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Where Christ Still Suffers
Praying for the Persecuted around the World
The following is a synopsis of countries where Christians experience persecution by government policy or practice. This listing is meant to be a tool to inform you and aid you in your prayers for our brothers and sisters who suffer for their faith. Several nations are not included in our list of persecuted countries. In these cases, the persecution is localized or not government sanctioned, such as in the Philippines or Peru. The Voice of the Martyrs also aids the suffering church in such situations.
The Islamic State of Afghanistan continues to endure a civil war for religious supremacy. Non-Muslims are denied freedom of assembly and open profession of faith in Christ. Pray that the Church in Afghanistan would multiply and gain strength daily.
Recent heavy political fighting between Muslim revivalists and the army could lead to civil war. Muslims in Algeria have bitter memories of "Christian" conquests. Algeria's religious and social pressures often force Christian girls into marriage with Muslims. Pray that God would bind up any bitterness among Muslims and give Christians insight and sensitivity.
Islamic revival is causing hatred and resentment against Christianity. Although Azerbaijan officially guarantees religious freedom for all, the nationalists are becoming more Islamic and anti-Christian. Armenian churches, many vandalized, remain closed. Pray that God would soften government officials' hearts toward Christianity.
One of the poorest nations of the world. Bangladesh suffers from overpopulation, floods and cyclones. In 1988,Islam, became the official religion. Believers are often denied access to public water wells by Muslim extremists. These extremists have also destroyed many of the Chrirtian's rickshaws, thereby dertroying their only source of income. Pray that God would use the current poverty and natural disasters to bring Muslims to Christ.
Buddhism is the state religion. All public worship, evangelism, and proselytism is illegal. Buddhism shapes politics and it is illegal for a Buddhist to convert. Pray for the legalization of Christianity and that thousands of Buddhists would convert to Christ.
Constitutional guarantees for the free practice of religion are eroding and no evangelism is allowed among Muslims. The government routinely restricts the practice of non-Muslim religions by denying entry to foreign clergy and banning religious teaching materials and Bibles. Only Islam is taught in the schools. Pray that Muslims would have a deep hunger to know "the Way, the Truth, the Life" - Christ Jesus.
With its high population, China experiences more persecution than any other country. Despite Communist harassment, beatings and arrests, Christians press on. China's new "Strike Hard" policy has brought increased pressure on Christian activities outside of the official church's Three-Self Patriotic Movement. The confiscation of church property and Bibles continues. Even Bibles officially printed and distributed by the government are taken by police. Yet the Church grows. At least 1,500 Chinese come to Christ each day. Pray the Church continues to march on boldly, growing in Christ daily.
All open witness is forbidden in this Islamic state. Christian missionaries work in local hospitals, but are not allowed to share their faith. Less than one percent of the population knows Christ, and those who meet openly are persecuted. Pray that the Body of Christ would take root and bear much fruit.
Cuba is isolated as one of the last champions of communism. In 1959, Castro came to power threatening Cubans with "Socialism or death." Christians are still subject to many restrictions. The government has recently destroyed many churches and threatened believers. Some are even imprisoned. Because of the tight restrictions, this island country in experiencing a famine for the scriptures. Pray that the Church in the West would respond to Cuba's spiritual hunger.
There is extreme social pressure on evangelicals to belong to the traditional Orthodox Church. The few missionaries who minister to the Greek majority face much opposition from the Greek Orthodox Church. The North is almost completely Muslim and no open Christian activity is allowed. Pray for wisdom for the Christians as they share the gospel and gather to worship.
Islam is the state religion. Recently the Christian minority was jarred out of its relative peace by Islamic radicals. These extremists have murdered Christians, politicians and tourists to try to collapse the government. Muslim adults who convert to Christianity are forbidden to officially change their status, so their children are required to participate in Islamic activities. Pray that the children of Christian parents would choose to follow Christ in spite of government pressure.
It will take years for this land to recover from the effects of economic devastation, murder and the exile of virtually all educated citizens. Proselytism and the registration of new denominations are not allowed. There are only 25 trained pastors in the country, and most of these have been influenced by liberal schools in Cameroon. Pray that government officials would see that Christ is the only way to a just and righteous society.
Although this Islamic government grants freedom to choose among the Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian religions, Islam is given preferential treatment. Christian expansion and influence in public life is limited by the government. Muslim extremists have recently attacked many Indonesian churches. Pray for conviction and repentance among the Muslims responsible for destroying churches and that they would come to Christ.
Shi'a Islam is the state religion. Although the government claims to guarantee the rights of Christians, all deviations from the state religion can lead to severe persecution. The press is censored. Mission and ministry among Muslims are prohibited, and spies are infiltrated into Christian groups. Pray that the enforcement of Islam would cause a deeper hunger to know Christ.
The repressive power of the government is held solely by Saddam Hussein. Christian may not undertake missionary activity or hold services outside designated regions. Pray that Saddam Hussein would bend his knee to Christ.
Sunni Islam is the state religion. Non-Muslims are socially discriminated against. Although the Gulf War resulted in some loosening of the strict religious rule, full freedom of worship and witness has not been realized. Pray that religious freedom would become a reality in Kuwait.
Evangelism is strictly prohibited. It is illegal to bring in Bibles. Some Christian clergy have been jailed for their faith. Protestant and Catholic seminaries, closed two decades ago by the government, remain closed till today. Pray that the Body of Christ would not lose hope and would gain stamina in Christ daily.
No form of witness is allowed from Christians, who compose only three percent of the population. This Christian community is mostly foreign; there are only a handful of indigenous Christians. Pray that Christian expatriates would find creative yet discreet ways to share the Gospel.
The Muslim government is committed to greater Islamization to preserve national unity. All citizens are required to be Muslims. No Christian places of worship are allowed and open witness can result in severe punishment. As a result of these restrictions, Maldivians are among the least evangelised peoples on earth. Pray that government officials would see that national unity is only found in Christ.
Only Sunni Muslims may be citizens. The only Christian church service allowed is restricted to foreign Christians. The constitutional guarantees of freedom and religious liberty do not extend to Christians. Almost all Christians are expatriates. Pray that the Church would expand among the Mauritanians despite the restrictions against Christianity.
The government is committed to preserving Islam as the religion of all of its people. Christians are forced to minister only to expatriates and evangelism of Muslims can bring severe repercussions from the Government. Pray that the government would realize that peace is found only in preserving Christ among its citizens.
Buddhism is no longer the state religion but it still has great influence on government affairs. The military dictatorship controls every religious activity. Pray for a loosening of restrictions on religious activities in Myanmar (Burma).
Muslim persecution of Christians is generally ignored by the government. The entry of Christian missionaries is restricted. Many churches have been destroyed and Christians massacred in the north. Pray that the righteousness of Christ would be raised up among His Body in Nigeria.
Islam is the state religion. Only expatriates are allowed to openly practise their Christianity. Government policies have caused Christians to flee the country. There is only one indigenous Christian group known to exist, with only 20 Christians remaining. Pray that the Holy Spirit would lift the veil of Islam from their eyes and that they would see Christ for who He really is!
The government is attempting to Islamize public life through the legal system and taxation. This Islamization is eroding the constitutional rights of Christians and other minorities. There is a blasphemy law in Pakistan that calls for life imprisonment for anyone who insults the prophet Mohammed. Pray that the blasphemy law would be removed from Pakistan's legal system.
The strict Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam is the official religion. Witness to Muslims is forbidden and only expatriate Christians are allowed to meet. Only the Anglican church has been granted official status; all other believers must meet privately in homes. Qatar Christians have suffered much for their faith. Pray that the Anglican church would rise up and evangelize this country, making the most of their "official status."
The home of Mecca. Saudi Arabia may be the most ardent Islamic state. Even expatriate Christians are not allowed to meet together. Anyone who does mission work or converts a Muslim faces jail, expulsion, or even execution. Pray that Christ would manifest Himself to every Muslim visiting Mecca!
After the Marxist regime of the 70's, Islam has regained its prominence in the Somali government. There is a fear that more militant Islamic groups may gain control. Somali Christians have faced severe opposition and they are forced to practice their faith in secret. Pray that Christ would strengthen the Church in Somalia.
Christianity is perceived as a foreign and colonial imposition in this Buddhist country. Free choice of profession and access to education are severely restricted for non-Buddhists. Pray that Sri Lankans would see that Christ belongs to every nationality, not just one!
Sudanese Christians are experiencing intense persecution. Since 1985, approximately two million people have perished from war, famine and genocide. Hundreds of Christians perish every day at the hands of Muslim extremists. Pray that God's Word and Christian resources to equip the Church would flood Sudan.
Christian minorities are tolerated, but the government keeps a watchful eye to see that they don't threaten state power. Missionaries are not allowed to reside in the country and Christians who share their faith with Muslims find it a daunting task. Pray that Christ would prepare the soil of Muslims' hearts to hear the gospel.
Christians who hoped for religious freedom after the fall of the Soviet Empire found instead persecution fron another source. Islam is growing at record proportions. Tajikistan is in political turmoil which makes it almost impossible to bring in missionaries. Pray that the government would see that stability is found only in Christ.
With Tibet occupied by China, Tibetans' freedoms of speech and press are restricted. Christians can only practice their faith secretly. Pray for creative ways for the Church to gather together and worship.
In this Islamic state, tolerance is shown to foreign Christians but no one is allowed to evangelize. Indigenous believers are isolated since many have migrated, leaving few to share their faith. Less than one percent of the population claims Christ. Pray that the Church would multiply daily, beyond the government's "control".
Although Turkey has historically been Islam's chief protagonist, it is currently a secular state. However, there are severe restrictions for non-Muslims. The state severely hinders the work of the church. Christians in Turkey find it difficult to carry on religious activities while under Muslim influence. For effective evangelism to take place, Christians must find a way to overcome the Muslims' hatred of the Gospel. Pray that Christ would influence the hearts of Muslims toward the Gospel.
United Arab Emirates
Sunni Islam is the religion of the state. There is freedom to worship and witness only in expatriate communities. Social work and Christian schools are severely restricted. Christian organizations find it difficult to work because of the control of the government. Pray that God would lift the restrictions on Christians in the UAE.
The constitutional guarantees of religious freedom are meaningless. Government policy is aimed at controlling all religious movements. The religious deception of animism, witchcraft, and Buddhism also generates additional challenges. Pray that the Church would continue to minister despite government crackdowns.
Islamic influences are steadily growing in this secular state. The Pentecostal Church has not been allowed official registration. Muslim missionaries feverishly rebuild mosques, distribute Qur'ans, and convert people to Islam. Christian literature is seized at the borders. Pray that Christians will soon have this same freedom, yet share Christ despite of the opposition.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs
Serving the persecuted Church, the mission works in over 50 countries. To help support the ministry, you may contact the Australian mission by email on:
or write to them:
The Voice of the Martyrs
PO Box 598
Penrith NSW 2751
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