As we welcome 2019, recent weeks have seen remarkable answers to prayer in God’s protection over His people as they gathered around the world to celebrate the birth of His Son and our Saviour.
In Pakistan police engaged a group of terrorists in a gun battle to foil an attack on Christmas worship in Karachi and in Egypt a police officer tragically lost his life when the bomb he was defusing detonated outside a Cairo church. His brave intervention thwarted the plans of Islamist terrorists to take likely many more lives a few days before 7 January, the date Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas.
The global threat of Islamist terrorism seems relentless, yet there are significant encouragements from the Muslim sources too. In December the government in Iraq made a landmark announcement declaring Christmas Day a national holiday for all Iraqis, wishing its Christian citizens a “happy Christmas”. Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti’s anti-Christmas tirade fell flat when the country’s Sunni authority condemned his statements as irrational and offensive, pointing out that Christians don’t try to prevent Muslim celebrations.
In Egypt, the Ministry of Justice has produced a remarkable animated public information video cautioning Muslims not to “fall prey to the extremists” and encouraging them to extend greetings to their Christian neighbours during the Christmas holidays.
We praise God. We thank you for your earnest prayers during the Christmas season and ask that you will pray on with us throughout the year for our persecuted family, asking for God’s protection over His persecuted Church. We also pray that the Lord will continue to soften the hearts of regimes, governments and individuals in the Muslim world towards Christians and open their eyes to the saving power of the Gospel of Christ.