Thousands gather in Kalay to protest against the military coup
One week on from the military coup in Myanmar, the nation remains in a state of flux and anger. The weekend saw tens of thousands gather in opposition to the military. The protests are likely to intensify in the coming days. The dark period of previous military rule leaves many Christians fearful for the future. They need your prayers, and here are three ways you can pray. Myanmar ranks no.18 in 2021 World Watch List.
Pastor Ko Ko Thun* is an elderly pastor familiar with life in the dark shadows of military control. “When I recall the previous military junta (government), I become so angry and upset that I want to vomit,” he shares with Open Doors.
“When I was still a student, I remember them checking mine and my friends’ identity cards and making us stand in the rain. They also confiscated our books. Once, we carried our own rice to cook in our hostel, and the soldiers accused us of supplying rice to the insurgent groups and detained us.”
“There are many things I can share,” the pastor continues. “When I think deeply about it, if the military is going to rule over us again – I cannot, I dare not imagine – my tears can’t stop.”
There are many believers who echo Pastor Ko Ko Thun’s anger and dread. But there is also a determination to stick close to God, and hearing from local partners, there is faith that God is looking after His people. Facebook and Twitter have been blocked, and for a period over the weekend the internet was cut off. But despite this, there have been opportunities to connect with believers and share updates, videos and photos.
Min Thaing*, a local partner says, “The internet availability here is uncertain and unpredictable – it may not be available in the evening or tomorrow – but we have a God who can part the seas and we know that He will make a way for us.”
To aid you with your prayers for Myanmar, here are three issues to focus on specifically:
1. Peace and wisdom for believers
Internet restrictions brought online church services to a halt over the weekend, preventing precious opportunities for church leaders to minister to their congregations. Burmese believers rely on the internet, especially social media sites – and even more so during the pandemic.
There are further challenges for Christians. A key feature of the protests is the banging of pots and pans. This is more than simply making a noise – it’s a practice meant to ward off evil spirits. Some believers have also been caught between the pressure to protest and go on strike and the responsibility to serve through their jobs.
Lord, provide ways for leaders to minister to their flocks during this critical time. Grant believers wisdom, discernment and courage as they face difficult dilemmas and situations. Bring peace to fearful hearts, keep them safe, and may Your church shine brightly for You. Amen.
2. Restore access to internet and roads
Due to the internet ban, people have been unable to use Wave Money, a Burmese e-wallet service. “This money transfer app is reliable and commonly used by the public,” explains Daisy*, a local partner. “Since its suspension, many people have been facing difficulties.”
There are also concerns over the country’s economy, given the military’s history of devaluing the local currency. Meanwhile, travel restrictions and the proliferation of roadblocks and checkpoints could prevent Open Doors local partners reaching believers with urgent aid.
Lord Jesus, keep access to the internet and social media sites open – help the military to see how important this is for daily life and survival. Protect the economy and people’s livelihoods. Open up roads for local partners to reach the most needy. Amen.
3. Peace and stability in the country
“The tension between Myanmar’s pro-democratic supporters and the military remains volatile,” Daisy relates. “Police stood in two lines barricading the path for the protestors. If protestors cross the first line, they will be shot on sight. The protest will intensify in coming days and the number of protestors have been increasing each day.”
The protests, which have been mostly peaceful, are the largest seen in Myanmar since the military relinquished full control in 2011.
Dear God, bring peace and stability to Myanmar. Intervene in the leadership of the military. Shift their perspective and demands, and prompt them to do right and good by their country by handing back the control they’ve taken. Bring decisive breakthrough, and use recent events to strengthen, rather than disrupt, democratic rule in Myanmar. Amen.
*name changed for security reasons
Lord Jesus, thank You for local partners who faithfully and courageously serve the church in Myanmar. Protect them and their families, strengthen them physically, emotionally and spiritually, and grant them wisdom in all decisions. Continue to use them instrumentally in the work You are doing in Myanmar. Amen.