One out of every twelve Christians around the world is persecuted every day. In other words, 215 million people put their lives at risk because of their faith in Jesus Christ, Evangelical Focus reports.
Following the scriptural command in Hebrews 13:3, to not only remember those who suffer, but also to identify with them in their suffering, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) created the International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).
“Over the years, the IDOP has served as a platform to highlight the stories of persecuted Christians and mobilise the global Church to respond to their plight”, says Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director of the WEA Religious Liberty Commission.
This year, the IDOP is on 4th and 11th November, and the WEA invites Christians and local churches to “pray that, in spite of the pressure and persecution, our suffering brothers and sisters, wherever they may be in the world, would stand firm in their faith, hold fast to the promises of God, and live victoriously in Christ”. The IDOP website provides resources “designed to help you pray effectively for the persecuted”, because “in order to pray for these suffering brothers and sisters, we must first listen to their stories. In other words, we must hear their cry”.
“This year we focus on the difference between praying for the persecuted church and praying with the persecuted church. It is not the same to be a spectator than a participant. We pray with those who are suffering persecution, so they can have the strength to move forward,”explained Ted Blake, director of Open Doors Spain and head of the Religious Liberty Commission of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance told Spanish news website Protestante Digital.
Cases like that of Andrew Brunson and Asia Bibi become well known, but these are only the tip of the iceberg.
“Thousands of Christians are imprisoned; expelled and accused by their neighbors. These situations often go unnoticed and we are not aware. Although all this may seem far away, to cry out to God for the persecuted brothers moves us to act. God seeks people who can supply the need of the persecuted. The aim of the event is to see “evangelicals who are able to pray, get involved, donate, write a letter”, because that “will strengthen the people who suffer persecution”. Sometimes we think we can not do anything. But I encourage you to think differently, however little it may seem, each person who gets involved helps to support and strengthen Christians who suffer persecution”, said Blake.