Prayer For Individual Persecuted Christians
Praying for Persecuted Christians
Making plans for this space is one of my weaknesses, to be honest with you.
The best bloggers keep an editorial calendar, scheduling posts months in advance, but me? I’m the one who often flounders right up until a post is due.
I can’t say I regret it though, because it’s one way God continues to keep me yielded to Him. Dependent on Him. Desperate for Him, even, as I trust that He’ll prompt my heart when and where He desires.
And He never, ever fails me.
With all that being said, I didn’t set out last week to write a mini-series on persecution.
When I started my post last week, Even at Gunpoint, Yes, I Am a Christian, I had no idea that by the end of it, God would nudge my heart with the followup, Preparing for Persecution.
And this morning, I awoke with Pastor Saeed, his wife Naghmeh, and their children on my mind. My heart aches for the ongoing separation they’re enduring. I have cringed and wept with the news of each new beating Saeed has suffered. I sometimes struggle to honor our nation’s President, who seems to consider Saeed’s plight with callous regard instead of concerned intervention.
What can we do, friends? What can we do for Saeed and for Syrian Christians and for Christians being enslaved and tortured and killed by ISIS?I don’t know about you, but I despise this helpless feeling. This “something-must-be-done-but-I-have-no-power-to-do-anything” kind of feeling.
Truth be told, I’m getting that feeling a lot these days. And through it all, I’m incredibly grateful for a God who patiently points me toward prayer.
Because prayer is far and away the best thing we can do, whether or not it’s the only thing we can do.
In fact, Scripture teaches believers to lift prayers on behalf of those being persecuted.
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Hebrews 13:3
It’s interesting to me that we’re not commanded to circulate a petition for the release of our Christian brothers and sisters.
We’re not instructed to plan a jailbreak or call for a boycott.
We’re told to pray.
So with great thoughtfulness and humility, I’m sharing five prayers for persecuted Christians around the world. These prayers are particularly powerful, not because they’re words you’ve found at A Divine Encounter, but because they’re words that come from the pages of Scripture.
Will you join me in praying the Scriptures for persecuted Christians?
And consider going a step further, making these prayers part of your regular routine. Maybe you could pray for persecuted Christians as you perform a certain household routine each day. Or perhaps pray for them on a particular day each week.
Because time spent praying is time well-spent.
)Pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, would give persecuted believers the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of their hearts enlightened, that they may know what is the hope to which He has called them, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His resurrection power toward them. (Ephesians 1:17-20)2.)Ask God to preserve persecuted believers as they take refuge in Him, acknowledging that He is their Lord and their Source of every blessing. Praise God for being their portion and their cup, and the One who holds their lot.
Claim His promise that the lines have fallen for them in pleasant places, and that they have a beautiful inheritance. Ask that God would counsel them, and instruct their hearts in the night. Pray that as they set the Lord always before them, they will not be shaken.
Ask that God would grant them a glad heart, and that they would rejoice with their whole being, knowing that they are secure in God’s hand. Rejoice that He will not abandon them, and ask that He would make known to them the path of life.
Ask for a keen sense of His presence at every moment, bringing a fullness of joy that exceeds human understanding. (Psalm 16:1, 5-11)
3.)Pray that persecuted Christians would themselves be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.
Ask God to open up a door for the Word, so that they may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which they have been imprisoned; that God may make it clear in the way they ought to speak.
Ask that God’s grace would enable them to conduct themselves with wisdom toward unbelievers, making the most of every opportunity. Pray that their speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that they will know how they should respond to each person. (Colossians 4:2-6)
4.)Remind God of His promise of grace that is sufficient in every circumstance, and of power that is made perfect in weakness.Pray that His persecuted children would glory in their weaknesses, trusting that the power of Christ would rest upon them.
Ask Him for supernatural grace that would allow them to be content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when they are weak, then they are strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
5.)Ask God to grant persecuted believers an unquenchable joy in spite of their circumstances, because according to the measure that they share in Christ’s sufferings, they will be exceedingly glad when His glory is revealed.
Pray that God would remind them that if they are insulted for the name of Christ, they are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon them. Pray that God’s grace would keep them above reproach, and that they would not be ashamed, but would glorify God and give thanks that they can bear the name “Christian.
” Ask that those who suffer according to God’s will would entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (I Peter 4:12-19)
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PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS—Why and how should we pray and act for the suffering church?
See this page in: Dutch, Indonesian
“…as followers of Christ, we must take a bold step: we must shed the ‘enemy image’ we have of those who persecute us. Because the moment we have an enemy image of anyone, God's love can no longer work through us to reach them! We must pray for and even love those who hate us.”
Each year, millions of Christians around the world participate in an International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. For those of you who take part, I want to thank you on behalf of all those millions of beleaguered Christians living in areas where faith costs the most.
We have to speak for the 200 million Christians worldwide who live under persecution (examples). We have to speak against those oppressive regimes where atrocities still happen, because we do not speak up enough as the church in the free world. We do not speak enough to God through prayer about the issue, and we do not speak enough to and through our governments.
what is the solution? The Bible clearly teaches us it is forgiveness and reconciliation, bathed in prayer
Around the world the situation is the same: the suffering cannot cope without our help. But what is the solution? The Bible clearly teaches us it is forgiveness and reconciliation, bathed in prayer.[Note: A Biblical study on how to pray for the persecuted church is presented below.]
I was in a Christian town totally destroyed in one night by a wild Muslim mob, leaving 10,000-20,000 Christians homeless, seeing all their possessions destroyed. We had a big gathering of Christians and Muslims right afterward, and we spoke about forgiveness and reconciliation.
Why? Because life goes on even during and after persecution! We have to look for those opportunities, not just the needs, not just the crises, but the opportunities and the solutions that God gives to those who are dedicated to him.
On that very same day, I received a telephone call from the main Imam [Muslim leader] of that country. He said, “Brother Andrew, can you please come and pray with me? I am very sick!”
So I decided to take a local pastor with me who had just been released from prison; a man who had suffered because of the Muslims. Together, along with other members of our Open Doors team, we went to see him. There I explained exactly who Jesus was.
I gave a testimony of my personal faith in Christ. Then I began to pray, and I laid my hands on this Imam, and as I was praying I felt a hand on top of my hand. It was the pastor who had just come from prison.
What a perfect illustration of the teaching of Jesus: pray for those who persecute you.
Christians have an answer in those situations that the world does not know anything about. But as followers of Christ, we must take a bold step: we must shed the “enemy image” we have of those who persecute us. Because the moment we have an enemy image of anyone, God's love can no longer work through us to reach them! We must pray for and even love those who hate us.
I’m willing to die for Him, and I’m also willing to die for you So in reality, the way Christians live out their lives before others is the most powerful message we can share. It far transcends the words or methods we may try to employ to impact a needy world in the face of the challenging question, “Who is God?”.
Christians must be able to point to our hearts and say, “Here is God! He lives in me.
And I'm willing to die for Him, and I'm also willing to die for you because that's what He did for us on the cross at Calvary!” Nothing else will work in this age of confrontation unless and until every Christian is not only willing to give their lives, but one day actually does it.
I challenge the Christians of the world to pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters, to act on their behalf and to live out the life of Jesus in this needy world around us. Only then we will see a radical change take place in the lives of people. Only then we will see the love of Christ replace the hatred of this world.
Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors
How to Pray for the Persecuted Church
For their physical protection and deliverance.
Matthew 26:39 “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”
Acts 12:5 “So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.”
Philippians 1:19 “For I know that this shall turn out for my deliverance [from jail] through your prayers.”
Philemon 22 “I hope that through your prayers I shall be given to you [from jail].”
Romans 15:30-31 “Now I urge you, brethren… to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those who are disobedient in Judea”.
God predicted persecution:
Acts 20:23-24 “the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course”
And the suffering came:
Acts 21:30-31 “And all the city was aroused, and the people rushed together; and taking hold of Paul, they dragged him the temple; and… were seeking to kill him.”
That God would give them the right words and that they would fearlessly make Christ known
Here Paul tells how to pray for him when he was suffering for Christ in jail—notice his prayer was not for release.
Ephesians 6:19-20 “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”Colossians 4:2-4 “Devote yourselves to prayer… praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.”
[See our Effective Evangelism section]
That they will see God's grace as sufficient and God's power perfected in their weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
That they would love Christ's appearing all the more
2 Timothy 4:5-8 “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Hebrews 11:35 “…others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection”.
That they will rejoice in sharing the sufferings of Jesus so that they will rejoice even more when Christ is revealed
Hebrews 10:34 “…accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one.”
Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
I Peter 4:13 “but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.”
That they will endure
Hebrews 10:36 “For you have need of endurance.”
That they will choose ill-treatment and the reproach of Christ, not pleasures of sin
Hebrews 11:24-26 “Moses… (chose) rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.”
That they will arm themselves with this purpose: to suffer so as to eradicate sin
1 Peter 4:1 “arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in flesh has ceased from sin.”
Hebrews 5:8 “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.”
That they will love Christ far more than life itself
Revelation 12:10-11 “they overcame (Satan) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.”
Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Acts 20:24 “I (Paul) do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course.”
That they will love their enemies
Luke 6:27-31 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
That they not enter into temptation—an easy possibility under the stress of persecution (Luke 22:39-45 — Jesus in the garden)
That they will rejoice that they are considered worthy to suffer for HIS name
Acts 5:41 “So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.”
That they will remember they were made for such persecution
Acts 14:22 “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
Philippians 1:29 “For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”
That they will live the joy of the Lord before their persecutors
Acts 16:25 “But about midnight Paul and Silas (in jail) were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
Philippians 1:28 “…in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.”
That they will remember their unbelievable future glory
Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
That they would learn to more completely trust in God
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead”
That they would rejoice that they bear in their bodies the “brand marks of Christ”
Galations 6:17 “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.”
That they would rejoice in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's sufferings
Colossians 1:24 “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions.”
Note: Our sufferings do not add to the atoning worth of Jesus' sufferings. Rather, His sufferings are not known to the world, and so we suffer to bring that news to those His sufferings were meant to save.
This Biblical study on how to pray for the persecuted church was submitted by a friend of Films for Christ, a pastor who prefers to remain anonymous.
More about persecution
Brother Andrew, a Dutchman whose real name is Anne van der Bijl, has always been a trailblazer. He made history during the early days of the Cold War when in 1955 he began “smuggling” Bibles into Communist Eastern Europe.
On the last day of his first trip, as he sat reading his Bible, he says that the Lord spoke to him through Revelation 3:2 to “strengthen what remains and is on the point of death.
” His delivery of one suitcase of Christian literature to the suffering church in Poland was the humble beginning of Open Doors with Brother Andrew, now an international ministry that brings literature and much-needed assistance to Christians living in difficult circumstances in 58 countries around the world.
Authors: First portion provided by Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors, via Assist Communications, PO Box 2126, Garden Grove, CA 92842-2126, USA. Second portion provided by a friend of Films for Christ, a pastor who wishes to remain anonymous.Copyright © 1998, 1999, Films for Christ, All Rights Reserved—except as noted on attached “Usage and Copyright” page that grants ChristianAnswers.Net users generous rights for putting this page to work in their homes, personal witnessing, churches and schools.
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5 Powerful Prayers To Pray For Persecuted Christians
Our hearts yearn for a way to ease the hardship of Christians who are discriminated against, harassed, unjustly arrested, beaten, imprisoned or even killed by regimes who oppose Jesus Christ.
When we read headlines about people groups being persecuted for their faith, it may seem—at first glance—that there’s nothing we can do.
After all, in many cases, we live thousands of miles away and we often feel over-extended in just managing our own families and responsibilities.
Nevertheless, our hearts yearn for a way to ease the hardship of Christians who are discriminated against, harassed, unjustly arrested, beaten, imprisoned or even killed by regimes who oppose Jesus Christ.
Fortunately, the Bible provides us with fitting examples of how Christians can make a difference for persecuted believers. One of the most powerful ways to support Christians facing hardship, of course, is prayer.
In Ephesians 6:18, for example, Paul instructs believers to be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. In the next 2 verses, Paul requests more specific prayer for himself as he faces persecution.
“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
In this passage and in many other places, we find the Bible offers practical insight for how to pray for those facing persecution including these 5 compiled below.
1. Pray that whatever their circumstances, God will give persecuted Christians the right words.
In Ephesians 6:19-20, Paul asks fellow believers to “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
2. Pray that persecuted Christians will understand and find peace in the sufficiency of God’s grace, even in their weaknesses.
While facing physical threat, especially, Christians may be put into scenarios where they must make instantaneous choices under great pressure.
For this reason, we pray that the persecuted church would understand the promises of 2 Corinthians 12:9 which says, “’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
3. Pray that Christians facing hardship will draw from a source of power larger than themselves.
Christians facing persecution often have very little control over their lives, including their own safety and health.
They often battle against government accusers that do not provide them the right to a fair trial or representation that is more prevalent in the Western world.
Because of this, it’s critical to pray that believers in trying circumstances are able to see, Paul, that their hardship helps them rely on a God who is far more powerful than them.
“For we were so utterly burdened beyond out strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.” Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:7-9, “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”
4. Pray God would be present with persecuted Christians in their hardship, protecting them according to His will.
In Matthew 26:39, Jesus Himself faced an unjust trial. Even He prayed to God, “My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from me,” which is the first part of his prayer that inspires us to ask God to deliver persecuted Christians from harm.
At the same time, the second part of Jesus’ prayer goes hand-in-hand with praying this request. “Yet not my will, but yours be done.” Part of our prayer can be that God will deliver Christians from chains, as he did for Peter in Acts 12.
But we also pray that if God does not see fit to supernaturally intervene in such a way, that we will intervene to strengthen these believers no matter the outcome.
5. Pray their witness would inspire those who seek to harm them.
In Luke 6:27-31, the apostle said, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” When Christians are able to maintain perspective this, their actions are often noticed by those who persecute them.
In the case of Paul and Silas, in Acts 16:25, their behavior—praying and singing and praise in the face of hardship—were observed by both their jailers and other prisoners.
In acting faith despite their circumstances, they were able to share the gospel with their captors in an opportune moment, and the jailer and his family came to believe, as well (Acts 16:34).
4 Ways to Pray for Persecuted Christians
Violence. Imprisonment. Discrimination. Isolation. These are just a few ways countless Christians are persecuted every single day. It is tempting to pray for their mistreatment to end and to ask God to relieve their pain and suffering. But this is not what oppressed Christians are praying for.
RELATED CONTENT: Hundreds of Chinese Christian Schoolchildren Forced to Declare They Follow ‘No Religion’
In fact, many persecuted Christians are thankful for their tribulations. They believe these trials serve to grow their faith and strengthen the body of Christ in a powerful way.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
One of our partners in China—where religious oppression is once again on the rise—said, “The prayer of Chinese believers is not that the persecution would stop, but that they would have the strength to remain faithful.”
So how do you pray for persecuted Christians?
1. Pray That They Will Feel The Comfort And Encouragement Of The Lord
Christians living in countries North Korea face incredible pain and violence for their beliefs. They are told over and over to turn from the Lord, and yet they remain strong. Pray they will be reminded they are not alone.
In 1 Peter 4:12-14, the apostle Peter shares about suffering, a topic that he and the other members of the early church knew all too well. In these verses, he says:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Peter took great encouragement from the knowledge that God is always with us, even in our most difficult moments. In Romans 8:35, Paul reminds believers that nothing—not even persecution—can separate us from God. This truth is what sustains us in the face of abuse, violence … and even death.
Pray these verses over Christians who are suffering and ask God to remind them of His constant presence. Pray, also, that they will remember that in their trials, they are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. They are never alone.
2. Pray That Their Persecutors Will Come To Know Christ
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus says, “… love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
When Christians stand firm in the face of persecution, it changes the way people view the Christian faith. We hear numerous stories from countries including North Korea and China where members of the military or police decide to follow Jesus after seeing a believer’s faith. They begin to wonder, “What is this thing that so many people are willing to die for?”
RELATED CONTENT: Persecuted Christian Martyrs Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Here’s Why It Matters
We know that we serve a God who brings beauty from ashes. He specializes in redeeming the most difficult parts of our lives and turning them into something glorious. As you think about our brothers and sisters in Christ, pray that God will use their suffering to bring others to faith — particularly those who are carrying out the persecution.
3. Pray That In The Midst Of Persecution, The Church Will Be Strengthened And Continue To Grow
Even though the purpose of persecution is to stamp out the church, it often has the opposite effect. Believers grow bolder and more passionate about sharing God’s Word with others. Despite attempts to stop it, the global church continues to grow.
Ask God to strengthen Christians in areas of great persecution. Ask that He will increase believers’ boldness as they share the Gospel with those around them. And pray that despite all odds, more and more people will come to believe in Jesus as their Savior.
4. Pray That These Believers Will Have Access To God’s Word
The Bible is full of verses on persecution and faith in the midst of trials. These verses bring great comfort and encouragement, yet many persecuted believers have never had the chance to read them. They live in Bible deserts, where God’s Word is difficult to find and dangerous to hold. Still, they long to read the words for themselves.
Pray that copies of God’s Word will make their way into the hands of persecuted believers around the world. These Bibles will not only provide encouragement—they will also be tools to help grow God’s kingdom.
RELATED CONTENT: How an Atheist Who Survived Horrors of China’s Culture Revolution Found Jesus
So, as we remember those who are brutally persecuted for their faith, please ask God to give them strength, wisdom, endurance—and that their lives will be a Christian testimony to everyone around them.
With these prayers, you can make an incredible difference.
Emily Towns writes for World Help, a Christian humanitarian organization serving the physical and spiritual needs of people in impoverished communities around the world. To learn more about religious persecution around the world, click here.
Christian Persecution Today
Today, just in the book of Acts, Christians are persecuted all over the world for following Jesus.
Persecution at a Glance
Christians remain one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world.
While Christian persecution takes many forms, it is defined as any hostility experienced as a result of identification with Christ.
Christian torture remains an issue for believers throughout the world including the risk of imprisonment, loss of home and assets, physical torture, beheadings, rape and even death as a result of their faith.
Trends show that countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are intensifying persecution against Christians, and perhaps the most vulnerable are Christian women, who often face double persecution for faith and gender.Every day we receive new reports of Christians who face threats, unjust imprisonment, harassment, beatings and even loss of family because of their faith in Jesus.
Every month, on average:
- 345 Christians are killed for faith-related reasons
- 105 Churches and Christian buildings are burned or attacked
- 219 Christians are detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned
Every year, we release the World Watch List—a global indicator of countries where human and religious rights are being violated, and those countries most vulnerable to societal unrest and destabilization. This is the 27thyear of the Open Doors World Watch List, and it remains the only annual in-depth survey to rank the 50 most difficult countries in which to be a Christian.
According to our research:
- 245 million Christians experience high levels of persecution in the countries on the World Watch List. And worldwide, 1 in 9 Christians experience high levels of persecution.
- North Korea is ranked #1 for the 18th consecutive year as the most dangerous country for Christians.
- Islamic Oppression fuels Christian persecution in 8 of the top 10 countries.
1. The shocking reality of persecution against women
In the 2019 World Watch List reporting period, there were shocking details about the persecution experienced by Christian women. In many places, they experience “double persecution”—one for being a Christian and one for being a woman.
Even in the most restricted circumstances, gender-specific persecution is a key means of destroying the minority Christian community.
This kind of persecution is difficult to assess because it is complex, violent and hidden—in many cultures where women are specifically targeted, it is difficult if not impossible to report accurate numbers.
2. Islamic oppression continues to impact millions of Christians
In seven the top 10 World Watch List countries, the primary cause of persecution is Islamic oppression. This means, for millions of Christians—particularly those who grew up Muslim or were born into Muslim families—openly follow-ing Jesus can have painful consequences. They can be treated as second-class citizens, discriminated against for jobs or even violently attacked
3. The world’s two most-populated countries on the World Watch List
For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10. Additionally, China jumped 16 spots, from 43 to 27. Each of these countries is home to more than a billion people, so these trends are distressing.
Hindu nationalists in India continue to attack Christians with what seems no consequences, and in China, the increased power of the government and the rule of Xi Jinping continue to make open worship difficult in some parts of the country.
4. The spread of Islam across sub-Saharan Africa
While the violent excesses of ISIS and other Islamic militants have mostly disappeared from headlines from the Middle East, their loss of territory there means that fighters have dispersed to a larger number of countries not only in the region but, increasingly, into sub-Saharan Africa.
Their radical ideology has inspired or infiltrated, numerous splinter groups such as Islamic State West Africa ProvinceIslamic State West Africa Province is a sect of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
(ISWAP), a deadly group that broke away from Nigeria’s Boko Haraman extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria that also enslaves Christian women and girls as an integral part of their strategy.
5. More laws added to control religion
State authoritarianism is increasing in many parts of the world, supported by the ever-spreading availability of personal digital technology, which governments can increasingly track through facial recognition, electronic chips and so on. Places Vietnam, Myanmar, China and North Korea all saw increases in stricter state control of religious rights.
At Open Doors, we’ve made a commitment to stand with the persecuted—so they can be the light of Christ to their communities.
For more than 60 years, Open Doors USA has worked in the world’s most oppressive and restrictive countries for Christians.
Open Doors works to equip and encourage Christians living in dangerous circumstances with the threat of persecution and equips the Western church to advocate for the persecuted.
Christians are one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries.