International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
Sunday, Nov. 4 is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Annually, we observe this special day on the first Sunday of November.
What is Christian persecution?
Christian persecution is the oppression of Christians because of their faith.
Threats, unjust imprisonment, harassment, beatings, loss of family, physical and sexual abuse, loss of liberty, and death are forms of persecution that Christians around the world face because of their faith.
Numerous countries — particularly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East — have documented occurrences of Christian persecution, regularly. Open Doors USA provides a wealth of information, including a country watch-list, on the trends and changes in Christian persecution.
Why do we observe this day?
We are continually reminded of the reality of religious persecution, and how it threatens brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.
Three young United Methodist missionaries were detained this year in the Philippines for weeks for their vocational work in faith.
Many other Christians of various denominational affiliations, including United Methodist, have been detained — or worse — for much longer. They daily face persecution for their faith in their own countries and places of residence. For these brothers and sisters in the faith, home is not a safe place to be a follower of Christ — and they follow anyway.
Prayer is one of the most frequently requested items voiced by Christians facing persecution. Through Jesus’ example and the examples of the saints, the Bible shows us that prayer draws us closer to God and to one another. We are commanded specifically to pray in Heb. 13:3 for those who are suffering as if we were suffering with them.
Please join us in praying for Christians around the world who are facing oppression and persecution. Below is a prayer from United Methodists Discipleship; you can also find a service of prayer for persecuted Christians on their website.
As we seek prayers for peace, safety, courage, freedom, sustenance and support for Christians around the world, let us not forget that God’s love and concern extends to all who are facing oppression. Our own circle of love should be similarly expansive.
A Prayer for Persecuted Christians
by Safiyah Fosua
Based on Luke 21:12, written in honor of the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians.
God, you know
The plight of people far away
Oppressed by governments and vigilantes
Where Christianity is an unpopular choice.
God, you knew
That the day would come here
When truth-telling would be despised
And siding with the oppressed
Part of the road less travelled.
Have mercy, O God,
Upon persecuted Christians there and here
Who are willing to suffer consequences
For speaking your Name
In word or in deed
In defiance or in advocacy.
Grant courage and strength
To all who would dare
To live their convictions out loud. Amen.