I Prayed have prayed
Lord, we pray that our brothers and sisters suffering intensely for Your Name around the world would know that You are with them and that we are with them. We pray for their life and liberty.

One Christian is killed every two hours. According to Open Doors USA that is the average for Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa. Not fined, imprisoned, or denied nourishment — all harsh examples of persecution in their own right. But killed. Murdered for being followers of Christ.

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“We can document that 4,650 Nigerian Christians were killed during the previous reporting period for the 2022 World Watch List,” said Open Doors CEO David Curry earlier this year. “Those are just those we know about — and can report. They were tracked, targeted, raped, and killed… because they were Christians.

My heart breaks writing those words. Every one of that number, which accounts for 80 percent of documented Christian killings worldwide, is a brother or sister in our spiritual family.

And the attacks continue. Just last week International Christian Concern reported that in late October Muslim Fulani militants gunned down more than 70 Christians in a central Nigerian village. Days before that a woman and her daughter were killed in an attack on a church worship service in northern Nigeria. And another three Christians were murdered by agents of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) on October 4.

Those are just a few reports from the last month. There are more. And they help show why Open Doors ranks Nigeria among the top 10 most dangerous places for Christians in its 2022 World Watch List. As Open Doors says, “Persecution in Nigeria is, simply put, brutally violent.”

Sadly, persecution is not limited to Nigeria. In recent months, I have highlighted challenges in Afghanistan, China, Iran, Kenya, and more — even Europe. And Open Doors lists countries across the globe among its World Watch List top 50.

All told, Open Doors reports that more than 360 million Christians live in places of significant persecution and discrimination. That number includes 5,898 documented cases of Christians killed for their faith and 4,765 unjustly detained or imprisoned last year. It’s also a number larger than the entire population of the United States!

Data points like that are daunting. And every one of them is a real person with family, friends, hopes, and dreams just like you and me. It can be overwhelming to think about. How can we help them?

Well, this weekend we have a special opportunity to stand with persecuted siblings in Christ in prayer. Sunday, November 6, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, an annual rallying point for churches and ministries around the world.

Dr Thomas Schirrmacher of the World Evangelical Alliance, which launched this prayer event a quarter century ago, wrote, “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,” he added. “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.”

To help churches lift up our brothers and sisters around the world in an informed way, groups like Open Doors and The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) have developed videos, bulletin inserts, and other resources to help.

In fact, VOM is actually focusing in on the crisis in Nigeria this year. In a short video freely available to churches VOM recounts the story of Rebecca, a Nigerian woman who saw her village attacked and her husband and son killed by Boko Haram. She then finds a Bible that had been a wedding present in the rubble and holds on to it as a reminder of God’s faithfulness.

“This short film will inspire viewers to pray for those who trust in God’s Word as they live faithfully for Christ on the world’s most difficult and dangerous mission fields,” says VOM.

Similarly, Open Doors has many prayer points that may be used for intercession against general persecution and specific country-by-country troubles. For example, the group recently highlighted a prayer need for Nigerian pastor Daniel Umaru and his family after gunmen killed his sons, abducted his daughter, and left him and his wife in need of medical attention.

Open Doors also suggests in the World Watch List section on Nigeria, “The level of trauma among Christians is reaching crisis levels as men are killed, women are raped and abducted, and youths are left in despondency over the future. Pray for healing and hope. Pray that the Lord will continue to strengthen their faith and that Christians will continually be able to provide a reason to anyone that asks for the hope that is in them.”

On the subject of Nigeria, you might even pray about the efforts of Open Doors and others, including the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, to convince the Biden administration to return Nigeria to the State Department’s Country of Particular Concern (CPC) list for “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” (See this IFA article titled “Christians at Risk as Nigeria Receives a Pass from U.S.” to explore this matter further.)

Whether we focus on the global epidemic of persecution against Christians or challenges in specific countries, may we be sure to take the time to pray in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ facing intense fire around the world.

And, as Open Doors writes in its resources for this day, “As we pray, we’re confident God will continue to do amazing things through His Church. Your prayers help our brothers and sisters know they’re not alone … and they’re not forgotten.”

Share your prayers and scriptures for persecuted Christians below.

Aaron Mercer is a Contributing Writer with two decades of experience in Washington, D.C.s public policy arena. Photo Credit: Canva.

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Joan Diane Bartruff
November 10, 2022

Father, I Jesus’ Name, I pray the persecutors will be called by Jesus in a similar way St. Paul was called. Lord, let them see Jesus, and repent of their demonic attacks on Your people, Lord. I rebuke in Jesus Name, the powers of darkness manifested in those who persecute millions of Christians around the world. I pray for the safety and protection of Your people from violence. Hide them, Lord, from their enemies. Provide comfort, strengthening for all Your people who are being persecuted. I pray an end to the attack on Your Church, Lord. Amen.

2
rich
November 6, 2022

Two comments by Brother Andrew has impacted me.

Celebrating
Brother Andrew
“God’s Smuggler”
1928 — 2022

“Whenever, wherever, however You want me, I’ll go,” Andrew promised God almost 70 years ago. “And I’ll begin this very minute. Lord, as I stand up from this place, and as I take my first step forward, will You consider this is a step toward complete obedience to You? I’ll call it the step of yes.”

Brother Andrew often explained.
“I literally believe that every door is open to go in and proclaim Christ, as long as you are willing to go and are not worried about coming back.”

4
rich
November 6, 2022

There are multitudes of brethren in many countries living under persecution. This prayer is for one nation among many.

Ruler of the nations,
Though abandoned by man; they are not forgotten by You.
Lord, I pray that Christians in Afghanistan will experience the joy of the Lord even amid suffering.
Father, may they also experience Your peace and provision.
I pray my brothers and sisters in Afghanistan will have opportunities to hear and to share the love of Christ with their neighbors and that members of the Taliban will repent and place their faith in the one true God.
Father, may those that walk in darkness on the streets of Kabul, Herat, Mazar-I-Sharif, Kandahar, and Jalalabad discover the true light that forever shines. May Your mercy and grace flow as a river among their residents.
Father, will You remind Your children that they are never alone, You are their constant companion.
Watch and protect those who leave their homes to minister amongst the Afghanistan people. Grant them a rich harvest for Your glory.
In Christ’s name, amen

7
Debby
November 6, 2022

There is a video teaching series entitled “Prepare to Stand” by Andrew Brunson, the American held in Turkey and released in Oct 2018. This series does not share about the violence, the graphic details, anything negative regarding his persecution. Instead, he speaks of “preparation of the heart” and shares what he did to hold his faith.

After watching the series and then facilitating it at my church, we have all learned that the things Andrew speaks about are very necessary focuses for our every day walk with God whether we are persecuted or not. I encourage you to watch and then share the series. The link is … https://frc.org/preparetostand

Father, we thank You that You hold our hearts close to yours. Thank You for our brother Andrew using his suffering to share with us that we may grow in You. We also pray for all those who have not been released from their captivity, those hunted down and on the run, those who bravely meet secretly and share your truth. Reassure them they are not alone, that we are holding them up to You and You see them and are with them. Be the peace in their midst at this time. Encourage them and hold them close, in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

6
Grant Windholz
November 6, 2022

Give them strength and honor knowing that they did everything for you by giving you the glory! We as international brothers and sisters stand for the King of all Salvation!!

3
CHAVA
November 6, 2022

LIFT UP YOUR VOICES FOR THE SUFFERING!
by Eva

Lift up your voices for the suffering.
For those prisoners bound with chains!
Cry aloud and spare not!
Let your tears run down like rain!

Throughout the earth this very hour,
Countless Christians are losing their lives
For the sake of the glorious Gospel,
For the mark of that glorious prize.

Be chained with them, My brethren!
Intercede for them day and night!
Let your own hearts break for love of them
Until the “break of morning light”!

Say not to yourselves, “I knew it not!”
Boldly stand for all that is true!
No! Do not shut your eyes or ears
To My Spirit, Who is alive in you!

Intercede for them, My kinsmen!
Cry aloud! Let your voices be heard
For the countless many led to their death
While their brethren sleep undisturbed!

4
    Bobhuseby
    November 6, 2022

    Thanks Chana for sharing the wonderful poem.., We Americans cannot comprehend th horror of what our Nigerian brothers endure. I regretfully watched an unedited video of a Christian being drug by her hair to th middle of a village where she was beheaded for her faith. I wish I hadn’t seen that but now I know this demonic reality….. how we must intercede day and night for this global spiritual malady of which we must participate .. Thank you beloved Father fr each drop of your Son’s precious blood!!

    1
Lynne Wurgler
November 5, 2022

God you know the name of each of your children who are suffering persecution. Their tears and cries for help are heard by you. Please strengthen them to stand strong for you when they are being attacked. I pray that you will provide for their needs. Help us to always remember them in our prayers, and to share with them as we are able.

9
Alison
November 5, 2022

I support Voice of the Martyrs monthly and am thankful you posted this article about international Day of Prayer for persecuted Christians!

9
Nancy A Sperling
November 5, 2022

Father, please let your presence be more real to these dear ones, more real than their present circumstance!

18
Jerry Sauls
November 5, 2022

For years I have been praying for Christian who are being persecuted around the world. I see it as a direct command from God as recorded in the Bible in Hebrews 13:3, GNB, “Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them. Remember those who are suffering, as though you were suffering as they are.” I have discovered if I pray as as directed in this verse, “As though you were in prison-and as thou you were suffering as they are,” the Spirit of God comes into my spirit and causes me to feel their need of prayer in a greater measure. Also, I consider it an honor to pray for my brothers and sisters who are under the bonds of persecution.

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