Iraqi Christians have requested our prayers following recent incidents in the town of Bartilla, near Mosul in northern Iraq. Bartilla is a predominantly Christian town.
On 25th December a Christmas service was disrupted by a group of militants. They took control of the checkpoint controlling entry to the town and held it for five hours. During this period some of the attackers marched into the central square, tearing down Christmas decorations from store windows and throwing a picture of St. Mary into the dirt. Some attempted to enter a church, demanding that they be allowed to conduct Islamic rituals within the building. The Church's guards refused them entry and gunfire was exchanged, leaving four Christian residents wounded, including a policeman.
A second incident occurred in the town on Tuesday 5th January when a car bomb exploded. Nobody was killed, but five people required hospital treatment for injuries. There was widespread damage to property.
Those supporting these Christians request our prayers that:
a. The wounded and traumatised will know the healing touch of Jesus
b. Church leaders will know the Spirit's wisdom and enabling in aspects of their ministry
c. The perpetrators will know the Spirit's conviction concerning their violent acts, and turn to new life in Jesus
d. The authorities will provide effective protection for Christian and other minorities
(c) Middle East Concern