Millions to Pray for Persecuted Christians on Sunday
11/8/2009 (Pakistan TV) – Millions of Christians around the world will pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ Sunday in observance of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church .
In its 14th year, IDOP is one of the largest prayer events in the world. Last year, an estimated half a million churches in 150 countries participated in the event, according to Open Doors, an international Christian ministry that supports persecuted believers.
“The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church presents a tremendous opportunity for millions of people to make a difference in the lives of those being persecuted for their faith in countries like North Korea, Iran, Iraq, China, India and many more,” said Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. Carl Moeller.
“And on Nov. 8 we have the opportunity to collectively lift our petitions to the Lord on their behalf,” Moeller said.
According to Open Doors an estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer from some form of persecution for their faith in Christ – ranging from interrogation to death. Millions more face discrimination and alienation.
Godfrey Yogarajah, executive director of The Religious Liberty Commission of WEA, recalled recently visiting several widows of Christian leaders who were killed in the violence last year in India ’s Orissa state. He said they had lost everything: their homes, their possessions and their husbands.
“’We have lost everything except our faith,’” Yogarajah recalled one widow telling him as she held her baby tightly. “’Pray that we stay strong and bring up our children in the faith for which their fathers gave their lives.’”
Last year, Hindu extremists carried out the worst religious persecution in India ’s 60 years of democracy. At least 120 people were murdered, 250 churches destroyed and over 50,000 individuals displaced in Orissa , India .
Open Doors, which has ranked North Korea as the worst religious freedom violator for seven years in a row, estimates that the totalitarian regime detains at least 200,000 political and religious prisoners – more than any other country in the world. An estimated 40,000 to 60,000 of the prisoners are thought to be Christians.
Christians living in free countries are also asked to pray specifically for Iranian converts Maryam Rostampour, 27, and MarziehAmirizadeh Esmaeilabad, 30, who have been held in an Iranian prison for eight months for their faith.
Despite deteriorating physical health and psychological pressure, both women have refused to recant their faith in Jesus Christ.
Other groups currently active in serving the persecuted Church include Christian Freedom International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Gospel for Asia , International Christian Concern, and The Voice of the Martyrs, among others.