The organization has estimated that over 340 million Christians experience extreme persecution and discrimination for following Jesus. That is one in eight believers worldwide. In India, extremists have attacked churches, destroying crosses and attacking parishioners. In 2021, this persecution is expected to increase.
Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea is particularly oppressive, where any whispers of allegiance to Christianity represents allegiance to the Western world and betrayal of the state. If you even own a Bible, you and your family will be placed in a labor camp. The Chinese Communist Party tracks Christians through facial recognition software, and targets believers, pressuring and torturing them to renounce their faith.
In Iran, it is against the law to convert to Christianity.
Despite these hardships, the international Christian Church is vital, powerful in the spirit, and full of joy and growth. As Paul exhorted Timothy:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David, as proclaimed by my gospel, 9 for which I suffer to the extent of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained! 10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of the elect, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
2 Timothy 8-10 (BSB)
From the Open Doors USA website:
Join thousands of Christians on Sunday, November 7, for the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians (IDOP), an annual prayer event focused on suffering believers worldwide.
Suffering believers like those in Egypt, where battles between the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, and other factions leave Christians targeted and marginalized.
Open Doors USA CEO David Curry travels throughout the world, lending encouragement to those persecuted believers and their leaders, and offering support and resources through the ministry of Open Doors. Curry is also an advocate for religious freedom and the persecuted church internationally in our nation’s capitol. He has testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and interacted with policymakers from both sides of the aisle in the White House, the Senate, and the State Department.
Open Doors USA offers churches and organizations a variety of free resources, from video presentations like the one above, to slides, and bulletin inserts. This allows churches to fluidly incorporate this day into their weekend worship to bring attention to the plight of persecuted Christians around the world.
To help you share the stories of persecuted Christians with your church or small group, we’ve assembled a complete digital kit that has everything you need for IDOP. The kit includes a short video, bulletin insert and presentation slides.
As we pray on Nov. 7, we’re confident God will continue to do amazing things in our lives—and in the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters. Your prayers help them know they’re not alone … and they’re not forgotten.
Download the free resources below and introduce your church to their persecuted family through the International Day of Prayer.
If you are a person of faith, won’t you take the time today to pray for your fellow believers around the world? Here is some guidance to get you started:
PRAY for the small community of Christians who remain in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover. Ask God to provide for their needs, give them protection, and let them know they are not alone, and the worldwide Church stands with them.
PRAY for Christians in Egypt, Iraq and Syria to have the courage and wisdom to be bold for Jesus in the face of ongoing discrimination. And ask God to prepare Christians in some parts of the country for the reality of violent attacks by extremists.
PRAY for Christians in North Korea, Somalia, Eritrea, and Iran who are imprisoned or held captive for their faith. Ask God to give them the comfort of the Holy Spirit—and pray for their expedited release and freedom.
PRAY for young Christian girls who face the threat of abduction and forced marriage in Muslim majority countries like Egypt. Ask God to move the authorities to take these abductions seriously and prosecute the perpetrators swiftly and with justice.
PRAY for persecuted Christians who have been displaced from their homes by extremist attacks in countries like Nigeria, Egypt, Syria and Burkina Faso.
These believers have lost all their earthly belongings. Pray that God would provide for their needs and that they would know they are not alone.
PRAY for the pastors and Christian leaders of the persecuted Church. Ask God to give them wisdom in leading their congregations, guiding them to be prepared for persecution—helping them forgive and love their enemies.
Open Doors USA also has an app to allow you to incorporate prayer for the persecuted church into your regular prayer time, moving your focus from one International Day of Prayer, to daily intercession on behalf of your fellow believers worldwide.
Open Doors has worked in the world’s most oppressive regions for over 60 years. Birthed from the ministry of Brother Andrew, known as “God’s Smuggler”, Andrew smuggled Bibles into the Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc countries during the Cold War. Open Doors continues this work in over 60 countries, giving Bibles, training, and programs to help strengthen the persecuted church, and maintains an annual World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to follow Jesus. The list uses data collected from Open Doors field workers on the ground, coupled with analysis from external experts, in order to calibrate and better address persecution worldwide.