Another Church Denied Freedom to Worship

May 18, 2015 by Janelle P in Middle East

Please pray for Azim Janbakiev, pastor of Rakhym Presbyterian Church in Almaty, Kazakhstan. City administration has forbidden the congregation to hold their worship in a building owned by the Rakhym Church, claiming that the building does not have the status of a religious building. Pastor Azim recently shared:

“Since the beginning of the year, we were forbidden to hold services in our building until we bring all of the building documents into the order. When we decided to find out what’s going on, we found out that there are some ‘neighbors’ who have written a complaint to our church. These neighbors do not like the fact that there is an active Christian church in their area, contrary to the faith of their ancestors, their traditions and national values. There are 47 ‘activists’ who have signed the complaint, putting pressure on the authorities to close the church. By law, it was necessary to check who these ‘activists’ are who are inciting inter-religious strife and turning society against another religion. Instead, public authorities support them and have selectively put pressure on the Christian church. Our attempts to renew the documents and status of the building for worship services are blocked by the authorities.”

Please pray for the church and Pastor Azim in this time of trial. In addition to the hardship for the congregation, Pastor Azim is under additional pressure as they have lost their family’s income, as well.

Father, we pray for this small church struggling to worship You in freedom and proclaim the gospel to those living in spiritual darkness. We pray for Rakhym Presbyterian Church and the many others seeking to register their churches; that they will receive favor with the authorities. Soften the hearts of those in power so that they will not harass, fine and imprison Christians for worshiping in unregistered house churches. We lift up to You the plight of Pastor Azim Janbakiev and his family as they have now lost Azim’s income. Sustain them, Father. In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.