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Prayers for December 6, 2005

December 6, 2005

“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed” (Revelation 6:9-11).

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

From The Voice of the Martyrs

EGYPT (Compass Direct)
Hany Samir Tawfik, a 29-year-old Egyptian Copt, has been released from jail after being held without charges for 28 months. He was set free June 28th, from Gharbaliat Prison near Alexandria. His release came seven months after his case was first publicized outside Egypt. He had been arrested by Egypt’s State Security Investigation (SSI) authorities on March 3, 2003. A Coptic Christian who had gone to Saudi Arabia to work, Tawfik was deported back to Egypt in the summer of 2002, after requesting asylum from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh. He was promptly detained for interrogation at Cairo’s notorious SSI headquarters but released after 52 days. Seven months later, Tawfik was again arrested under unknown accusations.

Thank God for his release. Pray Tawfik will continue to seek a closer walk with Jesus and be the fragrance of Christ to everyone he meets.

VOM recently reported that on November 8th, two girls were attacked on their way to a Christian school. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports Siti Nuraini, 17, a Muslim, died in Poso Kota general hospital November 9th. Her Christian friend Ivon, also 17, remains in critical condition. This incident closely followed the beheading of three Christian schoolgirls on October 29th, and represented a further escalation of violence. The Reverend Rinaldy Damanik, Moderator for the Central Sulawesi Christian Reform Church, and Chairman of the Central Sulawesi Churches Crisis Co-ordination Centre, has been in close contact with Christians and government officials in Sulawesi and has appealed for a stop to the violence. He stressed security officials needed to act promptly to ensure those guilty of the attacks are brought to justice and also to try and prevent further attacks. As reported in the Jakarta Post, Presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said the President had ordered security forces to bring the perpetrators to justice and urged residents not to launch revenge.

Pray the family and friends of Siti Nuraini will long for the love and mercy of Jesus. Pray the Lord Jesus will touch Ivon with His healing power. Pray God will use this attack to build His Kingdom and their suffering will not be in vain.

An international Christian human rights organization is urging the immediate release of three wrongly accused Indonesian Christian Sunday school teachers who have lost their appeal to overturn charges. This means a three-year prison term for the women—Dr. Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti and Ratna Bangun. They are currently serving a three-year prison sentence in the Indramayu district of West Java, having been wrongly convicted of “attempting to coerce children to change their religion” under the Indonesian “Child Protection Act.” Christian Freedom International (CFI), reports that on November 22, 2005, the three Sunday school teachers lost an important appeal to have their sentences reduced or overturned by a higher court.

Pray God will soften the heart of the judge who will hear the next appeal, giving him compassion for these innocent women. Pray they will be comforted and made aware of the many people who are praying for them. Pray the Lord will minister to the children while their teachers are in prison.

An Iranian Christian convert was kidnapped from his home in northeastern Iran last week and stabbed to death. His bleeding body was thrown in front of his home a few hours later. Ghorban Tori, 50, was pastoring an independent house church of converted Christians in Gonbad-e-Kavus. Within hours of the November 22nd murder, local secret police arrived at the pastor’s home, searching for Bibles and other banned Christian books written in the Farsi language. According to one source, during the past eight days representatives of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) have arrested and severely tortured 10 other Christians in several cities, including Tehran. (Click here for original story posted on 12-05-2005, for most recent update, click here.)

Pray the Lord will comfort Tori’s family and friends. Pray Christians in Iran will continue courageously, boldly and lovingly, confident in their Savior. Pray the Holy Spirit will move in victorious power to overcome the forces of evil in Iran.

RUSSIA (Religion Today)
The Russian government reports that within the coming weeks it may begin tightening control of foreign missionaries and religious organizations. According to reports, the Justice Ministry is considering adopting stricter rules on granting visas to foreign missionaries—an action that, if effective, would lead to the limitation of missionaries to Russia. The government also expressed plans to make the suppression of religious centers easier while causing registration of religious organizations more difficult. “It sounds like it’s all going back like it was during the Soviet time,” commented Sergey Rakhuba, vice president of Russian Ministries. He believes the Russian Orthodox Church is involved in the proposal. Rakhuba states: “Even if restrictions on foreign missionaries are forthcoming, church growth and evangelism in Russia will not be hindered. I don’t think that it will affect evangelism because you cannot stop people from talking about Christ. You cannot stop people talking about their experiences with Jesus. And that’s what Russian Ministries is doing.”

Pray God will lead the foreign missionaries to begin intensive training and discipling of Russian believers to be pastors and evangelists among their own people. Pray the Holy Spirit will move in power in the Russian Orthodox Church, bringing many to know the joy of their salvation. Pray Russian Christians will be bold and loving as they share with others their experiences with Jesus.

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