Thank you so much for praying for all our brothers and sisters worldwide who have paid a high price for following Jesus. Whether they are in prison or in hiding, in fear or on trial, we know that your prayers mean the world to them.

We rejoice over the release of several high-profile Christian prisoners this year including Asia Bibi who was allowed to leave Pakistan in May, and Ebrahim Firouzi, freed from jail in Iran in October. Yet, Ebrahim has now gone into temporary internal exile – and many other Pakistani Christians remain behind bars on blasphemy charges, including Zafar Bhatti.

In China, meanwhile, persecution has been spreading, even against official state-sanctioned churches. Pastor Wang Yi and two other members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu look set to spend a second Christmas behind bars, as Uyghur Christian Alimujiang Yimiti sees his 12th Christmas in jail in Xinjiang.

In many nations, Christians have continued to be a target for violence, including Syria. Easter Sunday suicide bombings on churches inSri Lanka killed more than 320 people.

Our family in northern and central Nigeria are still under intense pressure, especially from Fulani militants. Please say a prayer for Leah Sharibu, a teenager held by terrorist group Boko Haram since February 2018, who has refused to renounce her faith even though it would have meant her freedom, and a rising number of other Christians being held to ransom, especially in Kaduna state.

Hopes of an easing of persecution in Eritrea following its 2018 peace deal with Ethiopia have faded, with mass arrests in places such as Asmara, especially around Independence Day. Arrests of Christians have continued in Iran too.

So please stand with us in praying for peace to be with our persecuted brothers and sisters this Christmas – and we pray the same for you and your family.

  • Please ask God to protect His people as they gather together to celebrate the birth of Jesus over the Christmas period.
  • Ask God to comfort prisoners of faith and their families who are separated this Christmas.
  • Thank God for the immeasurably precious gift of His Son, Jesus, and pray that He will give strength to His people and bless them with peace (Psalm 29:11).