Voice of the Martyrs Prayer Watch

NIGERIA: Over 100 Dead in Attack

Around 100 suspected Boko Haram militants have killed 106 people – 105 men plus one elderly woman, in an attack on a village in Nigeria.

The attackers stormed the mainly Christian village of Izghe, in Nigeria’s restive north-eastern Borno state, on Saturday. Borno has been under emergency rule since May last year in a bid to stop an Islamist rebellion that has claimed thousands of lives since 2009.

The attacks in the area were becoming “deadlier and more frequent by the day”, said Senator Ali Ndume.

A local farmer, Barnabas Idi, said the attackers, dressed in military uniform, had gone door to door looking for those hiding in their houses. “The attackers came … in six trucks and some motorcycles,” he said. “They asked men to assemble at a place, and began hacking and slaughtering them.” There were no security forces in the town at the time of the attack, he said.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, BBC world

Prayer Points

  • Pray for those who have lost loved ones, pray they will find comfort in the fact that Christ is victorious over death, and the dead in Christ will be raised with Him. Pray that, in view of this promise, they will continue to give themselves fully to the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
  • Uphold all those in authority who are attempting to bring an end to the bloodshed in Nigeria, pray the Lord will grant them insight, wisdom and strength, ask the Lord to grant them His favour.
  • Pray for the members of Boko Haram, pray the Lord will bring true conviction and repentance to many.

 

TURKEY: ‘Ugly’ Charges against Turkish Pastor Dropped

Protestant Pastor Orhan Picaklar was informed earlier this month that what he called “ugly slanders” against his character and conduct have been officially dropped by the Turkish prosecutor investigating his case.

Picaklar was detained on 11 November 2013 and held for two days in the Black Sea coastal city of Samsun over alleged involvement in prostitution, sexual harassment and human trafficking.

Samsun Prosecutor Recep Bakirci declared in a ruling issued on 13 January that there was no sufficient evidence to open a case against the pastor, nor against nine other suspects listed on the official complaint. Picaklar only learned of the decision on 3 February, when he received a mailed copy of the official’s four-page ruling.

All of the allegations from the accuser, a 19-year-old Iranian woman deported from Samsun before Picaklar’s arrest, were ‘abstract, unbelievable claims’, the prosecutor concluded.

‘I was truly put to shame,’ the pastor said. ‘I hadn’t done anything, but this was a huge and ugly slander, and most people who read the press believed it.’

Source: World Watch Monitor

Prayer Points

  • Thank the Lord the truth has come to light and the charges have been dropped.
  • Ask the Lord to strengthen the resolve of Pastor Picaklar, to continue to serve Him in spite of the injury to his reputation. Ask for his good name to be restored.
  • Pray for the Iranian woman who made the false accusations.

 

CHINA: Crackdown Preceded Chinese New Year Celebrations

Before the commencement of the nation’s Chinese New Year celebrations, which began on 31 January, Christians were targeted several times in what is believed to be a crackdown on church activity.

In Beijing, members of a church group were arrested on 24 January when they tried to visit Zhang Wenhe, a fellow member. The 19 Christians had initially gone to Zhang’s home for a Bible study, only to discover that he was being held under house arrest at another location. Upon learning of Zhang’s new location, and the fact that he was experiencing serious health concerns due to a heart problem, the believers tried to deliver food and medicine to him. Authorities then detained 15 of the believers, including Zhang, a 14-year-old male and another believer with heart trouble.   

Meanwhile, churches in central Henan province and southern Guangdong province have also reported intense persecution. In Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, police have disrupted the gatherings of a house church twice a week since the start of January. In Neihuang County, Henan, many Christians are fearful to attend their church meetings because of the opposition they have endured from several local government departments.

Sources: China Aid, Release International 

Prayer Points

  • As our brothers and sisters in China endure this latest crackdown, pray that they will keep their eyes on Jesus, persevere in their faith, and not grow weary or lose heart (Hebrews 10:32-39; Hebrews 12:1-3).
  • Pray that the detained Christians will be released very soon, and that their faith will only be strengthened by this trial.
  • Commit China’s authorities to our Lord in prayer, asking that their eyes may be opened to the truth of the Gospel.
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