DAY 1: PREPARE
Welcome to DAY 1 of 40 Days of Prayer to Answer the Cry. Whether you’re an existing supporter of SAT-7 or new to our ministry, you are very welcome!
Thank you for joining us to pray for the people of the Middle East and North Africa. Some days we will tell stories from one of SAT-7’s viewers or share information from across the region. Other days a picture, quote or Bible verse will be all that’s needed to help us reflect, pray and prepare… together.
The dictionary definition of PREPARE is: Make (something) ready for use or consideration. For Christians across the Middle East, the time leading up to Easter holds special significance, and preparation – making something ready – is key. If you have never marked these 40 days in this way before, please use this time as an opportunity to journey deeper into God’s love for you and for his world – both the joys and the sorrows.
As we journey together, let us prepare ourselves to hear the stories, hopes and dreams of people from across the region – to walk a little in their shoes as we look towards Easter and as together we Answer the Cry.
for everyone who has committed to pray and prepare during this time of Lent – that we would all draw closer to God and the people of the Middle East and North Africa at this time.
QUESTION: Do you ever wonder why bad things happen, to yourself, your family, or to the thousands of people around the world faced with seemingly unending trial at this time? As we travel on the road towards Easter, perhaps we all need reminding that a part of preparing our hearts means asking if we need to forgive.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
But with so much hurt and harm being given and received across the Middle East region, forgiveness, and the finding of peace amidst turmoil, could seem like an impossible command.
Today we are praying for children like Azraa from the Nineveh Valley in Iraq. She told SAT-7 how she and her family – like thousands threatened by the militants – had to flee to Iraqi Kurdistan. The young girl said: “We used to wonder why God did this to us and why we were forcibly displaced. Why did He allow this? But we found out it was the opposite and that God cares for us… He did a lot for us and protected us from Daesh (so-called Islamic State).”
God’s love and forgiveness enabled Azraa to forgive the terrorists who had forced her to flee her home. Azraa told SAT-7: “When I came to know the Lord, I realised that I did many wrong things but God forgave me. The same goes for Daesh: God is willing to forgive them.”
for the hearts and minds of those like Azraa who have been hurt. That God will prepare their hearts to forgive and to find peace – that they will be given the strength of our Saviour.
Today we are focusing our thoughts and prayers on Turkey:
Population: 77 million; 99.5% Muslim; 0.5% Christian. SAT-7 TÜRK is available on Turkey’s national satellite service to over 50 million people.
While terrorist attacks have made Turkey the subject of many news reports, SAT-7 TÜRK has expanded its production of live, locally made television broadcasts for audiences in Turkey and beyond.
New 90-minute and two-hour daily magazine shows for children and women share hope and companionship. A prayer request show offers the concerns of Turkish people in dark and difficult days to the God who loves them.
The channel has recently increased security at its studio and plans to implement further measures. Speaking about the mood of staff in the SAT-7 TÜRK office, one team member said, “I can see from their faces that people are more concerned about threats and terror.”
In the opening days of 2017, terrorism also struck Iraq. Please continue to pray for peace in the Middle East and North Africa, and for SAT-7 teams throughout the region as they develop creative television programmes to make God’s love visible to the network’s millions of viewers.
QUESTION: When faced with different challenges what resources do you have that keep you going? Have you made vows, declarations of faith, or promises that strengthen your resolve ‘through the storm’?
Last year a SAT-7 TÜRK film crew visited the first ever Christian youth event in Mardin, Turkey, at which two teenage Syrian refugees were baptised. More than 30 young Christians from across eastern Turkey gathered in the ancient city of Mardin, which is just 20 miles from the Syrian border, for the historic meeting.
You don’t normally hear this type of ‘good news’ on the TV, but SAT-7 TÜRK aired footage from the youth event on its weekly live news programme, which brings a Christian perspective on national and international events.
The theme of the youth event was inspired by 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
for this new church and its activity in Mardin. Pray for all those who attended the youth event, especially the two young Syrians who were baptised, that God will continue to strengthen their faith. Pray that SAT-7 TÜRK’s coverage of Christian events will help Turkish viewers to grow in their understanding of Christianity.
Sunday 5 March
REFLECT: On this first Sunday in Lent we are pressing the pause button.
Take five or ten minutes to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN to what God is saying to you today … and then pray.
DAY 5: KNOW
QUESTION: How do you know what you know? Who told you, what book did you read, which programme did you watch? In a world full of doubt over fact and fiction, being able to trust ‘who’ and ‘what’ we know is becoming increasingly important.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” I Corinthians 13:12
SAT-7’s goal has always been to “Make God’s love visible”, so it’s always a delight to hear when this good news is reaching minds and hearts for the first time. A young woman called Shadia, who watches our children’s channel with her sisters from The Gulf, emailed SAT-7. She told SAT-7 KIDS “how I love you and love the songs”, but also shared how her “sisters and I tried to become Christians”. She said, “We prayed, but we don’t know how Jesus can hear our prayers because we are not in Lebanon, Jordan, or Egypt”.
A member of SAT-7’s Viewer Support Team responded immediately to Shadia’s message, explaining that “The nature of Jesus [means] that He can hear our prayers everywhere and at any time”. Then he went on to describe “Jesus’ endless love for her (and for all people).
for SAT-7’s continued ministry to Shadia, her sisters and many thousands of people in similar situations across the region. Pray that through this period of Lent many people will come to know God’s love in their lives for the first time.
QUESTION: When was the last time you couldn’t remember something? Perhaps it was something that you did know, but it was on the tip of your tongue, or the edge of your memory. When was the last time you were really desperate to know something or someone that you knew would change your life?
You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” Acts 2:28
Samir, a young man from Afghanistan, was desperate to know the truth. When he began reading an old English language, Bible a profound peace came over him. Although Samir couldn’t understand what he was reading, he said, “I never felt this peace when I read any other books.”
Samir was desperate to know more, but who could explain the meaning behind his experience and the deeper truths of the Bible? He had to be careful who he spoke to because asking such questions could result in imprisonment – or worse.
for SAT-7’s continued ministry to people like Samir – young men in similar situations right across the region who are desperate to find peace and purpose. Pray that they may know healing and release from anger and the bitterness of disappointment – that they may find meaning in often confusing and challenging situations.
REFLECT: Today is International Women’s Day. This week’s viewer reflection comes from an Iranian woman who’s life has been transformed by God. She says, “It is no longer that I rely on my own understanding and thoughts, but on the leading of the Holy Spirit in my heart. My life is full of beauty and joy.”
Take five or ten minutes to THANK God for the things in your life that make sense, that are beautiful and that bring you joy.
Thank God for those in Iran and across the region who have found their creator and saviour.
QUESTION: Do you have access to a Bible? Christian friends? a local church to learn and live in community? What would you do and how would you cope if most of those precious things were taken away? Where would your support come from?
Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Christians are a very small minority in the Middle East and North Africa, and in some of the countries where SAT-7 broadcasts, they face severe persecution. Every day, isolated believers cry out to SAT-7 for support, prayer and fellowship. Arvin* from Iran gave his heart to Christ 18 months ago:
“It is not easy here in Iran. I do not have access to books or people to teach me more about Christianity. I would like to go to a church, to pray and love Jesus and God without fear. I would love to be a real Christian and attend church in a free country, and tell people how God showed himself to me. Please, please, please help and guide me. I’m eager for your response.”
*name changed, image for illustrative purposes.
Thank God that SAT-7’s viewer support team are in regular contact with Arvin to encourage him in his faith. Pray that he, and many others in his situation, will continue to take part in our weekly Bible studies over Skype. Thank God for the Answer the Cry campaign that continues to give supporters a chance to help us to be there for people like Arvin.
Today we are focusing our thoughts and prayers on the North African country of Algeria:
Population: 40.3 million (2016 estimate); 99% Muslim; <1% Christian; 99% ethnically Berber but only 15% identify as Berber, others as Arab; literacy: 87% men; 73% women
What is now Algeria was once home to Saint Augustine (AD 354-430), one of the Church’s foremost theologians. Christianity flourished here between the fifth and seventh centuries but gradually disappeared after the Arab invasions.
Although new churches were started under French rule, since independence an entirely local church has been born among the Berber people. Its astonishing growth in the last few decades is thought to be the fastest in the Arab world, with several thousand new believers being baptised every year.
SAT-7 responded by training a local Algerian team in TV production to multiply the witness and discipleship potential of this young Church. Today, SAT-7 broadcasts a wealth of locally produced Bible teaching, discipleship and testimony programmes.
Give thanks for the numbers coming to Christ in Algeria, for Christians who openly share their testimonies on SAT-7, pray for their growth in Christ and for our small Algerian team.
QUESTION: Think back to the time you gave your life to Christ. Maybe your faith developed gradually over time or maybe you can recall a particular event where you responded to God. How did you feel?
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defence; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:2-3
It is good to recall our own individual journeys of faith. As we continue towards Easter, we can look back on how God has drawn us to himself, caused us to trust in his truth and enabled us to grow in the knowledge of our Saviour. Our hearts are changed as we look to Jesus to guide and strengthen us.
Today we are praying for young believers who have encountered God through SAT-7’s programmes. Hosam*, aged 13 from Morocco, was desperately seeking for truth and values to guide his life. “I was lost, couldn’t find the right place or religion to settle on”, he said. Hosam stumbled across SAT-7 KIDS channel and, intrigued by the message presented, began to think through the gospel for himself. Hosam shares his joy after praying to receive God’s salvation for himself: “I was so happy, full of life and energy, and this is what is now happening to me every day”.
* name has been changed
for Hosam and believers like him, who have discovered the joy of salvation through SAT-7’s programmes. Pray that they will grow in their understanding of Christ and live out their lives according to the truth of God’s word. Praise God for the life-changing messages SAT-7 is able to broadcast. Ask that more young people seeking meaning and value will find SAT-7 KIDS and discover the truth of the gospel for themselves.
Sunday 12 March
REFLECT: On this second Sunday in Lent we are asking a question… How well do you know the Shepherd? If you were to hear his voice today would you recognise it – would you be in a position to respond?
TAKE FIVE minutes to reflect on this verse – then spend some time sharing with Jesus, the ‘good shepherd’, what is on your mind today.
DAY 11: PROTECT
QUESTION: What’s the most difficult situation you’ve ever had to face? Have you ever had to physically protect yourself or someone you loved from harm? Have you ever had to leave your home suddenly without being able to take anything with you – without even being able to say goodbye? Our news shows all too clearly that it’s not easy for those living in the MENA region to protect themselves and their families from harm – especially when facing persecution.
Today we are praying for people like Fatma, her husband Ibrahim and their three girls. Faced with violence and torture they took the ultimate step of leaving their home country, becoming five of Lebanon’s one million plus Syrian refugees.
In confusion, they prayed: “We said, ‘Please, Lord, if you are the God we read about, that everybody is telling us about, please show yourself – any sign, any sign.” Fatma says the sign came in a dream: “I saw a hand holding my hand and saying ‘Come with me’. This hand was leading me and pointing to a Bible and said ‘You will find the truth here’. So the couple started going to a church and “reading more and believing more”.
for the protection of all who seek to live peaceful lives across the region and for those who are on the move – that they will be shown the kindness of our Saviour.
QUESTION: When someone says the words “paying the highest price”, what images spring to mind? A Black Friday special deal or even perhaps an auction house sale? But what about your own life?
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
For many Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, Jesus’ call to carry their cross can mean enduring discrimination, family rejection, suspicion or arrest. For some, it means paying the highest and ultimate price. Such was the case for Dany, a 15-year old Iraqi viewer of SAT-7, living in Libya. In May 2014, Dany was abducted and shot three times for being a Christian.
Despite her obvious pain and tremendous shock, Dany’s mother, Mona, was able to share on SAT-7 of God’s comfort and peace. “When we heard the news of his murder, the women in our family and friends wept but I found myself singing hymns. Even I was shocked at my reaction. When we went to see him for the last time before his burial, it was very hard but I said to Jesus, ‘Please give me Your eyes to see my son and please give me the strength to be able to endure’ and I went, still singing hymns, to see my son before he went to heaven.”
Mona’s faithful witness has brought encouragement to thousands of viewers across the world.
for Christians who are suffering pressure and persecution in many forms for their faith in Jesus. Give thanks for Mona’s testimony of finding strength in God through the worst of trials. Pray that her story will continue to bring hope to others suffering in Christ’s name.
REFLECT: This week’s viewer reflection comes from a Turkish man whose life is being changed by watching SAT-7 and through reading the Bible.
‘Face to Face’ is a series on SAT-7 TURK that aims to give a biblical analysis of commonly held beliefs and superstitions.
Following the programme, Serkan in Istanbul contacted SAT-7 TURK to say:
I watched ‘Face to Face’ with great interest. I am not a believer but I see myself as very close to Christianity. In the programme, I got the impression that the Holy Bible has no contradictions with our world today. Today’s world puts humankind under such pressure that there is no other place than the Bible to seek shelter. The real goal is to live this modern life in the framework of holy principles brought by Jesus. I want to thank you for making a programme like this.”
TAKE FIVE minutes to THINK about the areas in your life that are under pressure.
TAKE FIVE minutes to FOCUS on a Bible passage that puts your situation into context.
TAKE FIVE minutes to THANK God that we can seek shelter in His word. PRAY today for men, like Serkan, whose hearts and minds are being transformed by the word of life.
QUESTION: If you have children between the ages of six to sixteen (or have friends who do), how easy do you find it to ‘encourage’ them to go to church on a Sunday morning? Do they see their church community as a place that helps and supports them as they grow?
I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth”. Psalm 121:1-2
Persecution comes in many forms but it can be particularly harsh when your persecutors are your closest family. Salma, a young woman from Morocco, was just 13 when she turned to God and began attending church, even though she knew her family would disapprove. Six years ago, her father caught her leaving a church service and, since then, Salma has been banned from leaving the house.
Salma told SAT-7’s viewer support team, “My parents hate me. They don’t even eat with me. They force me to stay at home. I don’t go anywhere, not even to school. They call me ‘faithless’ but I don’t care about that.”
However, in the face of this opposition and isolation as a believer, Salma holds on to her resolute faith in God and draws strength from SAT-7 programmes. She even engages her family in conversation about the programmes, trying to present the gospel to them.
for isolated believers like Salma who are unable to attend church or fellowship with other believers. Pray that they will be strengthened by God’s word to endure their situations, witness to those around them and draw closer to the Saviour.
Population: 94.7 million; 90% Muslim; 10% Christian; literacy 82.2% men; 65.4% women
Egypt, the most populous country in the Middle East region, also has the largest Christian community. The majority Coptic Orthodox Church traces its origins to the first century and Protestant churches, here since the 19th century, are active in evangelism and social action.
But Christians are vulnerable. A bomb attack on a Cairo church on 12 December 2016 killed 29 worshippers and last month over 500 Christians fled their homes after death threats and killings by Islamist insurgents in Northern Sinai.
SAT-7’s Egypt-produced programmes seek to counter this with messages of forgiveness and respect for all. SAT-7 gives a voice to Christians facing persecution and its Cairo studio has an impressive output of programmes. This includes popular worship, women’s, youth and children’s shows, drama and even comedy. It has pioneered live coverage of large-scale Christian conferences and prayers for the nation, and has sent teams to film in Iraq.
Give thanks for Egyptian Christians’ vision to be a light to the Arab world. Pray for their security and for the creative work of SAT-7’s Cairo studio and many associated ministries in Egypt.
QUESTION: How are you finding your journey through Lent? Are you able to make space and time for study and reflection, or are you grabbing little moments of solitude here and there? If someone were to ask you to share what you are learning, or even your full testimony of faith, would you be ready, willing and able to share… and serve?
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind”. Philippians 2:1-2
Disillusioned with the view of God she had been taught, Karema began searching for spiritual answers as a young graduate. The wonder of God humbling himself and coming into the world as a man, sharing our experiences and pain, was crucial in Karema’s journey of accepting Christ as her Saviour.
When her community learned of her belief in Christ, Karema realised she was in danger and fled her home country of Egypt. She is now ministering to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, meeting practical needs and teaching the Bible to those hungry for spiritual truth, as she was once herself.
Karema shared her story with SAT-7. She says, “They asked ‘Why are you so kind to us, what is behind this?’ so we explained how Jesus had put in our hearts to go and help the strangers.”
for Christians seeking to minister God’s love to those suffering around them. Ask that God will protect them as they serve him in difficult situations and that they will be encouraged in their faith by SAT-7 programmes. Pray that their actions will cause those they are serving to look to God as the source of all comfort and compassion.
Sunday 19 March
ACTIVITY: When you’re at home or in a quiet place take seven grapes and put them on a plate in front of you. Read a section or the full passage about the ‘true vine’ (John 15:1). Prayerfully choose seven people, issues, or countries to pray for over the coming week – one for each day. As you write them down, eat a grape and take a moment to pray.
that over the coming week you will remain in the vine, in God’s love, and that you will ‘bear much fruit’ wherever you go – whatever you do.
DAY 17: TRUST
QUESTION: Did you make any New Year resolutions or does the 1st January feel like a long time ago? Today, Iran celebrates the Persian New Year. Norouz – a compound word that means “new day” – begins on 20 March and marks the dawn of spring. Perhaps you could use it as a second opportunity to think about your hopes and dreams for the rest of the year?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Each year, SAT-7 marks the 13-day Persian New Year festival Norouz with special programmes that celebrate the new life that is available in Christ.
The Church in Iran has much to celebrate despite ongoing restrictions and persecution. According to Operation World, Iran has the fastest-growing evangelical population in the world! Every day, two or three people from Iran tell SAT-7 that they have given their heart to Christ after watching a programme on our Farsi channel.
Norouz is a time when families come together to celebrate new beginnings and hopes for the future. They traditionally decorate a table or carpet with seven dishes (“haft sin”) each beginning with the Persian letter S, symbolising rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience, and beauty.
for SAT-7’s special Norouz programmes, that as viewers celebrate the fresh start of a new year, they will also consider the new life offered by Christ. Praise God for the growth of the Church in Iran and pray that He will give believers there the strength to endure the pressure and persecution they face.
Find out more about Iran this Friday as it will be our country focus for this week’s reflections.
QUESTION: How do we prepare our children to live lives to the full? In a world dominated by media of all sorts of quality and motivation who can we trust?
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.”
In a moving letter to Rita Elmounayer, Executive Director for SAT-7’s Arabic channels and presenter of many programmes on SAT-7 KIDS, a Syrian father describes what SAT-7 KIDS means to his son, Andrew.
“As [our son] Andrew was growing up, we found that most of the TV channels for children aired programmes which actually harmed the children watching them, including Andrew, who was very disturbed by them. So we started deleting the channels one by one, until only SAT-7 KIDS was left, the channel that not only is safe but also spreads faith.”
“Andrew is a faithful daily viewer. For him, ‘Mama Rita’ is the special mother and teacher. On this Mother’s Day (21st March in most Middle East countries), I wanted to express my gratitude to the way SAT-7 is ministering to the people of the Arab world. God gave you the privilege to be a mother for a whole generation. Happy Mother’s Day!”
for all mothers who give so much of themselves in nurturing the next generation – that they would “trust in the Lord”. And for all children – that they would be protected and “enjoy safe pasture”, as they grow and learn.
REFLECT: Have you ever lost your voice? Have you ever called after someone but they are too far away to hear? These are, perhaps, trivial examples in comparison to what it feels like to be voiceless – at home, work or the community where you live. Not being heard in the big things in life, the things that matter, hurts.
Take five or ten minutes to THANK God for the areas in your life where you have a voice. THINK about how you are using your voice to speak words of hope and healing. PRAY today for men like Miltan who have put their hope in Jesus, have overcome addictions, and now use their voices to bring hope and healing to others.
Today we are praying for God to transform the lives of those who trust in Him in the midst of their suffering.
QUESTION: What personal situations have you known where you had to keep turning to the Lord for wisdom and guidance? Are there any areas of life where you currently feel at the limit of your strength and ability? Perhaps you can think of an example of a specific answered prayer through which God has demonstrated His faithful care for you and how this made you feel.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
The modern history of the Middle East is one plagued by conflict and war. To those of us in the West, it can seem as though one country after another has succumbed to civil war, border disputes and other military conflict. SAT-7 was contacted by an Iranian war veteran. Reza* fought in the Iran-Iraq war of 1980 to 1988. As a result of his experiences, Reza suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. His suffering affected all aspects of his life, including his marriage. For years he could not sleep at night. Then he met Christ and his life was transformed as he entered into a personal relationship with his Saviour.
Reza told SAT-7, “Since I came to Christ, our marital relationship has been improving and I have more peace. I would like to ask you to pray for the insomnia that I have been suffering for many years. I thank God that He has the solution to my problems.”
*name changed to protect identity
Give thanks for the transformation in Reza’s life and pray that Christ’s peace will continue to bring healing. Pray for other Christians in the Middle East who are suffering physically and mentally because of war and conflict. Pray that more people in this troubled region would bring their problems to God and experience transformed lives as they put their trust in Christ as Saviour.
Today we are focusing our thoughts and prayers on Iran:
Population: 82.8 million; 99.4% Muslim; 0.3% Zoroastrian, Christian, Jewish; 0.3% other; literacy 91.2% men; 82.5% women
Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Christians in Iran have faced severe restrictions. With only a few state-approved churches that serve Iran’s minority communities, ethnic Iranians must live as isolated believers, attend house churches that are considered illegal, or migrate abroad.
But despite risks of imprisonment, torture and exorbitant fines, the Iranian Church has mushroomed from a few hundred believers in 1979 to 360,000 at the most conservative estimate.
SAT-7 PARS, SAT-7’s Farsi-language channel for the Persian world is staffed by Iranian believers outside their homeland who passionately share God’s love with a spiritually thirsty audience. Talk shows offer practical and pastoral guidance, documentaries and Bible training inform and equip leaders, and lively children’s and youth shows share God’s love with the younger generation.
Praise God for the faithful, growing Church in Iran. Pray for SAT-7’s small but dedicated teams in the UK and Cyprus and for many associate ministries that cooperate with us in producing life-changing television.
QUESTION: Can you remember the first time you visited another country (or even a very different area of your own)? How did it feel? Did you have to ask directions or help at any time? Was it easy to trust a stranger?
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
Nouh is a young refugee boy from Iraq, who now lives with his family in Lebanon. Like so many, he has known strangers who bring only death and destruction, when so-called Islamic State (IS) overran his town.
But when Nouh’s family fled to Lebanon, they were welcomed and supported by a local church. Here Nouh met people he could trust and who would guide him on the right path.
Although his family were of Christian heritage, they didn’t know Jesus. But at the church that welcomed them, “We got introduced to many people who love Jesus Christ,” Nouh said. Then at a Christian holiday camp, Nouh came to trust in Christ for himself.
In this new country, Nouh had found friends and a Saviour. He told his story to AS News, a SAT-7 KIDS’ news show. “I used to be scared of Daesh (IS),” he said, “but Jesus filled my heart … with joy and peace … I am very happy that I came to Lebanon and learned about Jesus.”
for Nouh and his family to grow strong in their Christian faith. Ask God to protect child refugees and that they will know who they can trust.
Sunday 26 March
REFLECT: On this fourth Sunday in Lent many of us will be reflecting on the events of the past week, praying for those still numb with grief and asking God to continue to bring healing to those still in hospital – in body, mind and spirit – especially those facing the reality of having life-changing injuries.
PRAY: for peace over our nation and local communities at a time of mourning. Pray against confusion, anger and fear. Pray that we will seek to be people of the WAY, that we will be people who speak TRUTH, that we will be people who bring LIFE.
DAY 23: PERSEVERE
QUESTION: Difficult events in our life may cause us to question our faith in God. However, it is often our most deeply painful experiences that enable our faith in God’s power and everlasting love to grow. Can you testify of how God has used a trial to draw you closer to Him?
And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5: 2b-5
Our television screens are often filled with sad and troubling images of refugees from countries like Syria and Iraq who are scattered across the Middle East and Europe. Occasionally we get a snapshot of an individual’s story and our hearts go out to them. We wonder what it must be like to leave your home, family and security and literally flee, never knowing if or when you might be able to return, or what might happen to you along the way. We feel their pain and anguish.
Yet, late last year, SAT-7 had the privilege of broadcasting a message of hope and encouragement from one Iraqi Christian. Iman and her family were forced to flee their home when extremist groups invaded their village. They eventually sought refuge in Lebanon.
Traumatised by the experience, Iman felt she had lost her faith. In an emotional interview for SAT-7, she recalls thinking, “what did we do to deserve this? The world is a monstrous place and God doesn’t exist.” But God held on to Iman, and through the love and support of a local church in Lebanon, drew her back to Himself. Looking back over her physical and spiritual journey, Iman was able to witness to other Christians struggling to persevere in their faith: “I realised that we are all bearing the cross in different ways, just like Jesus did. It’s a humble reminder of the sacrifice He made for our salvation.”
for Christians living as refugees in countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt, as well as further afield in Europe. Ask that God would lead them to strong Christian communities who can provide practical care and spiritual nourishment. Pray that their trials would lead them into a deeper relationship with God.
QUESTION: What do you use to focus on God’s word in your daily walk with Jesus? Do you read a daily devotional, do you participate in a small group study or a prayer triplet, do you listen to Christian radio at home or in the car? What if you could not so easily access these helpful support tools?
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 118:105
Meet Mahsa, an Iranian woman and viewer of SAT-7. Her story reminds us how God can use all circumstances to draw us into relationship with Him and set us on a new path. When Mahsa’s only son died suddenly and tragically, she was overwhelmed with grief. She was not a Christian but, in her sorrow, found a local church. There she wept, prayed and took the first steps on her journey of faith. Now she testifies, “I know that Jesus Christ is the ultimate truth and I love him.”
Mahsa now regularly watches SAT-7 and receives prayer support from SAT-7’s audience relations counsellors. Whilst she will still bear the pain of losing her child, Mahsa has found a way to move forward in life. She says, “During the past four years, there has not been a day or a night that I haven’t mourned and wept for my son. But, ever since I repented and gave my heart to Jesus … I sleep a lot calmer at night and wake up with such a peace in the mornings. Slowly, I understand the will of God regarding my son and I am ever so thankful to God and to you for supporting me through this.”
Through tragic circumstances, Mahsa has found new life in Christ. How many more of SAT-7’s over 22 million viewers will grasp new life-changing truths through watching SAT-7 programmes today?
for new Christians throughout the Middle East and North Africa who are watching SAT-7 programmes today. Ask that they will grow in knowledge and likeness to Jesus and that this will impact their daily lives.
REFLECT: This week’s viewer reflection comes from an Iranian woman whose life has been changed by watching SAT-7 and through her encounter with God as “Abba, Father”.
When I heard that Jesus called God ‘Abba, Father’ it really touched my heart. My earthly father never supported me! I gave my heart to Jesus while watching a programme on SAT-7 and although I am still surrounded by different kinds of problems, I now have such a supernatural profound peace in my heart.”
Take five or ten minutes to THANK God for the things in your life where you feel supported – where you have sensed God, as Father, looking after you in a particularly significant way.
PRAY today for women across the Middle East and North Africa – for those like Samira who, amidst all the challenges, have found healing and peace in God our Father.
QUESTION: What are your earliest memories of Christian or religious teaching? Were they positive or negative? What guides or resources do you find most helpful as you seek to know and follow Christ today? If you are to “Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30), in which of these would you like God’s help to grow stronger?
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
As we have been reflecting and walking through Lent these past 25 days, SAT-7 viewers have been thinking about their own faith journeys with a special Lent TV series, Is it Important to Be Christian“?
The series is filmed in Lebanon where many received a Christian education as children in church or church-run schools. But how is that shaping their practical living today, and where is God in the midst of the hurly-burly of modern living?
Hosted by well-known Lebanese priest and teacher Fr Ramzi Jrej, the series challenges viewers to a renewed and growing faith and experience of Christ today. “Most of us adults have been missing out on a continuous spiritual education since we were kids,” Jrej says. “We grew up but we did not evolve.”
Each episode includes “vox pop” interviews in the street and interaction with a live audience. There, guests ask questions and give their views on how core Christian beliefs affect life today. The series wrestles with issues such as suffering, apparently unanswered prayer, the uniqueness of Jesus and the need for religious tolerance. Jrej addresses these with biblical teaching, stories and encouragement.
that viewers of this series will be inspired to commit themselves to a fresh exploration of their faith and relationship with Jesus.
Today we focus our thoughts and prayers on Syria
Population: 17.2 million (July 2016 est.); Muslim 87%, Christian 10%, Druze 3%; literacy 91.7% men, 81% women
In the six years since Syria’s civil war began, over 11 million citizens have fled their homes and moved elsewhere in the country or crossed borders as refugees. Some 1 in 3 children have known only war during their lives. Syrians’ lives are traumatised by loss, poverty and stigma as refugees, or disrupted by fear and uncertainty.
Amidst all this, local churches and Christian NGOs in Syria and neighbouring countries have given relief and care without discrimination. SAT-7 has reflected this in reports from Syria, visits to refugees, and in its insistent message of God’s love for all.
Syrian presenters Nour and Tamar on We Grew Together, a live magazine show for young adults, bring Syrian perspectives to the channel. Weekly broadcasts from a Beirut, Lebanon Church that supports many Syrian refugees echo the message. As does the appearance of many young Syrians on SAT-7 children’s shows. At major Christian festivals, like Christmas and Easter, SAT-7 has broadcast worship from various churches and cities in Syria.
In response to the overwhelming need for education among the 3.5 million Syrian children who are out of school, SAT-7 also produces My School. These two-hour, daily teaching shows give children the enjoyment and fulfilment of learning, and the hope that they will have a future.
that Syrian refugees will have the perseverance to overcome the obstacles they face. Give thanks that many are hearing the Gospel in word and deed through the ministry of churches. Ask that they will know God’s love, forgiveness and healing through SAT-7.
QUESTION: How do you support someone who is struggling in their faith? Perhaps you can share a word of wisdom from your own experience, send them an encouraging verse from the Bible or spend time praying with them. How have other people supported you during your Christian journey?
… since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:9-12
Praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ across the world is a huge privilege. But with a population of 500 million, praying for the Middle East and North Africa can feel daunting and we can worry that our prayers lack focus. But this vast number is made up of individuals, each made in the image of God, with a soul worth saving.
SAT-7’s viewer support teams are dedicated to answering the cries of people who contact SAT-7 with requests for prayer or help. Hannieh contacted the viewer support team at SAT-7’s Farsi channel, SAT-7 PARS several times. Caught in a pit of depression, Hannieh, a young believer, was desperately crying out to God, unable to understand her circumstances. She even contemplated taking her own life. Counsellors on the viewer support teams prayed with her and supported her through this difficult time.
Hannieh testifies, “That night I had a very wonderful dream. I was with God and I was walking with Him and talking to Him…So when I woke up, I felt very excited and very happy. I got new strength and I realised that I need to serve Him. I want to thank you as well as you prayed for me in my most difficult time.”
Be encouraged as you continue to pray with us during these 40 days for spiritual awakening across the Middle East and North Africa. Your prayers are supporting people who are crying out for help.
for the viewer support teams at SAT-7 who pray for and directly support viewers who contact them. Ask God to give them wisdom to pray into individual circumstances and discernment in helping to meet their needs. Pray for viewers who contact SAT-7 asking for prayer, that they would receive encouragement which strengthens their faith in God.
Sunday 2 April
THOUGHT: On this fifth Sunday in Lent we are thinking about light. Have you ever found yourself in total darkness – perhaps down a cave or in a room where no light could penetrate? Studies show that there is a strong link between sight loss and a reduction in wellbeing, frequently leading to depression. For most of us:
- Light helps us to see, process and think – continually re-orientating us to an awareness of place and direction.
- Light brings shape, meaning and balance to our lives – helping us make sense of our surroundings and relationships.
REFLECT: The Bible reminds us that “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” What areas of your life do you need a bit more light to bring shape, meaning or balance? Do you have the faith and confidence to step ahead without seeing what may lie around the corner? SAT-7’s strap line is “Making God’s love visible” – and we do this through our programmes, presenters and viewer support teams. How could you do this in your life tomorrow?
PRAY: for those in the UK and around the world who don’t yet know Jesus as the light of the world. Pray for yourself that the ‘light of life’ who lives in you, will shine out today in everything you do and say.
DAY 29: REJOICE
QUESTION: Was there a time when someone was a strong comfort to you when you were either sorrowful or depressed? What did they do or say? Sometimes a hug is more powerful than words. Scripture reminds us that God Himself is alongside us when we face loss or challenge.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
Sussan*, an Iranian viewer, contacted SAT-7’s Farsi-language channel some months after the death of her mother had left her “deeply hopeless and depressed”.
Sussan had inherited her mother’s satellite receiver and one midnight she flicked through the TV channels in search of something to help her forget her pain and sorrow. She found SAT-7.
“I couldn’t ignore it and kept watching,” she said. “It was a worship service and at the end the pastor pointed at the screen and said, ‘I am talking to you, yes you! God is with you who has lost someone and is mourning. Just give your pain and sorrow to God.’
“I was shocked and found myself repeating the prayer with the presenter. I felt full of joy and happiness,” Sussan said. In the morning, she tuned in again and heard a preacher talk about Christ’s suffering for our sins. “I started clapping and dancing out of happiness!” Sussan recalled. “I had no Bible at that time so I just started to write down the verses I heard on TV.”
Two months later this new believer had a Bible of her own. “Hallelujah!” she marvelled, “Glory to God who visited me in a village in Iran.”
Give thanks for this message that spoke directly to Sussan’s situation. Pray for God’s Spirit to work through SAT-7 presenters and speakers to touch many more viewers.
QUESTION: Who told you about Christ and his promise of eternal life?
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12
Umut* became a Christian whilst he was in prison. It was the faithful witness of fellow believers, plus a growing awareness of the truth of the Bible, that caused him to turn his back on his old life and start following Jesus. “While I was in prison, I made friends with a couple of Christians. I started reading the Bible and after some time I decided that Christianity is more credible to me and closer to my heart. When I was reading the Bible I can’t describe the feelings I experienced! Since that day I consider myself a Christian.”
Since coming out of prison, Umut has discovered SAT-7. Encouraged by the programmes, Umut was determined to meet other believers in Turkey and worship his Saviour. SAT-7’s viewer support team was able to put him in touch with a local church. Since then, Umut has been attending church faithfully and is preparing to be baptised.
Being a Christian in Turkey is difficult; Christians make up 0.5% of the population and many Christians living there feel isolated and vulnerable. But God’s love can reach anywhere to anyone. SAT-7 has a growing number of Turkish followers and we can rejoice that SAT-7 programmes are encouraging viewers to ‘take hold of the eternal life’ to which they have been called.
Give thanks for the Christians in Turkey who are witnessing to those around them, whether at home, work, church, prison or in other situations. Pray that more seekers will discover the joy of salvation in Jesus for themselves and take hold of eternal life.
Our viewer quote today comes from a 60-year old widow and viewer of SAT-7. Life had become so difficult and painful that she wanted to die. But while watching a live prayer and worship programme on SAT-7, God spoke to her and she felt compelled to call the show and share her story with presenter Maher Fayez.”Yesterday I was praying to God and told Him that I felt useless. After 60 years, it’s enough, I can’t take it anymore. I want to rest. I was praying to God to take my life. I really wanted to die. But today I accidentally turned on the TV and I heard you singing the song ‘You shall not die’.”Maher listened attentively to the woman before praying for her live on air. He told her to have faith that she would call the programme again and testify to God’s grace in her life… Eighteen months later, she did!“Today I am laughing but last year I was distraught while calling Maher. He prayed to God to reach me and hold me and save me from all the pain. So today is the day. Yes, today I must witness to the work of Christ in my life. I overcame many trials and I thank God for lifting off all the burdens I’ve had in the past.”
REFLECT: What issues or thoughts weigh heavy on your mind? Do you know someone close who is burdened by a difficult situation, sadness or depression? Read this verse and use it today as a prayer for yourself and for those who need the kindness of our Saviour at this time:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
QUESTION: Tomorrow is World Health Day. How far do you have to travel to see a doctor or attend a hospital appointment? Although health services in the UK are under pressure, we take it for granted that we can visit a surgery, a pharmacy or an accident department with ease. What if you faced the situation many refugees experience in the Middle East – living in crowded, sub-standard housing in places where medical attention is not available or beyond your means?
… a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.” Luke 10:33-34
SAT-7 launched its “Medicine and Life” series in 2016 to serve refugees in the Arab world. The weekly programme (also available on Youtube at any time) offers health advice and first aid training by medical professionals used to caring for displaced people.
One part of the show is a five-minute segment with the motto “You are your own doctor”. Dr Hany Keylada, the presenter, is an Egyptian Christian who has trained over 120 refugee community leaders on the Syrian border to be “doctor substitutes”. As an example of its effectiveness, he mentions a Syrian woman he trained who rushed to a neighbour injured in a motorcycle accident. “She took the decision after consulting me on Whatsapp to perform 47 stitches. These literally saved his life; Praise God!” Keylada says.
Not every viewer of “Medicine and Life” will be called upon to go this far, but Dr Keylada decided to include such emergency situations for those who are. The show’s bite-size video demonstrations also cover disease prevention, underlying health conditions and mental health issues. The goal, Dr Keylada says, is to enable people to be “efficient, qualified and courageous Good Samaritans”.
that viewers of “Medicine and Life” will be equipped to care effectively for their families and neighbours in every day and emergency situations.
Today we focus our thoughts and prayers on Lebanon.
Population: 6.2 million (July 2016 estimate); Muslim 54% (Sunni 27%, Shia 27% ), Christian 40.5%, Druze 5.6%; literacy 96% men 91.8% women
Lebanon is unique in the Arab world for the relative size of its Christian population and its cultural diversity. Although it bears the scars of civil war and the 2006 conflict between Israel and the militant Hezbollah group, Lebanon is also known as “The Paris of the Middle East” for its glamour, enterprise, tourism and comparably liberal values.
Christians enjoy considerable freedom in sharing their faith here and Lebanon is the only Arab nation where it is legally permitted to change one’s religion. Since the arrival of over a million displaced Syrians, many Christians have put aside past bad feelings towards Syria in order to love their refugee neighbours.
SAT-7 has its largest studio in Lebanon, where many of its children’s, youth and other programmes are produced. Staff drawn from different Middle East nationalities and denominations show the unity possible in Christ. Celebration is a keynote of programmes like children’s worship show “Let’s Sing Together”, youth show “We Grew Together” and “AS News”, a news show that highlights children’s achievements.
A number of programmes have highlighted God’s intervention in the lives of refugees who have fled horror and found hope in Christ. A pastor who leads weekly church services on SAT-7 speaks of “God’s direct intervention” in their lives, including salvation and “miraculous healings”.
Rejoice that many are hearing of Christ’s love through the service and witness of Lebanese churches. Pray for SAT-7’s role in enabling this.
QUESTION: What heroes or heroines of the faith inspire you in your Christian walk?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1
We read about men and women of faith in Hebrews 11. The Bible says they were “foreigners and strangers on earth…longing for a better country – a heavenly one” (see Hebrews 11:13-16). This sense – of being alone but guided by the hope of an eternal future and hope – will resonate strongly with many SAT-7 viewers who are in the minority as Christians, often isolated from other believers and facing discrimination because of their faith. Viewers like Basheer from Sudan. He did not own a Bible, so borrowed one from a friend and photocopied a few pages so that he could continue to draw strength from the word of God. Now, watching SAT-7 has become a companion for him in his walk with God.
Basheer explains, “I found out about SAT-7 just six weeks ago, but I was not able to watch it because of my roommate. I moved to my own apartment just to be able to watch SAT-7’s programmes and to worship the Lord. Thank you, SAT-7, for giving me a sense of not being alone as I press forward toward the eternal life.”
Give thanks for men and women of faith that we read about in Hebrews. Give thanks too for today’s heroes and heroines of faith who encourage believers in the Middle East and North Africa. Pray that more believers, like Basheer, will be able to watch SAT-7 programmes. Ask that they will feel a sense of companionship as they seek to live out their daily lives and “run with perseverance the race” towards eternal glory.
Sunday 9 April
REFLECT: On this sixth Sunday in Lent we know that we are about to enter what some churches call Holy Week. Today we read of Jesus’ declaration that He is the “bread of life”. Within a week this same Jesus will have died and have been buried. At the time this must have been an amazing statement to hear – an encouragement beyond all possible dreams. And perhaps it was only after Jesus’ resurrection that the disciples began to understand the full meaning of Jesus’ words.
QUESTION: What promises have been made to you only to be dashed a little while later? Do you believe God has made promises to you that are yet to be fulfilled? Take time today, as you think about the coming week, to reflect on God’s promises to you.
DAY 35: HOPE
HOLY WEEK: DAY 1
YESTERDAY we focused on Jesus’ amazing life-changing statement:
I AM the BREAD of life.”
TODAY we start the relatively short but turbulent journey through Holy Week which includes these profoundly shocking words:
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:19-20
In today’s passage Jesus uses words that are now spoken by millions of Christians in community every day all over the world. As we start Holy Week let us remember that Jesus’ whole ministry was focused on service – giving not taking, blessing not cursing, healing not hurting…
Let us pray today for us all to have the grace to walk through Holy Week with head and heart ready to give thanks… and then to give.
HOLY WEEK: DAY 2
YESTERDAY we focused on Jesus’ poignant words: “This is my body given for you.”
TODAY our SAT-7 viewer quote comes from Sina who had written to Pastor Miltan after an episode of The Sound of Hope. He said, “I want to testify how Jesus has saved me after many years under the bondage of drugs. I’ve been clean now for five years, three months, and 28 days. I am free from any harmful and addictive habits. Praise be to God and glory to Christ.”
REFLECT: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16
Jesus’ words show how a God-given identity should change the way we see ourselves – through God’s eyes. This new identity in Christ also brings with it a calling and appointment to live differently. Some commentators say that the simplest translation of the word ‘holy’ is ‘different’. On this second day of Holy Week let us remember that we, and people like Sina, have been chosen, called and released to go and produce fruit…
…fruit that will last.
HOLY WEEK: DAY 3
Yesterday we focused on Jesus’ words of calling: “I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit.” These words, set alongside our Bible verse for today, make for sobering reading in the aftermath of the bombings on Palm Sunday just a few days ago.
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36
Our SAT-7 office in Egypt said: “Our hearts are crushed with pain because of these horrifying terrorist crimes at St George Coptic Orthodox Church in Tanta and St Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria. We lift up our eyes to the living God asking for consolation for all the families of the martyrs and healing for all the injured.”
SAT-7 production crews visited both churches and spoke with those reeling from the shocking events. On Monday it broadcast a special programme giving voice to the grieving and the shocked witnesses of Sunday’s events. It also spoke with representatives of Egypt’s Orthodox, Evangelical and Catholic Christian communities to express the unity of the Church as it “weeps with those who suffer”.
for all those grieving in Egypt, Sweden, London and other locations following recent attacks. Please uphold particularly the Christians of Egypt at this time, that they would be strong in their faith and calling and be able to pray: “everything is possible for you.”
HOLY WEEK: DAY 4
Yesterday we focused on Jesus’ words of trust: “Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Today we focus our thoughts, hopes and prayers on Iraq.
Population: 38 million (July 2016 estimate); Shia Muslim 60-65%, Christian 0.8%, other 0.5%; literacy 85.7% men 73.7% women
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21
What is now Iraq was the birthplace of Abraham, the “father” in faith of Jews and Christians (Romans 4:16). For centuries – together with Syria – Iraq was also the homeland of Syriac-speaking Christians. Sadly, the chaos following the fall of Saddam Hussein and the invasion of so-called Islamic State (IS) have led to mass emigration by Christians. From 1.5 million in 2003, perhaps 150,000 remain.
So what hope is there for the Christians of Iraq and for this land that has seen so much bloodshed? Today, let’s pray again with the eyes of faith – the faith of Abraham who believed God’s promise, and the faith of Iraqi Christians who still pray to return to their homes.
Around 100,000 Christians fled to Iraqi Kurdistan in 2014. Last November several thousand there united to celebrate the liberation of some of their towns from IS and to pray for their return home. SAT-7 broadcast this “Christ Day” event. Maher Barbary, director of Life Agape Iraq, which organised it, said, “Pray for our situation because we believe that Iraq still has hope.”
Since then, the government-backed operation to overcome IS has progressed well. The East half of Iraq’s second city of Mosul has been recaptured and commentators expect the West to be retaken soon.
Increasing numbers of the Christian community want to return to their home areas, but first they must have some guaranteed protection and devastated homes and infrastructure need rebuilding. Pray that the Iraqi government and international community will not forget them. In a traumatised land where much trust has been broken, Christians could be agents of peace and reconciliation.
Waleed is the father of Myriam, a young girl whose interview on SAT-7 went viral in 2014 when she said she would forgive IS for taking her home. Waleed told SAT-7 that the source of peace “isn’t in a house or in the land. Even in fire you can have the peace of Jesus. As long as we have it we will be stronger than those who threw us out.”
that terrorists will turn from evil, for the rebuilding of Iraq, and that people of all faiths will be able to live in safety and peace.
Yesterday we focused on Jesus’ prayer of hope for unity: “May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21
Today we focus our thoughts on the One who gave up his life… that we might live.
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:33-34
Last week SAT-7 recorded a special concert in Beirut, bringing Christians together in one big Easter celebration of the Christian faith. The event was called ‘With a Crown on your head’ and will be broadcast today to particularly help people reflect on the Good Friday story.
that the special Good Friday broadcast will reach many people and that they will be touched by Jesus’ message of love, hope and forgiveness.
QUESTION: Have you ever felt completely lost or abandoned? Do you ever feel lonely when you’re with people – even when you’re with some of your closest friends or family? When did you last cry out to God in desperation for something to change?
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’).” Mark 15:33-34
Over the past year SAT-7 has been sharing the cries of Christians across the Middle East and North Africa region. We see and hear it in the news every day. It’s the devastating cry of tens of millions of desperate people. Conflict rages in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Millions are fleeing. Lives are being torn apart by oppression, barbaric extremism and religious persecution.
Hear my prayer, Lord, listen to my cry for help.” Psalm 39:12
Jesus’ cry of abandonment reaches out to us all on this Holy Saturday. After his death the disciples scattered, numbed by the shock of seeing their leader, their hope, so brutally put to death. Easter for them was not a reality – not yet.
We know that God is on the move, appearing to people in dreams, challenging lifelong preconceptions, healing brokenness and transforming lives. But we also know that for many people across the region hope seems like a distant land – each day a perpetual Holy Saturday – where grief, loss and abandonment rule. And this is why we should pray…
today for those facing grief, loss and abandonment – that their Holy Saturday would soon turn into Easter joy.
REFLECT: On this Easter Day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ – the son of David, the refugee who fled from Bethlehem, the boy who grew up in Nazareth, the man who spoke words of life in Jerusalem……who healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the hungry, empowered the vulnerable, loved the fallen, challenged the proud, blessed the children, calmed the storm, pointed to the Father… died, was buried and rose again.This is the resurrection we celebrate and this is the Jesus whom we serve!
The best decision anyone can ever make, at any point in life, in any circumstances, whoever they are, wherever they are, whatever they are, is to become a disciple of Jesus Christ.” Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby
that on this Resurrection Sunday we would know the transforming power of Jesus in our lives and of those we know and love. Pray that the light and love of Father, Son and Holy Spirit would be made known across the Middle East and North Africa region, especially as SAT-7’s Easter programmes are broadcast – and that the resurrection power of Jesus would strengthen all believers, particularly new disciples, over the coming season.
Since the 1st of March you’ve been part of a mini movement joining over 1,400 people – all on a daily journey to pray with SAT-7 for the people of the Middle East and North Africa during Lent. Today we want to say “Thank you”…
We hope that you have been able to use this time to journey deeper into God’s love for you and for his world – both the joys and the sorrows. As we’ve journeyed together we have heard the stories, hopes and dreams of people from across the region. Sadly we have also had to report various terrorist attacks – some close to home as well as others affecting our partner churches, SAT-7 staff and offices across the region.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15
The 40 Days of Prayer weeks all had a key word running through the daily stories and prayers – words chosen from 1 Corinthians 13 1-13: PREPARE, KNOW, PROTECT, TRUST, PERSEVERE, REJOICE, HOPE. These words were chosen to help us focus and reflect on how Christians across the Middle East and North Africa live out their faith in often very challenging situations. In the aftermath of the Easter season you might want to continue to spend the next few days reflecting on these key words and the passage – which ultimately focuses on love.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
FEEDBACK: This Friday we will be sending out a link to a Survey Monkey form so you can give us some much needed feedback about the prayer campaign.
RESPOND: If you would like to respond by supporting the ongoing work of SAT-7 you can read more about our latest appeal.
Thank you for praying!
From all the PRAY40 team at SAT-7 UK