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Anti-Christian protest held by the Bodu Bala Sena
in October 2012 in Piliyandala, Sri Lanka
Photo: www.nation.lk via WEA

As previously reported in recent prayer alerts, Christian persecution in Sri Lanka has intensified due to the rise in the country's Buddhist nationalism.

Extremist Buddhist groups such as the Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Strong Army) and the Sinhala Rawaya (Sinhala Echo) have incited religious disharmony and carried out malicious attacks, targeting both Christian and Muslim minorities in the country.

In a wave of violence, around 30 churches have come under attack this year alone. In 2012, there were 52 reported incidents of persecution. Quite alarmingly, these attacks have occurred with impunity, and with little or no state action to prosecute those responsible.

In addition to the rising violence, churches are also facing restriction in the form of forced closure by the authorities. For instance, local governments and police have ordered many churches to close down, claiming that they are not authorized by the state.

In a recent incident in the Hambantota district, authorities called on certain evangelical churches to confirm their legality, warning church leaders that failure to do so will result in the closure of churches. Previous reports can be found by going to the Sri Lanka Country Report.

May our Christian brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka continue to place their trust in the Lord during this time of mounting pressure and persecution. Pray for His protection over all who are at risk of violence, especially those who are willing to place the ‘mission of God' ahead of their own comfort and security. May the Holy Spirit grant church leaders discernment on how to appropriately respond to the situation. Also intercede for those inciting these religious tensions, and thus persecuting His precious people, that they would experience a radical change of heart, repentance and the saving grace of God.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC supports persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka as they witness for Christ in hostile environments through Biblical training, legal aid, and advocacy, as well as rehabilitation and emergency assistance.

Project Funds: Relief and Development, Legal Defense

Country Information

Population
23,044,123 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Sinhalese (74.9), Sri Lankan Tamil (11.2), Sri Lankan Moors (9.2), Indian Tamil (4.2), other (0.5)

Religion (%)
Buddhism (70.2), Hinduism (12.6), Islam (9.7), Roman Catholic (6.1), Evangelical Christianity (2.0)

Leader
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (2019)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and Jaffna Tamil customary law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Sri Lanka

Let's unite our hearts in prayer for those in Sri Lanka who are being persecuted for their faith, thanking God for what He is accomplishing despite the opposition. Ask that His people will be encouraged, strengthened and equipped by the promises of the Bible – the Sword of the Spirit – knowing that He is watching over His Word to perform it (Ephesians 6:17; Jeremiah 1:12). May they not only overcome the strategies of the enemy, but also serve as effective witnesses to those in need of eternal salvation and deliverance from spiritual captivity.

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