Pakistan: On August 16th, a wave of pogroms swept across an area of the Punjab near Faisalabad driving more than 1000 Christians from their homes, damaging and destroying 21 church buildings. Bibles and hymnals were burned, ostensibly in retaliation for Koran burnings in the West. The oppression of the Christian minority in Pakistan is endemic and is wanted by parts of the Islamic leadership in the country. As inflation soars and political stability remains unattainable, people turn to radical preachers who teach that all the problems stem from not living according to the dictates of Islam. “Pakistan“, the “Land of Purity“ was formed at the separation from India to create a homeland for Muslims. Millions of Hindus and Sikhs were driven out or slaughtered.
Even today, after almost 70 years, religious minorities, of which the largest is Christian, face discrimination and persecution. During violent attacks in Jaranwalla, messages were broadcasted over mosque loudspeakers urging residents to gather and attack churches because they were accused of blasphemy. The aftermath witnessed a surge of mob violence that left three Presbyterian churches, a Catholic church, a Full Gospel Assembly church, and a Salvation Army-affiliated church in ruins. Many other churches were damaged to various degrees. As the tragic pattern continues the government once again faltered in its duty to establish law and order, timely quell the mob, and shield Christians and their environs. These recurrent failings cast a glaring doubt on the dedication of local administrative bodies and the efficacy of the police force.
1) Please pray for the safety and well-being of the Christians in Pakistan, that they find comfort and protection amidst these challenging times.
2) Pray that those responsible for orchestrating this violent act are swiftly apprehended and face appropriate legal consequences for their actions. Pray above all that their hearts be changed by the light of the Gospel.
3) Pray that the authorities would show genuine commitment to safeguarding the lives and assets of the Christian community, taking proactive measures to ensure their security.
4) Pray and trust that the Lord will turn this around for good with two results-- that Pakistani Christians will come together across all denominations in united prayer and that many Muslims will be brought to faith in Jesus Christ by realizing the evil at work in their community and be touched by an upright and gracious witness of the Christians that are being persecuted.