(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, April 28, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.
ERITREA: Population: 5.5 million, Christians 2.6 million
Despite almost half the population identifying as Christian, believers in Eritrea continue to suffer extreme persecution, making it still one of the hardest places in the world to follow Jesus.
The government recognizes only three denominations—Orthodox, Catholic, and Lutheran. Those not part of these groups are at risk of severe persecution at the hands of the state. Gatherings are raided and believers arrested. The conditions facing Christians in prison can be inhumane. Some pastors have been incarcerated for over a decade and have faced solitary confinement. There are possibly more than 1,000 Christians imprisoned in Eritrea, with none formally charged. While some are released, many of these are moved to military service—which is no freedom at all—or house arrest. The ongoing detention of Christians shows that the government has no intention of relaxing its repressive policies.
Christians not recognized by the state are especially vulnerable to the everyday surveillance imposed by the state, with phone calls monitored, bandwidth kept slow, and a network of citizens tasked with spying on their neighbors. This intrusive level of monitoring has led to Eritrea holding the infamous title of “Africa’s North Korea” (The Economist, Aug. 14, 2018).
Meanwhile, converts from Islam and the Eritrean Orthodox Church face harsh mistreatment from their families and communities.
What has changed this year? Very little has changed, except for a slight increase in pressure on churches. The country remains sixth on the World Watch List, making it still one of the hardest places in the world to follow Jesus.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution? Whereas persecution by the state affects Christians across Eritrea, other forms of opposition are more localized. The western and eastern parts of the country are majority Muslim, while the central areas are more Christian Orthodox. Christians from Muslim or Orthodox backgrounds living in those regions are more susceptible to persecution.
- Pray that imprisoned Christians and their families will be sustained by God’s grace and presence.
- Pray for a change of heart for the longtime dictator President Isaias Afwerki.
- Ask God for wisdom, discernment, and boldness for believers as they seek to meet together despite the threat of surveillance.
- Pray that the Lord will protect the congregations of believers that are watched by the police.
- Pray for the Christian youth who are required to serve in the military, even if they don’t want to.
- Pray for the leaders of the Orthodox church, that they will embrace all followers of Jesus as brothers and sisters and not as competitors.
- Pray for the Lord to protect the new believers, converting from Islam and joining evangelical churches.
- Pray that Christians from Islamic and Orthodox backgrounds will be encouraged and empowered to stand firm in their faith and would worship in unity with together.
- Pray for the protection of believers who want to come together and have worship as well as fellowship
- Pray for the secret Christians in Yemen who live under constant threat because of their faith. Ask God to give them courage, wisdom, and boldness, that they would know how to best live out the gospel.
- Pray for believers to sense God’s presence and know that Christians are praying for them.
- Pray that believers experience God’s comfort under persecution and forgive their persecutors.
- Pray to the Lord to guide and protect NGO workers in their covert support to Christians.
- Pray to the Lord to break the powers of darkness and that all Christian believers can worship openly without any fear.
Again, we want to lift up these 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.
Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator
Prayer Conference Call Details
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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.