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During September we prayed about....

September 27, 2006

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - No. 397 - Wed 27 Sep 2006

WELCOME to the 17 intercessors who have joined the list this month.

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DURING SEPTEMBER WE PRAYED ABOUT -

RUSSIA, where a law has been drafted against \'illegal missionary
activities\' which threatens religious liberty. The draft
legislation is due to go to the Russian parliament before the
end of this year. Please continue to petition the Lord to keep
the door to the gospel open in needy Russia.

TAJIKISTAN, where a law has been drafted that would make it far
more difficult for religious groups to obtain registration.
Existing groups also would have difficulties when re-registering
as would be required under the new guidelines. The law would
prohibit the activities of unregistered religious groups. Please
pray for God\'s intervention that this draft law will be dropped
so that Tajikistan\'s religious freedoms will not be undermined.

THE POPE\'S APPEAL FOR REASON WHICH YIELDED THREATS AND VIOLENCE IN:

SOMALIA, where Sister Leonella (70), an Italian nun, was shot in
the back;

IRAQ, where al-Qaeda has threatened to destroy all churches and
kill all Christians;

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES, where Islamic militants have attacked
eight churches and have threatened to bomb all churches.

* UPDATE: AS RAMADAN ADVANCES, SO DOES ISLAMIC AGITATION.

Obligatory communal fasting (no eating, drinking or smoking)
between sun-up and sun-down for 30 days can be severely
stressful. It is not uncommon to see frustration, religious zeal
and tension increase as Ramadan advances. The threat to the
Church in Iraq and the Palestinian Territories is very serious.
Please pray for the Church through these days, that the Lord will
be their deliverer.

* ALSO: POPE MEETS ENVOYS FROM MUSLIM NATIONS

On Monday 25 September, Pope Benedict met with Italian Muslim
leaders and envoys from various Muslim nations including Egypt,
Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Indonesia and Morocco. Pope Benedict spoke
from the gospel of Mark 10:32-45, saying that according to
Christ, the logic of love is sacrificial service even unto death.
The logic of God\'s love is demonstrated in Christ, and should be
reflected in those who seek to serve God. He also spoke from the
epistle of James 3:13-18 on how sin yields disorder while
heavenly wisdom yields peace. Using Sister Leonella (murdered in
Somalia, see RLP 396) as his example, he described forgiveness
as the most \'authentic Christian witness\', and a demonstration of
victory over evil. Please pray that the Spirit of God will use
the living word of the living God to produce fruit that will
advance God\'s kingdom and glory.

\'I send it [my word] out, and it always produces fruit. It will
accomplish what I want it to, and prosper everywhere I send it.\'
(Isaiah 55:10,11 NLT)

OTHER SITUATIONS FOR PRAYER FROM SEPTEMBER
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* BOSNIA AND HERZOGOVINA: RELIGIOUS TENSIONS RISING

Bosnia has parliamentary elections next Sunday 1 October 2006.
Islamist Bosniac politicians are appealing to Muslim nationalist
and Islamist sentiment by calling for the Serb Republic - the
Republika Srpska (RS) which was created by the Dayton Accords of
1995 - to be abolished. The Bosnian Serbs of RS are Eastern
Orthodox Christians. They desperately want RS to keep its autonomy
and are threatening to secede from Bosnia rather than live under
Muslim domination. Islamists would never permit secession from
Bosnia. Whilst religious incidents have been few and relatively
minor, the religious tension is rising and the threat to peace is
very serious. Pray that negotiators, politicians and church leaders
will have great wisdom and the grace to be peace-makers. (Pray
likewise for those determining the status of Kosovo, where similar
issues apply.)

* INDIA: PERSISTENT PERSECUTION

Two pastors were arrested on 3 September in the southern Indian
state of Karnataka after a mob of some 150 Hindus, led by RSS Hindu
extremists, stormed a house church meeting. Compass Direct reports,
\'Santosh George and Madhu Mohan both worked with Marthoma Mission,
an arm of the Marthoma Church.\' According to CD, the mob - which
brought police and media - confiscated the Bibles and Christian
literature in the house as \'evidence\' of illegal conversion
activities. The pastors have been released on bail. Also attacked
in Karnataka on 3 September was evangelist Varghese Thomas (60) and
his wife Leelama (57). They were beaten by Hindu extremists after
being ambushed on the way supposedly to dialogue with Hindus who
disapproved of their evangelism. The couple were also robbed and
threatened with death if they keep preaching about Jesus.

* Also, Muslim militants attacked the Good Shepherd Mission School
in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir state, stoning the building,
destroying the boundary wall and chanting slogans against
\'missionaries\'.

These attacks are the tip of the iceberg. There are simply too many
to list. Please pray for the gospel to break through in India, that
Hindus and Muslims will understand their need of a Saviour.

* IRAN: HAMID POURMAND RELEASED FROM PRISON

It was recently reported that Iranian Christian Hamid Pourmand was
released from prison on 20 July 2006, fourteen months before his
sentence expired. After much suffering he has been reunited with
his family. However CD reports that Pourmand was warned \'that
attending church services could cause his release orders to be
revoked, sending him back to finish his prison term\'. Please thank
God for his goodness in sustaining this family. Please continue to
pray for God to protect his faithful Christian witnesses in Iran,
and bless their ministry and witness with great effectiveness.

* NIGERIA: CHURCHES BURNED IN JIGAWA

According to reports from Dutse (capital of Jigawa state, northern
Nigeria) on 19 September a woman responded to offensive remarks
about Jesus with allegedly \'blasphemous\' remarks about Mohammad.
The subsequent Islamic riot by thousands of Muslim youths left
around ten of Dutse\'s 15 churches burned and looted, along with
many houses, vehicles and some 40 shops. When Muslim rioters
started hunting Christians, thousands fled their homes and sought
refuge in military and police barracks. Muslim rioters also
attacked and wounded state authorities who went to the central
mosque to try to defuse and pacify the situation. Religious tension
spread to the religious fault-line city of Kaduna (capital of
Kaduna state, central Nigeria). Only the swift police response kept
the city under control. Please pray for strong government
leadership, rule of law, and for God himself to protect his Church.

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We usually provide a summary to use in bulletins unable to run
the whole RLP. As a summary is not practicable with this
monthly update posting we suggest using instead one or more of
the above items.

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The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this
RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
specifically and regularly for religious liberty
issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.

RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.