The world's largest prayer initiative for persecuted churches and those suffering from the recent natural disasters will take place for eight days next month.
Christians in over 100 countries will join in prayer from Nov. 13th - 20th, in the annual event known as International Day of Prayer (IDOP). This year's IDOP topic will focus on praying for persecuted Christians worldwide and for the victims of the tsunami, the 7.6-magnitude earthquake in South Asia, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the US.
"In the context of his own life, Jesus demonstrated the tremendous importance of prayer," said Johan Candelin, global coordinator for the International Day of Prayer (IDOP) and director of the World Evangelical Alliance's Commission for Religious Freedom in a released WEA statement. "We therefore want to transform our longings into prayer and ask God to transform the world through the prayers of his people."
IDOP began in 1996 by the then-World Evangelical Fellowship, now known as the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), and has united hundreds of thousands of churches in prayer during the eight days. IDOP initially began with 7,000 churches participating in the initiative and has blossomed to encompass an estimated 200,000 churches last year.
"It is a great blessing for everyone to pray together on the same day, for it helps remind us how big the Church of Jesus Christ is and how many brothers and sisters we have," said Candelin. "The least we can do is the most we can do - pray!"
According to IDOP organizers, more than 200 million people in over 60 countries face discrimination, persecution and death as a consequence of being called a Christian. The goals of IDOP are to: increase awareness of the persecuted church worldwide, lead in prayer on behalf of the persecuted church, promote ongoing and appropriate action on behalf of the persecuted church.
"This is a time to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering for Jesus Christ every day," said Janet Epp Buckingham, Director of the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, one of the partners in IDOP Canada. "Prayer is the most powerful tool to help those who are persecuted. And it is what those who are persecuted ask for the most."
2005 IDOP resources are available online for download in several languages and include sermon outlines, drama scripts, game ideas, country profiles for selected nations, children's materials, a prayer map, and a DVD movie that can help Christians pray effectively for the persecuted church.
For more information on IDOP, visit: www.idop.org or www.worldevangelicalalliance.com