Daily Prayer - September 2023

Friday 1 September 2023

“All for Jesus – even in death.” These were the courageous words of five North Korean Christians, who were arrested as they attended a secret church service in a farmhouse in Tongam, South Pyongan province, on a Sunday morning earlier this year. Christianity is outlawed in North Korea, and people will almost certainly face imprisonment, torture and death for any expression of Christian faith. Pray for the five believers, and any others arrested in connection with this underground church, asking that the Lord will sustain their faith as He sustained the faith Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were thrown into the blazing furnace, even if they are not delivered from harm (Daniel 3:16-18).

Saturday 2 September 2023

A theological seminary in Wuhan province, China, hosted a lecture on “Sinicisation Reconstruction of Christian Ideology” in which the speaker said that churches should incorporate traditional Confucianist ideals into their theology and liturgy. “Sinicisation” refers to a process of “making Chinese”. While lectures and seminars like this can be useful in helping church leaders apply Christian theology to a particular cultural context, there is also the risk that theology and the Gospel can be compromised, distorted or even abandoned. Ask the Lord, who gives wisdom and understanding to those who ask (Proverbs 2:6; James 1:5), to give such wisdom to Chinese church leaders as they navigate these challenges.

Sunday 3 September 2023

Lord God and Heavenly Father, we pray for all those who suffer suspicion and hostility for their Christian faith, not only from extremists but from their own governments. We know that many are subject to repressive rules or overly harsh requirements, while others live in countries where the Christian faith is completely banned. Please sustain the faith of all of Your children in these situations, strengthening them with the reminder that none shall snatch them out of Your hands, for we ask it in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (John 10:28-9)

Monday 4 September 2023

“I am thankful to Barnabas for this gift for our poor people,” said Mariam, a pupil at one of 11 schools newly built by Barnabas for children of Pakistani Christian brick-kiln workers. “I am getting academic education but also having Biblical study.” Each of the new schools has three classrooms, electricity, a secure yard, a washroom with piped water and a toilet. Give thanks that the education these schools provide is giving a brighter future to Christian children. It helps to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy that ensnared previous generations, enables them to grow in their love of the Lord and strengthens the Christian community as a whole.

Tuesday 5 September 2023

Christians are among those most threatened by the strengthening of Pakistan’s notorious “blasphemy” laws. As part of an agreement reached between Pakistan’s coalition government and an Islamist opposition party, anybody charged with defiling the name of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, will additionally be charged as a terrorist. The government also pledged to speed up “blasphemy” trials and create a new Counter Blasphemy Department. Baseless “blasphemy” accusations are often used as a means to settle personal grudges and stir up trouble. Pray that these new measures will not make Christians and other religious minorities more vulnerable to mob violence or the death penalty.

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Pakistani Christian Noman Masih was sentenced to death by a court in Bahawalpur, Punjab, on 30 May for alleged “blasphemy” against Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. The 23-year-old was arrested in July 2019 and charged under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code over images allegedly found on his mobile phone. He denies possessing or sending the images. Pray that the death sentence and the case against Noman will be overturned on appeal and he will be freed. Ask the Lord to protect him, his family and the wider Christian community. Pray also for protection and wisdom for Noman’s lawyers.

Thursday 7 September 2023

An Islamist terrorist group has threatened to “make Pakistan a hell for Christianity”. “Neither the Church nor Christians will now remain safe in Pakistan,” declared the Lahore-based Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The threats were made in response to the burning of a Quran in Sweden by an Iraqi self-declared atheist in July, for which the Islamists held Christians responsible. Pakistani Christians, however, had condemned the Quran burning as an act of hatred. Pray that the Almighty will protect all those who seek their refuge in Him (Psalm 91:1-3) and that these threats against His people will come to nothing.

Friday 8 September 2023

At the time of writing, violence continues to rage in the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur. Believers among the Christian-majority Kuki people group (as well as the few Christians among the Meitei people group) have been targeted, with at least 120 people killed – most of them Christians – and at least 250 church buildings burned down. Violence in the state began earlier this year on 3 May, and more than 60,000 people – again, mostly Christians – have been displaced from their homes. Ask that the Lord will provide for all those affected by the conflict, and especially His persecuted and suffering people.

Saturday 9 September 2023

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the actions of a mob in Manipur who forced two Christian women to remove their clothes and parade naked down the street. One of the victims, a 21-year-old woman, reported being gang raped, and the second woman, aged 42, said she was molested and assaulted. The father and brother of one of the women were killed trying to protect them. Modi described the incident as “shameful”, adding, “The guilty will not be spared.” Give thanks for this official condemnation, and pray that it will lead to greater protection for the Christians of Manipur. Pray that there will be peace for all in Manipur and in the neighbouring states of India.

Sunday 10 September 2023

Sovereign Lord, we lift up before You Christian women who are particularly vulnerable in places of persecution. We pray for widows and those whose husbands are in prison, who are left with minimal or no support or protection for themselves and their children. Please enable them to lean on You, their heavenly husband, and know Your gracious provision. We ask that the abduction of Christian girls for forced marriage and forced conversion in Pakistan will cease, and that our sisters will develop and flourish in their relationship with their Saviour, in whose precious Name we pray. (Psalm 68:5; Isaiah 54:5)

Monday 11 September 2023

Our brothers and sisters in Christian-majority Uganda were left in shock and in mourning after a brutal Islamist raid on a boarding school in the western district of Kasese on 16 June left more than 40 people dead, almost all of them pupils at the school. Fighters from the jihadi group Allied Democratic Forces, based in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo, struck as the boys and girls were singing evening hymns. Continue to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15), joining the lament of those who have lost loved ones in such horrific circumstances. Pray that the Lord will comfort the mourning with His grace.

Tuesday 12 September 2023

International experts have warned of the emergence of an “African caliphate” as violent extremism rages across the continent. Hotspots of violent anti-Christian persecution include Nigeria, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from where Islamists plotted and launched the Uganda school massacre. At least 20 African countries have suffered jihadi violence, with another 20 used to mobilise resources for terrorist groups. Pray that the Lord will restrain the hand of violent extremists for the sake of all people in Africa, especially Christian communities who are at particular risk.

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Twelve people were hacked to death by Islamist militants in Christian-majority North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on 8 June. Four women and four children were among those killed in the attack, which was carried out by the jihadi group Allied Democratic Forces on the village of Bukokoma. Pray that the Lord will comfort those bereaved and bring an end to the actions of extremists who seem relentless in threatening and killing His people.

Thursday 14 September 2023

At least 26 people were killed in separate attacks on a Christian area of Plateau State, Nigeria, in June and July this year. In the first of four raids in Mangu Local Government Area, 11 people were burned to death in the village of Chisu. Another three died in an attack on the village of Bwai, where gunmen also burned down a church building. Around three weeks later another 12 died in night-time raids on two more Mangu villages. Pray that our brothers and sisters will know the Lord’s presence close to the broken-hearted and strengthening their hearts (Psalm 73:26). Ask that He will protect Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.

Friday 15 September 2023

“We see it as Divine providence to get this project,” said the head of a Nigerian Christian village. He was speaking as construction began on the first two of 11 health centres that Barnabas is planning, Lord willing, to build in Kaduna State, where Christians are regularly subjected to Islamist attack. The centres will provide emergency treatment to survivors, as well as general medical care for the sick. The two centres will serve Christian communities numbering more than 34,000 people, and spare them from walking long distances, at risk of attack, to access medical care. Pray that construction progresses smoothly and the centres open as scheduled at the end of this year.

Saturday 16 September 2023

Give thanks that a church minister who was abducted by gunmen in Anambra State, Nigeria, has regained his freedom. Stanislaus Mbamara was kidnapped while driving in early June but was set free just two days later. Praise the Lord for answered prayer in the release of Stanislaus. Pray that he will experience full recovery from his ordeal and be inwardly strengthened to continue his ministry with increased resolve.

Sunday 17 September 2023

Lord God and Heavenly Father, we pray for those of Your people who are imprisoned in Eritrea, where they suffer much abuse and many hardships. They are not known to us, but each one is known to You, and loved with a love that is “from everlasting to everlasting”. Please encourage and strengthen each one with the assurance that their imprisonment is for the furtherance of the Gospel, for we ask it in Christ’s precious Name. (Psalm 103:17; Philippians 1:12)

Monday 18 September 2023

Give thanks that heavy rains earlier in 2023 brought some relief to the Horn of Africa, which had been suffering from drought for several years. However, problems remain in areas such as Ethiopia, Somalia and northern Kenya. The long-term drought had hardened the ground, meaning that much of the rain could not be absorbed by the soil and resulted in floods that displaced many from their homes and led to increased risk of waterborne disease. Continue to uphold in prayer our brothers and sisters, and all those affected by droughts and floods, as their difficulties persist.

Tuesday 19 September 2023

A congregation in Rumbek, Lakes State, South Sudan, asked for prayer after their church building was burned down by unknown attackers on 22 July. Gabriel Majok Mayom, one of the church leaders, said that “the church is not a structure, the church is the people”, but added that the loss of the building was a blow to the congregation. Gabriel added that the believers were praying for the forgiveness of those responsible. Join with our brothers and sisters in asking that the Lord provide for His people who have lost their building and equipment, as well as interceding for those who committed this crime.

Wednesday 20 September 2023

A British MP has warned that “a systemic ethnic cleansing” is taking place in the Republic of the Sudan (formerly North Sudan), as, at the time of writing, violence that broke out in April this year persists. Speaking in the House of Commons, Vicky Ford, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sudan and South Sudan, said that thousands had been killed in a violent campaign against the non-Arab population of Darfur. As many as 400,000 were killed in the Darfur genocide that began two decades ago. Many Christians are among the thousands from across Sudan who have fled into Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan in search of safety. Intercede for the Lord’s people, and all those suffering the ongoing violence, asking that there will be peace in this troubled land.

Thursday 21 September 2023

Give thanks for Egyptian Christians Rania and her daughter Mira who every weekend prepare up to 900 sandwiches in their home with Barnabas-funded ingredients. On Sundays, Rania and her husband deliver the sandwich-based meals to six Cairo churches for the Sudanese refugees who attend those churches to eat after worship. For many of the impoverished Christian refugees it is their only food of the day. Lift up Rania and her family who take joy in seeing the happiness their sandwiches bring to others. Pray that we learn from their service to the Lord Jesus Christ in giving food to the least of His brothers and sisters (Matthew 25:35, 40).

Friday 22 September 2023

Give thanks that the government of Egypt has licensed a further 374 churches and church-affiliated buildings. This is the 27th batch of approvals made since the government committee overseeing the process began work in 2017, and the largest single batch so far. Licences have now been granted to 3,189 of the 3,730 churches that applied for registration under a 2016 law that abolished Ottoman-era restrictions on church building. Praise God that the licensing process has passed the 3,000 mark, and that congregations are permitted to worship in unlicensed premises pending completion of the process. Continue to pray for the remaining 541 licences to be granted.

Saturday 23 September 2023

Church leaders in Minya governorate, Upper Egypt, expressed their thankfulness at the laying of foundation stones for two new church buildings in the region. Dr Andrea Zaki Stephanous, Egypt’s most senior evangelical leader, said, “Today events are brimming with joy.” He also expressed his thanks to President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi for his support for the Christian community. Before the repeal of Ottoman-era restrictions by President al-Sisi’s government in 2017 it was extremely difficult for any new churches to be built. Give thanks for the opportunity to construct two new church buildings. Pray that the new buildings, when finished, will be a blessing to the Lord’s people.

Sunday 24 September 2023

Heavenly Father, we bring before You our brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia. We ask for their continued protection as they follow You in secret in a country where converts to Christianity are in danger of the death penalty. We thank You for recent reforms in Saudi Arabia and pray that these will be extended so that the light of the Gospel will be more visible. We ask in the Name of the Light of the World, our Lord Jesus Christ. (John 8:12)

Monday 25 September 2023

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has described Lebanon’s economic situation as “very dire”. Inflation in June 2023 was reported as 254%, with food inflation running at 280%. The IMF report warned that the situation could worsen if no action is taken, presenting “the largest risk to Lebanon’s economic and social stability, taking the country down an unpredictable road”. Many Christians are among those suffering from this economic situation, which has led to desperate shortages of food, medicine and other necessities. Pray for wisdom for the leaders of Lebanon and for an end to this ongoing crisis.

Tuesday 26 September 2023

More than 69 Christian converts from Islam were arrested by security forces across 11 cities in north-western Iran in the period 1 June to 17 July. The believers were arrested at their homes or venues for “house churches”. At least ten may still be in detention. Worship in Iran’s majority language Farsi (Persian) is forbidden, and Farsi-speaking Christians are typically charged with “acting against national security” for their activities in unofficial “house churches”. Ask that the authorities will release those still held, and that Christian converts will be able to live and practise their faith in peace.

Wednesday 27 September 2023

The ten-year prison sentence of a Christian in Iran was reduced to two years after a successful appeal. Joseph Shahbazian, an Iranian-Armenian believer, was sentenced in June 2022 for his role in a “house church” in the Yaftabad area of Tehran, Iran’s capital. Give thanks for the reduction, and ask the Lord to sustain Joseph throughout his imprisonment. Pray that the day will come when there will be no punishment for practising Christianity in Iran.

Thursday 28 September 2023

There are reports of mass killings, raping and torturing of people. A scene of war crimes is unfolding.” These were the words of Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Primate of the Armenian Church of the UK and Ireland, in the days following an invasion of the Armenian Christian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh by Muslim-majority Azerbaijan on 19 September. In the week after the invasion more than 47,000 people had fled into Armenia itself to escape the violence. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said he expected thousands more people to follow because they fear “the danger of ethnic cleansing”. Pray for the suffering Christians of Nagorno-Karabakh, asking that the Lord will be their strength and shield (Psalm 28:7) throughout their traumatic experience.

Friday 29 September 2023

Prior to the Azerbaijani invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh on 19 September, senior Christian leaders had already called on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden to intervene urgently to prevent a new Armenian Genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh. Warnings of a new genocide also came from the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention in early September. The Armenian Christian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh had been under a blockade by Azerbaijan since December 2022, causing widespread shortages of food, medicine and fuel. Pray that the invasion will cause the international community to take these warnings seriously.

Saturday 30 September 2023

“Thank you for everything you do for helping people from Ukraine,” said a Barnabas Aid project partner in Ukraine. “Your support is highly appreciated by thousands of people who are helped by the funds you send, mostly with food, medicine and basic clothes.” Barnabas has recently funded the supply of food, drinking water, sleeping bags and sanitary products and temporary shelter to Ukrainian Christians affected by devastating flooding following the collapse of the Kakhovka Dam on 6 June. Praise God for what He is doing through Barnabas, and pray for an end to the conflict in Ukraine.