Each Friday I pray and fast for nations where Christians suffer the worst persecution around the world. This week I am praying and fasting for:
Uzbekistan. 29.7 million people with 210,000 Christians.
The regime of President Islam Karimov continues to restrict the freedom of religion, and Christian converts from a Muslim background are facing many problems from their family, friends and community. The fear of an influx of Islamic jihadists, the terrible human rights situation and the succession of President Karimov will remain important happenings. In the past year, the oppression of Christians has been constant. Frequently, houses of Christians are raided and books and other materials confiscated. Most often, the state monitors and heavily fines undue religious movements in order to control them. (World Watch List 2015)
Uzbekistan, which gained independence in 1991, is Central Asia’s most populous country and one of the poorest. It is the world’s fifth largest cotton exporter and much of its agriculture centers around cotton…Though a secular state, Uzbekistan’s religion law bans unregistered religious activity. The government relentlessly persecutes Christians, especially active congregations. Almost all Christians are ethnic minorities, who are treated with particular harshness. Proselytism is illegal. In the southeast, police have campaigned to prevent children from attending worship services. Uzbekistan’s secret police carry out phone taps and surveillance on places of worship, occasionally recruiting informers to infiltrate church activities. Because it is nearly impossible to obtain church registration, there are about 65 unregistered fellowships scattered throughout the country. Christians also face raids, literature confiscations, heavy fines, public humiliation, property seizure, job dismissal, beatings and torture. Observers report that torture is widely used to force adults and children to renounce their religious beliefs or to implicate themselves or others. (The Voice of the Martyrs)
Today I prayed according to Open Doors’ prayer points for Uzbekistan:
- Pray for Uzbek Christians who are under constant scrutiny, especially in their homes
- Pray for strength for believers who are under pressure to betray their fellow Christians
- Obtaining a Bible can be difficult for many Christians: pray that Christian materials and Bibles will get into their hands without consequences from the government
Join with me on Fridays to fast and pray for prisoners, according to Hebrews 13:3.