Please stand with our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka after the Easter Sunday bomb attacks on churches and hotels that killed more than 320 people.
Release partners say that Sri Lankan believers are ‘deeply distressed’ by Sunday’s co-ordinated attacks. They also appealed for calm yesterday as mass funerals took place on a national day of mourning. Further devices were discovered and defused.
Pray for all those affected: for those who are in mourning and for the more than 500 people who were injured.
The explosions – most of them suicide attacks – went off during Easter services at St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church near Negombo, Zion Church in Batticaloa, and three tourist hotels in Colombo. Some of the blasts were more than 180 miles apart – but were almost simultaneous. Release has supported a project in Negombo where one of the church bombings took place.
A state of emergency has been declared and 40 suspects arrested. Islamic State has today admitted responsibility for the attacks, while the Sri Lankan Government is blaming a local Islamist extremist group, the National Thowheed Jamaath.
Previously, persecution of Christians in Sri Lanka has largely been at the hands of hard-line Buddhists and mainly in rural areas; Muslims have been persecuted too.
- Please pray that Christians in Sri Lanka will know God as their ‘refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble’ (Psalm 46:1-3).
- Ask God to heal the injured and comfort those who mourn. Pray that, as they experience the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, they will know the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10).
- Pray that Christians will not face the usual obstacles in burying their loved ones. Our partners say Christians are often refused access to family plots in Buddhist cemeteries and denied the financial help with funerals that Buddhists are freely given.
- Pray that the people of Sri Lanka will choose unity and peace, and reject hatred and retaliation.
- Please pray that God will have mercy on those responsible for the attacks – and that they too will come to repentance and faith in Him, the Saviour of the world.
(Sources: Release partners, Morning Star News)
Continue to pray for survivors of church bombings in Surabaya, Indonesia, last May which killed at least 14 people: six members of the same family, who had recently returned home from Syria, carried out suicide attacks. A married couple has recently been convicted of ‘supporting terrorism’ by hiding explosives. (Source: VOM Canada)
Please pray that our brother in Pakistan, Zafar Bhatti, will be cleared at the hearing on Thursday when he appeals against a life sentence for ‘blasphemy’. (Source: Release partner)
And please keep praying for the safe return of Pastor Raymond Koh who disappeared in February 2017. A recent report by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia identifies ‘special branch’ police as likely suspects for his abduction. (Source: VOM Canada)