The first Sunday of November is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Each year I remind churches to pray in November for persecuted Christians. You can pray, you can preach, you can show a video, and you can show a power-point.
In July 2023, John Stonestreet wrote in Breakpoint Daily. “In John 16:33, Jesus said that “[i]n the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” In the 20 centuries since our Lord spoke these haunting yet hopeful words, they’ve proven true. In fact, in terms of absolute numbers, we live in the worst period of persecution against Christians in history. More Christians died for their faith in the 20th century than the previous 19 combined, and the 21st century is shaping up to be at least as deadly, but likely more. According to Open Doors International’s latest World Watch List, 312 million Christians face “extreme” or “very high” levels of persecution—1 in 5 in Africa; 2 in 5 in Asia. Last year was the worst year on record for persecution, with 5,500 Christians killed for reasons related to their faith, more than 2,000 churches attacked, and over 4,500 Christians detained or imprisoned. For the most part, each year of the past decade has been worse than the previous year.”
According to Open Doors most of these killed were in Nigeria. Sub-Sahara Africa is seeing the jihadist movement expand with Sharia/Islamic law leading to violent persecution. Thirteen of the top 20 most dangerous countries to follow Jesus are in this region. Ninety percent of Christians killed come from Sub-Sahara Africa. There are more Christians in Africa than anywhere else in the world.
-There is greater tolerance in the Gulf for religious freedom, such as Bahrain and the UAE.
-Ninety-five countries have blasphemy laws where they impose fines, imprisonment, or death often against Christians according to the Blasphemy Legislation Factsheet.
– “The New Book of Christian Martyrs”by Johnnie Moore and Jerry Pattengale. This is an updated version from the Foxes Book of Martyrs that honors the heroic sacrifice of today’s martyrs for the Christian faith.
–The top 50 countries in 2023 for persecution by Open Doors. Read about the countries on the top of their list and what it looks like to be a Christian living there.
–Voice of the Martyrs has good resources. Get videos, slides, handouts, etc to help you and your church pray for the persecuted Christians in the month of November.