The International Day Of Prayer For The Persecuted Church
"As a human rights issue, the persecution of Christians dwarfs all other forms of religious injustice. It is beneficial to take advocacy for fellow believers who suffer for their faith as a starting point, as Christians living in free societies have been largely unaware of or silent to this increasing tragedy. As we gain a deeper understanding of the plight of our Christian family, we can also grow in knowledge about human rights issues affecting all people. A Christian’s compassion is not reserved only for fellow Christians, but is to be given to all who suffer injustice and oppression (Luke 10:36-37) and to those whose dark consciences press them to perpetrate evil (Matthew 5:44). Christians are encouraged to ‘do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers’ (Galatians 6:10).
"The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) is a global day of intercession for persecuted Christians worldwide. This year it will be observed on Sunday, November 13. Its primary focus is the work of intercessory prayer and citizen action on behalf of persecuted communities of the Christian faith. We also encourage prayer for the souls of the oppressors, the nations that promote persecution, and those who ignore it.
"We believe that prayer changes things. Exactly what happens is a mystery of faith. God invites us to present to Him our requests and to pray without ceasing. Persecuted Christians often plead for prayer to help them endure. The most we can do is the least we can do – pray." (Excerpted from www.persecutedchurch.org).
Here are some specific prayer points, based on Scripture, to help guide you as you pray for the persecuted Church, and her persecutors:
"The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble" (Psalm 9:9).
"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him…" (Nahum 1:7). Father, be a refuge for believers who are persecuted for their faith. Because they trust in You, be their stronghold and their deliverer!
"Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from Your statutes" (Psalm 119:157). Righteous Father, give strength to those who are being told they must renounce the Christian faith! Help them to boldly cling to Your Word and Your purposes in the face of persecution.
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me" (Matthew 24:9). Lord Jesus, Your people truly are suffering for Your Name’s sake. Because they follow Your teachings and commands, they are hated by family and friends, they are beaten and imprisoned, and even killed. Strengthen their hearts to stand strong, because they know that their reward is a crown of righteousness!
"Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed" (Psalm 82:3). Lord, there are many children whose parents have been taken from them by death or imprisonment. Protect them by the power of Your hand and set them into new families of believers who will raise them to stand firm upon Your teaching.
"The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed" (Psalm 103:6). Father God, bring justice to those who are persecuted! Help their persecutors to see Your face in the face of those whom they torment, so that they also might be transformed into the image of Your Son, Jesus Christ.
"He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free…" (Psalm 146:7). Father, provide for those who bear Your Name! Bring food at the proper time and secure the release of those who are in prisons all over the world simply because they call upon You.
"You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry…" (Psalm 10:17). "For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help" (Psalm 22:24). "Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry for help come to You" (Psalm 102:1). "Answer me when I call to You, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer" (Psalm 4:1). "In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears" (Psalm 18:6). "May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you" (Psalm 20:1). "Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice" (Psalm 55:17). "Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress" (Psalm 107:28). "O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for You. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress" (Isaiah 33:2). "For He will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help" (Psalm 72:12). Gracious Lord, Your Word promises that You will hear and answer the prayers of those who call out to You in the midst of being persecuted for their faith in You. It promises that You will deliver them. Encourage them as soon as their prayers are uttered. Be their strength and salvation. Defend those who have no earthly defense, but who are relying upon You to help them! Raise up an army of intercessors to plead the cases of the millions of believers who are persecuted for the cause of Christ.
"Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones" (Isaiah 49:13). Lord, bring rejoicing into the hearts of those who are being persecuted for Your Name’s sake! May Your comfort and strength flood their spirits and Your compassion be poured out upon those who are suffering. May their willingness to suffer for their faith bring honor and glory to Your name, as their testimonies pierce the hearts of those who would persecute them. Reveal Yourself in power to those who are lost in darkness so that Your kingdom will advance across the earth!