Will 2014 be a happy New Year?

By December 31, 2013
Egpytian Copts carry four coffins down the aisle of the Virgin Mary Coptic Christian church. (Photo: AFP/GETTY)

Egyptian Copts carry four coffins down the aisle of the Virgin Mary Coptic Christian church. (Photo: AFP/GETTY)

Middle East (MNN) — Today marks the eve of the New Year: 2014. Many will make resolutions, some keeping them, and some not. As Christians, what should our resolution be? What about praying more? What about making a difference?

How about taking action to help end persecution?

Open Doors will be releasing the new, 2014 World Watch List, the ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians is most severe. Many around the world in these persecuted areas are wondering what countries will rise or fall on the list.

Specifically looking at the Middle East, the persecution of Christians has gained the attention of many world leaders.

An article released by The Telegraph spoke of Pope Francis, saying, “We cannot resign ourselves to think of a Middle East without Christians.”

England’s Prince Charles stated that “Christians in the Middle East are, increasingly, being deliberately attacked by fundamentalist Islamist militants. Christianity was, literally, born in the Middle East, and we must not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Because Christians have lived in the Middle East for almost two millennia, Christianity has thrived in communities such as Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere. But conflicts continue to rage across the region.

Since the start of the conflict in Syria back in March of 2011, more than 450,000 Christians have fled the country.

In Egypt, Amnesty International reported that 207 churches were attacked and 43 Orthodox churches were completely destroyed this year.

Christian persecution is not just regional, though. It’s global.

Looking at Nigeria, the militant Islamist group Boko Haram has continued to target church leaders. This past month, hundreds of houses were burnt when Boko Haram attacked Arboko villiage in Borno State. The village was mainly inhabited by Christians.

With the increasing intensity of Christian persecution, actions to put a stop to persecution are underway.

This March, the United Kingdom will take a spot on the United Nations Human Rights Council. As a body, the UK Government will then have a unique opportunity to use the UN Human Rights platform to speak up for religious freedom as a fundamental human right and speak out against Christian persecution.

We as brothers and sisters in Christ cannot forget to vigilantly pray for the persecuted as they stand and make a difference for Christ around the world. Pray that Christians find encouragement in knowing high leaders see the need to put an end to persecution. Also pray that the leaders who know and now understand the great need for peace will take action to cease persecution.

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