In the last year, Americans have witnessed the terrible atrocity’s ISIS and Boko Haram have been carrying out against Christians: beheadings, crucifixions, rape, imprisonment, destruction of property and torture of men, woman and children. Yet few are aware that this is a growing problem around the world in many countries; though we as Christians do not need to stand around helpless and allow evil to rule unabated. We have one of the greatest weapons to fight against supernatural forces of evil–prayer! On November 15, 2015 the persecuted church comes together, represented by a number of organizations, to host the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, known as IDOP. Represented by Release International, this organization has provided a detailed list of what we can pray for the brothers and sisters around the world, not only on IDOP, but on any day we choose. Some suggestions are to pray that they:
- remain strong in faith and trust despite physical and psychological abuse
- will be able to forgive those who persecute them or who fail to support them
- will experience and know love, joy and peace from God (Romans 8:28-39)
- will walk humbly in their identification with Christ’s sufferings
- will be fruitful witnesses to others
- will be able to balance standing up for their rights, yet responding in grace and love
Not only can we pray general prays like this, but Open Doors publishes a monthly prayer bulletin that puts you in touch with specific prayer needs throughout the month. They also publish a monthly newsletter that reports stories of persecution around the world and features one of the countries on the World Watch List, the fifty countries that are the most aggressive in persecution towards Christians. You can also watch videos on what’s happening in these countries and about individuals who need our prayers. Most are living testimonies of how God can transform lives under terrible persecution.
International Christian Concern keeps you abreast of what’s happening all around the world to the persecuted church. They also feature stories on prominent cases, such as Asia Bibi, a young woman who has been wrongfully accused, imprisoned and sentenced to death for her faith and kept from seeing her family for a number of years.
So although the media and press may only cover the sensational stories, we have these resources to help keep us informed and gives us insights on what we can pray. You can also call your local Christian radio station to ask if they are featuring prayer breaks during the week of November 9th through the 15th. For the Hudson Valley, The Sound of Life (WFGB) will be doing so and also features a daily spot for The Adopt a Nation Prayer Project, which highlights persecution in various countries and offers insights on prayer needs and concerns.