BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Neisha Roberts) — A pastor is captured and dragged out of his church in Sudan, then beaten in front of his family and church members. A young Malay girl decides to follow Christ and is rejected by her entire family, left to struggle on the streets with no money, no home and no food. Officials in Central Asia enter a church and confiscate literature and other resources, then fine the church for illegal activity. A man is beaten and stoned to death in Nigeria because he was seen reading his Bible in the marketplace.
These and many others make up the horrific situations faced by the persecuted Church.
And what are we to do about it? An American on the other side of the world may not be able to physically assist the persecuted Christians or stop the violence that they face, but he or she can do one powerful thing — pray.
During the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) on Nov. 1, believers across the globe will do just that.
Prior to IDOP, Open Doors, a non-profit organization focused on serving persecuted Christians in 60 countries, will host a two-hour interactive #IDOP webcast Oct. 30, 7 p.m. During the webcast Christians from North Korea, Iraq and Kenya will share their stories to better “prepare us to pray more specifically and intentionally Nov. 1,” according to Open Doors.
How do we know who to pray for? A good place to start is with the countries on the 2015 World Watch List, produced by Open Doors. The list includes the top 50 countries where violence against Christians is the highest and includes: North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Myanmar, Laos, Bhutan, Colombia, Oman, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and others.
According to Open Doors, there are several things that can drive persecution of Christians. One driving force may come from the government, both local and national, Open Doors said. Another force could come from society, including ethnic group leaders, fanatical movements, extended family or organized crime cartels, to name a few.
For more information on the webcast and for resources for your church on how to pray for the persecuted Church, visit OpenDoorsUSA.org/IDOP.