Pray for the Persecuted Church Nov. 9 through 16
- Thursday, November 06, 2003
Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering – Hebrews 13:3
More than three years ago, a Nepali man with a heart to reach his country for Christ was arrested on false murder charges and thrown into jail, leaving his wife and two children alone. Before his imprisonment, Manja Tamang – a native missionary with Gospel for Asia – courageously brought the Gospel to unreached villages in the rugged mountains of Nepal and led a congregation of 25 new believers. Even in his desolate prison cell, Manja remains steadfast in his passion to shine the light of Christ. Several prisoners have received the Lord through his witness.
Christians sharing their faith in Nepal live in constant peril due to the threat of Maoist terrorists and anti-Christian extremist groups. Each day, Gospel for Asia’s 305 Nepali missionaries wake up knowing they could face imprisonment—or even death—for spreading the Gospel. Yet, like Manja, they boldly choose to trek narrow mountain paths to reach villages with the Good News of Christ.
From Nepal to North Korea, from Sudan to China, countless followers of Christ daily face beatings, discrimination, jail and death. Because persecution is a global problem, it is only fitting that Christians around the world pray for their suffering brethren on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
“It will happen on 9 and 16 November 2003, and during the week between those two Sundays. It will be a beautiful view not only from a human point, but I truly believe that it will be something very beautiful in the eyes of God,” says Johan Candelin, Global International Day of Prayer coordinator. “As a father it touches my heart when I see my children love each other and care for each other. How much more will this beautiful event touch the heart of God who is our heavenly Father when he sees love and support for each other demonstrated by millions of his children?”
The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) is a global day of intercession for persecuted Christians worldwide. Its primary focus is the work of intercessory prayer and citizen action on behalf of persecuted communities of the Christian faith. The sponsoring groups also encourage prayer for the souls of the oppressors, the nations that promote persecution, and those who ignore it.
It all began in 1996 through the efforts of the World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF) in cooperation with a variety of denominations and faith-based organizations. From a core group of approximately 7,000 churches, the IDOP has grown to be the largest prayer day event of its kind in the world. The IDOP is a rallying point for Christians and others to stand behind those who suffer for their faith by providing prayer support and appropriate advocacy.
According to Candelin, “After having seen the IDOP for the Persecuted Church from the inside for many years, I can only say, it's a miracle! It is probably the world's biggest prayer group and it is strengthening the persecuted part of the church and awakening churches where there is no persecution. This is also beautiful because the church of Jesus Christ is one. Any revival in the world is your revival and any persecution in the world is your persecution.”
According to IDOP’s Elizabeth Kendal, 70 percent of the Church is now found in the non-Western world in nations with very poor human rights records. A large proportion of Christians now live in crippling poverty, amid war, under Communist dictatorships, Islamic oppression and domination, or in nations that are embracing nationalism as they seek to shake off their colonial past. One characteristic of this post-Colonial nationalism is that the majority religion, be that Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, becomes linked to national identity.
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