AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena

How to pray for the Sri Lankan church

Fri 26 Apr 2019
By Cara Bentley

The founder of Gospel for Asia has told Premier the island has been shaken like never before. 

Bombers targeted churches and hotels on Easter Sunday, killing around 250 people and injuring hundreds more. 

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the current Catholic Archbishop of Colombo, has appealed to priests not to conduct mass at churches until further notice.

Dr KP Yohannan, director of the evangelistic charity Gospel For Asia told Premier: "Sri Lanka has experienced years and years of civil war and tens of thousands being murdered, yet this one incident overshadows everything.



"In terms of the the shock and the magnitude of the day it happened, the church was packed with people and the suicide bomber ended up having these two huge blasts and 360 people died and tens of hundreds were injured. It's shaken the island like never before."

He was speaking before the death toll was revised down due to parts of the same body being counted separately. 

Dr KP explained that Gospel for Asia lost a couple of people in the incident and that the bombers had planted two bombs right in front of their office and church "by God's grace that was discovered and didn't go off. 

"I was doing the Easter service while this news broke out and you can imagine what a shock it was for everybody. And all we can do is, and we don't understand all of this, pray for this nation and the people and this suffering and what we can do is give some hope and help in the midst of pain." 

Dr KP added that Gospel for Asia do have plans for delivering help when earthquakes and floods happen and that a similar plan had been put into action. 

He said lots of prayer would be needed for people who he thinks could lose their faith in light of this: "How many Christians are now saying 'why would God allow something like this to happen?' and that is one of the purposes of the enemy - to twist things around."

"This is where I think lots of prayers for God to stengthen the church and the leaders and wisdom to lead people forward."

He said we can also pray that God will prevent more damage agaisnt the country. 

The charity Open Doors, who support persecuted Christians, have published prayers for Sri Lanka as well, saying Christians should pray for those who mourn and those who persecute. 

They say one of their co-workers, who cannot be named for their safety, was at Zion Church in Batticaloa in Sri Lanka when one of the bombs went off there. 

"He acted as though he was waiting for someone, he stated that he was waiting for his sick mother and had inquired what time the healing service would start.

"He was sweating profusely. Several people spoke to him. Some even urged him to go inside the church and take a seat and to take his backpack off. The man was reluctant to go inside and had said he needs to make a phone call first."

It was as the man made a phone call that the co-worker said the bomb went off. 

The Open Doors co-worker said a Sunday school was among the dead and that "Many people were rushing from one funeral to the next."

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