A blast on Feb. 23 took the lives of ten people in Lahore and wounded dozens of others. “The situation in Pakistan is no better, but our God is good and our faith and trust are founded and grounded in HIM,” says one Christian there. “He gives us the wisdom and discernment to do all things in wisdom and to the glory of God, for the sake of Christ and His Gospel. So, while things are tough, our call to serve and minister here on the field continues and intensifies.” Tensions in Lahore are running high after the Feb. 23 attack that killed more than ten people and injured many more. The confusion and lack of information given to the public are adding to the uncertainty and distress. All church and NGO run hospitals and schools have been cautioned by the government and security organizations across the country to be on high alert.
Among those in the Feb. 23 attack was a young man who had wanted to join the ALIVE Bible College. He worked in the area and had a deep desire to grow in the Lord. His is one of many families devastated by the horror and agony of this past week’s violence. Open Doors staff members have been asked to keep their eyes open and focused on the horizon so as not to miss any indicators of danger. The risks are especially high in the tense climate. Pray for the team members as they come to work each day. Many of their children go to Christian schools, so they come filled with concern about what may happen to them or their children, and many of them have wives or family members who are nurses in [Christian] hospitals or teachers in schools. One lady said, “I felt like I had already died when I was asked to collect my child from school owing to the threat of a bomb in our city.”
Nowhere in the city is safe right now. Shops, parks and playgrounds have been closed to the public. There is a heavy army presence on the streets, and security workers have cordoned off parts of the city and established even more check points. Christians there appreciate your continued faithfulness to walk with them in prayer and faith. As one believer related, “The reality is that the new wave of terrorism is aimed at every one of us.”
An unnamed legal analyst says, “Christians are the most vulnerable targets and the randomness of these attacks is not random at all. We will look back and see the pattern and in that we will see the strategic fear and intimidation and destruction with which Christians and Westerners will be singled out in this process.”
There is a troubling lack of clarity about Thursday’s blast, which took place outside a building that is still under construction in the Defence sector of Lahore. Eyewitnesses describe the aftermath as consistent with a bomb attack and the damage also seems to point in that direction. Meanwhile, authorities have claimed that a gas leak caused the explosion. The uncertainty about what happened has not helped to improve the sense of security. Believers in Lahore need your prayers as they walk through these uncertain times in an increasingly hostile nation.
Father, we grieve for the families who lost loved ones in this attack, especially the family of the young Christian man. Thank You for the faithfulness of Christians in Lahore; we pray You will continue to grant them wisdom to know when and how to speak up for Christ, courage to do so, forgiveness in their pain, comfort and peace in their sorrow, and strength to greet each day with trust in their Savior. For those who have been traumatized from this attack and earlier ones, we pray Your healing to restore their souls. We pray, too, for the ALIVE network that You will equip them as they reach out to help victims and the church stand strong in the midst of the threats they receive. Where the terrorists plan attacks, we pray Your Holy Spirit will thwart their plans. We pray for the many Muslims who suffer as well, that in the midst of these difficult circumstances, You will draw many to Yourself. In the name of Jesus who is building His church from all nations and tribes, to the glory of the Father. Amen.