Are you trembling with fear as you clicked on the Carrickfergus Baptist website today? Imagine a life where an association with Church could have catastrophic effects on your job, your family and even your life. Unfortunately, this life characterises that of the many persecuted Christians around the world. Those that could be beaten for possessing a Bible, risk confinement for attending church and face execution for their faith. Their life is a stark contrast to our comfortable Christian lives in Northern Ireland.
Open doors estimate that 255 Christians are killed for their faith every month. On a typical Sunday morning in Carrickfergus Baptist, there will be around 255 people here.
“According to The Pew Research Center, over 75% of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions (and many of these people are Christians). Also, according to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbours simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ.”
Let’s remember the Bible calls us to be a voice for the voiceless (Psalm 82:3) and Christ commands us to love our persecuted brothers and sisters (Hebrews 13:3). Yet in the face of these commandments, our feeble attempts feel like a drop in the ocean. What can we do?
We can be thankful for the wonderful mission organisations that are working to help, encourage and rescue those that are being threatened, isolated and persecuted. Many of them provide useful and up to date information on their websites. You can check these out below:
Sat 7 – Sat 7 support the Christians of the Middle East and North Africa in their Christian witness and lives. they beam the Good News of the Kingdom of God straight into people’s homes, into the centre of family life. They deliver Christian satellite television for the Middle East and North Africa.
Open Doors – Open Doors is an international ministry serving persecuted Christians and churches worldwide. We supply Bibles, leadership training, literacy programmes, livelihood support and advocacy services. They also seek to mobilise the church in the UK & Ireland to serve Christians living under religious persecution.
Prayer crosses borders that we physically cannot. We can pray for peace for those in our Christian (1 Timothy 2:1-2). We must not forget to pray for those who are persecuting (Matthew 5:44). James 5:16 states that the prayers of a righteous man is powerful and effective. We may never know this side of eternity how God helped the persecuted Church because of our prayers.
This month at the Missions Prayer Meeting we focused on 6 main areas of the Persecuted Church and we should remember these brothers and sisters in the Lord through our daily prayers.
Iran – Pray for the Christians within Iran who face imprisonment, disownment, and exile for their faith. Pray that the government will change laws to allow religious freedom and God would work in their hearts.
North Korea – Pray for strength and comfort for the Christian believers and that Kim Jong-Un would get a revelation of Jesus.
India – Pray for young Christians, in particular girls, who are intimidated by their parents after conversion. Pray for the family of Pastor Gideon who was murdered for his faith and members of his local church.
Pakistan – Pray for the safety and release of Asia Bibi. Pray for the leaders and members of Bethel Memorial Methodist Church after the terrorist attack last Christmas. Pray for protection for Christian women and girls at risk of abduction, rape, forced marriage and forced conversion to Islam.
Tajikistan – Pray that the law would be changed to allow persons under 18 to take part in Christian worship. Pray that Pastor Holmatov Bahrom would be kept safe in prison and would be able to witness to other prisoners and guards.
Burkina Faso – Continue to pray for the physical safety of Ken Elliott and for his wife Jocelyn and his wider family, that they will know the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Pray for other missionaries working in Burkina Faso, especially Tim Wilson, that they will be protected from Islamic terrorists.