July 17 was the day of the national prayer in Russia “to chasten the adversaries”. It wasn’t specifically designed to coincide with the World Cup but was established mainly to respond to the anti-missionary campaign.
In spite of the persecutions the churches were still planning to take an active part in sharing the gospel during the World Cup.
This prayer marathon was initiated by РОСХВЕ(Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith — Pentecostals). Other evangelical unions were also invited to join in. We know that the churches of all regions of Russia participated in this prayer which is 11 time zones so it was a continuous prayer chain.
An interesting fact is that the churches that participated in the prayer day were the churches that were in the good books with the authorities but they understood that they needed to pray for neighbors as they could be next on the blacklist.
Pastor Sergey Kireyev, an authorized representative of the bishop of РОСХВЕin Penza Oblast who earlier was known for his loyalty to Putin commented, “Constructive relations between religious confessions, authorities, and the society have been established in Penza Oblast. Yet we know that the situation is not stable in other regions so that day we were in prayer for our brothers.”
Not all of the evangelical churches took a chance in publicly announcing the prayer campaign “to chasten the adversaries” for fear of attracting too much attention from the authorities.
But the majority of churches (and that’s many thousands!) are praying for the freedom to share the gospel and for the successful evangelism during the World Cup, among which are hundreds of Mission Eurasia partner churches.