WARNING OF GRAPHIC IMAGES – Horrific indeed, I tremble and feel sick as I put them in. They are at the bottom if you want to avoid seeing them; but it’s reality, and seeing it just makes me want to pray more…
Another reason for posting this is that tomorrow is the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church, so do please flag it up where you are.
The below comes straight from Open Doors, a superb organisation working with the persecuted church. My pictures though, not theirs. Do sign up directly to their updates at www.opendoorsuk.org
Hanna lives in Damascus with her husband and two young daughters. She relates what daily life is like in Damascus.
“We are getting up very early to pray and fast whenever our daughters are not at home. Every day when I walk to the school where I work I hold my breath, every minute something can happen. Many streets are closed and when you walk the streets you see the traces of the battle: little fires all over the streets.
“A few days ago when I passed one of the churches on the street I saw a man on the phone in front of it. Somehow I felt there was something wrong. I overheard him talking on the phone, he said: ‘Aim close and very near to the main door of the church. I am here now, aim exactly at this place.’ When I got home I told my husband: ‘They are going to attack that church, I know it.’ My husband thought I was wrong, but half an hour later we heard that the church was attacked by a mortar.
“Attacks on churches happen a lot now. They are also targeting Christians. Many of them are killed or kidnapped. When they kidnap someone, they ask their families for ransom or force them to convert to Islam. Women are often raped. The people who return from such events are traumatised. One man I know who came back from a kidnapping hasn’t spoken a word since he came back. He is crying a lot. Nobody knows what happened to him.
“People wonder why I am still staying in this country. I ask myself the same question time after time. As a mother and a wife I want to leave, but as a Christian I want to stay. Every time my husband and I pray, God gives us a burden on our heart: stay in Syria. He has things to do for us here.
“God will bless Syria, I know this for sure. He is already blessing us. Every time we go to church, the church is full. People come together in times of despair. But we also see new faces every time. Many of the new faces are people with a Muslim background, refugees. They say, ‘We’ve lost everything – our house, our job, family members – but we gained the most important thing: the knowledge that Jesus is our saviour.’ Recently 30 people in our church were baptised. Three or four of them were from a Muslim background. The situation is hard, but we are living by faith.”
This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church. Download resources at http://www.opendoorsuk.org/pray/idop/ that will help you and your church pray for persecuted Christians.
That God would protect Hanna and her family, and other families like them, as they seek to be shining lights for Jesus at this difficult time
- For the church in Syria; that its people, its faith, its buildings and its existence would be sustained and protected
- Praise God for the many churches around the UK and Ireland who will be using the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church to pray for those who share our faith but not our freedom.
With many thanks for your prayers.
|Open Doors Prayer Team|