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.
Praying for Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan is an arena of competing value systems. The term Uzbek means “master of himself”, but many seek to enslave the Uzbeks with their ideologies: warmed-over communism, radical Islamism (especially in the fertile Ferghana valley) and occult-tainted folk Islam. Pray that Uzbeks might find freedom by serving the Lord their Creator and true Master.
Uzbekistan is the strategic key to Central Asia, hence the intensifying struggle between the post-Soviet regime and the Islamist movements. The government’s “iron fist” policy is not deterring thousands of jobless young men from joining these movements. But much of the population is torn between these two and tired of the poverty, corruption and failure to progress. Pray for genuine change, reform and leadership that demonstrates uprightness and governs for the sake of the people. Pray that in the midst of the struggle, many may find true peace that only Jesus can give.
The Challenge for Prayer
Pressure on Uzbek Christians mounted in 2010. The number of raids on churches increased, resulting in more court cases. Fines for illegal religious activities were up to 100 times the minimum monthly wage, and short-term prison sentences (3-15 days) were given out more frequently as a punishment for religious activities. A 27-year-old Baptist was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment. Many churches lost their registration and some their buildings. Christians experienced job loss, beatings, social rejection and often expulsion from the family home.
For believers in prison. Ask God to strengthen and encourage them and their loved ones
For God’s protection on Christians who continue to meet together
Several young believers were identified by the police when they attended a meeting. Pray that they will still be able to get a good education.