International (MNN) — ISIS atrocities continue in Syria. According to BreakingIsraelNews.com, the Islamic State is sending hit men into refugee camps to wipe out the Christians.
In Nigeria, survivors feel forgotten as the world ignores Boko Haram’s reign of terror.
Prayer may seem like a powerless response to headlines like these, but Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs USA begs to differ.
“God is at work; our prayers are being answered, and this Sunday–the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church–is really a key part,” Nettleton says.
Each year on the first Sunday in November, believers stand united with their persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ through prayer.
Also known as IDOP, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is more than just an “observed” day on the calendar.
“When one part of the Body suffers, we’re ALL supposed to feel that,” says Nettleton.
“We’re supposed to be connected enough that we feel the pain of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, or in China, or in Nigeria.”
As believers intercede–throughout the year but especially on IDOP Sunday, God works in the lives of those who follow Him in regions of high persecution.
“What we would consider the darkest, most dangerous, most desperate places, God is still working,” Nettleton shares.
“Even in the areas controlled by ISIS…He is helping Christians to stand firm in their faith; He is also bringing the persecutors to faith in Christ.”
It may seem hard to believe, but some Islamic State fighters are turning to Christ because of their victims’ witness and refusal to deny the Lord. Keep that in mind heading into IDOP Sunday.
“We all know the story of Saul, who became Paul: the guy [Saul] who was hunting for Christians ran headlong into Jesus Christ and became Paul, the great apostle, the great missionary.”
“The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is a part of connecting the Body of Christ so that those of us in free countries, who don’t suffer for our faith, can be connected and follow [the Scriptures’] instruction,” says Nettleton.
“When others suffer, when one part of the Body suffers, we’re all supposed to feel that.”