Each November, the call goes out around the globe for millions of Christians to come together and pray for the persecuted church.
This Sunday, Nov. 5, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted (IDOP). The IDOP is described as a special day set aside as a global prayer event to pray on behalf of Christians who are facing abuse and even death for the cause of Christ.
Launched over two decades ago, it’s a day for all believers around the world to come together to lift up those who have been silenced, tortured, or imprisoned for boldly sharing the word of God.
According to Open Doors’ World Watch List, last year alone, 5,621 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons, 2,110 churches faced brutal attacks, and 4,542 Christians were unjustly detained.
One in seven Christians worldwide currently faces persecution in various forms. One in five Christians are persecuted in Africa, and two in five Christians are persecuted in Asia, Open Doors reported.
According to the World Watch List, more than 360 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination.
The number one thing persecuted Christians ask for is prayer, according to International Christian Concern (ICC) President Jeff King.
ICC is offering a resource kit for churches and individuals to lead their faith communities in prayer for the persecuted.
“Christian persecution remains unreported in the news media and is a largely hidden issue. The average Christian may not be aware of such persecution unless they seek out information on it,” he noted.
Annual ‘Persecutors of the Year Report’ Released
Recently, the ICC released its 2023 Persecutors of the Year Report. The 88-page report names the countries, entities/groups, and individuals that harass, imprison, torture, and assassinate Christians for practicing their faith. You can download a copy here.
The 2023 report singles out the countries of Nigeria, North Korea, India, and many more. It includes groups like, the Allied Democratic Forces, Al-Shabab, Fulani Militants, Sahel Terror Groups, The Taliban, and Tatmadaw (Burmese Army). The top individuals cited for perpetrating persecution are Yogi Adityanath, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong Un, the ICC said.
Released annually, the report is a resource designed to support and protect Christians regardless of denomination or sect but it also supports all religious peoples that are denied their God-given right to religious freedom.
King cited several flashpoints for the church around the world this year, including Pakistan, “Where a 5,000-strong mob of radical Muslims destroyed two dozen churches and hundreds of homes in the Christian enclave of Jaranwala. And in Nigeria, millions of Christians have suffered attacks from radical Muslims for the last twenty years resulting in a death toll that may be as high as one million and the loss of three and a half million farms.”
“Across the globe, our brothers and sisters can be imprisoned or killed simply for identifying as a follower of Jesus. They are legally prevented from telling others about their faith and anti-conversion and blasphemy laws are used to falsely charge Christians with crimes,” King said in a press release.
Founded in 1995, the ICC said it prays that readers use the report and the information to support the cause of religious freedom.