North Korea (MNN) — Whether they want to or not, all of North Korea will celebrate the 100th birthday of the late "Great Leader" Kim Il-Sung this Sunday, April 15.
As part of the celebration, North Korea and its new leader Kim Jong-Un will reportedly launch a rocket this week which would showcase the country's ability to fire a missile with allegedly the capacity to reach the continental United States.
For Christians, this day warrants prayer. Enough so, in fact, that Open Doors is mobilizing Christians around the world to participate in a day of prayer Sunday, April 15 for North Korea.
North Korea is ranked #1 on the Open Doors 2012 World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians. Officially, there is freedom of religion in North Korea. In practice, civilians do not have any rights.
There is no freedom to build churches or to worship in homes. Possession of a Bible or Christian material is illegal and punishable by death. The proclamation of the Gospel is strictly forbidden. Christian parents can't even share their beliefs with their children until they are old enough to understand the dangers. Christians are viewed as "a danger to society" or "spies of the traitorous West."
"For Christians inside North Korea, their fear has increased as the government has mandated all the people to bow down to the gods of Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il, and Kim Jong-Un and participate in the celebration," says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller.
"Scrutiny of the estimated 200,000 to 400,000 brave underground Christians has increased during the last few months. Some have been thrown into prisons. There are 50,000 to 70,000 Christians of the estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people living under horrific conditions in those prisons. Also, many North Koreans are chronically malnourished and unemployed."
This Sunday, North Korean Christians will be celebrating the true "Son," Jesus Christ, in their hearts, notes Moeller. Thus, Open Doors is asking believers around the globe to show solidarity with these faithful Christians by praying and fasting for them this Sunday.
To show "One With Them" unity with its brothers and sisters in North Korea, Open Doors USA is providing resources here. People can sign up to receive hourly tweets on Sunday, prayer points, and other materials. The Open Doors USA Facebook page will also feature North Korea, including the tweets.
In addition to the call for prayer on Sunday, global partners will join together in prayer during North Korea Freedom Week April 23-29. To register to receive information on how to participate in both events, sign up here.
"The North Korean church has often expressed its gratitude for the worldwide prayer of so many people for so many years," says Moeller. "North Korean Christians believe God will bring about changes in their circumstances as long as people keep praying. It is a tremendous encouragement for them to know they are not alone."