The World Watch List published this year by Open Doors, indicates that the persecution of Christians in the top 50 countries on the list has increased by 14% since 2018. The report also states that 1 in 9 Christians experience high levels of persecution worldwide.
During the reporting period for the 2019 World Watch List, 4,136 Christians were killed; 1,266 churches or Christian buildings were attacked; 2,625 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned.
These are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They suffer for their faith beyond what most of us can even imagine. The continual cry of their hearts is simply, “Pray for us!”
Because of their devotion to Christ as Saviour and Lord, more than 245 million Christians today suffer severely. They are threatened, beaten, socially shunned and isolated; they are displaced and left to find a way to live and survive alone or with their families; they are imprisoned, raped and even killed.
While reading some of these heartbreaking reports my thoughts went back to the 11th chapter of the New Testament book of Hebrews. The author writes, “Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith…”
The old evil strategies against the Lord and His Body continue, but it will not go on forever. The Lord has promised a day of judgment and retribution and a day when all His people will enter His rest forever.
Until then, we can help them by remembering them in prayer. We can pray…
- For strength and courage for Christians who suffer in prisons and labor camps
- For converts from other religions, that they will be protected from violence and oppression
- For those isolated, that they will find other believers and be encouraged in their Christian faith
- For those accused under blasphemy laws, that they will be preserved from violence and “mob justice”
- For God to work in the hearts of government leaders who oppose Christians.
This year, the International Day of Prayer for persecuted Christians is Sunday, November 3rd. Let’s pray then and in the days ahead for those who leave everything and risk everything to follow Jesus.