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Praying for the Persecuted Church in Len...

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Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent - Azerbaijan

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Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent - Azerbaijan

Project(s): 03-979

Country/Region: Azerbaijan

Laws in Azerbaijan expressly prohibit the government from interfering in religious activities, yet strict controls are placed on all religious communities. Once a Christian region, Azerbaijan is now around 90% Muslim. However, the number of ethnic Azeri Christians has been increasing in recent years although, as converts from Islam, many of them face much hostility from family, community and authorities.

Azerbaijan-2
A mountain landscape in the Ismailli district of Azerbaijan
Churches must register in order to rent or own a meeting place. Without registration, they are likely to face raids, threats and harassment. In 2009, the Religion Law was amended twice, and each time it was made more restrictive. According to the new amendments, on 1 January 2010 all religious groups that have already gained state registration (i.e. legal permission to function) must re-register. Those groups that fail to meet the new stricter conditions become illegal and are then more vulnerable to harassment by the state.

In March 2009 a gathering of several adults and 12 children – who were present with their parents’ permission to hear Bible stories – was raided. The police removed the children to a separate room where they were questioned without lawyers or parents present. The adults were taken to the police station and fined for illegally teaching children to spread Christianity. The raid was widely shown on television stations, and the names and addresses of the adults detained were made public.

Religious literature is censored, and all incoming parcels containing books go to the post office in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku. The recipient has to collect (in person) one copy of each title posted, take it to the State Committee for permission and take a letter back to the post office to claim the books.

Barnabas Aid projects in Azerbaijan include:

Azerbaijan General Fund (Ref. 03-979)
Please Pray:
  • Pray for greater religious liberty in this country, which is only 2% Christian.

  • Pray that the Lord will help Azeri Christians to stand strong in their new faith and that He will continue to grow His Church in this country.

  • Pray for church leaders such as Javid Shangarov, who was fined in September 2009 and faces deportation to Russia because he invited friends and neighbours to Christian events in his home.

  • Pray for Christians in Azerbaijan who experience pressure from local authorities, that they will be left alone to worship and witness freely.
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Daily prayer

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  • 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 22 hours ago

  • 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

  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

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