November 4 kicked off the 2018 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) event which implores Christians around the world to prayer for their persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.
The event, which takes place on the first and second Sundays in November each year – this year being the 4 and 11 – was started in 1996 by the World Evangelical Alliance’s Religious Liberty Commission.
According to Open Doors USA, the purpose of the IDOP is for “Christians throughout the free world [to] band together in solidarity with believers who live out their faith in the face of harassment, attacks, false imprisonment and even death.”
Every year the event has a theme. This year’s theme is called “Listen to Their Cry,” and aims to give persecuted Christians a platform to share their stories.
In a video commemorating the day, the WEA does just that by sharing statements from Christians in countries such as North Korea, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan where hundreds, if not thousands of Christians are persecuted annually.
A Christian from Afghanistan is quoted in the video as saying, “I am so afraid; I believe in Jesus now, and my wife also but I still go to the mosque to pray five times a day.”
A Christian woman from North Korea shared her experience in a labor camp with the outlet saying, “Every day was as if God was pouring out all ten plagues on us simultaneously. That’s how hard it was. But God also comforted me. Every Sunday we would gather in the toilets and pray.”
As stated on the IDOP website, more than 6,000 Christians have been killed in Nigeria this year alone. In Pakistan, 700 Christian women or girls are being kidnapped and pressured to convert each year.
According to The Christian Post, Open Doors USA reported in January that as many as 215 million Christians globally are being persecuted because of their Christian beliefs.
"It's easy to move through life disconnected from what happens to believers in other parts of the world. But this report helps us close the gap between us," the Open Doors CEO David Curry said in the report.
"After all, the World Watch List isn't about the numbers, but the people these numbers represent. I hope you see their stories of victory and resilience, and — more than anything — I hope you see the powerful Kingdom work God is accomplishing in some of the most difficult countries in the world."
This year Open Doors USA is hoping for 100,000 Christians around the world to pledge to pray for North Korea, Open Doors #1 ranked country as the most difficult place for Christians to be in the world. North Korea has been ranked #1 by the persecution watchdog for 17 consecutive years.
Photo courtesy: Naassom Azevedo/Unsplash
Video courtesy: International Day of Prayer