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Pray 35

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Join Korean Christians, for the next 35 days, in praying for Eritrean Christians who are in jail for their faith in Christ.

Day 1 - At the start of these 35 days of prayer, pray for the release of the thousands of Christian prisoners of faith in Eritrea, Please pray that God would change the heart of Isaias Afewerki, the first President of Eritrea who has held that position since the country’s independence in 1993. Pray for God’s blessing on the nation of Eritrea, on President Afewerki, his family, his people and pray for freedom for our Eritrean brothers and sisters in Christ.

Day 2 - On May 13, Eritrean security officials in the town of Adi Quala went from house to house to arrest members of the Kale Hiwot evangelical church. They arrested a total of 25 adults and 12 children. So far, none of them has been charged or released. Pray they will be released shortly and allowed to return to their families.

Day 3 - Please pray for Almaz who served as an evangelist and teacher in Adi Quala’s Kale Hiwot Church. She is disabled and uses a wheelchair. Prison is never easy but in Eritrea where Christian prisoners are routinely tortured to force them to recant their faith and conditions are almost unbearable, Almaz will find things incredibly difficult.

Day 4 - Pray for the senior pastor of the Kale Hiwot church, Pastor Ogba. He was arrested in 2003 and 2005 before his most recent arrest in 2007. During his time in prison in 2005 he was subjected to months of solitary confinement and hard physical labor which resulted in him having a nervous breakdown. Currently he is imprisoned in the 5th Asmara police station. Please also pray for his wife and three children.

Day 5 - Evangelist Mussie Ezaz had a growing ministry with young people in the Kale Hiwot Church before his arrest in 2007. He escaped from custody but was re-arrested in January 2008 as he tried to flee to Ethiopia. Mussie has now been in prison for nearly ten years. He has not been permitted to see his wife or three sons during this time. Please pray for Mussie and his family.

Day 6 - The notorious Me’eter prison on the Red Sea coast is renowned for its harsh conditions: the heat is intense, abuse is rife and conditions are inhumane. Prisoners have been known to die due to the extreme heat. Pray for a change in regime at the prison, so that conditions will improve dramatically.

Day 7 - Please pray for Zeray who is imprisoned in Me’eter prison camp. He is a member of Asmara Kale Hiwot church and a teacher by profession. Zeray was arrested in 2006. Those who know him testify to his faithfulness and willingness to suffer for his faith in Christ.

Day 8 - Pray for 17 long-term Christian prisoners of faith in Assab. Some of them have been in prison more than eight years. We heard recently they are suffering from malnutrition and poor health. Security officials have prevented anyone from visiting them.

Day 9 - Please pray for God’s provision for the families of prisoners. A very real pressure on Christian prisoners is to sign the required papers recanting their faith so that they can return home to help provide for elderly parents, spouses and children.

Day 10 - Pray today for Eritrean prisoners to experience God’s presence with them in their prison cell wherever that cell is in Eritrea, or whatever it is like. Pray that the Holy Spirit will powerfully work in and through them enabling them to somehow find ways to encourage one another.

Day 11 - Pray particularly for prisoners who are in solitary confinement. An isolation cell typically would measure just 2m x 2.5m. The cell will have no curtain or mattress, nothing to bring comfort, no window, no toilet – just the bare floor. Solitary confinement combined with torture is very hard to bear.

Day 12 - Pray for Reverend Dr Tekleab, a highly respected physician who was arrested in 2005. He was arrested because of his involvement in a Bible study group. He is insulin dependent and has been reported to be in poor health. He is married with four children.

Day 13 - At Mai Serwa military camp near Asmara, prisoners are reportedly held in underground cells and shipping containers. Conditions inside the shipping containers are inhumane: unbearably hot or freezing cold. Some prisoners report only being allowed out to the bathroom twice a day. Pray that God will sustain and strengthen people in these appalling conditions.

Day 14 - Gospel singer Helen Berhane spent two years in detention in Mai Serwa army camp, first in a metal shipping container and later in an underground cell. She was tortured repeatedly to make her deny her faith: she refused. She now lives in Denmark. Pray that God will continue to heal her and use her singing ministry to strengthen the church in Eritrea.

Day 15 - Continue to pray for the men and women assigned to torturing and beating prisoners of faith. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict them that what they are doing is wrong. Pray that they will undergo a Damascus Road experience just as Saul did soon after witnessing the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7, 9).

Day 16 - Kiflu Gebremeskel of the Full Gospel Church was a senior academic before becoming a fulltime pastor in 1999. Five years later, he was jailed and has not seen his wife and children since. He has never been charged or brought before a court. Pray that God will remind Kiflu of His everlasting love for him.

Day 17 - Pray for the family of Pastor Kidane Weldou who have never had official confirmation he was jailed: his abandoned car was the only clue they have had to what happened to him. Pray that more information will come to light.

Day 18 - Pray for Aster whose twin sister was tortured to death as Aster listened. Aster herself was also beaten at the same time, but survived. Pray that God will heal the physical and emotional wounds of people who have suffered brutal treatment in Eritrea’s prisons.

Day 19 - Many of Eritrea’s current prisoners of faith have never been formally charged or brought to court but instead they’re detained arbitrarily. Pray that officials will heed the international outcry about this injustice – and release them.

Day 20 - Christian prisoners in Eritrea are not permitted to pray aloud. Praise God that he knows their inmost being and their secret thoughts. Pray that our brothers and sisters behind bars in Eritrea will know that God hears their cry: ‘Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely (Psalm 139:4).

Day 21 - Two Christian women detained in Eritrea’s Wi’a military camp are reported to have died after going on hunger strike in protest at the abuse they had suffered in detention. Our two sisters were transferred to Massawa Hospital in a critical condition and died five days later. Pray for their families. And pray that their protest, their cry for justice, will not be in vain.

Day 22 - More than 50 children are currently without one or both parents after a series of raids in Eritrea from the beginning of May to the first week of August. Ask God to comfort these little ones and provide loving care for them until their parents are restored to them.

Day 23 - The bride and groom were among those arrested during a raid on a wedding celebration outside Asmara in May. Pray that this couple will be reunited soon. Pray that, while they are behind bars, they will experience God’s peace, comfort and love in fresh ways.

Day 24 - There have been reports of female prisoners in in Metkel Abiet prison camp having their hair shaved off to humiliate them. Pray that these women and girls will know that they are precious to their heavenly Father and beautiful in His sight.

Day 25 - A new trend in Christian persecution in Eritrea has been the decision to arrest believers at home, rather than at church meetings and Bible studies. This means that Christians do not feel safe in their own homes any more. Pray that they will trust God and recognize Him as their place of safety.

Day 26 - Please pray for the release of evangelist Mussie Yemane: who has now been behind bars for eleven years. Thank God for sustaining Mussie this far; praise the Lord that ‘he knows those who take refuge in him’ (Nahum 1:7).

Day 27 - Imprisoned evangelist Mussie Yemane’s family have all suffered persecution. His brother Semere served ten years in jail and Mussie’s wife, Senait, has had to flee the country because of her own church activities. Mussie and Senait’s children remain in Eritrea. Pray that God will reunite this family soon.

Day 28 - While evangelist Mussie Yemane in in jail, his children are being cared for by their grandparents in Eritrea. Please pray for health and God’s provision for this older couple. The children’s grandfather, Mussie’s father-in-law, has also spent time in jail for his faith and had to have his leg amputated due to poorly controlled diabetes.

Day 29 - Pray for the many Christian mothers in Eritrea who are forced to bring up their families alone because their husbands are behind bars. ‘Ruth’ whose husband is a pastor says his imprisonment is affecting their children badly: ‘I find it unbearable to see how my three young children miss him. They always cry for father. It is so hard to care for them by myself.’

Day 30 - Not all Christians have loving and supportive families. ‘Tsion’ was left to care for her four children alone when her husband left ‘because he was not a Christian’, she says. She has also been imprisoned for her faith for four years. Pray for her as she builds up a small business selling groceries such as spices.

Day 31 - ‘Wegatha’ was widowed during a border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia. She became a successful businesswoman but was then imprisoned for her faith for two years. When she was released, she had lost her business and all her savings had been spent on caring for her children. Pray that Wegatha can build a little grocery shop to support her family.

Day 32 - A significant number of the Christians imprisoned in Eritrea since April are believed to have been incarcerated on Nakura, a particularly harsh prison island in the Dahlak archipelago in the Red Sea where the heat is oppressive. Please pray for each and everyone of the prisoners at Nakura. 

Day 33 - It has been reported that most of the recent Christian detainees on Nakura island are mothers of young children. Please pray these words of hope over our dear sisters: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 15:13).

Day 34 - Prisoners report their deep joy when someone is able to smuggle in a portion or a page of Scripture for them. Ask God to make such deliveries invisible to the prison authorities! Pray too that God will do a supernatural work in prisoners’ memories and enable them to recall Bible verses and songs they had long forgotten.

Day 35 - Ask God to give the Eritrean prisoners of faith opportunities to share His word with their guards and torturers today. Thank God that His word is ‘alive and active and sharper than a two-edged sword’ (Hebrews 4:12). Pray that it will penetrate deep into the heart of those who hear it, so they are convicted of their sin.

Tags: 35, eritrea, pray, prisoner, pray35