We need to pray for the persecuted Christians

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 7, 2015

“Christians are the most persecuted religious group worldwide,” according to the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. One report has found that more Christians have been martyred in the 20th and 21st centuries than during the previous 19 combined.

The U.S. State Department says Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors because of their faith in Christ. Open Doors USA writes, “Last year was the worst year for persecuted Christians in contemporary history, with notable increases in the number of reported beatings, rapes, kidnappings, and killings.”

Some 200 million people face persecution for believing in Jesus and 60 percent of those people are children, according to Christians in Crisis International Ministry. Statistics show that more than 100,000 Christians are martyred every year.

A Christian persecution watchdog group has released statistics suggesting a Christian is martyred for their faith every five minutes,” states World Magazine.

The Acton Institute reports, “One of the worst countries in the world for persecution of Christians is North Korea.” For instance, those caught in possession of a Bible have been known to be executed.  “In 41 of the 50 worst nations for persecution, Christians are being persecuted by Islamic extremists.”

According to news sources, 11 Christian workers from Syria were beheaded and hung on crosses last month near Aleppo after ISIS took over their village…a US–based relief group, Christian Aid, said the workers, converts from Islam involved in planting house churches, were encouraged to leave the country by fellow aid workers but chose to stay.

“They kept on praying loudly and sharing Jesus until their last breath,” eyewitnesses recalled.  These news stories and the unspeakable acts of brutality shown online (which I cannot watch) leave me feeling heart-broken and wondering what I can do to help my fellow Christians.

Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry told CBN News that the greatest need expressed by the persecuted may surprise most American Christians. “Time and again, those living under persecution and those who are refugees from it tell us that their greatest need is hope – hope found in their faith and hope born of the knowledge that Christians in the free world are remembering them in prayer.

“We need to be praying every day for the persecuted church,” Curry emphasizes.

The Apostle Paul, no stranger to persecution himself, wrote much of the New Testament while held in a Roman dungeon. In 1 Corinthians 12:26, he reminds us, “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also” (Hebrews 13:3).

While we sit in our comfortable pews in beautiful sanctuaries, let’s not forget to pray for fellow Christians whose lives are in danger simply for their faith in Christ.


Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at jwhite@andycable.com.