Happy Christmas! We hope that you are having a peaceful and joyful Christmas. Thank you so much for praying with us this year: prayer is a vital part of our work and we’ve seen God move in some amazing ways following your prayers this year. Because you prayed so faithfully, people like Pastor Behnam Irani and Rev Yat Michael and Rev Peter Reith will see out the end of the year in freedom.
However, during the Christmas period, many more of the people we work with are especially in need of your prayers. In many countries Christmas is marked by fear and uncertainty as well as hope and wonder. Please take five minutes this Christmas to remember those who are not able to worship in freedom.
Below, you’ll find some information to guide your prayers.
This Christmas, please pray for:
Syria, Iran and Egypt
- For refuge for those displaced by violence in Syria. Pray also for a ceasefire, reconcilation and a political solution to the crisis.
- For all charges to be dropped against Pastor Nadarkhani and three church members, who are on trial for ‘action against national security’. There's a further court hearing, but no date set yet. Pray also for an end to raids and arrests during Christmas services.
- For protection for congregations over Christmas and New Year, and comfort fot the families of the 24 victims of the bomb attack on St Peter’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo two weeks ago.
Laos, North Korea, Indonesia, China, Burma
- For Christians in two villages in Laos who were threatened by village leaders, and told to either give up their Christian faith or leave. So far nothing has happened to them, so please pray that God would continue to give them strength to stand firm.
- For three South Korean church leaders who were arrested in North Korea, and whose whereabouts are unknown.
- For protection for Christians in Indonesia, where there is mounting tension following an attack on a Protestant church and demonstrations against Jakarta’s Christian governor.
- For the governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is on trial for blasphemy.
- For Pastor Yang Hua of Living Stone Church, China, who was formally arrested in January on charges of ‘divulging state secrets’. We’re expecting his trial to begin soon.
- For the congregation of a Catholic church that was bombed in Shan state, Burma, earlier this month.
Burma: possible breakthrough
- On 20 December we heard that Daw Aung San Suu has agreed to let other nations send humanitarian aid to the Rohingya. You've been campaigning and praying with us for months for aid to get through! Of course this is only a small step on a long road to peace, but we're hopeful and urge you to keep praying with us.
Nepal, Pakistan, India
- For safety and protection for churches in Nepal during Christmas, especially in light of a recent foiled attack on a church.
- For Asia Bibi in Pakistan who is still on death row for blasphemy, awaiting a date for a Supreme Court appeal hearing, and faces another Christmas in prison.
- For the family of Pastor Vasudev Bara of Phulwariya village, India, who were severely beaten by Hindu extremists.
- For Pastor Santosh and his wife Nilima in Madhya Pradesh, India, who led a group of young carollers. As they were getting into their van they were stopped and harassed by four men who are believed to belong to a Hindu fundamentalist movement. Pray for their safety during this festive period.
Cuba, Colombia and Mexico
- For congregations in Cuba whose churches have been demolished by the government, and for church leaders and human rights activists who are being harassed
- Giving thanks for the new peace deal in Colombia after a long and difficult process.
- For people in Mexico who have been forced from their homes and villages because of their faith.
Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea, Central African Republic, Kenya, Tanzania
- For the four men in Sudan whose trial continues with hearings scheduled for Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
- Pray also for church leaders in Khartoum and Omdurman who are often under severe pressure.
- For safety for Christians in northern Nigeria from terrorist attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani militia over Christmas. Pray for comfort and justice for those of all faiths who lost loved ones in terrorist violence this year.
- For the thousands imprisoned without charge or trial in Eritrea, including hundreds of Christians. Some have been unjustly detained for more than a decade.
- As the security situation beyond the capital in the Central African Republic remains volatile, pray for peace and security for churches during the Christmas period.
- For protection for churches, hotels and restaurants, and transport systems in Kenya over Christmas, from attacks by the terrorist group al Shabaab. Pray also for wisdom and protection for the security services.
- That congregations in Tanzania would be able to celebrate Christmas in peace. This year has seen systematic attacks on religious buildings in the north-west, and regular disruption of church services in Zanzibar.