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Prayers for January 3, 2006

January 4, 2006

Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
Praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
The Lord’s name is to be praised.

The Lord is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
Who dwells on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?

He raises the poor out of the dust,
And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
That He may seat him with princes-
With the princes of His people.
He grants the barren woman a home,
Like a joyful mother of children.
Praise the Lord!
(Psalm 113)

From The Voice of the Martyrs

INDONESIA (Compass Direct)
Following the closure of scores of churches in the past two years, the Indonesian government is revising a controversial law to regulate places of worship. Christian leaders fear the changes will do little to keep Muslim communities from blocking or shutting down churches. The original 1969 decree requires all religious groups to apply for permits before setting up a place of worship. Neighbors in the immediate vicinity of a proposed church, mosque or Hindu temple must give their consent before a permit is granted. Under proposed revisions, community members will serve as “inter-faith forums” to give approval before a church could even apply for a permit. This will give them even more power in establishing the religious make-up of a village. “If it comes down to a vote, Muslim leaders will influence others to vote against churches,” Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, a spokesman for the Indonesian Bishops’ Council, told Compass.

Pray God will give Indonesian Christians a spirit of wisdom for the present and great hope for the future. Pray they will draw close to the Lord in worship wherever and whenever they meet. Pray Muslims will be frustrated with their inability to stamp out Christianity and come to realize the eternal authority and love of Jesus Christ.

TURKEY (Compass Direct)
For the third time in six months, Turkish Christian Yakup Cindilli has failed to appear at court hearings against the ultra-nationalists who beat him into a coma two years ago for distributing New Testaments in his hometown. The clerk of the Orhangazi Criminal Court near Bursa, in northwestern Turkey, confirmed to Compass last week that Cindilli had not attended a December 15th hearing. Partially recovered, Cindilli had left Orhangazi last June, apparently circulating in various areas of Istanbul over the summer months. With his whereabouts unknown, it is presumed he may not have known about the hearings scheduled on his case. Although his assailants were jailed, one was released a month later and the other two granted bail after three months. The Orhangazi judge has postponed the criminal court hearing on Cindilli’s case until March 16th.

Pray Cindilli will be able to have another series of medical tests to prove the severity of his injuries. Pray he will be willing and able to attend the March 16th hearing. Pray that as the time for the trial drags on, the Lord will lead his attackers to repentance and faith in Jesus.

After four weeks of holding services in a rented hall in the capital Ashgabad (Ashgabat), the registered Greater Grace Protestant church was banned in late November from holding meetings in publicly owned premises. Registered religious communities cannot rent publicly owned premises or meet in private homes. Obstruction to finding places they were allowed to use for worship was one of the major complaints from registered religious communities at a government-sponsored roundtable meeting in Ashgabad in late October. Greater Grace church signed a rental contract with a geological institution in Ashgabad to hold services there on Sundays. “It was a good hall,” church members report. “We invited officials from the city’s Religious Affairs Office and they came to the services-it was all done officially and openly.” Then, after the fourth service, an official of the city administration’s Religious Affairs Office told the church it could not continue meeting in the state-owned hall. The church believes the decision originated with the MSS secret police. The church is planning to write to the Adalat (Fairness or Justice) Ministry to seek clarification. “Other people who want to rent state facilities can do so, but not religious communities it seems,” church members complained. “I don’t know why-there’s no law which forbids this.” The Greater Grace church gained official registration from the Adalat Ministry at the end of August after a year of foot-dragging.

Pray the Lord will soften the hearts of officials in the Adalat Ministry and allow this church to continue renting a hall for worship. Pray the healing power of Jesus will bring His life and love into the hearts of everyone in the region.

Seven Christians in Turkmenistan were gathered for prayer in a home when government officials and a Muslim imam raided their meeting. The home belonged to a recent convert named Oguldurdy. The attack took place on December 17th, in the northeastern town of Deynau, according to a report from Forum 18. During the raid, officials searched the home for Christian literature and confiscated two Bibles. The seven were then taken to the Public Prosecutor’s office where they were threatened and insulted. They were told they should be publicly denounced as traitors. One woman was threatened with expulsion from her rented apartment.

Pray the Lord will grace His people with the quiet joy that comes from knowing they are falsely accused for Christ’s sake. Pray their trust in Christ will overshadow any fear they might face. Ask God to restore the Bibles and Christian literature taken from them.

RUSSIA (ASSIST News Service)
Russia is currently experiencing a resurgence of religious repression similar to that of an earlier period in the country’s history. “Our country, Russia, experiences a very difficult time now. In many respects it is very similar to the 1920-1930 period in Russian history,” writes Isabel Du Toit, Head of Prayer Ministry for the TBN and Association of Christian Churches “Union of Christians,” in an e-mail obtained by ASSIST News Service (ANS). “Today we face a new wave of slander against Christian leaders in Russia. There are waves of gossip to discredit Russian main Christian leaders, i.e. Bishop Sergey Ryahovsky (head of the Russian Pentecostal Union), Bishop Paul Okara (head of the Russian Evangelical Church) and Bishop Igor ‘Nikki’ Nikitin (head of the Association of Christian Churches’ Union of Christians).” Du Toit asks concerned Christians in the United States to “please stand with us in prayer to end this tendency and prevent the repetition of these happenings.”

Pray the Spirit of Christ will fill Russian churches and their leaders. Pray God will protect His Body from splits and destruction. Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit throughout Russia.

INDIA (Compass Direct)
From setting fire to churches to force “reconversion” to Hinduism, extremists persecuted Roman Catholics throughout 2005. In several cases of religiously motivated violence this year, police refused to file charges, leaving the victims with no legal means to pursue their complaints. In other cases desecration of religious objects was recorded only as petty crime or theft. Christian leaders may disagree on whether persecution has increased in India this year, but undisputed are the scars many Catholics bear for the Savior whose birth they are celebrating. (Click here)

Pray the Catholics under attack will draw close to Jesus, their Protector. Pray the suffering of all Christians in India will bring unity to the Body of Christ. Pray the Holy Spirit will draw Hindus to seek TRUTH.

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