During the 40 days of Lent I’m committed to praying each day for Christians in the 40 countries where the cost of being a follower of Christ is highest. I invite you to do the same. The information on the prayer needs of each country comes from a combination of Open Doors, Barnabas Fund and Operation World.
Today we are praying for Eritrea
All evangelical churches remain closed following the ban on all religious groups (other than Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran or Islamic) in 2002. Arrests appear to have continued throughout 2010. As many as 2,200 believers remain in prison for their faith, while at least 13 have died under the harsh incarceration conditions. Many of their families have had no news from the prisoners in months. Eritrean refugees in Sudan and Ethiopia continue to face the threat of repatriation.
Answer to Prayer
The growth of the Church in Eritrea is strong, despite steadily intensifying government oppression. Persecution and restraints on personal freedoms test believers sorely. But the closure of most denominations and ministries has prompted the flowering of a hard-pressed but growing house church movement. There are growing renewal movements in the mainline churches: Medhaniel Alem (Orthodox) and Tebadasso (Catholic). Many in prison or en route to refugee camps in another country have received the gospel of Jesus Christ in their time of trial, including some from the less-reached people groups of Eritrea.
Challenge for Prayer
Peace and national stability remain out of reach for Eritrea, in and out of conflict with neighbouring countries for decades, most notably with Ethiopia.
Please Pray for:
- The establishment of peace with Ethiopia. Unresolved border disputes have led to mounting tensions and failed UN peacekeeping missions. Pray for humility, willingness to compromise on the parts of the leaders, just and wise actions by the international community and an end to the hostilities that neither country can afford.
- National economic recovery and progress are virtually impossible, since the majority of the workforce are conscripted to military service for an indefinite period. Facing mandatory military careers, many young people flee Eritrea, seeking a brighter future elsewhere, an action that can bring reprisals against family members left behind.
- Adequate food and resources. The ongoing threat of war, international relations and severe drought leave millions of Eritreans dependent on foreign assistance for food, whether through relatives abroad or the promise of humanitarian aid often not received. Many face extreme poverty with no relief in sight.