“From day one, the situation is now hourly changing.” That is how Pastor John, senior pastor of Every Nation Myanmar, described the situation in the first of five updates he has sent to friends outside. He described how, in the early hours of February 1, the ruling military junta staged a coup before the newly elected Parliament members could hold their first session. All communication lines (telephone, media, internet) were cut and opposition leaders were arrested which left the people of Myanmar unaware of what was happening until later that day. The outside world was first to know, and Pastor John himself only learned what was happening through the messages of friends from outside much later. Since then, martial law has been declared and lines of communication are intermittent.
The people have gone out and participated in daily acts of unprecedented civil disobedience as displays of defiance and courage. People have refused to report to work to cripple the nation, have engaged in a nightly noise barrage, and have openly demonstrated on the streets in the thousands.
But there are troubling signs ahead. The Burmese military junta has always brutally repressed all forms of protest since it took power over thirty years ago. Fake news is intentionally being spread to create confusion. There are constant nighttime arrests. A reported 23,000 prisoners were released to burn houses down. Local communities have organized themselves street by street to protect their homes from these armed criminals. Members of Parliament who have not been arrested organized themselves into a government so there are technically two governments now. All Covid-19 protocols and reports are being neglected.
Pastor Carlo Ratilla, who serves on our Missions Team and in Victory Santa Rosa, planted our church in Myanmar in 2002 together with his family. According to Pastor Carlo, during their time in Myanmar under military rule, “We encountered and ministered to a lot of young people who felt they had lost their hope, freedom, and future. It saddens me to know that the military regime has gone back to full control. But in the midst of this very difficult and dark time, what gives me hope is that we have our church community who is responding by regularly praying for peace and forgiveness towards the military regime and its leaders. I have hope that God is going to do something greater than what we have seen before. A transformation is coming to this nation. Let’s continue to pray!”
Pastor John rallied the church to pray as families, in small groups, and as a church through a weekly online prayer meeting. They have also joined a prayer chain with the rest of the body of Christ. Pastor John is asking us to intercede for the nation and their church, “We cannot be feeble and shabby. We need to stand up and call upon the name of God. That is what we are going to do every day. Only Yahweh can save Myanmar. So my dear friends, would you hold the rope on the other end for us? In our desperation, may the name of the Lord be blessed in Myanmar. May El Shaddai turn this situation into a beautiful and wonderful thing for He is awesome. Will you pray with us?”
Pray for Freedom and Justice. Ask God for the integrity of the recent elections to be upheld and for the rightfully elected leaders to be set in place. Pray that the long and slow path to democracy that Myanmar has been on since 2010 will not be hindered by these recent events.
Pray for Peace. Intercede against the outbreak of violence on all sides. Intercede that the government, military, and demonstrators would value all life and property. Pray that the intentional acts of violence against innocent people and property will completely cease.
Pray for Unity. Myanmar is made up of over a hundred distinct tribes with strong cultural and political differences. Pray that this current crisis unites them as one people.
Pray for the Church. Ask God that Every Nation Myanmar and the body of Christ there will become witnesses for His kingdom during this great trial in their nation’s history. Pray that this Buddhist nation will be drawn to God and His gospel through the example and faith of Christian Burmese. Intercede also for wisdom and discernment for all Christian leaders in the nation to know how to respond and lead His Church at this time.
Every Nation is a global family of churches and campus ministries, of which Victory is a founding member.
We are called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason we value world missions as a church and persistently pray for the nations. Starting today, we will be posting prayer points for different nations every month.
To learn more about the events in Myanmar, you can read the news in the links below.