Uzbeskistan – Population: 32.8 million, Christian: 350,000
There are only 349,000 Christians in Uzbekistan – a tiny minority in a country of 32.8 million people. They make up just 1.1 per cent of the total population, the majority of whom are Muslims. No religious activities beyond state-run and state-controlled institutions are allowed. Under the authoritarian rule of the president, the government heavily restricts religious expression, outlawing all unsanctioned religious expression. This means any non-Orthodox Christian group is illegal—and even Orthodox groups can preach only in Russian since doing so in Uzbek is against the law.
Christians are viewed as a threat to the government, and Protestants in particular are frequently branded as ‘extremists’ because they practice their faith outside state-sanctioned structures. They are seen as followers of an alien sect that aims to destroy the current political system. For this reason, the state believes they need to be not only controlled, but if necessary, eradicated.
Christians face persecution from the state through the police, secret services and local authorities that monitor religious activities by various means like bugging homes, tapping phones, infiltrating groups and attending church services. Christians in unregistered churches suffer repeatedly from police raids, threats, arrests and fines.
The general Islamic culture makes life for converts to Christianity particularly difficult. The Islamic culture in Uzbekistan means believers from Muslim backgrounds bear the brunt of the persecution; they experience pressure and occasionally physical violence from their families and communities to force them to return to their former faith.
Despite all this, the number of Uzbek believers is growing. Some of the Uzbek Christians have developed a vision to reach out to the Uzbek people in Afghanistan and Turkmenistan and are active in those areas too. Many of the Uzbek Christians have faced opposition from the moment they left Islam but persevere in their faith in spite of their hardships.
Example: Pastor Oleg leads a church in Uzbekistan that is mainly made up of believers from Muslim backgrounds. He says, “We try to be very careful – we don’t meet in groups of more than three or four. We can see that the persecution is growing day by day and we are learning to live in the midst of it… Sometimes I feel so tired of all this pressure. As a Christian pastor in a Muslim country, I feel even more pressure than others. That’s because of responsibility for myself, for my family (my wife and three children) and also the responsibility for the members of my church. Sometimes this burden seems too heavy.”
- Pray to the Lord that the eyes of the country’s leaders would be opened to the truth. As Uzbekistan has one of the harshest dictatorships in Central Asia. All forms of opposition and deviations from the norm (for example, Christianity) are attacked.
- Pray believers have the strength to go through the process of obtaining registration for their church. Officially the country has religious freedom however, it is very hard to obtain registration for religious communities.
- Pray for religious freedom as no religious activities beyond state-run and state-controlled institutions are allowed and unregistered churches face police raids, arrests and fines
- Pray with believers who have converted from Islam and experience isolation in their new faith, as well as the fear and pressure they experience knowing that their family’s discovery of their conversion could mean ridicule, persecution and even death.
- Pray that believers would have courage and endurance in the face of persecution.
- Pray for persecuted Christian minorities, that they would lovingly minister to Muslims and pray that many hearts would be opened to the truth of Christ.
- Pray for the protection of NGOs, such as Open Doors, which provide “covert” support to Believers
- Pray believers are bold in sharing the gospel, this in spite of the hostile environment
- Pray to the Lord to supernaturally enlarge His church to continue to grow and that His hand of protection is over His believers.
Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice, pray that they will be set free. And also lift up pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison and ask for the release for Anita, a Christian convert recently sentenced to 6 years in prison for sharing the Gospel in Iran
You are invited to join us on Thursday, July 16 in a prayer call for the persecuted church.
Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Moderator
Prayer Conference Call Details
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
From any location on your phone
9:00 PM Eastern
8:00 PM Central
7:00 PM Mountain
6:00 PM Pacific
Call in number: 712 775-7035
Access Code: 281207#
Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!
MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes
What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.
The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.
With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.
Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.
Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.
If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!
NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.
Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.
Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.