Believers attending a damaged church in Iraq for an Easter service.
This is the Easter!
Easter is the great festival of the Christian church – celebrated from the very earliest days of Christianity. It is a time of great celebration for all of us who follow Jesus.
But sometimes it takes courage to celebrate. For many Christians around the world, Easter brings with it heightened risk. It is a time when the church becomes much more visible – and therefore more vulnerable to attack.
Last Sunday, suicide bombers attacked worshippers on their way home from a Palm Sunday service in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia.
“Some believers have been severely wounded, and all present have been traumatised,” says Sam (name changed), Open Doors’ coordinator for work in South East Asia. “Their lives will never be the same. We ask the worldwide church to pray for their brothers and sisters in Makassar.”
This attack is just the latest example of the danger which Easter can bring for Christians.
In 2019, more than 350 Christians lost their lives, and thousands more were injured as suicide bombers attacked three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka. There have also been attacks over the Easter period in Pakistan in 2016 and Egypt in 2017.
And yet, Christians remain determined to celebrate. As a church leader from Mosul, Iraq, said, “We could close our churches to protect ourselves - or we can hold all the celebrations and maybe we will receive some bombs or attacks. We try to stay here and love like Jesus Christ. We try to give this meaning of Christianity: that love and life are better than death and killing.”
So, please will you join us in praying for protection for Christians everywhere as they celebrate Easter. Below you will find prayer points to help you pray, as well as written prayers for Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Let us join with our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world to proclaim the great message of Easter: that God is life and light and that darkness and death will never win.
Whether they gather in big churches in cities, small churches in remote villages, or secret churches in places where Christianity is forbidden – ask that God would be their strength and their shield and that they would be safe from harm.
Ask God to bring Easter hope to communities who are suffering. Please pray particularly for Christians in Indonesia. Pray for healing for the injured and for comfort for those who feel afraid.
Ask the Holy Spirit to bring courage to believers so that, where possible, they will boldly proclaim the truth. And that those who need to encounter the love and life of Jesus would encounter it in the celebrations of Christians.
As we think about Your death at the hands of Your enemies,
we ask that You will be with all those who face violence because they follow You.
Protect them from the crowds who insult and mock,
from the mobs who beat and burn,
and from the soldiers who want to execute them.
For those who feel afraid, or even forsaken, reassure them with Your presence.
And for those who suffer for Your name’s sake, may they know the power of Your Holy Spirit, so that they too may pray, ‘Father forgive’.
Protect Your family, Lord, we pray.
We pray for those who are suffering at this time because they follow You:
Those shattered by loss, and shaken by violence.
All who walk a road of fear and confusion today
Walk with them and comfort them, we pray.
We pray for all those who are anxious about meeting together,
Those who live in places where Your followers are hated and despised.
Keep them safe, Lord, we pray.
And for all of us who celebrate Your resurrection today,
Fill us with joy and hope.
Help us all to remember that no tomb could hold You, and that no stone is ever too heavy for Your power to roll away.
*Name changed for security reasons
Order or Download the World Watch List 2021 Top 50 booklet to help you pray for your persecuted family in Indonesia and other countries - as well as discovering testimonies, trends, articles and a map of worldwide persecution.