08 April 2020

Remembering the Sri Lanka church bombings one year on

One year after the devastating church bombings in Sri Lanka, survivors of the attacks share their experiences and how God has spoken to them, and how you can remember them in virtual church this Easter.

A year ago, a series of devastating Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka killed hundreds of believers and injured many more.

Yet, thanks to the overwhelming response from supporters, Open Doors local partners are continuing to stand with our brothers and sisters as they pick up the pieces. 

Debbie and Rebekah

Debbie and Rebekah from Sri Lanka with their family

And this Easter, as we remember the Sri Lanka bombings, we have created some prayer resources for to help us join with our persecuted brothers and sisters in praying for protection for all Christians at this time. 

Easter at Home Prayer Resources 

“All I remember is fire”

On 21 April 2019, three bombs exploded in three churches in three different parts of Sri Lanka, including Rebekah and her sister Verlini’s church – Zion Church in Batticaloa. 
Verlini was killed as she led the children from Sunday school across the courtyard to the church. “I was in the bookshop,” Rebekah recalls, “and the suicide bomber stood right outside when he detonated the bomb in his backpack. All I remember is fire. Fire everywhere.” 

Rebekah sustained third-degree burns down the left side of her body. Since that time, Open Doors local partners have been able to strengthen and support her and her family – including Verlini’s daughter, six-year-old niece, Debbie who lost both her parents and her eyesight that day. Debbie spent over a month in intensive care, but she is now at home where she has not only relearned how to walk, but is even dancing and singing. 

‘He will open my eyes’

Despite the hardships Debbie has endured, her faith is amazingly strong. 

“I believe that one day, Jesus will come again,” she says. “And oh, I am excited for when Jesus will come! He will open my eyes and I will see my family again.” 

When asked about her hope for the future, Rebekah says, “I want to testify about what happened to us and to testify of who Jesus is.”

Thanks to you, Sunil* and his team have been able to help by covering the cost of medical fees, providing livelihood support for families who have lost their breadwinner, and offering trauma counselling to those affected by the bombings. 

“Our message is: we are here and we are here to stay,” he says. “We have seen the family of Christ unite together, to grieve, to comfort and to support. No persecuted Christian should feel alone. We will continue to stand by them, for as long as it’s needed.”

Easter At Home: Pray for protection for Christians under threat

As the first anniversary of the Easter attack approaches, will you stand with Christians in Sri Lanka through prayer and support? 

Easter Prayers. Join the persecuted church in praying for protection, and in claiming the resurrection hope of Jesus Christ. This free downloadable resource contains prayer points for the persecuted church, an Easter prayer from an Open Doors partner in Sri Lanka, and written prayers for various days in Holy Week.

Sri Lanka colouring sheet for children. Colour in a picture showing how Open Doors supporters have helped victims from Sri Lanka. It’s a great way for children and families to pray for them this Easter as they face the anniversary.

*Name changed for security reasons


Lord, please protect our Nigerian brothers and sisters as they face extreme persecution. Grant dignity and peace to Christian women who have been mistreated, that they will be seen, valued and empowered to reach their God-given potential. Please convict Islamic extremists of their sin and turn them to You.

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