In this article, Brother Tuntun (name changed) shares how he is seeking to respond to the crisis in Myanmar, followed by prayer suggestions for each day this week.
Believers are fearful and uncertain, families have insufficient food, and church leaders are really struggling - our Burmese family desperately need your prayers
Indignation rises in Brother Tuntun. “When I saw police and soldiers arresting protesters who were protesting against the military coup, brutally beating them and unreasonably killing them by shooting, I was so angry,” he shares. “The police and soldiers who should protect the citizens have become their enemies. Civilians are terrorised by Myanmar forces.”
As a Christian, Brother Tuntun knows that his response comes with sacrifice. “I am reminded to love even my enemies and to overcome evil with good,” he says. “I realise that it is not easy, but I have to do it. It will be heavy, but I have to carry it as my own cross. I thank God for His inspiration and the transformation of my life. With God, all things are possible.”
Brother Tuntun’s words are a window into the way God is sustaining Christians during these dark days in Myanmar. But as his thoughts return to all that he has seen and heard, there comes the reminder of how challenging it is for believers to cling onto hope.
"I am reminded to love even my enemies and to overcome evil with good" 'Brother Tuntun'
“Police and soldiers try to scare people in the daytime as well as at night by arresting people and shooting. One night, I saw seven soldiers with guns pointing around and walking on the street in front of our house. They made some noises to scare people and moved slowly. If they fired real bullets in our community, our wooden houses would not be able to protect us from bullets and keep us safe. I was scared and could not sleep well for several nights.
“When we go out, we are living in fear again, because our mobile phones will be checked, and we can be arrested by police and soldiers if they see any anti-military photos or news.”
The disruption and devastation caused by the military coup has inevitably impinged on efforts to contain and control the impact of coronavirus. “We are living in fear of the unseen Covid-19 pandemic as well, because there is no strict rule followed for Covid-19 since the military coup,” Brother Tuntun adds. “General hospitals are closed, and doctors joined the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).”
The overall impact of the political unrest and pandemic could be catastrophic for the country. “The UN World Food Programme warned that up to 3.4 million people in Myanmar could go hungry this year amid rising food prices and the loss of manufacturing, construction and service jobs,” Brother Tuntun continues. “Because of the pandemic, schools have been closed for a year and now, due to the military coup, the next academic year is not sure to be opened. We parents worry for the education of our children. I feel that we are living in fear and danger.”
It's a horribly daunting prospect but Brother Tuntun again returns to his faith. “I praise God for reminding me again that He is our provider, our shelter and our refuge for any time. To God be the glory! I am holding on to Romans 12:21: 'Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.’”
As the first week of our month of prayer for Myanmar gets underway, you may like to use the below daily prayer points to guide you…
Monday – the government
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been holding a conference to try to find a way forward for Myanmar. Please pray for wisdom and unity in discussions, and positive solutions. Please also pray that God will soften the hearts of the military leaders.
Tuesday – the church and tribal believers
Most churches are closed and many believers cannot access online services. “I see a decline in the interest and zeal to go to church,” shares one believer. “Everyone is preoccupied with the political situation of the country and their survival. It feels like we have lost the desire to fellowship and pray.” Please pray that God will strengthen and revive all Christians, as well as protect and provide for tribal believers living in areas caught in the crossfire of fighting between the military and ethnic insurgency groups.
Wednesday – pastors and Christian workers
Many pastors are struggling to lead their churches, especially those still traumatised by life under the previous military junta. “Since the coup started, I don’t feel like praying or reading the Bible and doing my devotion,” shares a local partner. “I feel lethargic to preach and I don’t know how to pray.” Please pray for wounds to be healed and spirits to be rekindled.
Thursday – families
Families have lost the spark and joy that they once had. Parents worry for their children. Ask the Lord to protect and provide for families, to give wisdom to parents, and for young Christians to re-engage with their faith.
Friday – youth and children
Young people are engaging in protests and some have been arrested. Many Christians are among them. The military see young people as a threat so are targeting them – even if they aren’t protesting. Please pray for the safety of young people, and ask the Lord to reveal Himself to them.
Saturday – the economy
The price of food has doubled in many places. Christian families have been left without enough food, with many unable to work for fear of their safety or no job opportunities due to the coup and pandemic. Ask the Lord to provide for all Christians in need.
Sunday – Covid-19
Given the political situation – meaning many health workers are not working whilst engaged in the resistance movement – many hospitals are closed. Testing for Covid-19 is being done in military hospitals but resources are limited, meaning it is not accessible to the public. Please pray that the spread of Covid-19 will stop and for healing of all those infected.
Lord Jesus, comfort the grieving, heal the hurting, uphold the weak, encourage the despondent, feed the hungry, and embrace the fearful. Bring peace, stability and hope to the streets of Myanmar. Keep people from harm. Strengthen the faith and witness of Your church. Amen.
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