(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, December 29, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.
COLOMBIA: Population: 50.7 million, Christians about 48 million
Though Colombia has a high percentage of Christians, real believers still face persecution from criminal gangs and indigenous groups. Guerrilla groups threaten, harass, extort and even murder church leaders, who are targeted because they denounce corruption, defend human rights and oppose cartels. Their children may also be targeted, to discourage church leaders from speaking out against organized crime and corruption. These forms of persecution are particularly prevalent in rural and remote areas of Colombia.
The humanitarian crisis in the Pacific Coast region continues to worsen: the fight for the control of illicit crops, drug trafficking and illegal mining have led to intensified conflict. Many Christians are affected and are among the thousands of displaced families.
In indigenous communities, persecution tends to focus on Christians who have converted from the beliefs of their indigenous tribe. These Christians face imprisonment, harassment, physical abuse, denial of basic rights and use of their ancestral territory or being sent away to do forced labor in a different territory, among other forms of persecution. Often, they are targeted to make an example of them, so that the rest of the community is deterred from conversion.
Another key driver of persecution is secular intolerance. Increasingly, Christians are facing hostility, verbal abuse, and discrimination for their stance on issues such as abortion, sexuality, and gender orientation. The participation of Christians in the political sphere as diminished as a result.
Last year saw protests in Colombia, partly against corruption and controversial government measures. Church leaders were among those who supported the demonstrators, and this led to threats and violence. Overall, there has been a small increase in the persecution faced from the wider community and a small decrease in the incidents of violence, but persecution has not significantly changed in Colombia in the past year. Violence remains high, with seven Christians killed for their faith between January and September 2021.
Christians who’ve converted from an indigenous religion are most vulnerable to persecution in some regions of Colombia. Elsewhere, Christians—and particularly church leaders and their families—are most at risk in areas dominated by guerrilla gangs and drug cartels. Furthermore, rising secular intolerance means Christians are increasingly vulnerable to hostility, verbal abuse, and discrimination for speaking out on certain issues.
Beyond extortion, the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) added fighters by luring them with bogus promises of money, or via forced conscription. Wherever the FARC showed up, children were in danger. Colombia’s government made no effort to protect families, even those who live near a military base.
Attacks on religious leaders across the country are widespread. A recent study by the Bogotá mayor’s office found that over the past three years 12.6% of religious leaders in Bogotá have received death threats, 4.1% have faced extortion and 3.9% have been threatened with kidnapping. The pastor of Nueva Filadelfia Church was assassinated on September 16 outside his home in Antioquia,
Colombia’s half-century-long civil war has produced the world’s biggest population of IDPs ( Internal displacement = more than 8 million since 1985). Operation World estimates 7.5 percent of Colombians are evangelicals.
- Pray to the Lord that He will touch the Colombian government leaders to take steps to ensure that freedom of religion is protected for all Colombians, and that those responsible for threats against and attacks on church leaders are held to account for their actions”.
- Pray that God would offer protection for pastors and communities who are targeted by organized criminal groups.
- Pray to the Lord that He will thwart the plans of guerilla gangs and draw them to Himself.
- Pray for the Indigenous people who convert to Christianity are often forcibly displaced from their indigenous communities or excluded from receiving certain benefits by traditional authorities.
- Pray for wisdom and the presence of the Holy Spirit so that indigenous Colombian Christians can remain steadfast in the gospel.
- Pray for the family members of believers who were martyred for their faith and service to the community.
- Pray for the protection of the older children from being forcefully recruited to serve in FARC ( force armed revolutionaries Colombia)
- Pray for the protection of children from gangs who target them because their fathers are speaking out against organized crime and corruption.
- Pray for the believers who are caught in the crossfire of illicit crop growers, drug traffickers., illegal mining operators and the government forces.
- Pray for the believers to sense God’s presence and be anchored in God’s word.
- Pray for the NGOs to support and equip, stand with, the persecuted church. Pray specifically for the Children Centers.
- Pray that the Lord will strengthen His church in Colombia to become beacon of hope and the bright light on the hill.
Again, we want to lift these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:
- Leah Sharibu, a 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 to make an easy transition into her new culture and that the Lord will be gracious in bringing her family members where they too will be able to freely worship our Lord without fear.
- 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, recently reduced from ten years.
- “I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)
Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator
Prayer Conference Call Details
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
From any location on your phone
USA Time Zone:
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8:00 PM Central
7:00 PM Mountain
6:00 PM Pacific
Call in number: (667) 770-1476
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.
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