9/24/2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) CENTAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Population: 4.8 million, Christian 3.6 million
The people of the Central African Republic (CAR) have been mired in cycles of violence since the country became independent from France in 1960. These cycles have been driven by overlapping tensions between armed groups, religious and ethnic groups, and herders and farmers. As a result, CAR has endured repeated outbreaks of conflict, population displacement, alarming food insecurity, and limited access to basic services and economic opportunities.
In 2013, the country once again descended into civil war when the Muslim-majority Séléka group staged a coup against the Christian-dominated government. Following the coup, supporters of that government formed the Anti-Balaka coalition. Clashes between the two groups led to vicious cycles of revenge attacks and a quick deterioration of the country’s security infrastructure
Because of the civil war between rebel groups identified as “Muslim” and “Christian,” it is hard to separate religious persecution from political violence. There are, however, some clear cases in which believers have been specifically targeted for their Christian witness and other activities of biblical faith. In a four-week period in 2017, five pastors were murdered by Séléka rebels in targeted attacks designed to eliminate their witness for Christ. Reports of other churches In Central African Republic, discuss their faith with anyone other than immediate family members is a risky undertaking. The country is divided along faith lines. If a Christian host talks about Christian faith to a Muslim guest, they may get into trouble. In the country’s northern region, it’s also dangerous to have Christian materials, as well as access to Christian radio, TV or Christian material online. Family members act as spies and report when a Muslim has converted. When ex-Séléka fighters come into a house and find someone reading a Bible, they have been known to kill them immediately.
Normal church life is extremely difficult as meetings of Christians are always under threat of attack, Séléka groups attack churches in the Muslim-dominated areas of the country and especially target churches that are more involved in openly integrating converts from the Muslim community. Anti-Balaka rebel groups also attack churches and any Christians who oppose their activities. Both rebel groups are involved in criminal activities. And Islamic leaders occupy all of the marketplaces, control trade and impose a huge tax on Christian businessmen and even loot the shops of Christians to reduce them to poverty.
This displacement of thousands of Christians has resulted in overcrowded IDP camps full of traumatized people. In many of those circumstances, they were attacked because they are Christians. Pastor Zoundji cares for an evangelical congregation of about 200 in the country’s largest IDP camp. The camp houses around 30,000 people, mostly Christians. Christians must put up with the hardship of the camp because there is near-anarchy in the surrounding wilderness filled with rebel groups. “We find ourselves between the devil and the deep blue sea,” Zoundji tells Open Doors workers. “It has been very difficult, but we are here. We will move forward, knowing that only God can protect us. And even if death should come, I will die in the Word.”
- Pray to the Lord for wisdom and integrity for the government as it seeks to restore government authority and make a way for peace.
- Pray to the Lord that Christian leaders will be appointed to government offices.
- Pray for the thousands of people, the majority of them Christians, living in IDP camps because security has not been restored. Pray for trauma counseling.
- Pray that the Lord would be at work through his Holy Spirit and that hardship and persecution would be catalysts to a deeper, more intimate knowledge of Christ.
- Pray that they will have good resources for books as morale of church leaders in the north and east is very low. They have lost all their study material and find it hard to prepare for sermons.
- Pray that the pastors and elders will also be built up in the Spirit and will be able to comfort others.
- Pray for the work of OD, VOM and other NGOs in the country. Pray for continued protection and wisdom as we seek to alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters.
- Pray to the Lord that He will protect His saints from attacks, discrimination and other ill-treatment.
- Pray for believers to have His superior protection and guidance to share the gospel despite the possible deadly consequences.
- Pray for believers that have converted from Islam and now experience fierce pressure to return to Islam. Pray for protection and endurance.
- Pray that the strong Christian messages on the internet that will encourage believers and
let Muslims see and understand the Good News.
- Pray to the Lord as head of the church that He will grow and expand His church. That the forces of darkness will be bound, and their efforts will be futile to prevent the church from expanding greatly.
Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for
- Leah Sharibu and Alice, prisoners of Boko Haram, pray that they will be set free.
- Pray pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison
- Pray 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, Sept. the 24th in a prayer call for the persecuted church.
Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator
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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.