In the month of January we keep praying for Sri Lanka and Iran. As promised, this time the information about the countries is included.
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Situation in Sri Lanka after the thirty year war ended in May 2009 killing many innocent civilians which the Sri Lankan government denies but war crimes and crimes against humanity is challenged at UN Security Council.
Although three hundred thousand civilians who were taken ‘captives’ into makeshift camps had been slowly released into the community for many there was no where to go or find livelihood with villages and infrastructures destroyed including religious worship centers. The process is slow as many of the land in the Tamil areas taken over by the armed forces who are settled reductions in ‘occupation’.
The new President who was part of the earlier regime has promised to bring the country to normality he meets many challenges from the and core Singhalese especially from the South. There is pressure from international community, Tamil National Alliance of Sri Lanka and the diaspora calling for peace with justice and freedom and equality for Tamil minority.
In short the military presence should be minimized, anti- terrorism law should be lifted, development in traditional Tamil region both north and east should be real and lasting political solution should be found with reconciliation with truth speaking for the country to go forward and peace to be lasting.
Prayer for Sri Lanka
Lord Jesus, you have faced danger, persecution and oppression from the occupying Romans, forcing your family to flee as refugees to Egypt. You had to wait for Herod to die, another era to be born with a relatively peaceful situation for you to return to Nazareth and Galilee. You will understand the struggles of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Communities. We pray for peace and healing in Sri Lanka.
We pray for the safety of civilians. We pray for the politicians, human rights watchers and advocates who seek peace and justice. We pray for the present President, Prime Minister and parliament to be wise and just in their decisions, acknowledging all of Sri Lanka’s languages, cultures and religions.
Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilisations. They unified the area into the first of many empires, one of which was the Persian empire, and it became the dominant cultural and political power in the region. In the seventh century it was invaded by the Muslim and it turned into a Muslim country.
Similar to most other countries in the Middle East, Iran has been through its share of wars, both internal and external. In the late 1970s after the Islamic Revolution, Iran became a republic. Until then it was ruled by a Shah, which is similar to a King.
The majority of the people in Iran are Shiite Muslims, since they converted from Sunni Islam in the 16th century. However, other religions also exist in Iran, including some of the ancient religions of that region. Alongside some Sunni Muslims, mostly Kurds, there are also Christians, Jews, Bahais, Mandeans, Yezidis, Yarsanis, and Zoroastrians.
Iran was considered a threat by Western powers because of its ability and possible intention of its nuclear program. The UN had imposed economic sanctions which only ended six months ago.
Iran is an oil producing country, which has resulted in the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
Although religions other than Islam are recognised, evangelism and conversion are not allowed and are punishable by law. Many Christians and others have died in prison because of their religious convictions.
Prayer for Iran
God of mercy,
We are called by the Holy Spirit to unity with the persecuted, ready to reach out to them in their isolation, to all those who stagger under the weight of the cross of Christ and those persecuted for being Christians.
Make us ever mindful of the suffering of our sisters and brothers in Iran as we live our lives in comfort.
Give us the courage to stand by them and the compassion that Jesus had to feel their suffering.