- a call for prayerjeudi 23 août 2007, par
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By Elizabeth Kendal
World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEA RLC)
AUSTRALIA — At present North Korea is rated the world’s worst abuser of human rights and religious liberty. For more than 50 years the regime has maintained power through isolation, brainwashing and terror and by eliminating every threat (real and perceived) to its rule through executions and incarceration. The regime has a gulag of some 200 concentration camps and prisons where criminals and ’political’ prisoners and their families to three generations are starved, beaten and slave-worked to death. Of the estimated 200,000 prisoners, some 70,000 are believed to be there on account of their Christianity. Meanwhile, for more than 50 years the prayers of the Church (particularly the Korean Church) have been building from a predominantly local chorus to a global symphony.
In June 2000 South Korean President Kim Dae-jung met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il in a historic summit in Pyongyang. The leaders signed a landmark document committing the two states to work toward (amongst other things) reunification, family reunions, economic co-operation and a cross-border railway. Despite US-North Korea relations subsequently souring and the North Korean regime retreating to a defensive posturing position from where it resorted to nuclear blackmail, North and South Korea have made significant strides forward. Family reunions have occurred, Korean sporting teams have competed as one nation, the completed cross-border railway had its historic test run in May this year, Kaesong Industrial Park has opened for business and the Christian-funded, English-language, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (http://www.pust.or.kr/eng/ ) is nearing completion.
A second inter-Korea summit due to be held in Pyongyang 28-30 August 2007 has been postponed to 2-4 October due to the severe flooding in North Korea. These floods have claimed some 300 lives and left around 300,000 homeless. They have destroyed large portions of the North’s arable farmland, along with 800 public buildings and 540 bridges. This is by no means North Korea’s first major catastrophe, but it is the first time it has chosen not to hide it. Furthermore, the regime is even requesting international assistance. Regardless of the political reasons behind this episode of openness, it is good that North Koreans will be receiving humanitarian assistance from outsiders who love them and care deeply about their lives.
This October summit is extremely important. If tensions can be eased, threats removed and confidence built, North Korea will probably start opening more to the outside world, initially through the Internet. The Korea Times reports North Korea has a computer technology centre. Broadband is already available, only not to the public !
It is crucial that we pray for and during this summit. This year (2007) marks the centenary of the great Pyongyang revival that transformed Korea spiritually and led to Pyongyang being known as ’The Jerusalem of the East’. Please join the symphony of prayer for this nation.
(A more detailed version of this prayer bulletin will be posted to the RLC News & Analysis list, and the ASSIST list, and the WEA website later this week.)
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY :
* that North Korean Christians will experience the love and eternal, faithful presence of their Saviour Jesus Christ. ’For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:38,39 NIV)
* for the Spirit of God to be powerfully present in discussions leading up to the inter-Korean summit and then at the summit itself, directing hearts so they conform to his will (Proverbs 21:1) and his wisdom (Proverbs 2:6-15) ; may tensions ease and confidence be built for the benefit of reform and God’s Kingdom.
* for God to bring openness and liberty to North Korea. ’May the groans of the prisoners come before you.’ (Psalm 79:11a)
© Assist News
Elizabeth Kendal is the Principal Researcher and Writer for the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEA RLC) www.worldevangelical.org/rlc.html. This article was initially written for the WEA RLP(Religious Liberty Prayer) mailing list
Elizabeth can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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