From Nigeria, India, and Algeria to Afghanistan, Christian persecution is on the rise world over. Today, more than 360 million Christians live in places where they face high levels of persecution. This is one in seven Christians worldwide.
In many parts of the world, every day, Christians are harassed, discriminated against, wrongfully imprisoned, and even killed because of their faith. According to the World Watch List for Christian persecution, over 5000 people were killed in 2021 because of their faith in Jesus. This is a staggering number.
The Bible tells us that everyone who desires to live a godly life will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). However, this is not the complete story. In the Bible, Jesus says that: “In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Persecution, therefore, is not a defeat for the believer!
Through the IDOP, we bring global attention to the plight of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. In most places in the world, while they share our faith, they do not always share our freedoms. In fact, according to the International Human Rights Society, 80 percent of all religious persecution worldwide is against Christians. However, as much as the IDOP is an occasion to pray for the persecuted, it is also an opportunity to encourage and support our persecuted brethren.
For over two decades, the IDOP has united millions of Christians in prayer for the persecuted. While our persecuted brothers and sisters have many needs, their most urgent and basic request is for prayer. In Hebrews 13:3, the Bible commands Christians to pray for those mistreated, as they themselves were mistreated. In other words, the Bible tells us to pray for the persecuted with empathy and in a spirit of oneness. After all, if one member of the body suffers, we all suffer (1 Corinthians 12:26).
This November, the World Evangelical Alliance calls upon the global church to join the IDOP as an expression of solidarity with those suffering for their faith in Jesus. Their suffering is immense. Let’s unite in prayer that the Holy Spirit would enable them to stand firm in their faith and be obedient to Christ, even as they serve Him through many hardships. At the same time, while we remember them in prayer, let’s also commit to, where possible, support our brothers and sisters who serve on the frontlines of persecution to advance God’s Kingdom around the world.
In prayerful fellowship,