AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER

  • EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT DEPOSED AS MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD TAKES HIT
  • EGYPTIAN CHRISTIANS REPORT GOD AT WORK DESPITE PERSECUTION
  • 30 DAYS OF PRAYER FOR THE MUSLIM WORLD DURING RAMADAN
  • OBAMA ADMINISTRATION STRONGLY OPPOSES RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN THE MILITARY
  • POPE SPEAKS OF HOMOSEXUAL LOBBY WITHIN THE VATICAN

     

EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT DEPOSED AS MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD TAKES HIT

The supreme justice of Egypt’s Constitutional Court has been sworn in as the nation’s interim president, replacing the Islamist Mohammed Morsi who has been ousted by the military. According to military decree, Mr Mansour will serve as Egypt’s interim leader until a new president is elected. A date for that vote has yet to be set. The military swept aside Mr Morsi, a little more than a year after the Islamist leader took office. The move followed days of bloodshed and protests demanding his resignation. Following the announcement of Morsi’s overthrow, police began rounding up key Morsi aides and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Thousands of protesters camped out on the streets of Cairo for days celebrated wildly at the news of Mr Morsi’s downfall, letting off fireworks  and sounding car horns. Mr Morsi was detained along with senior aides after issuing a defiant call for supporters to protect his elected “legitimacy”,in a recorded speech hours after the military announced his ousting. “We had to confront his threatening rhetoric,” the military officer said. “He succeeded in creating enmity between Egyptians,” he added. The Islamist-drafted constitution would be frozen and presidential elections held early, he said, without specifying when.

Mr Morsi’s opponents had accused him of failing the 2011 revolution by concentrating power in the hands of his Muslim Brotherhood. His year in power was marked by economic crisis, shortages in fuel and often deadly opposition protests. Morsi had proposed a “consensus government” as away out of the crisis, but it failed to satisfy his critics and the army stepped in. Opposition leader Mohamed El Baradei, sat beside army chief el-Sisi as he announced that Mr Morsi’s rule was over. So too did the heads of the Coptic Church and Al-Azhar, representing Sunni Muslims. The choreography was designed to show broad support for the military’s move against Mr Morsi.

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt said, “As soon as Field Marshall el-Sisi announced the news, millions of Egyptians on the streets began rejoicing, singing, dancing, and setting off fireworks. I have never seen Egyptians rejoicing in such a way! They deserve this joy as they insisted on writing their own history! Since the Muslim Brotherhood gained power a year ago, we Egyptians have experienced divisions, exclusions, sectarian clashes, fanaticism, a decrease in tourism, and a bad economy. This is an answer to the prayers ofso many people around the world who were praying for our beloved country Egypt.”

Ramez Atallah, General Director of The Bible Society of Egypt issued the following statement regarding the feeling that was present in Tahrir Square at the time of the announcement. “Thanks for your concern. You undoubtedly see the images of what is happening in Egypt on TV and worry about us and pray for us!  What you do not know is that the real picture from the inside is radically different from what you imagine.  The pictures you see are of happy people. The crowds around us are in a festive mood, parents, children, old people, all chanting for the fall of the Government and enthusiastically waving flags and banners. 

As my wife and I walked through the crowds we did not feel unsafe in spite of the incredibly crowded conditions and the complete lack of any police or army presence.  On the contrary, we all felt very proud to be Egyptians and to be among so many wonderful compatriots from Christians to conservative, Muslim, veiled women!  The concern, enthusiasm, passion and love for our country, which we all shared, was exhilarating and made us all the more loyal to our great nation. The more than 17 million demonstrators all over the country have been remarkably peaceful and safe.

It was when Egyptians realized that they could not depend on foreign powers to resolve their crisis that a small group of young people took matters into their own hands and started this grass roots movement designed to force the President to resign. The fact that this is truly a movement by and for the people gives more reason for Egyptians to participate proudly in the protests. During the January 2011 “revolution”, the exhilaration of the crowds was mainly because they felt united together as Egyptians regardless of their social, economic, political or religious situation or views.

When the Muslim Brotherhood won a majority in the new parliament and had one of their own elected as President, they quickly turned it into an autocraticone-party rule and hijacked the revolution with its “Egypt for all” emphasis. Their attempt to impose political Islam on Egypt is one of the major causes of the present widespread revolt. So instead of worrying for us, rejoice with us for the remarkable events happening in our country. Pray that the unprecedented unity expressed between all Egyptians who are rejecting political Islam will result in a new Egypt where people with different persuasions can live alongside one another in harmony.

Pastor Ben Gray from Brisbane who regularly ministers into the Church in Egypt says we should rejoice with those desiring real freedom, justice and to live in a peaceful society. However we still need to pray for Christians in Egypt, in particular, those living in provinces like upper Egypt, against the possible backlash from Morsi placed officials, Muslim Brotherhood leaders and supporters as they seek revenge. In these situations, Christians often become the meat in the sandwich. Let us stand with our friends in Egypt. Pray for all of Egypt, Christians, peaceful Muslims & secularists alike, as they seek to live peacefully with each other as citizens of one nation.

Source: Compiled by APN from various sources

 

EGYPTIAN CHRISTIANS REPORT GOD AT WORK DESPITE PERSECUTION

Editors note:  This article was written just a couple of weeks ago prior to the deposing of President Morsi last week but we felt to still publish it to give a better understanding of how God is moving in Egypt.

Egypt, known for its rich cultural heritage and its key role in Christian history teeters on the brink of disaster, with raging political unrest threatening to derail President Mohammed Morsi’s government. “It seems that President Morsi has put Egypt on the edge of a volcano that may erupt at any moment,” said one Christian leader. “The rapid developments taking place in Egypt give an image of a man standing in the middle of a sandstorm.” Eight months after an uprising ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011, more than two dozen Coptic Christians were martyred and 200 injured when they protested the demolition of a church in Upper Egypt.

More chaos followed, sparking additional repression, economic instability and the departure of tens of thousands of Christians from Egypt. Today, attacks on Christ’s followers in that nation are particularly pronounced in rural areas, according to one church leader. “Islamic extremism is the main cause of persecution in Egypt,” says a researcher for Open Doors. “With the Muslim Brotherhood in control of the country’s legislative and executive power, Islam is becoming more visible.”Yet amid such dire headlines, stories of a great awakening continue to emerge that bring smiles to the faces of countless believers in the gospel worldwide.

A prime example is Kasr El Dobara Church, Egypt’s largest evangelical congregation, located in Cairo. With the U.S. Embassy next door, worshippers sometimes find tear gas canisters lobbed into their midst as daily battles take place outside between Islamic protesters and police. Yet over the past three years, attendance at Kasr El Dobara has swelled from 700 to crowds that regularly overflow the capacity of the 2,500-seat sanctuary. Church leaders set up closed-circuit TV broadcasts of the church’s five-times-a-week services to accommodate the throngs.

“The numbers of people are multiplying,” says church spokesman Fazil Khalil, an assistant to senior pastor Sameh Maurice. “They are coming from every side and every background-people we are not accustomed to seeing, people seeking God.” And more than attendance is on the upswing. Khalil, other Egyptians and those who maintain outreaches to Egypt report a rise in prayer movements, interdenominational unity and a belief that God is about to visit Egypt in dramatic fashion. Historically, we know that every time there is political chaos and uncertainty anywhere in the world, we always see the church experiencing true revival.

Muslims now mix openly with Christians.  They are risking a lot to do this but it is a new era.  Another sign of renewal is two gatherings that happened last October in the desert 60 miles north of Cairo. The first, aimed at teens and young adults, attracted more than 10,000 for three days of prayer, preaching and worship. The second, a four-day rally called Count It Right, attracted 45,000, with an estimated 25,000 coming to Christ and 8,000 requesting follow-up visits from churches. Another 5,000 attended a parallel one-day festival in the Coptic Orthodox Cave Church, located in Cairo’s massive garbage dump.

Rather than being hidden from the potential backlash of extremists, more than 2 million people watched more than six hours of coverage broadcast to the Middle East, Australia and North America by Christian satellite channels. Both rallies proved fruitful, says Khalil, whose church served as the primary organizer. “We didn’t have enough ushers to go around praying with the people, with all those standing to ask God for forgiveness and ask Jesus into their heart,” he says. Not only was the Holy Spirit’s presence notable at the rallies, but the events prompted many who were thinking of leaving Egypt to remain so they can see how God will restore the  nation.

Source: Open Doors

 

30 DAYS OF PRAYER FOR THE MUSLIM WORLD DURING RAMADAN

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. During the 30 days of Ramadan (9th July until 7th August), Muslims will fast until sunset, not even drinking water, but at night they are free to eat and drink. Since 1992, a Christian action of prayer for Muslims during Ramadan has taken place. About 20 years ago, the world had about 1.1 billion Muslims. Islam was a little known religion in most Western nations, and efforts by the Church to share Christ with Muslims were scarce. Today, efforts have increased ten-fold and 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim world is one of the many agencies who have embraced the call to share the message of Jesus amongst the Muslim people.

In 1997 only two church-planting movements amongst Muslim people groups could be identified. By 2010, however, over 1,000 baptisms and/or 100 churches had been planted amongst at least 25 Muslim populations in the previous decade. A major breakthrough happened in South Asia among the Bengali, where at least half a million people with a Muslim background came to faith in Jesus.  In Iran, Christian satellite broadcasting supports a strong and growing underground church with thousands of house fellowships throughout the country.  Several hundred thousand people of an unreached Berber group in North Africa also came to faith.  

The technological advance of the past 20 years has transformed the way in which the Gospel is communicated to unreached Muslim groups. Radio and satellite broadcasting to the Muslim world has resulted in millions of Muslims responding to the message of Christ. In the Arab world alone, one ministry, SAT7, has a regular audience of 8.5 million. So, what of the next 20 years? According to one study, 20 years from now the Muslim world population will be double what it was 20 years ago, with Muslims representing a quarter of the world’s population. As followers of Christ, we must rise to meet this growth with a double portion of faith and love. Can we do it?

Why do we pray during the time of Ramadan?

There are two reasons why the 30 days of prayer is held during the month ofRamadan:

. As a means by which Christians can identify with Muslims for a fixed period of time, and

. to call upon God’s sovereign intervention in the lives of Muslims during a time of the year when they are particularly religious.

Praying during the month of Ramadan does not mean that we conform ourselves to the Muslim practices of fasting and prayer.  As believers in Jesus Christ we disagree with Islamic ideas, theology and practice in several areas, but we place an emphasis on God’s love for Muslims. We encourage all believers to cultivate a spirit of humility, love, respect and service toward Muslims. For more information, visit http://www.30-days.net/ where you can also sign up for the email edition, or download the eBooklet.

Source: 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World

 

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION STRONGLY OPPOSES RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN THE MILITARY

The Obama administration has stated that it opposes a proposed amendment to the National Defence Authorization Act that would protect the religious freedom of men and women in the armed forces. The statement says, “The administration strongly objects to section 530 of the act, which would require the Armed Forces to accommodate actions and speech ‘reflecting the conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs of the member.’ By limiting the discretion of commanders to address problematic speech and actions within their units, this provision would have a significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.”

Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Counsel Kellie Fiedorek says the position is unconstitutional. “Service members shouldn’t be denied the constitutional liberties they have volunteered to defend,” she comments. “It is clear that the Obama administration opposes constitutional religious freedom for service men and women, and this is the latest example of this administration’s hostility toward religious service members. “Antagonism toward people of faith – namely Christians – in the military is real, and it is disappointing that the President is unwilling to support laws that protect and defend the basic liberty of religious freedom.”

Source: Charisma News

 

POPE SPEAKS OF HOMOSEXUAL LOBBY WITHIN THE VATICAN

Pope Francis has admitted that a “homosexual lobby” exists within the Vatican’s administration and is planning to take action about it, according to reports. The Pontiff supposedly made the claim during an audience at the Vatican with a group of Latin American priests and nuns. “It is true, it is there… we will have to see what we can do.” “It is difficult,” he said.”In the Curia there are truly holy people. But there is also a current of corruption there.” A Vatican spokesman declined to comment on the statement, which was reported by the Chilean Catholic website. “This was a private meeting held by the Pope and I will not comment on private meetings,” said the spokesman.

In February, Italian newspapers reported that a dossier on scandals within the Vatican, exposed a network of patronage among a powerful lobby of homosexual churchmen as well as the potential blackmailing of homosexuals. The dossier was compiled by three senior cardinals, who were charged with looking into secret rivalries and corruption within the Vatican following the leaking of Benedict’s private letters by his butler. In his audience, Pope Francis allegedly promised to reform the Vatican but said it would be “difficult”. He said he would be relying on the commission of eight cardinals he appointed in April to organise reform of the Curia.

Source: The Telegraph, London