Voice of the Martyrs Prayer Watch (15th July)


NIGERIA: Continue to Pray For Nigerian Kidnap Victims

Three months after the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls, the Islamic militant leader behind the abduction surfaced in a video on Sunday with a defiant and dismissive message.

For 90 days the families of the more than 200 girls had hoped for good news. Instead, their hopes were met with scorn in a new video from Boko Haram leader Abubaker Shekau, who mocks the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign.

The social media campaign #BringBackOurGirls quickly drew worldwide attention to the plight of the Chibok schoolgirls. But just as quickly, it faded from the global spotlight. And in that time Boko Haram has stepped up its terror campaign. In the new video, Shekau claims responsibility for a June bomb blast in the capital, Abuja, which left 21 dead.

So far the Nigerian government has appeared impotent in the face of the increasingly brazen Boko Haram attacks; they have all but ruled out a military rescue as it could further endanger the lives of the girls.

In the three months alone since the raid at the school in Chibok, Boko Haram has carried out nine major gun and bomb attacks, adding another 1,100 victims to the 5,000 it has already claimed since 2009. In its heartlands in north-east Nigeria, it continues to gain the upper hand against the Nigerian military, despite President Jonathan deploying vast numbers of troops.

“We have no idea when they might suddenly attack again,” said Henry Wasi, 46, whose 16-year-old daughter is among the 223 girls still missing.”My wife is praying every day at the church, because she knows it is now only God who will bring back our girls.”

There was a measure of comfort for the Chibok parents on Sunday when they were visited by Malala Yousefzai, the young Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for also having the audacity to seek an education.

Sources: The Telegraph, CBS News

Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord to hear the cries of the girls and their families and deliver the girls from their current torment.
  • Pray that the believers in Nigeria will continue to find their daily strength from our Lord so that they may faithfully serve Him.
  • Ask Him to intervene whether through the government and military or by His miraculous hand to bring an end to the violence in Nigeria.

COLOMBIA: Pray for Family of Murdered Pastor and Teenage Son

Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) killed a pastor and his oldest son recently after the pastor refused to shut down his church or allow them to recruit his oldest son and daughter.

The FARC guerrillas confronted the pastor three months ago because he had reopened a church located in a red zone. They told the pastor that if he didn’t allow them to recruit his two oldest children he would have to close his church. When he refused to do either, they immediately killed the pastor and his son.

The pastor’s wife is now left to care for the couple’s three daughters alone.

Source: Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points

  • Pray God will comfort and strengthen this widow and her daughters; pray He will be their provider and protector.
  • Ask Him to strengthen their faith and draw them into a deeper relationship with Him.
  • Pray these deaths will not be in vain, that the Lord may use this tragedy to somehow benefit His church in Colombia and reveal Himself to many members of FARC.

IRAN: House Church Members Imprisoned for their Faith

Mohammad Roghangir and Suroush Saraie were arrested on Saturday 5 July in Bandar Azali in northern Iran. It is believed that they have been taken to Shiraz prison in order to serve sentences handed down in July 2013.

On 12 October 2012 seven believers were arrested in a raid on a prayer meeting in Shiraz. Mohammad and Suroush were among them. Although they were released from detention on 19 March 2013, they were then tried on 16 July 2013. Mohammad was sentenced to six years in prison and Suroush received two and half years. They remained at liberty pending an appeal which was subsequently rejected.
The leader of an associated fellowship, Abdolreza Haghnejad (also known as Matthias), was also arrested on 5 July. Security officials raided his home in Rasht and confiscated Christian materials, including Bibles. He has yet to be charged.

Source: Middle East Concern

Prayer Points

  • Pray Mohammad, Suroush, Abdolreza and their loved ones will experience the Lord’s sustaining and strengthening presence during this time.
  • Pray that God will provide opportunities for all Iranian Christians in prison to clearly share the Gospel with fellow prisoners and guards (Colossians 4:2-3).
  • Pray against the government’s campaign to stop the spread of Christianity.

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