International (MNN) — Next Sunday, November 6th is the International Day of Prayer (IDOP), and we’re doing a series of stories here at Mission Network News leading up to the event. Each story will focus on a country for which we can be praying with our brothers and sisters in Christ there. We began today with a spotlight on Somalia.
But what exactly is the International Day of Prayer? Emily Fuentes with Open Doors USA explains, “It’s a date dedicated for American Christians, as well as Christians around the world, to just be praying of those who are persecuted. Thousands upon thousands of Christians join together, many different churches join together and just set aside the Sunday to be praying for persecuted Christians.”
Open Doors USA tracks Christian persecution cases worldwide and shares their findings in their World Watch List. Because of this, they’ve really got their finger on the pulse of how we can pray.
“Since 2014, we have seen a sharp increase in persecution year-over-year, and it’s been unprecedented to any other time in the modern era of Christian persecution, so believers need our prayers,” says Fuentes.
“This year, we’re asking Christians not to just pray for Christians who are facing persecution, but to pray with them. To pray they’ll remain strong in the face of persecution, to pray they’ll remain brave in being able to share the Gospel with their family and neighbors and others who need to hear it, and to pray with them that God will use them in mighty ways.”
Fuentes touches on four different countries for now that we can begin to think of and pray for:
- Syria & Iraq — “I think some of the big things we’re asking for prayer for are the Christians who have been displaced for all these years from both Syria and Iraq. Pray for their protection in these refugee camps, and for their encouragement, just because it’s been so long of being in this state of limbo.”
- Nigeria — “The Christians in Nigeria, we continue to see an uptick in violence. An average of five churches are attacked every single Sunday in Nigeria. So, there’s a great need for prayer for these regions.”
- North Korea — “Continued prayer for North Korea, where it’s the most difficult country to be a Christian on earth, where the very act of owning a Bible can mean instant death.”
You can get materials to share for the International Day of Prayer with family, friends, and your church! Open Doors has prayer resources, videos, downloads, fliers, bulletin inserts and more on their website.
“We have different stories available of individuals, information on different countries and what it’s like to be a Christian there, the challenges they face so people can be praying for them — all available on our website as well, which is opendoorsusa.org.”
There’s also a neat opportunity to engage with the persecuted Church. Just follow Open Doors USA on Facebook!
“This year we’re going to be doing a Facebook Live event,” says Fuentes, “so if you don’t follow us on Facebook, be sure to follow us. We’ll have an interview with a Christian from Central Asia every day leading up to the International Day of Prayer. David Curry, our CEO, will be interviewing him. And then, on the Day of Prayer, we’ll continue to have a Facebook Live event with him, learning about his story, what it’s like for Christians in Central Asia, and how we can best be praying for this region.”
As we spend time in prayer this week leading up to IDOP, remember our Christian brothers and sisters around the world and know they’re praying too.
Fuentes remarks, “It’s a real amazing way to see the Body of Christ united throughout the world.”