(Voice of the Persecuted) You’re invited to join us on Thursday, April 27, 2023, in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.
YEMEN: Population: 30.9 million, Christians: a few thousand.
It is extremely dangerous to be a Christian in Yemen, due to the country’s strict Islamic laws and the presence of militant Islamic groups.
The population is overwhelmingly Muslim and it is illegal to convert from Islam to Christianity. Yemen is strongly tribal and tribal law prohibits members of the tribe from leaving. Yemeni Christian converts are at great risk of being killed, not just ostracized or expelled, by their families, clans and tribes.
Yemen’s civil war began in 2014 when Houthi insurgents—Shiite rebels with links to Iran and a history of rising up against the Sunni government—took control of Yemen’s capital and largest city Following failed negotiations, the rebels seized the presidential palace in January 2015, leading President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government to resign. Beginning in March 2015, a coalition of Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia launched a campaign of economic isolation and air strikes against the Houthi insurgents, with U.S. logistical and intelligence support.
Islamic extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and so-called Islamic State threaten so-called ‘apostates’ with death if they do not return to Islam. In other areas, including those controlled by Houthis, converts risk imprisonment. In detention centers, Christian detainees have reportedly suffered physical and mental torture.
Most believers from a Muslim background choose to practice their faith covertly. They cannot gather together, because of the growing fear that neighbors will report them to the local authorities. Displaying Christian symbols could lead directly to imprisonment, physical abuse or even execution.
All Yemenis are affected by the humanitarian crisis caused by the ongoing civil war, but Yemeni Christians are additionally vulnerable since emergency relief is mostly distributed through local Muslims and mosques, which allegedly discriminate against all who are not considered to be devout Muslims. The influence of Islamic militants also adds to the already vulnerable position of indigenous Christians.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution? There is a strong al-Qaeda presence in the rural areas in the south, which makes it particularly dangerous for Christians. Converts from Islam to Christianity have also indicated that there is more pressure in the Shiite Houthi-controlled areas in the north than in areas under the control of the Sunni Hadi government.
• Pray for the end of the civil war, pray for peace and stability and openness to religious freedom.
• Pray for local fellowship meetings in secret throughout the country.
• Pray that imprisoned believers will continue to find strength and encouragement in Christ.
• Pray that the faith of persecuted Christians who leave the country will not be shaken.
• Pray for the boldness, wisdom and protection of underground churches.
• Pray to God for wisdom, discernment and protection and open doors for believers who boldly look for ways to share their faith.
• Pray to God for all people in Yemen who are not fulfilled by Islam and are – seeking the truth that they will find it through satellite TV, dreams and chance encounters with believers.
• Pray for good internet access as Bibles are difficult to obtain and dangerous for converts to own. For these reasons, many Yemeni believers access the Bible online.
• Pray to God to protect the believers who are in prison for being unfaithful to Islam.
• Pray that believers can forgive and love their persecutors.
• Pray for NGOs who help Christians who are persecuted for their faith and supports Yemeni believers who reach out in their community. We also support various forms of media that make God’s Word more accessible inside Yemen and help Yemeni believers who had to flee and now live in nearby countries.
• Pray that God will change the hearts of the Islamic extremists
• Pray for the secret Christians in Yemen who live under constant threat of violence if discovered.
Again, we want to lift-up 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.
- For Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, as he and his family are adjusting from his release from prison, that they may know what God’s will is for them now. Pray for the trauma they had to endure. UPDATE: According to Article 18, once sentenced to death for his “apostasy” has been “pardoned” and released after nearly five years in Tehran’s Evin Prison, but told Nadarkhani that he still faces flogging (30 lashes) and two years’ exile 2,000km from his home. Read the report here
- UPDATE (March 17, 2023): Ryan Koher, a pilot for the U.S.-based ministry Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), and two of the ministry’s South African volunteers were released from a Mozambican prison Tuesday afternoon, the organization announced. The trio had been held at a high-security prison inside the southeastern African country for four months. Their release is a provisional one and they are required to remain in the country, while their case is still ongoing, according to MAF. Koher is said to be “doing well” following his release and has spoken multiple times with his wife, Annabel, and his two sons since his release, the ministry said. Source
- 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Moderator
Prayer Conference Call Details
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What is Persecution Watch?
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.