Poverty is rampant in Mauritania. One-third of Mauritanian children are malnourished, and resources are shared within extended families and communities to ensure survival. Christians who leave Islam are often denied access to communal resources. Many believers must keep their faith a secret just to survive.
As Mauritanian society increasingly becomes more accepting of and dominated by Islamic extremism, Christians’ rights are rarely protected. Those who leave Islam risk losing everything if discovered. Christians have no status in the community, are ostracised by their family, have little hope of stable employment and are subject to social hatred and false stereotypes.
Laws tightly restrict preaching the gospel to Muslims. Even just publicly expressing one’s faith can be seen as an attempt to convert others to Christianity, which can lead to prosecution and death.
Open Doors supports persecuted Christians in North Africa by providing training and literature, socio-economic development and prayer support for believers in difficult situations.
PRAY FOR MAURITANIA
1. Pray that Christians in Mauritania find comfort in God and His provision rather than in money, work and possessions.
2. Pray for the hearts of Muslims persecuting the Mauritanian church, that they encounter Jesus and are saved.
3. Pray for reconciliation in places of conflict and that Christians can be examples of forgiveness and love.
PRAY FOR AUSTRALIA
Drought and Fire
The NSW Rural Fire Service is desperately trying to protect properties around the state, with 14 blazes given emergency warning status and dozens more burning out of control. Windy, dry and hot conditions have pushed the fire danger to extreme on the far north coast and in the New England region.
Conditions are expected to worsen this afternoon and the RFS said there was potential for fires to threaten communities and destroy homes.
Between Forster, on the mid-north coast, and the Queensland border emergency warnings had been issued for fires at Wandsworth, Torrington, Nymboida, Tyringham, Buckra Bendinni, Kosekai Road (west of Bowraville), Willi Willi, the Tapin Tops National Park, the Crowdy Bay National Park, Port Macquarie and Hillville.
A blaze is also burning at emergency level in the Woodford area of the Blue Mountains and those in the area are advised to seek shelter.
Yesterday, a bushfire came within metres of homes in Forster as terrified residents scrambled to flee.
"Everything is on fire and we're stuck in traffic," one woman was heard saying in a video posted to Facebook.
"The fire has jumped across to Harvey Norman and it's burning everything there ... we saw two cars on fire over there."
NSW RFS deputy commissioner Rob Roger said the drought gripping the state had made for dire fire conditions. "While we are dealing with some fires near properties, there are a lot of fires that are more remote that have been burning now for a month or six weeks and in some two months," he said.
"Those fires have the potential to keep burning, getting bigger and coming out into populated areas."We are quite concerned."
Items for Prayer
1. Pray for safety and protection for fire fighters and affected residents.
2. Pray for government and public support for properties that have been destroyed by fire. Pray also for farmers who are affected by the drought condition.
3. Pray for rain in the affected drought area.
PRAY FOR ETHIOPIA
Despite being one of the first Christian nations in Africa, Ethiopia is being influenced by surrounding Islamic countries. Muslims who convert to Christianity are often cut off from their families.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church also plays a large part in persecuting the church from within. They consider themselves the only ‘true’ Christian denomination and have even attacked other believers.
“Since my father’s death, God has spoken more and more to us and assured us that He loves us. God comforts us. God told us He will be our dad. He will show us His goodness even more in the midst of persecution.”
– Bachu (19) from Ethiopia.
Bachu’s family was the only Christian family in their village. Her father was killed for being bold in sharing Jesus. Bachu shared that God strengthened her through her suffering.
Open Doors has been supporting the church in Ethiopia for around 30 years. Through local partners, we are equipping the church to share the gospel in their nation. We provide immediate relief to persecuted believers, help Christians find jobs, and give theological and discipleship training.
PRAY FOR ETHIOPIA
Pray the government will reconsider their ban of Christian broadcasting services.
Pray for unity across the church and that unity across denominations will be a testimony of God's love to many.
PRAY FOR LAOS
In this Communist nation, Christianity is branded as a Western influence. Believers are often seen as a threat to the government and officials use society’s hostile attitude towards Christians to justify monitoring and harassing believers.
Persecution is more common in rural areas and mostly comes from one’s family and community. All gatherings are seen as dangerous by local authorities, and must first receive approval from the government. For Christians, this means their meetings are often hindered or declared illegal. Some church meetings have to be conducted in secret.
Believers who abandon tribal customs for Christianity are treated as outsiders. They are watched with suspicion and closely monitored. Sometimes new Christians are even expelled from their homes and forced to live in the jungle for months, even years, before relocating to safety.
“If God wants me to die because of His will, I am prepared to lay down my life for Jesus.” – Beun, Christian from Laos.
Beun was imprisoned for five months for sharing the gospel. He was held in a small cell with 21 other people. But his time in prison made his faith stronger. After his release, he continued to share the love of Jesus.
“Even when I was arrested, I felt that it was a part of God’s plan,” he said. “I am so happy that Jesus is using me for His sake.”
Through local partners, Open Doors runs discipleship programs, leadership training, and provides emergency relief and practical support to persecuted Christians.
PRAY FOR LAOS
1. Pray for Christians in Laos to be bold in sharing their faith, despite the pressure they receive from their government and community.
2. Pray for new believers to stand strong in Christ and hold fast to His promises.
3. Pray Christians who have been forced to flee will continue to live faithfully and find comfort and peace in God.
PRAY FOR VIETNAM
In Communist Vietnam, Christians are accused of betraying their identity and culture. Christianity is viewed as a foreign religion with no place in Vietnam. Communist authorities view the church as a threat.
New believers have their rights stripped away from them and are often forced to flee their homes to escape violence. Some Christian children from ethnic minorities are not allowed to attend school because of their new faith. Those who continue to go to school are discriminated. They don’t receive the same attention as other children and often have their medical needs neglected.
Printing the Bible is restricted in Vietnam, making it hard for Christians to grow in their faith. Many believers lack basic Bible knowledge, leaving them vulnerable to false teaching. Any public expression of Christianity can lead to imprisonment.
“Everything must come back to the origin – the Word of God.”– Bao, a Christian from Vietnam. Bao distributes children’s Bibles in Vietnam. They are not only used as gifts for children but also to introduce adults to the Word of God. “We have to prepare the next generation,” Bao said. “So that they can see the Word of God and live in faithfulness. I believe the young generation will be the generation to do mighty things for God.”
Open Doors provides emergency relief for Christians affected by violent persecution. Through local partners, we also provide Bibles to the local church in their own language and train leaders in pastoral care.
- Pray for protection for Christians as they suffer from violent persecution for the name of Jesus.
- Pray believers will have access to Bibles and can be strengthened in their faith.
- Pray the church will not be misled by false teaching but will encourage one another to recognize the truths of God
The leader of a radical Hindu group in India has declared that by the end of 2021, he’ll rid India of Christianity. Churches are regularly monitored and disrupted. Police officers rarely intervene when Christians are persecuted.
Some groups are working towards Hindutva, a process to make Indian rule exclusively Hindu. Officially, India has freedom of religion. But the anti-conversion law makes it illegal to convert to Christianity in seven states. Those who do convert from Hinduism are often attacked, or even killed. They are constantly under pressure to return to Hinduism and are likely to be rejected by their family.
Sharing the gospel is dangerous. It is almost impossible to build or renovate a church and meeting together for worship is not safe. Missionary visas haven’t been issued since the late 1960s. However, God is strengthening His Church and many believers want to share Christ.
“Don’t be afraid when persecution comes to you. It’s part of the Christian life. It’s a privilege to be persecuted.” – Bahia* from India.
When Bahia (22) and her mother came to faith, their community became aggressive. Bahia and other Christians refused to deny Jesus and were violently thrown out of the village. Bahia went to Bible school to strengthen her faith so that one day she can return to her village with the gospel.
Through local partners, we strengthen the church and provide emergency relief to persecuted believers. We also deliver Bibles, train in job skills and help adults learn to read and write.
PRAY FOR INDIA
“Keep praying for us, we need more strength. We know we are being monitored and our lives are constantly under threat. But we want to continue with our ministry...” – Pastor’s wife from India.
- Pray for families of pastors to stay Christ-centered and stand firm in persecution.
- Pray for Christians who are sharing the gospel in areas where conversion is illegal.