Calls for prayer to support beleaguered Christian minority in Myanmar

A Myanmar Christian reads his Bible.(Photo: Open Doors International)

Christians in Myanmar are asking fellow believers in the UK to join in prayer for their nation following the military takeover in February.

Churches have been raided in the wake of the coup, which has been followed by a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy supporters and protesters. 

Many Christians have also lost their livelihoods, Open Doors UK and Ireland reports. 

Brother Lwin, an Open Doors partner living in Myanmar whose name has been changed for security reasons, says the situation in Myanmar has become "much worse" since the coup.

"There has been unimaginable bloodshed," he said.

"Churches have been raided more than once, and for many, grief, loss, and uncertainty persist."

Pastors have been doubly hard hit by the pandemic because Covid-19 has prevented Christians from going to church, meaning the pastors are unable to collect the tithes that pay their livelihoods and building rent. 

Christians in Myanmar have told Open Doors of their fears of night raids on their homes by security forces. 

Another described "living in fear" on a daily basis. 

"Police and soldiers try to scare people in the daytime and at night," said Brother Ko Tun Tun - not his real name. 

"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 the bullets and keep us safe. I was scared and could not sleep well for several nights."

Brother Ko Tun Tun said the military were checking phones at random, especially those of the young, and arresting people if they find an anti-military photo or news item. 

The cost of food and basic necessities has doubled in the crisis, with many Christian families going without enough food to eat and being unable to go to work for fear of their safety.

Dr David Landrum, Director of Advocacy and Media at Open Doors UK and Ireland, said, "We hear the call from Myanmar's Christians to pray for them and not to forget about them at this desperate time.

"We join in prayers for safety and economic security of the nation, for pastors and their congregations to find strength and encouragement until peace is established."