This Sunday, November 10 (and in some places last Sunday, November 3) churches all around the world will pause to remember and to pray for the many believers who are persecuted -- imprisoned, even killed -- for their faith. Since Jesus laid down His life, 43 million Christians have become martyrs. Today 200 million people face persecution for believing in Jesus and 60% of those people are children. Each year thousands are killed for no other reason than their belief in Jesus Christ.
In September 85 people were killed when a church was bombed in Pakistan.
In October at a church in Egypt – 4 people were killed – including 2 children – while attending a wedding.
Last year in Kenya, gunmen entered two churches on a Sunday morning as people were gathered to worship and killed 15 of the worshippers.
Because the New Testament was written to persecuted believers, it is filled with examples of how to pray for our brothers and sisters under attack. Here are 5 examples from Ephesians:
Please pray persecuted believers would know the hope God gives (Ephesians 1:8).
Pray the Holy Spirit would strengthen them (Ephesians 3:16).
Please pray persecuted believers would know how much God loves them (Ephesians 3:17)
Pray they would know how to share the gospel (Ephesians 6:19).
Please pray persecuted believers would fearlessly tell others about Jesus (Ephesians 6:20).
To create additional ways to pray from the Bible, take any book from the New Testament (except the gospels). Search for verses with the word "pray." Then use those verses to create prayer requests, just as in the 5 examples above.
Along with the example prayers in the Bible, there are some practical needs persecuted believers would love your prayers for:
Please pray persecuted believers would have access to a Bible.
Pray they have the courage to remain in their homeland.
Please pray for believers who have been rejected by family and friends.
Pray that God would surround them with a new Christian "family" who loves them and supports them emotionally and physically.
Pray for God to be an advocate for women who are socially vulnerable or have lost the custody of their children because of their faith.
Please pray that God would provide persecuted believers with jobs and safe places to live.
Learn more ways to pray for the persecuted church and read news alerts on current crises by visiting the Web site for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.