At least 14 people have been killed and more than 70 wounded in suicide bombing attacks that targeted two churches in Lahore, eastern Pakistan. A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were timed to cause maximum devastation with the churches packed full of worshippers.
A Spokesman for the Taliban gave a statement to the press: “The Tehreek-e-Taliban Jamaat-ur-Ahrar accepts responsibility for the suicide attacks on the churches in Lahore. We promise that until an Islamic system is put into place in Pakistan such attacks will continue. If Pakistan’s rulers think they can stop us, they should try to do so.”
Lahore is generally considered peaceful when compared to other areas of Pakistan, but violence has been increasing after the government’s failed attempts to hold peace talks with the Taliban last year.
The Christian community in Pakistan has long been the target of blasphemy cases, as well as attacks and hate crimes carried out by armed groups within the country.
- Pray for Christians in Lahore who were caught up in these attacks. Pray that they will respond with peace and grace, not with violence or revenge attacks.
- Pray for those mourning the loss of family and friends, that they will find comfort in their faith and the love of God, who mourns with them.
- Pray for Pakistan, with increasing tensions and greater demands from the Taliban for an Islamic State. Pray that the government can find a peaceful solution to these issues, and also seek to protect Pakistani Christians.
- Pray for a repeal of laws such as the Blasphemy Law.
Psalm 23 vs 4: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.”