International (MNN) — China seeks to rid itself of religion, closing churches and putting pastors in prison. Fulani herdsmen hunt for Christians in Nigeria, killing 600 in 2020 alone. As secret believers meet online, Iran’s government creates a digital chokehold.
Persecution appears in the headlines more often than we’d like. “But the silver lining, or the good side, of that story is the Church is growing in hostile and restricted nations. More people are following Jesus Christ in China and Iran; even places like North Korea,” Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs USA says.
“There is more persecution, but part of the reason is there are more Christians, more potential targets for persecution.”
Long ago, Nettleton says, ministries set aside November 1 with the persecuted Church in mind. This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).
“This is a response to what our brothers and sisters ask of us, but it’s also a response to what Scripture calls us to do,” Nettleton says. In Hebrews 13:3, the unidentified author instructs believers to “remember those who are in prison.” Paul writes extensively about the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12.
“We’re all connected; we’re all part of the same body. This is what [persecuted Christians] asked us to do to help and support them.”
Every day is IDOP
Dedicating an entire day to the persecuted Church is undoubtedly right. However, persecution is a year-round reality. Shouldn’t our prayers go beyond November 1?
“Persecution happens every day. There are Christians who need our prayers every day,” Nettleton agrees.
“We hope this (IDOP) leads people into a habit and a pattern of prayer for our brothers and sisters who suffer for the Gospel.”
Incorporate prayer for the persecuted into your daily routine. Start by receiving MNN’s daily emails; you can sign up here. Each report includes prayer points to guide your intercession. You can also use VOM’s Global Prayer Guide to pray for entire nations.
This Sunday, please remember persecuted believers in your prayers. Use the buttons below to tell others about the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
“Pray that the Lord will supernaturally let [persecuted Christians] know they are not forgotten; they are being prayed for,” Nettleton asks.
“Pray for the persecutors that somehow, someway, God will break through their hearts, and they will come to know Christ as well.”
Header image courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs USA.