For Christians living in democratic nations, intense religious persecution is rarely experienced. Yet 1 in 9 Christian believers in other nations are regularly suffering true religious persecution.
“It may be surprising, but Christian persecution around the world is one of the biggest human rights issues of this era.” This statement is made by the ministry of Open Doors, one of the many organizations who are exposing what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Christ and speaking out on behalf of Christians who are being persecuted for their faith in 2020. This is an issue we all need to know about so we can respond with our prayers.
Reliable reports say that more than 265 million Christians are vigorously persecuted, a 6% increase from the previous year. They represent people with real lives, families, jobs, churches — who every day make the dangerous choice to live for Jesus.
Even the secular world is commenting:
- A report in Newsweek Magazine says that Christian persecution and genocide is worse now than at “any time in history.”
- BBC news in Britain reports, “The persecution in parts of the world is ‘at near genocide levels’, according to a report ordered by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.”
Countries hostile to Christianity are in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Sexual violence and abuse is prevalent among women, and Christian men are physically tortured and imprisoned without cause. Each month an average of 105 churches are attacked, burned, or vandalized.
In the Arabian Peninsula, Muslim households quietly exploit Christian maids. In portions of Africa, raiding Islamic militias regularly attack women in Christian villages or abduct them for a life of sexual slavery. Christian women are trafficked as “brides” and continually experience physical violence by their persecutors.
The Christians of Nigeria have courageously faced unbelievable persecution in recent years by Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen. Young girls have been abducted and taken to be wives of these terrorists. Villages are burned down and the residents murdered, or they had to flee for their lives. Yet very little is done by their government.
At age 14, Leah Sharibu in Nigeria was one of 110 female students at a Science and Technical College abducted in February 2018 by Boko Haram terrorists. Leah was the only girl who was not released because she refused to renounce her Christian faith. She said, “NO!” in the face of danger, captivity, and oppression. Forced into motherhood, she still stands strong and will not deny Christ. Leah will be 17 years of age on May 14. Her courage is remarkable, especially for a teenager. Will you join us in praying for her strength and perseverance to continue and for her release from captivity?
- II Timothy 3:12 tells us that all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Yet we are told in Matthew 5:44 that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Only God’s grace can help us do this. Ask the Lord to pour out an abundance of grace upon our brothers and sisters who are persecuted and give them comfort and hope.
- Prayer is powerful, necessary, and regularly requested by those who are persecuted or held captive. Ask God give strength and peace to His people who are suffering
- Pray that God will bring conviction to the oppressors and bring them to salvation.