If you’re anything like me, your Sundays probably look pretty much the same every week. You get up, get dressed in something nice, and drive to church. Maybe you drop your kids off at Sunday School or the youth room. Or you might volunteer in some ministry before heading to a service.
But in countries like China or North Korea, Sunday worship can look quite different. It’s a quiet affair, and the lights are low for safety rather than for ambience. The services are held at different places to avoid suspicion, and believers often do their best to avoid being seen.
In some places, it’s too dangerous to worship together at all. Secret Christians cry out to God alone, in a quiet bedroom or private space. Most of these believers don’t even have a Bible — although they pray for one. These men, women, and children face brutal persecution every single day of their lives.
But together with your church family, you can do something to help.
In just a few weeks, we will observe International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
On this day — Nov. 4 — believers around the world will unite with one purpose: to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters.
This is a day when we fall on our knees and remember that our faith isn’t just about us. We are the body of Christ — and when one part of the body is hurting, the rest share in that pain.
Right now, in countries around the world, our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering on behalf of our Savior. They are experiencing physical, emotional, and mental abuse … often at the hands of those closest to them.
Can you imagine being beaten and harassed by your next-door neighbor? Your co-workers? Your own family?
Can you imagine not being able to gather with other believers? Can you imagine having to go through all of that suffering alone?
Unfortunately, this is a daily reality for Christians living in countries like North Korea, Iraq, and Nigeria, among others. But there is something you can do.
We have created a number of resources to help guide your congregation, small groups, or Sunday School classes through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
Click here to download your free International Day of Prayer resources, including:
• Prayer guides for every age group — Use these prayer guides to learn about countries where religious persecution is greatest and pray for Christians living there. Choose from a guide for children, a guide for youth groups, and a guide for adults and families.
• A list of Scriptures about persecution — This list of Bible verses can serve as a springboard for you come together to talk about the persecuted church or meditate and pray individually.
• A coloring sheet for children — Kids will love coloring the children from around the world on this coloring sheet. And parents and teachers can use it to start a discussion about how important it is to pray for Christians in other countries, where believers don’t have the freedoms we enjoy in America.
• A church bulletin insert — Your church can use this bulletin insert to share some key prayer requests for International Day of Prayer.
In addition to these resources, you can visit worldhelp.net/prayer to find stories of persecution and facts about some of the countries where it is the worst. Armed with these resources, you will be able to effectively join the global church in prayer.
Prayer is a powerful thing. Even though you may not be able to travel to some of these countries, your prayers can travel for you — encouraging believers in their moment of greatest need.