year. No Christians are known to be among those executed, but it remains a capital offence to leave Islam and Saudi Christians are therefore liable to the death penalty as apostates from Islam. Christians may also be among those vulnerable to charges of blasphemy, another capital offence. Pray for secret believers in Saudi Arabia, asking that the Lord will sustain them and keep them from harm.

Thursday 9 February 2023

Praise the Lord for the safe arrival in Jordan from the UK of a 20-ft shipping container laden with food.gives boxes filled by Barnabas supporters. The first of these boxes were given to Christian refugees from Yemen, and the remainder to Christian refugees from Iraq and Syria. All had fled religious persecution or conflict in their homelands. Jordan shelters 760,000 refugees – the second highest number in the world – which puts an enormous strain on food supplies, and essential services. Refugees are not allowed to work and the vast majority rely solely on aid from churches and NGOs. Pray that the needs of the refugees will be met, and that the joy of the Lord will continue to be their strength in these days of trial (Nehemiah 8:10).

Friday 10 February 2023

“When I help them, they see the face of Jesus,” said our church partner in Lebanon who distributes Barnabas-funded aid to desperate Christians suffering as a result of the country’s continuing economic, social and healthcare crisis. In our latest aid programme we provided four months of food and hygiene items for 950 Christian families (approximately 4,100 people). We also provided funding for medicines, and gave money to families most in need to help them pay essential bills. Lift up our brothers and sisters in Lebanon and pray that though hard pressed on every side, they will not be crushed, and though perplexed they will not despair (2 Corinthians 4:8).

Saturday 11 February 2023

“This is a place where our babies are cherished with the love of Jesus Christ,” said a parent with children at St Aphrem’s School in Bethlehem. “We are sure that the Lord is present in this blessed institution and providing His care and blessings.” Give thanks for this school in a city where Christians live as a minority. For almost 20 years the school, built mainly with Barnabas funding, has been providing a Christian education to children, the majority from Christian families, in a safe and secure environment. Pray that St Aphrem’s will continue to help children to grow in knowledge and in the love of the Lord for many more years to come. Give thanks for the donations of Barnabas supporters that allow the school to offer minimal fees to children from poor Christian families.

Sunday 12 February 2023

Heavenly Father, we rejoice that many children around the world enjoy the benefits of an education guided by Christian values. We pray Your blessing on all learners in Christian schools that they may discern Your truth and Your ways, and follow them with commitment. We thank You for dedicated Christian teachers, skilled and willing to train up children in the right path. We ask that headteachers will use their responsibility wisely to make decisions that enable their schools to prosper and to shine as beacons of light in their communities. We ask in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Proverbs 22:6, Colossians 2:3)

Monday 13 February 2023

“Without your help and generosity, most of our brothers and sisters would have had to spend this winter in the cold and dark.” These were the words of one of our Ukrainian project partners after Barnabas Aid funded the provision of 700 wood-burning stoves for around 4,000 people. Many Christians in Ukraine are among the estimated 15.7 million people who are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The great need resulting from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has been worsened by the harsh winter. As well as stoves, Barnabas has already helped to provide 1,176 wheelchairs; will shortly transport a large donation of medical supplies such as first aid kits and defibrillators; and has sent another 11 pallets of food and mixed aid to add to the 350 tonnes that had already been delivered before the winter. Give thanks to the Lord for this continued aid and practical support for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters.

Tuesday 14 February 2023

A huge consignment of life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE), shipped by Barnabas Aid’s medical.gives initiative to Tanzania, is being deployed to protect health workers from a deadly new threat as well as from Covid-19. Just days before the consignment donated by the Irish government arrived, the country had been put on alert against ebola. The cost of transporting the equipment to Tanzania and to four other African countries (Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) was paid for by Barnabas Aid’s medical.gives initiative. Give thanks for the safe and timely arrival of the PPE in Tanzania. Pray that the country, and other affected countries in Africa, will succeed in preventing an ebola outbreak. Ask for guidance for health teams in all five nations in optimum use of the PPE.

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Repression of Christians in Eritrea shows no signs of softening, with an unknown number of believers – perhaps around 160 – enduring much hardship and suffering in Eritrea’s prisons. The East African nation remains one of the world’s worst countries for persecution of Christians, and since 2002 all Christian denominations other than Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Lutheran (and all other religions apart than Sunni Islam) have been banned. In recent months even those authorised denominations have come under government pressure. Pray for all of our brothers and sisters in Eritrea, especially those in prison, asking the Lord to strengthen and sustain them.

Thursday 16 February 2023

Praise God that two more Christian “Chibok girls” have been found. Yana Pogu and Rejoice Sanki were recovered by the Nigerian Army, who were conducting operations against Islamist terrorists in Borno State. Yana was found with her four children (two boys and twin girls) while Rejoice was discovered with two children. The two girls – now women – were among 276 abducted from a school in Chibok, Borno State, by Boko Haram in 2014. Give thanks for the rescue of Yana and Rejoice and their children. Ask that they will recover from the physical, spiritual and emotional trauma of their ordeal. Pray for more than 100 “Chibok girls” who are still held by Boko Haram.

Friday 17 February 2023

“There is still no breathing space for communities in southern Kaduna. Terrorists, jihadists, bandits and armed herdsmen have continued to plunder and wreck communities.” This statement by Awemi Maisamari, President of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union, followed a raid in Kaduna State, Nigeria in which suspected Islamist militants abducted 43 people, including worshippers from a church service. Ask that the Lord will comfort those who are being held captive, and that they will be released safe and unharmed. Pray that He will bring to an end the campaign of terror being waged against Nigeria’s Christians.

Saturday 18 February 2023

A Barnabas Aid contact has reported that Islamist attackers in Nigeria often seek out and kill the heads of Christian communities in order to create terror and chaos. In one example, Islamist gunmen attacked a Christian-majority community in Plateau State, killing three people, including the head of the village Salisu Idris. Five members of Salisu’s family were also abducted. Pray that those taken captive will be released, safe and unharmed. Ask for the Lord’s protection over Christian communities in Plateau State, and that the authorities will receive guidance in bringing an end to the relentless violence.

Sunday 19 February 2023

Father God, we pray that You will send revival to Your Church, that the truth of the Bible will be proclaimed boldly by Your people, and that there will be a turning back to You across the world, both where there is full freedom of religion and where it is restricted. “Revive your work in these years; make it known in these years. In your wrath remember mercy!” (Habakkuk 3:2, CSB)

Monday 20 February 2023

Continue to pray for Christians in Nigeria who are still bearing the brunt of widespread Islamist violence. Recently, the monarch of the Christian-majority Atyap Chiefdom in Nigeria’s Middle Belt revealed that 245 people have been killed and 623 houses razed by suspected Fulani Islamist militants since early 2019. Dominic Yahaya – who holds the traditional title of Agwatyap – said that almost all the villages within his domain had experienced assaults. “Massive attacks have occurred in villages whereby people were killed and houses and properties were burned,” he said. Pray for the Lord’s hand of protection over His suffering and persecuted people.

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Tensions may rise in Nigeria over these next few days, as the nation prepares for its presidential election on 25 February. Nigeria’s ruling party has controversially selected a so-called Muslim-Muslim ticket – that is, both the party’s presidential candidate and his vice-presidential running mate are Muslims. This violates a convention in Nigerian politics that of a party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates, one should be a Muslim and the other a Christian. Church leaders in Nigeria fear a situation in which Christians will not be represented at the top of government. Pray for a peaceful election, an outcome that will not harm Christians already vulnerable to Islamist violence, and that believers will be good and faithful witnesses of Christ at this time of political turmoil.

Wednesday 22 February 2023

The ancient Christian community of Afghanistan appears to have died out by the fourteenth century owing to successive waves of Arab and Mongol invasions from 1001 AD onwards. The return to power of the Taliban in September 2021 threatens to do the same to a new generation of Christian converts. Afghan Christians face the death penalty as apostates from Islam if discovered, and so must live as secret believers if they are to survive. Many have fled into neighbouring countries, but these Muslim-majority lands are not safe for converts either. Give thanks that Barnabas Aid has so far helped 54 Christians (ten Christian families) to settle in Brazil. Continue to intercede for our brothers and sisters who remain in Afghanistan, who share in the poverty and destitution of that country as well as risking their lives for their faith.

Thursday 23 February 2023

Islam is the declared state religion in Algeria but the constitution guarantees freedom “to exercise worship”, if exercised in accordance with the law. According to a 2006 ordinance, the National Commission for Non-Muslim Worship can grant permits for churches, but so far none have been issued, despite repeated requests by churches. Furthermore, on spurious safety grounds following inspections of church buildings, more than 20 churches have been ordered to close since the beginning of 2018, but only three are known to have been granted permission to reopen. Cry out to the Lord that the closure of churches will be halted. Pray that the authorities will issue permits for church buildings and that sealed church buildings will be re-opened.

Friday 24 February 2023

“We have never experienced before what we now experience,” a Christian contact in Burkina Faso told Barnabas as he described attacks by Islamist militants on farms and villages. After a long and relentless campaign of terror, much of it targeted against Christians, the militants now control more than 40 per cent of the country. Thousands of lives have been lost as a result of the insurgency, two million people have been forced from their homes and, at the time of writing, at least 6,000 schools were shut. Cry out to the Lord to bring peace to Burkina Faso. Pray that the Lord of hosts will be a strong tower for His people (Proverbs 18:10).

Saturday 25 February 2023

The Christians of Chad – representing just over a third of the population – routinely suffer discrimination from the Muslim majority. Although modern Chad is a secular state, with a separation between state and religion, the Muslim majority dominates Chadian politics, civil service, armed forces and business. Uneducated Christians are still vulnerable to exploitation, and Muslim cattle raiders try to grab their land. The government also permits the practice of sharia law, despite Chad being officially a secular country. Pray that Chadian believers will look to the Lord to be their strength and the portion for ever (Psalm 73:26).

Sunday 26 February 2023

Our God of justice and mercy, we pray for Christians who suffer as victims of violence and injustice. We ask You to protect those for whom the threat of violence is a daily experience, whether from authorities, hostile local communities or extremists. We remember Your people who have been displaced, and often bereaved through raids on their communities in Nigeria, Mozambique and other countries in Africa. We pray for Christians in South-East Asia ejected from their homes because of their faith in You. We lift before You believers in Pakistan whose devotion to You is falsely labelled as “blasphemy”. We entrust them to You, the faithful, righteous God of the whole world, who will always will do right, in the name of Your holy and righteous Son Jesus Christ. (Proverbs 16:8, Genesis 18:25)

Monday 27 February 2023

At the 20th Chinese Communist Party National Congress in October 2022, President Xi Jinping’s election to lead for a third term signalled that repressive measures against Christians were set to continue. Recent tightening of controls on the Church include the requirement, since March 2022, of government authorisation for religious activities that are conducted online. Since June 2022 the state has increased oversight and regulation of the finances of churches and other places of worship. Pray that Christians will grow in resolve and strength even as restrictions against them are tightened. Ask that authorities will understand that Christians are a force for good in Chinese society and stop suppression of the church’s activities.

Tuesday 28 February 2023

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a Christian-majority (around 90%) land of great suffering. There are rich mineral deposits, including the world’s largest reserves of cobalt, but this has become the cause of much hardship rather than prosperity. The cobalt mines are places of violence – church leaders who seek to minister to the miners face fearful reprisals if they are seen to disrupt work. Child labour is common. Efforts to reform the sector have led to little if any change. This hardship and violence is another cause of suffering alongside jihadi violence that affects especially Christians in north-eastern DRC. Ask the Lord to bring to an end to Islamist and other violence in DRC. Pray for the success of efforts to reform and better regulate mining.