Daily Prayer - March 2024

Friday 1 March 2024

Several of the ten church buildings in the Christian town of Qaraqosh in Iraq have now been repaired and rebuilt after the destruction wreaked by militants from Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh). It was almost ten years ago, in August 2014, when IS took Qaraqosh and its 45,000 Christian inhabitants fled. Most of the displaced are still living barely 40 miles distant (66 km) in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Pray that more will be able to return to their home town, and that those who have already returned will find employment. Qaraqosh is in the Plains of Nineveh, the ancient heartland of Iraqi Christianity

Saturday 2 March 2024

Hostility towards Christians is rising in Kazakhstan as the Muslim majority increasingly link nationalism to Islamic identity. Their long-standing dislike and distrust of Christian converts from Islam is therefore starting to be directed against all believers, not just Kazakh converts but also those from Russian and Ukrainian backgrounds. Kazakhstan has strict laws that restrict religious teaching, activities and registration. Churches may register only if they have 50 members locally, 500 regionally and 5,000 nationally – an impossibility for smaller churches. Ask that Kazakh Christians receive the strength and patience to endure. Pray that hostility towards them ceases and that restrictions are reduced, allowing believers to worship freely.

Sunday 3 March 2024

Loving Father, we pray for all Christians who have been driven from their homes because of their belief in You. Whether they are seeking refuge within their own country or abroad, after having lost their possessions and livelihoods, we pray that they will remember that You are their rock, their fortress and their deliverer. Please give them guidance and strength to endure through persecution, war, natural disasters or whatever may have caused them to become homeless. Help them rebuild their lives once again in safety. In Christ’s Name we pray. (Psalm 18:2)

Monday 4 March 2024

“In these moments, when we pray for overcoming such adversities, the Lord listens, answers, directs and protects,” said “Marat” a Kyrgyz Christian. He was describing how his best friend, a Muslim, learning that Marat had decided to leave Islam and follow Jesus, said that he would shoot Marat in the head if he only had a gun. Zhumashbek said that men from his village repeatedly threatened to throw him in the river if he did not stop talking about his new Christian faith. Rahat said the whole village tried to eject him and his family when they became Christians. They also refused him water for his crops and would not let him graze his cattle. Pray for all Kyrgyz Christian converts from Islam, that the Lord will help them endure persecution and not be afraid.

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Christianity in Laos is viewed as a Western religion and believers are treated with suspicion and hostility. The situation is better for Christians in urban areas, but believers in rural areas face frequent harassment from local authorities and from their own communities. Ten Christian families, who were evicted from three villages in Samoey District, Saravan Province, in September 2023, have now been given new land in another place by the Lao authorities. Pray that they will be able to rebuild their homes and livelihoods in peace. Pray that the courage of these faithful believers and many other Christians in Laos will inspire others to stand firm in His Name.

Wednesday 6 March 2024

The regional war that began in October 2023 is, at the time of writing, causing great anxiety to people in Lebanon, around a third of whom are Christians. Insecurity is especially acute among those in the south, from where many are fleeing. Lebanon is already sheltering about 1.5 million refugees, mainly from Syria, including Christians. The situation is putting additional strain on the country’s crisis-hit economy. Pray for peace in the region. Ask for guidance for Lebanon’s leaders in bringing the economy under control. Pray that our brothers and sisters seek refuge in the Lord (Psalm 34:4).

Thursday 7 March 2024

Most of the Christians in Libya have come from other African countries, either to work or to try to cross over into Europe to seek asylum there. A small number are Libyan converts from Islam. In the chaos and violence of strongly Islamic Libya, with two rival governments and innumerable armed groups, even the Christians with jobs live very difficult lives. They are poor and vulnerable. No one wants to rent premises out to tenants who would use them for Christian worship. Pray that this ever-changing Christian community may be able to comfort, encourage and edify each other, finding strength and hope in the Lord.

Friday 8 March 2024

Remembering that “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33) pray for Mali, which observers fear may become a failed state. There have been four coups since 1991. Various armed separatist groups and jihadists oppose the government but the last UN peacekeeping troops withdrew at the end of 2023. In the midst of this, the small Christian community (2%) is trying to survive. Church leaders are abducted from time to time by suspected Islamists. Praise God for the release of German church minister, Hans-Joachim Lohre, who had lived in Mali for over 30 years. He was set free in November 2023 after a year in captivity.

Saturday 9 March 2024

Approximately one million people in Christian-majority Mozambique are displaced, forced to flee attacks by Islamists in the north, or natural disasters. Jihadi onslaughts have taken the lives of around 1,800 Christians since 2017. Small wonder the worst-affected northern province, Cabo Delgado, is known as the “land of fear”. The Islamist militants boast of killing Christians. Ask that the bereaved are comforted, knowing their loved ones are with the Lord. Pray that the men of violence will have a life-changing encounter with the Prince of Peace. Ask that the many needs of the displaced are met.

Sunday 10 March 2024

Lord Jesus, we lift up to You church leaders, pastors and those who share your Word all around the world. In many countries, it can be lonely and even dangerous to be someone You have called to spread the Gospel or strengthen Your people. We pray for protection for these leaders as they face hardship and hostility for Your Kingdom. If they or their families are to suffer for Your Name, we pray that You will help them stand strong through all persecution brought against them. Please fill them with Your wisdom and vision. In Your most holy Name we ask.

Monday 11 March 2024

Two church buildings in Myanmar were targeted with airstrikes by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) at about 10.15am on Sunday 7 January, in Khampat township, Sagaing Region. According to reports, at least 15 people were killed, including about eight children. Ask the Prince of Peace to bring an end to the attacks on Myanmar’s non-Buddhist ethnic minorities. Pray that Christians, who have endured violence from their country’s armed forces for some six decades, will be given grace to keep on loving their enemies and praying for their persecutors (Matthew 5:44).

Tuesday 12 March 2024

The Church is growing fast in Nepal and Christians are very active in evangelism. This is often resented by the Hindu majority as well as by Buddhists and followers of the animistic Kirat religion. They accuse Christians of being too aggressive in their outreach and of offering material help in return for converting to Christianity, especially after natural disasters. Pray that Christians will be both wise and bold as they share their faith and that the Holy Spirit will continue to be at work amongst the people of Nepal, bringing them to repentance and faith in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Niger, once among the more politically stable and religiously tolerant countries in the Sahel, has been engulfed by Islamist terrorism spreading across the region. The situation has become more uncertain following a military coup in July 2023. Many aid agencies have been prevented from operating in the country, increasing hardship within the population, including for its small Christian minority. Pray for strength and protection for Christians (Proverbs 18:10). Ask for guidance, wisdom and compassion for Niger’s leaders.

Thursday 14 March 2024

On Christmas Eve at least 295 Nigerian Christians were killed in coordinated attacks on 25 isolated villages in Plateau State. Warnings had been sent by the attackers beforehand, saying that the villagers would not be celebrating Christmas. On New Year’s Day (often considered by other religions to be a Christian celebration) two villages in Borno State were attacked simultaneously, so they could not come to each other’s aid. “The merchants of death came again and now we have 17 people to bury,” said one pastor afterwards. Now, as Good Friday and Easter Sunday approach, pray that the Lord will disrupt the plans of any seeking to kill Christians on the days when they will specially remember the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Friday 15 March 2024

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has announced that the unification of his country with South Korea is no longer possible. All the North Korean organisations tasked with reunification will be dismantled. The Korean peninsula has been divided since 1953 when the Korean War ended. As no peace treaty was signed, the two Koreas have remained technically at war ever since. Now it looks as if war might become a grim reality again, with Mr Kim threatening a nuclear attack on South Korea and South Korea saying they will respond “multiple times stronger” to any provocation from the North. In the midst of this situation are the extremely prayerful Christians of South Korea and the extremely persecuted Christians of North Korea. Ask the Lord to give peace in the hearts of our brothers and sisters and to avert war between their countries.

Saturday 16 March 2024

According to recent statistics, Pakistan has overtaken India as the country with the world’s second largest Muslim population. The Christian minority is not growing as fast as the Muslim majority in Pakistan, and therefore the percentage of Christians has dropped, now estimated at between 2% and 3%. Please pray today especially for Christian women in Pakistan who are doubly vulnerable in Pakistani society, being both female and non-Muslim. Pray that they will be protected from abduction and forced marriage to a Muslim (which involves forced conversion to Islam).

Sunday 17 March 2024

Sovereign Lord, pray for Christian women and girls who are often extremely vulnerable in places of persecution. We pray for those marginalised not only because they follow Christ, but also because of their gender. We pray for widows and those whose husbands are in prison, who are left with minimal or no support for themselves and their children. Please help them to lean on You and know Your gracious provision. May they grow in their relationship with You first and foremost – their protector and strength – so that they can continue to proclaim Your Name and be a blessing and witness to those around them. In Jesus’ precious Name we pray.

Monday 18 March 2024

There appears to be a move on social media in Saudi Arabia to promote the ancient pagan goddesses who were worshipped in the Arabian Peninsula before the birth of Islam there. The aim seems to be to give the country a more nationalistic and less religious identity. One writer claimed that in pre-Islamic Arabian culture women “were the ideal, integrated entity” suggesting a contrast with women’s lowly status in Islam. In classical Islam, pre-Islamic times are despised as jahiliyya (the age of ignorance) and the idea of secularising Saudi Arabia seems almost inconceivable. Wherever this online debate arose from, pray that it will lead to greater freedoms for Christians, for women and for all who struggle in today’s strictly Islamic Saudi society.

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Somalia, the breakaway state Somaliland and their shared neighbour Ethiopia appear to be about to go to war. The issue is Somalia’s opposition to Somaliland being recognised as an independent country. Chaotic Somalia and stable Somaliland are both extremely dangerous places for Christians, especially converts from Islam. Ask the Lord to surround our brothers and sisters with His angels and protect them with the blood of Christ in the coming weeks and months.

Wednesday 20 March 2024

As Sri Lanka continues to grapple with economic and political turmoil, the plight of the poorest deepens, with inflation, lack of jobs and limited resources causing immense suffering. Members of the Christian minority (around 8% of the population) are among the very poor, and also face hostility from extremist Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims. Ask that our brothers and sisters remain strong and know that the Lord is with them wherever they go (Joshua 1:9).

Thursday 21 March 2024

Many Christians are among the millions who have fled their homes in the Republic of Sudan (formerly North Sudan) to escape the civil war that erupted in 2023. There have been reports of multiple attacks on church leaders and church buildings, some of which have been looted, burned or used as military bases. The country’s small Christian minority had previously endured decades of severe persecution under the Islamist government of Omar al-Bashir before it was ousted in 2019. Praise the Lord for the steadfast faith of our longsuffering Sudanese brothers and sisters. Ask God to protect His people and bring peace to the country.

Friday 22 March 2024

Militants of Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) are becoming more active again in north-east Syria. The north-west is the last remaining stronghold of the civil war rebels. At the end of last year, several parts of the country were bombed for various different reasons by Turkey, Israel, Russia and the USA. Pray for security and stability in Syria as well as a return to the good relations that existed between Muslims and Christians before the civil war began in 2011. Ask that our Christian brothers and sisters may have peace in the Lord, remembering His words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Saturday 23 March 2024

Children in Tajikistan are banned from attending religious activities, except for funerals. The mere presence of Christian children on church premises could be punished severely. Children may, by law, receive religious instruction only from their parents at home. This is just one example of the severe restrictions Christians must navigate in Tajikistan, where no new churches have been registered for more than a decade. Pray for wisdom and guidance for Christian parents in teaching their children the faith at home. Ask that families will rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4) and that the Word of God will not be stifled.

Sunday 24 March 2024

Lord Jesus Christ, it is such a joyful occasion when people decide to follow You as their Saviour and Lord. We give thanks that there are so many who come to You from other religions, often at great cost. We thank You for their courage and new-found faith, and pray that our brothers and sisters would be blessed beyond measure in their knowledge and passion when seeking more of You. We know they will likely encounter trials and suffering in their walk with You. We pray that they will be strengthened by the knowledge that You are also walking with them and will give them all they need to endure whatever they may face.

Monday 25 March 2024

Local congregations in Turkey are facing many challenges including legal and administrative hurdles that could potentially lead to them being closed because of inadequate paperwork or accidentally unpaid taxes. Pray for God’s guidance for those who handle such administration on behalf of their fellow-Christians that He will show them every detail they must attend to, so that nothing is neglected. Pray, too, that they will be granted favour in the eyes of the Turkish authorities.

Tuesday 26 March 2024

The Christian community in Turkmenistan is dwindling as more and more Russian-background Christians leave the country. Pray for the Christians who remain, especially those who are converts from a Muslim background. In this strict and authoritarian country, they have little contact with the world outside Turkmenistan. Ask that, in their isolation, they may be all the more conscious of the Lord’s presence and the reality of His promise, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Pray that they will be blessed with deep spiritual perception to see God in all the circumstances of their lives while they wait to see Him face to face in glory (Matthew 5:8).

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Christian communities on Uganda’s western border are vulnerable to attacks by Islamists from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. One of the worst was the massacre of 42 believers at a Christian boarding school in June 2023. Most of the dead were pupils. Jihadists also carried out the murders of a white tourist couple and their local guide in October 2023, boasting that they had killed “three Christians”. Plots to bomb churches in Kampala and Butambala district in September and October 2023 were thankfully foiled by police. Ask that Christians remain strong and courageous, knowing the Lord will never forsake them (Deuteronomy 31:6). As the Muslim minority seeks to advance the place of sharia (Islamic law) in Ugandan society, pray that Christians will have wisdom about how to respond.

Thursday 28 March 2024

Give thanks that the Uzbekistan authorities have become more tolerant towards Christians. In the early decades since its creation in 1991, the country was a repressive place for followers of the Prince of Peace. However, since the 2016 election of President Mirziyoyev, state hostility towards Christian converts from Islam has lessened and their house meetings are no longer targeted by police. The number of converts and the number of churches granted official registration are slowly increasing. Pray that the remaining restrictions will be lifted. Ask that converts will be unmoveable in their faith, despite the hostility they face from the Muslim community (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Friday 29 March 2024

Father God, we are overwhelmed by the amazing grace You showed us at the Cross. You gave Your only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Help us never to forget that Jesus paid the ultimate price for us because He loved us. Help us also to remember that there are tens of thousands of faithful believers who have paid that price for their faithfulness to Him in our world today. We pray that, just as Jesus’ death made a way back to You, the deaths of Christian martyrs will be an encouragement to us and to people who don’t yet know You. We ask this in Christ’s name.

Saturday 30 March 2024

Please pray for a “Bible team” of six Christians who minister among the persecuted Hmong Christians in isolated mountain areas of Vietnam. They visit about 60 communities of poor farming families. In the rainy season (June to November), travel is hard and dangerous because of frequent mudslides. The team teach the Bible, pray with families, visit the sick, disciple local church leaders and encourage the believers to stand firm in the faith despite the pressures they face. Barnabas Aid helps to support them.

Sunday 31 March 2024

Lord Jesus, we thank You that You are the way, the truth and the life and that we can come to the Father through You and You alone. We have eternal life because of what You did for us when You died and rose again. You were victorious over sin and death, and we praise you for sharing that glorious resurrection power with us. Thank you for Your promise that in heaven every Christian will have every tear wiped from their eyes. May this reality for today and wonderful hope for the future strengthen us and especially our Christian brothers and sisters living now with poverty and persecution, conflict and disasters, grief and displacement. Thank You that, even through suffering, we can rejoice in our risen Saviour. (John 14:6; Revelation 21:4)