By Jon Hirst with Randy Rosso
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) is coming up in November. The first two Sundays of November (2nd & 9th this year) are recognized by the church as days to pray specifically for the Persecuted Church.
Hebrews 13:3 tells us, “remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
So what/who exactly is the persecuted church?
The persecuted church represents the 100+ million Christians around the world who are persecuted, or made subject to hostility and ill-treatment, for their belief in Jesus Christ. It is not a physical church or in a certain country, it’s globally.
The top 5 countries facing extreme Christian persecution are North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan with around 45 other countries being labeled at least moderately persecuted. The World Watch List has a really interesting map and list of the most persecuted countries right now.
With ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq & Syria) declaring an Islamic State, killing tens of thousands of people, waging war against multiple nations, and declaring Christianity to be punishable by death, there is an enormous prevalence for the need to pray for the Persecuted Church.
How can we pray for and help the Persecuted Church?
IDOP.org (website and resources from Religious Liberty Commission and World Evangelical Alliance) provides a list of free downloads for your use and distribution in praying for and helping the Persecuted Church. One of the resources, an extract of a sermon on what Christians can do to help, is very beneficial. A few of them include:
- Mobilizing prayer (prayer events, email alerts from organizations involved in the persecuted church
- Stay informed on the status of religious freedom worldwide
- Volunteer or help with organizations and ministries involved
- Give financially to an organization that works with the Persecuted Church
- Be a spokesperson! i.e. social media, petitions, etc.
Operation World, an organization that created a prayer guide for every country and put it in a book, created The Persecuted Church Prayer Devotional. It provides you with one country per day along with the facts about the nation and prayer requests.
Another great way to pray for the Persecuted Church is by reading your Bible. The New Testament was written to Christians facing persecution, so it is a great resource for praying for them as well! Cru (formerly known as Campus Crusades for Christ) explains how to find Biblical prayers for the Persecuted Church along with other prayer resources. Click here to see Cru’s resources.
In closing, the Persecuted Church definitely needs our help and prayers. Two days a year is not even close to enough time dedicated to praying for the persecuted church, but thankfully we have the ability to pray for whatever we want, whenever we want. I encourage you to take a look at these resources, do some of your own research, and come up with your own ways of helping and praying for the Persecuted Church. Our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ need us, so let’s do something about it!
RSVP for Open Doors’ IDOP webcast here.
Also, stay tuned for a GMI Missiographic focused on this topic being released next Tuesday, October 28! Make sure you subscribe to the e-newsletter so you won’t miss it. http://www.gmi.org/newsletter.htm.