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The United Nations in late July declared famine in Somalia. An estimated 10 million people are affected. The region's worst drought in 60 years and a dysfunctional government have worsened food shortages. Humanitarian and relief aid are blocked by militants, who accuse aid groups of being "political".
Pray for protection over aid agencies and workers attempting to bring food in and for the restoration of institutions and government in Somalia so that the country can function again. Pray for the underground believers and those ministering to them as they live out their faith in very difficult circumstances. - OD
Following South Sudan's recent independence on 9 July, Christians in the north, Sudan, are in fear of greater suppression because of an earlier presidential decree that full Syariah law will be imposed across Sudan once the south (where the majority of Christians are) secedes. Church leaders in Sudan have asked Christians in the south "not to forget them" as they start to feel the effects of the decree. Meanwhile, genocide in central Sudan continues against the Nuba people who sided with the Christian south against the government of President Omar al-Bashir. South Sudan's independence has not benefitted the Nuba who are located within the northern border.
Pray for justice for the victims of genocide in Sudan. Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for the Darfur genocide but remains free. Pray that international efforts to end the violence in Sudan will bear fruit. Pray for the Church which intends to remain as one body across the two nations of Sudan and South Sudan, and that the faith of believers will be strengthened. For the new nation of South Sudan, pray for a righteous government and for peace with all its neighbours. -WEA/CMS
More than six months after people's uprisings in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria, citizens in these countries face an uncertain future. Syria's 1.5 million Christians are caught in a geo-political fight between Iran and Saudi Arabia, a priest said. "Iran is backing the current regime which allows for limited freedom of the church; Saudi Arabia is supporting radical Sunni movements which may destroy all the freedoms we still have".
In Tunisia, native Christians who number less than 2,000 were shaken by the murder of a Polish Catholic priest by extremists in February. Christians are feeling pressured and uncertain about what lies in store when a new government is formed. Elections have been delayed from July to October. In Libya, expatriate Christians have left the country and the church in Libya is fast losing attendance and support. All Libyans also struggle with a 200% to 400% rise in the prices of food, water and other essentials.
In Egypt, the departure of Hosni Mubarak has seen greater activity by members of a radical group, the Salafists. This group has been vocal in antagonising the locals against the Christian minority. At the same time, Salafists are mobilising people to oppose the interim government's attempt to return to Christians church buildings that were unlawfully confiscated under Mubarak's rule.
Pray that extremists will not take advantage of the void in some of these countries in transition. As plans are made by interim authorities to pave the way for new governments, pray against corruption and selfish agendas, and for God-fearing leaders who will serve the people and uphold the rights of minority groups. Pray that the church in these countries, though small, will continue being a powerful witness. Pray for new believers who come under pressure for having converted. - OD
A political party, the Jamiat-Ulemae Islami (JUI) in June petitioned the Supreme Court to ban certain parts of the Bible on the grounds of blasphemy. JUI holds that these parts depict certain characters, whom Muslims revere as prophets, as flawed. JUI has said it will apply to have the entire Bible officially banned if the court rejects its original petition.
PRAY for the Supreme Court to rule justly. Pray for Pakistan's journey as a nation trying to strengthen its democracy while addressing extremists in its midst. For Pakistani Christians, pray that they will remain steadfast in faith and knowledge of the Word. Praise God that His Word stands forever. - CT/Frontpage