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Praying for the Persecuted Church

November 4, 2015 No Comment

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by James Morgan

As Lutheran Christians in Canada, we have it pretty good. Of course there are issues in our society and even within our synod that unsettle us, but we are nevertheless free to believe in Christ as our Saviour, to worship Him, and to ordain pastors to serve the Church.

In much of God’s world, the love of Christ is a dangerous thing to acknowledge. Every year Christians around the world recognize the International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the Persecuted Church in solidarity with persecuted believers. This year, the IDOP takes place on November 8, with the theme Nothing Shall Separate Us, taken from Roman: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (8: 35-37).

IDOP Canada is asking individuals and congregations to reflect upon those verses and understand how prayer unites Christians, even though families and communities of persecuted Christians are all too often torn apart by those who think they can (but cannot ever!) stop them from believing in and sharing the love of Jesus. Congregations can make IDOP a part of their worship services on November 8 or urge individuals to take time that day to pray for Christians in danger.

According to IDOP Canada, there are over 200 million Christians around the world who face suffering and danger on a daily basis because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Each year, Open Doors, a non-denominational organization dedicated to serving the needs of persecuted Christians worldwide releases a “World Watch List” of the countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian. Aside from North Korea in first place, most of the other countries are those where radical Islam poses the greatest threat to Christians and the Church. In places like Iraq and Syria, Christians have been explicitly targeted by the Islamic State, in addition to persecution of Christians by other groups in some African and Asian countries.

The International Day of Prayer is intended to unite all Christians in asking God’s mercy and grace for those Christians who face adversity because of their beliefs. For further information on IDOP, visit http://www.idop.ca/.

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James Morgan is a writer and former broadcaster living in Gatineau, Quebec where he is completing a Ph.D in History. His home congregation is Trinity Lutheran near Gowanstown, Ontario, and he worships at various LCC congregations in the National Capital Region.