Each year, more than half a million churches in 150 countries join together to pray for the suffering church on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). The 2009 observance fell on November 8.
Persecuted Christians often plead for prayer to help them endure. The most we can do is the least we can do – pray.
As Franklin Graham writes, “We have a responsibility to pray and serve those who are suffering for the Name of Christ. On the second Sunday in November, thousands of churches will be joining in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Pray for their perseverance. And pray that their faith will shine so that even their enemies will see.”
We know that in the hour of persecution, God pours out His Spirit. We also know that:
Christians should be prepared for persecution.
Jesus repeatedly taught His followers to expect persecution. He warned His followers, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20, NIV).
Persecution can yield blessings.
In Ecuador in 1956, a savage tribe massacred the first five missionaries who attempted to reach them with the Gospel message. However, through the extraordinary testimony of the missionaries’ families, not only were many tribespeople converted, but hundreds of young people were inspired to become missionaries as well.
God hears the cries of those who have suffered for Him.
The Bible says, “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed” (Revelation 6:9-11, NIV).
“Thank God, few if any of us will ever have to face death as martyrs,” says Franklin. “But we all can pray earnestly for our missionaries as they take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. And we all should resolve to be ambassadors for Christ, wherever He’s placed us and whatever the price.”
Billy Graham writes, “Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are enduring great trials because of their faith. Most of all, make sure of your own commitment to Christ, and make it your goal to live for Him regardless of what the future holds. Remember: In the end, God will win.”
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:3,”Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
Can we today pause our busy lives and think of those who are enduring persecution for the sake of the Gospel?
Around the world, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse are working to strengthen and encourage persecuted believers, and to reach out to those who don’t know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
- Franklin Graham travels to new nations each year, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Read about 2009 Festivals in Colombia, Estonia, and Uruguay, and about the 2010 schedule.
- In October 2009, Franklin traveled to the DPRK and China, building bridges and sharing the Good News.
- The My Hope World Evangelism through Television Project takes the Gospel into living rooms around the world. In December 2009, My Hope travels to Thailand where only a half percent of the country’s 60 million people belong to evangelical churches.
- Learn more about the work of Samaritan’s Purse in nations like Sudan, and how Operation Christmas Child shares the love of Jesus with needy children worldwide.