(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday September 16, 2021 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.
Tajikistan: Population: 9.4 million, Christian 66,300 (0.7%)
In Tajikistan, the government puts heavy pressure on all “deviating” religious groups by tightening and strictly enforcing existing laws. All religious activities must be approved by the government, and it is common for churches—particularly Protestant—to be raided by authorities. Church leaders and Christians can be detained if they are found to have any Christian materials that aren’t government approved. The country also has a law specifically targeting religious work among young people, leaving Christians unsure of what they are legally allowed to say to young Christians.
From time to time, police officers disrupt meetings and interrogate attendees. Local authorities often impose fines on Christians because of their faith and for legal reasons, such as gathering without a permit, possessing and printing religious material without a permit, or perceived proselytization. Persecution from the state includes searches, detention, interrogation, confiscation, fines, and imprisonment—all meant to pressure Christians and keep them in line.
The government of Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic, is primarily concerned with power and holding onto control, but the surrounding society is heavily Islamic. The Tajik ethnic identity is directly tied to Islam. That is why Christians who have converted from Islam bear the brunt of persecution at the hands of both the state and from family, friends, and community.
Russian Orthodox Christians and churches experience the fewest problems from the government because they do not usually attempt to contact, or evangelize, the Tajik population. “Early last year, my church was attacked by wicked people and the church building was confiscated by the court. Our church is now gathering inside a 40-ton container. We pray for a new building for our church. We also ask you to participate in prayer and support us in this. The Lord said, ‘Call me and I will answer you … ’
Although Tajikistan fell two rankings from last year’s World Watch List, persecution and pressure rose slightly. Violence is still very low, but pressure from every sphere of life increased just a bit. Being a Christian in Tajikistan continues to be difficult and dangerous, particularly for churches trying to show the gospel and make disciples. Tajikistan’s Christians who have converted from Islam are most at risk. They are doubly targeted by both the government and their communities and families. Additionally, Christians living outside Tajikistan’s major cities are more prone to experiencing greater pressure than followers of Jesus in urban settings.
- Pray for pastors and church leaders in Tajikistan, especially those who are monitored and detained by the government. Pray they will be safe and not be unjustly targeted, and that God will sustain their faith and the faith of their families.
- Pray for converts to Christianity from Islam who live in areas of Tajikistan where conversion means severe pressure from family and communities. Pray they would sense they have a community that transcends location and situation, and that they would know they aren’t alone.
- Pray that Christians in Tajikistan will have wisdom to know how to share their faith safely, and boldness to continue sharing the gospel. Pray God will soften the hearts of those enforcing the restrictions on evangelism, and that He might draw them to Himself through the courageous witness of our brothers and sisters.
- Pray that churches and places where believers gather to worship and hear the word will be safe from confiscation and attacks by radicals.
- Pray for that the Lord will appear to the radicals in their dreams and convert them to honor the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Pray that God would be near to our brokenhearted brothers and sisters in Tajikistan. Ask God to make His presence felt to them.
- Ask God to pour out His Spirit of love, order and calm over Christian communities, especially in the remote areas.
- Pray for NGOs who provide immediate aid to believers when they are imprisoned, excluded from families and communities, and deprived of livelihood and employment because of their faith in Christ. They also strengthen the persecuted church primarily through literature distribution, prayer support, training for Christians, socio-economic aid, and persecution preparedness seminars.
- Pray that the internet will have messages that encourage believers and bring hope to the lost.
- Pray that Believers can love and forgive their persecutors.
- Pray that the Lord will build HIS church and mightily add to the number of believers.
Update: Prayer point for Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli of Nepal has been removed.
Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses to the Lord:
- Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
- Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
- Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
- Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
- For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.
Merlaine, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator
Prayer Conference Call Details
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
From any location on your phone
USA Time Zone:
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#
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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 time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.
Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.
“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are 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 are new to the call and cannot 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!
God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.
Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team
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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.
Photo: People in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. By Veni Markovski (CC BY 2.0) flickr.com/photos/veni/3482697139