FORT ERIE, Ont. (INS)-Present Sufferings, Future Glory is the theme of this year's International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (www.idop.ca), which Intercede International helps to organize. Millions of Christians around the world are being persecuted for their faith-seeing their family or friends martyred, suffering in prison cells, or being forced from their homes and jobs.
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 influence 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 more than 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 2013 will take place on Sunday, November 10th. If you are unable to participate in IDOP Sunday on this date, you are encouraged to set aside time on another day to remember our persecuted brothers and sisters. The important thing is to PRAY. The 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 10th and pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters. Thank you for joining with us in prayer for the persecuted church!