Christians pray for persecuted church

Christians around the world have spent the day praying for the persecuted church.

The focus of the day of prayer has changed to a different country every hour, with prayers being said for Bhutan, Nepal, Somalia and Yemen among other countries.

Christians in 30 countries signed up to take part in the day with special prayer gatherings.

In India, around 2,000 churches marked the day by ringing their bells.

In Turkey, churches have extended the Barnabas Fund initiative into a fortnight of prayer and fasting.

Barnabas Fund said: "It is a great encouragement to those who are suffering for their faith in Christ to know that they are not alone, and a shared event like the day of prayer is a reminder to us all that Christians are part of a global family."

One partner in Mali said: "It is with pleasure that we engage in this spiritual battle with the brothers and sisters around the world.

"Prayer is probably our most powerful and formidable weapon against the enemy."