Pray for the Persecuted
7th - 13th February 2021
Each week until Easter, please join us in prayer for brothers and sisters living in the top 10 most dangerous places to be a Christian. We will focus our prayers each week on those living in different persecuted nations around the world. Across the globe, more than 340 million Christians - one in every eight believers - experience high levels of persecution, just for following Jesus. Many of the Psalms speak of God's protection in the face of their enemies. Notice the request at the start of Psalm 59 and the confidence and praise at the end - for many believers in persecuted lands, this is the prayer of request each morning and the prayer of thankfulness each evening.
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me;
deliver me from those who work evil, and save me from bloodthirsty men. (Psalm 59:1-2)
For you have been a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love (Psalm 59:16-17)
Persecution type: Clan oppression
Estimated number of Christians: A few hundred
How Christians are suffering: There are no church buildings in this country, which is almost 100% Muslim. It is impossible to publicly admit your Christian faith in Somalia, and those who have converted to Christianity must worship in secret. Many of those who have converted to Christianity subsequently flee to other countries, Kenya in particular, where there is greater religious freedom. Islam is considered a crucial part of Somali identity, and if any Somali is suspected of having converted to Christianity, they are in great danger from members of the family, clan or community.
A Story from Somalia:
Momina (not her real name) met Jesus in a dream – a common way God uses to break through to people who have no chance of hearing about Him any other way. She managed to find a Christian man, who gave her a Bible – and she gave her life to Christ! But she faced extreme opposition from her Muslim family. Her extended family rained insults, rejection and threats on her – and even her husband abandoned Momina and said she was dead to him. In any country this would be terrible, but Somali culture is so clan-based that Momina was left without any source of help. Except, of course, God. He led her to a town where an Open Doors partner runs a church that takes care of believers from a Muslim background.
Prayer: Lord, even though the numbers of believers in Somalia is very few, help those who believe in you there to know that they are cherished and loved by you. Help us to trust in your promise that you are gathering a people from every tribe and tongue and that even where it seems impossible, you are working to fulfil all you have promised. Thank you for Momina, and for many like her, who have had to give up everything to follow Jesus. Thank you for those working in secret to provide care and discipleship for these believers. We pray for Somali brothers and sisters who face the strong possibility of violence, even death, for their faith in Jesus, and we ask that they will find protection under the shadow of your wing. Lord, please bring peace to the conflict that rages in Somalia and grant freedom to its people. Amen.
Open Doors: https://www.opendoorsuk.org/persecution/world-watch-list/somalia/
Barnabas Fund: https://barnabasfund.org/countries/Somalia/
If you would like to pray as a family, then Open Doors have a free World Watch List pack for children and you can set off together on a journey of prayer through the year. Each week, children can colour in a flag in the prayer passport, pray for that country and put a sticker on that country on the map. These can be ordered from https://www.opendoorsuk.org/products/product/wwl-21-childrens-pack
This post is based on a very helpful blog post by Joe Carter, editor for The Gospel Coalition, entitled "The Countries Where It’s Most Dangerous to Be a Christian in 2021"