From the International Day of Prayer fro the Persecuted Church:
Azerbaijan is still defining itself as a nation after gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Religious liberties are severely restricted, as the Government tries to ward off the influence of foreign religions and Islamic extremism, particularly from neighboring Iran.
The country’s small Christian population, who are largely ethnic Armenian or Russian but who include around 10,000 native Azeri evangelicals, are often treated with suspicion.
All religious groups must be officially registered – a process that can take years. Some, including Christian groups, are routinely denied official status. Any that are unregistered can by raided by the police and some venues have been forcibly closed. However, despite these pressures, the church is growing.
Father God, we thank You for the amazing fruitfulness of Your Word. We thank You for the steady growth of the indigenous Azerbaijan church, now thought to number around 10,000 members.
May they continue to speak Your Word, like the Apostles, with great boldness.
Please continue to nurture, guide and protect each one as they face opposition from Islamic militants, police and government officials. Make Your church to be salt and light in their nation. Amen.