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Jordan

Jordan is a place where Jesus and His disciples walked, and its Biblical heritage extends back even to the time of the patriarchs. But today this legacy is more of a tourist attraction than an indication of a vibrant Christian community.

 

 Jordan_Mount Nebo
Mount Nebo, Jordan

Jordan is often seen as an oasis of peace and tolerance for Christians, compared to some other Middle Eastern countries. Seats are reserved in parliament for them, and they have a strong presence in the business community. But Jordan is not as free and tolerant as is generally assumed. Islam is the state religion, and although the Jordanian monarchy styles itself as the protector of the country’s Christian minority, for many years Christians have been emigrating to the West. The size of the Christian minority is now estimated to be just 1.5-3% of the population.

Muslims who convert to Christianity face the greatest problems. Even though neither the constitution, nor the penal code, nor the civil law ban conversion from Islam, the government in practice forbids it, since the personal status of Muslims is governed by sharia law. Evangelising amongst Muslims is also prohibited. If someone files a complaint of apostasy against converts, they may be deprived of their civil rights and lose their families and property.

Some converts have reported being summoned and questioned by the security services, threatened with court and other actions, and offered rewards for denouncing their conversion. These converts also reported that the authorities withheld from them certificates of good behaviour, which are needed for job applications or opening a business, and told employers to fire them. Converts are often socially ostracised, and some have reported facing threats and physical and verbal abuse from their families and Muslim religious leaders.

Although the heads of Jordan’s recognised Christian denominations advise the government and administer all official matters relating to Christians, the authorities continue to treat Christian converts as Muslims rather than as Christians under the law, and this has serious implications for inheritance and other matters. Similarly, some Christian denominations are officially recognised and enjoy a good measure of freedom. But other Christian groups are registered as “societies”, and by law they need government approval for their budget as well as other administrative restrictions.

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Daily prayer

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  • Pray for Barnabas Fund partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 21 hours ago

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

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