When persecuted Christ-followers ask for prayer, I find it intriguing how very few ask for financial aid or release! Most ask for holy boldness to continue to fulfill the Great Commission. How will you pray when persecution comes to your neighborhood? These prayers should NOT be just one or two Sundays per year.
If we cannot go, we should give; if we cannot give, we should write letters of encouragement or support through legal action. But in ALL cases, if you love Christ’s Church, we should pray DAILY and CONTINUALLY! These are your brothers and sisters who are being imprisoned, tortured and killed because they name the Name of Jesus as their savior.
They are not anarchists nor government agitators nor agents for foreign powers. They only want their families, friends, neighbors and persecutors to go to Heaven when they die and the freedom to tell them how to do this.
How the Persecuted Church Wants You to Pray
Leaders in six countries explain how Christians can best support and rejoice with fellow believers suffering for their faith. Compiled by Morgan Lee for Christianity Today – November 10, 2022
The first two Sundays of November, as part of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, Christians around the world intentionally intercede for their brothers and sisters in Christ who face violence, prison, arson, kidnapping, bureaucratic restrictions, and shunning because of their faith.
Around 309 million Christians live in places with very high or extreme levels of persecution, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List. Shortly after the release of last year’s list, Christians from around the world shared their joys and concerns. We encourage you to use the praises and requests of Christians from the six countries included here as a tool to guide your prayers today.
China: We praise God:
- for God keeping his church faithful in meeting for worship in spite of the pandemic and persecution.
- that, using new technologies such as Zoom, many churches have been able to develop creative evangelistic opportunities that were not previously available.
- During strict government pandemic control, many urban churches have been closed. But some of these believers have been able to transfer to house churches and continued to grow spiritually there.
- Some house churches are still under severe persecution. Preachers are being arrested on trumped-up charges. Pray for the preachers’ perseverance and for their families.
- Internet meetings in some churches are often interfered with and disrupted by the government, and many elderly believers need training for using new technologies.
- In Xi Jinping’s third term, the church is facing even greater challenges and more serious persecution. Many Chinese people who feel threatened, including believers, will choose to leave China if they are capable of immigrating elsewhere. Pray that God will keep and guide those who choose to leave as well as those who choose to stay.
A* C* (name changed for security reasons), a house church pastor in Hubei
Egypt: We praise God:
- for protecting our ministry to women in rural Upper Egyptian villages. He has provided for all the needs of this team and its beneficiaries. God is faithful and good all time with us.
- for the start of construction of our community center at El Minya in Upper Egypt.
- Our first community center, known Oasis Center, was badly affected by COVID-19. Now all activities at the Oasis have returned, including conferences, the vocational training courses, and the retreats.
- for ending trafficking of girls in El Hawamdeya, where parents often sold their daughters to rich old men. We continue to pray for the protection for women and for more awareness for parents.
- for inflation in Egypt and how the poor people are affected by this. Every time we distribute sacks of food, we find that the poor people are increasing. We pray that God will provide.
- for planned demonstrations on November 11 by opposition groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. We pray for security for the whole country and for stability and protection for churches.
Submitted by Bassem Fekry, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Egypt
India: We praise God:
- that in spite of anti-conversion laws in certain states, hundreds of new believers have come to know the saving grace of our Lord.
- Due to the pandemic we didn’t have VBS for several years, but this summer we were finally able to conduct it! Due to an unexpected rainy season, we had to postpone it several times but thank God we could finally accomplish the task.
- that he enabled us to reach out to the interior tribal villages in the eastern part of India. More than 700 school teachers received training about how to teach students to adopt Christlike character. We also trained 350 gospel workers in church planting.
- for our Christmas outreach ministries to people with leprosy, blind people, commercial sex workers, and tribal and slum street children
- Due to anti-conversion laws we were unable to baptize 350 new believers in various communities as we needed to obtain official approval from the government authorities through the court of law. We need to wait 40 to 60 days in order to get approval from the court and the local police. Pray that everything goes well with the legal process.
- We have 2,500 church planting and Christlike character training books. We need funds towards imparting training gospel workers throughout India. Please uphold us in your prayer for the needed funds and other training logistics.
David K. Dass, national director, India Gospel League
Iraq: We praise God:
- for his work through the church because he blessed us during this year by being able to visit one of the displaced people’s camps in Ramadi. We provided families with food baskets and presented a message of love to the children at the camp.
- for the stability of the political and security situation in Iraq and that this stability will bring comfort and peace to the country and citizens of various secondary affiliations, such as race, religion, sect, clan, and tribe. (Many challenges in Iraq are related to the dominance of sub-identities over national identity.)
Ara Badalian, senior pastor of the National Evangelical Baptist Church in Baghdad
Laos: We pray:
- that the church will grow and be strengthened so that it can be administratively, evangelistically, and financially self-reliant and be a blessing to the development of the nation.
- for unity among believers, church leaders and between every church.
The Protestant church community in Laos
Mali: We praise God:
- Mali has been going through a multidimensional crisis for a decade. This has greatly affected the church, especially in the north and center of the country. Despite this growing insecurity, God continues to watch over the local churches.
- for the commitment of the churches in the witness of Jesus Christ despite their difficult context. Evangelism initiatives like the distribution of Christian tracts, evangelism messages on radio stations, and evangelism through personal relationships continue to move forward.
- because the church is making its voice heard by the authorities of the country through the Association of Groups of Evangelical Protestant Churches and Missions in Mali (AGEMPEM) and the Episcopal Conference.
- for churches to grow and engage in holistic acts of witness. Pray for the unity of the body of Christ in the current context of Mali, which is marked by an increasingly visible Islamic extremism.
- for Christian families displaced because of the conflict. May God grant peace and courage necessary for spiritual, psychological, and economic resilience.
- Kidnappings continue in northern and central Mali. Pray that God will preserve the lives of the church members and that the churches will be protected from terrorist threats and attacks. Pray that the church will continue to be a powerful instrument in God’s hands to bring peace, restore wounded hearts, and ease downcast spirits.
- that the church in Mali will emerge victorious from this situation and continue to proclaim and manifest God’s unconditional love.
Josue Djire, faith, development, and peacebuilding advisor at World Vision Mali
Pakistan: We praise God:
- for the churches and seminaries who are faithfully serving the Lord and expanding the kingdom of God.
- for blessed spiritual senior leadership and the development of young pastors and evangelists.
- for the Pakistani church and Christian NGOs being salt and light during the current flood disaster.
- for the underage forced marriage and forced conversion of Christian teenage girls.
- for illiterate Christians to obtain education as they are below the poverty line and are mostly persecuted.
- for the victims of false blasphemy cases.
- for the unity and purity of the Pakistani church, so they become bold witnesses of Christ through their words and actions.
- for the great movement of the Holy Spirit to revive the church through the Word of God, miracles, and conversions.
Ujala Hans, lead pastor at CPM (Christ for Pakistan Ministries) Church Pakistan, Lahore
With additional reporting by Jayson Casper, Angela Lu Fulton, and Sean Cheng.