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Remembering the Persecuted Church in Prayer

November 1, 2016 No Comment

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by James Morgan

Being a Christian and going to church is a pretty easy thing for Canadians to do—but for people in many other parts of the world, these can be dangerous acts. Persecuted Christians in many places face intimidation by government authorities, discrimination in schools and workplaces, imprisonment, torture, and death, as well as broken families and divided communities.

The 2016 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) takes place November 13. IDOP Canada urges congregations and individuals to pray for the protection and safety of Christians in places where practicing the faith brings difficult challenges and often, serious risks.

The theme for IDOP this year is “Share in His Sufferings.” It’s based on 2 Corinthians 1:5: “For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ.” IDOP Canada also notes that Jesus Christ said that there would be persecution towards anyone who follows him. “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first” (St. Mark, 10:29-31).

The persecution of Christians around the world has received greater attention in recent years due to the activities of Islamic extremist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. But concerns are also mounting in other parts of the world. Increasing secularism in North America and Europe poses challenges for Christians too. And new laws in China have led authorities to crack down harder on house churches. Many Chinese Christians worship together in private homes because official churches in that country are closely regulated by the governing communist party—interference which has led to a weakening of the Gospel message and church doctrines.

IDOP Canada estimates that 200 million Christians around the world are facing some form of serious persecution for their beliefs. The organization is calling upon church congregations to remember these brothers and sisters in Christ on November 13, either informally or by using resources available at www.idop.ca.

Additional information on persecuted Christians is available through Open Doors’ World Watch List, which annually reports on countries where Christians face the most persecution.

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