Ahead of the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians (IDOP), Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) has unveiled prayer topics for hundreds of millions of Christians who face threats of violence and death because of their faith.
According to Christian Post (CP), VOM, a non-profit organization that has provided practical and spiritual help for persecuted saints since the 1960s, is preparing for the IDOP to be held on November 6 this year for churches, small groups, and families. Materials including prayer banners, prayer guides, slides, and bulletin boards have been released.
VOM shares, “You can hang prayer flags on churches for persecuted Christians in hostile territories and restricted countries. You can also share the World Prayer Guide with other believers, helping them know who the persecutors are and how difficult it is to find the Bible there.”
More than 360 million Christians worldwide live in places where they experience severe levels of persecution for following Jesus. According to Open Door Mission’s report on the list of countries that persecute Christians, that number is one in seven believers worldwide.
At least 5,898 Christians were killed because of their beliefs and 5,110 churches were attacked or closed, according to the 2022 List of Persecuted Christians, according to known incidents between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. 6,175 Christians were arrested without trial, and 3,829 Christians were kidnapped and arrested. In 2021, there was a 24% increase in Christians killed for their faith.
VOM released a video titled ‘Rebecca: Nigeria’, which tells the story of a woman and her daughter helplessly watching Boko Haram operatives kill her husband and son and set their house on fire. Amidst the scorched rubble, she found her Bible, which she received with her husband on her wedding day. In the video, she confesses, “I’m still looking at this Bible. This Bible reminds me of God’s faithfulness.”
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently warned that religious freedom in Nigeria is being undermined by ‘rogue rule’ and rising violence by non-governmental actors, primarily militant Islamic groups. The group has urged the US State Department to designate Nigeria as a country of special concern for religious freedom.
According to the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law in Anambra, at least 60,000 Christians have been killed in the past 20 years in Nigeria alone. There are reports that hundreds of churches were threatened, attacked, closed, destroyed and set on fire in 2021.
Meanwhile, since the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) celebrated the first day of persecution in 1996, churches worldwide have observed the first Sunday of November every year as the ‘World Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians.’
Source: Christian Today
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:25-26 ESV)
More than 360 million Christians, equivalent to one in seven believers worldwide, live in places where they experience severe persecution for following Jesus.
Lord, we thank you for the believers who read the Bible and think about the faithfulness of God, even though their children and family members have suffered many persecutions and sufferings because of their faith in Jesus.
May you pour out the victory and faith of Jesus Christ, who has gone ahead of us, to the church of God, where we will carry our cross to the end and bear the fight of faith.