As ripples of unrest continue to spread across the Middle East, Libya has become the latest country to be rocked by violence and protest. One of Open Doors’ contacts in the area says; “It is much worse than what you see on the news. There is no police in the streets and no safety and protection anymore.” News sources have been reporting that the president, Muammar Gaddafi, has threatened major violence against people who continue to protest, demanding the long-time dictator step down. Hundreds of people have already been killed in a bloody attempt to silence protestors. Reports also say that foreign (African) mercenaries are being brought in to disperse the demonstrators.
Gaddafi was the very first Arabic leader to respond to the revolution in Tunisia in 1969. He became the undisputed ruler of Libya; in the past 41 years Libya has not had a free election to appoint new leadership. Open Doors’ contact shares; “Libya is a tribal society and that is affecting the situation to the worse. The tribe of Gaddafi will eventually turn against the other tribes and that will create civil war. Please pray that Gaddafi will come to his senses and that peace can be restored. Please pray for Libya and for the Christians.”
Libya is ranked No. 25 on the Open Doors 2011 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians. Indigenous Libyan Christians for the most part live secret lives because of an all pervasive culture of self-censorship due to a general spirit of fear and distrust and are often watched by security services. Anything that is “different” is cause for suspicion. The number of Libyan converts is very low, but with the appearance of Christian programs on satellite TV and Christian websites in Arabic, the interest in the Christian faith has rapidly risen. A larger ex-pat church exists in Libya with mainly African believers. But since the protests began, the situation for this church is uncertain; their personal safety is under threat both for being believers and for being foreign. Just like in neighboring Tunisia, the tiny group of Christians in Libya would most likely benefit from a regime change. But for now the future is unclear…please join in prayer.
Father, we pray for the uneasy situation in the Middle East, and particularly now for Libya as it faces violent protests. We join in prayer with our brothers and sisters in Libya that Gaddafi will come to his senses and that the tribes will not turn against one another; bringing an end to the chaos We ask that You supernaturally strengthen the small group of Your faithful so that they can rise up and bring Your peace to the nation of Libya. And Father, in the days ahead, we ask that Your hand would be over the future leadership of the country, and that Christians would be able to live out their faith freely, and the Libyan church would grow and thrive as Your gospel spreads. Amen
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