FORT ERIE, Ont. (INS)—This year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) Canada theme is Victorious in Christ, based on Revelation 2:3 and 7:3. The word “Victory” may not be the first thing we think of when we consider the increasing tide of Christian persecution around the world. In fact, to many in the Western World, it is difficult to think of “victory” when thinking about “persecution.”
But as we take time to pray and consider those who are mistreated for taking a stand in Christ, may we remember what Scripture has to say about persecution. The enduring of hardship for the name of Christ reaps the rewards of heaven. Endurance is the story of every Christian who is threatened with personal and physical harm—and still stands for Christ.
This year’s theme verses read: “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary…. Whoever has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
This year, as we remember our brothers and sisters who are suffering for their faith in Jesus, let us pray earnestly for their safety and for their freedom. Let’s pray especially for increased freedom to express their faith without persecution. And as we do so, may we also allow ourselves to be inspired and changed by their examples of faith and courage.
What difference do our prayers make? Persecuted Christians, when asked what believers in the West can do for them, answer “pray.” They aren’t seeking to be rescued or removed from their situations. They seek the support of fellow Christians through prayer. Our prayers give spiritual and emotional support to suffering believers. Our prayers move the hand of God and change circumstances. Intercession through prayer helps the persecuted and those around them hold onto the peace and victory of Jesus. Their lives of dedication for God’s glory challenge and remind us that we are called to live lives for His glory—in times of peace or in times of persecution, in seasons of plenty or famine, in freedom or in chains. Our prayers are the whisper of hope in a dark place and the assurance that they are not alone in their stand for Christ. Our prayers could be the peace and encouragement they need to see another day.
Today around the world more than 200 million are suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. Each year, Christians in over 130 countries stand in prayer with our persecuted sisters and brothers through IDOP. Join with us as Christians across Canada unite in prayer for our brothers and sisters who suffer because they declare their faith in Christ. Their daily reality includes discrimination, intimidation, attacks, fines, imprisonment, unimaginable torture, and even death for their faith. While we here in the West may not identify with their hardships, we identify with their calling—and are called to pray on their behalf.
IDOP 2011 will take place on Sunday, November 13th. If unable to participate in IDOP Sunday on this date, congregations are encouraged to set aside time on another day to remember our persecuted brothers and sisters. The important thing is to pray. Intercede International and the other IDOP Canada partners have put together a free downloadable resource kit and DVD film to assist congregations, groups and friends to pray effectively for persecutors and the persecuted church. You can access it at: www.idop.ca .
The IDOP resource kit could help to organize an entire meeting, lead a small group, or highlight the needs of the persecuted church during a regular church service. Join with believers around the world on November 13th and pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters. Thank you for joining with us in prayer for the persecuted church!
[Source: INS- Intercede International, Fort Erie, ON]