Millions of Christians worldwide will unite on Sunday, Nov. 1 to join the global body of Christ for the 2020 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted (IDOP).
The initiatve was launched over two decades ago to pray for persecuted Christians facing issues such as government oppression, violence and prison for their faith.
“When we ask persecuted Christians how we can help them, the first thing they say is ‘Pray for us!” Todd Nettleton of The Voice of the Martyrs told the Albama Baptist. “IDOP is a direct response to their No. 1 request.”
In countries across the globe, pastors are jailed and churches are destroyed. In the Chinese territory of Hong Kong, Christians face extreme threats from the communist regime. And in India, Christians are violently attacked and charities shut down by Hindu nationalists.
Other countries where persecution is high include Nigeria, where militant Islamists are conducting genocide against Christians, and Pakistan – where false accusations of “blasphemy” trigger deadly mobs and death sentences against innocent Christians.
“A pastor from Vietnam once said, ‘When you pray for us, you are serving with us in Vietnam!’ On IDOP Sunday — and really every day throughout the year — you can serve with our persecuted brothers and sisters by bringing their needs before our Father in heaven,” Nettleton said.
To help achieve this, each year the Voice of the Martyrs releases a Global Prayer Guide to help Christians pray for entire nations.
In addition, Open Doors USA is hosting two special Facebook Live events for Christians to meet and pray with persecuted believers who have fled North Korea and Iran.
Nik Ripken, the world’s leading expert on the persecuted church in Muslim countries, says the biggest way Christians in the United States can serve with those persecuted is not remaining silent about their faith.
In his books, The Insanity of God and The Insanity of Obedience, Ripken notes if believers stayed quiet about their faith they can go anywhere in the world and live peaceful lives.
“The persecuted believers who live in these countries could lead quiet lives, if only they stopped sharing the Gospel. Instead, they risk everything to proclaim Jesus’ love for sinners,” Ripken notes.
However, in the United States a 2019 survey by LifeWay Research, showed 55 percent of Protestant churchgoers in the U.S. told no one how to become a Christian during a 6 month period. Another 24 percent only shared their faith one or two times during that same time period.
“What does our silence do? It increases the suffering of believers in persecution,” Nik says. “It breaks God’s heart. It demonstrates that we have forgotten our eternal family members who live daily with persecution.”
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