Praying for the Persecuted Church part 2

Whilst speaking about the destruction of the Temple and signs of the end times, Jesus warns his disciples that they will face persecution as followers of Him from within their own family.

Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.” (Mark 13)

In the latest Open Doors prayer diary for March and April there are some examples of this:

  • In India, a wife was so badly beaten by her husband when he found her praying that she had to have five stitches in her head.
  • In Kyrgyzstan, a wife is being beaten by her husband and he is threatening to divorce her because of her faith in Jesus.
  • In the Arabian Peninsula a sister is facing severe abuse from her family-in-law since accepting Christ.
  • In Tanzania, a young lady who is 18 years old, secretly converted to Christianity after graduating from high school. She was selected to attend a college, but when her family learnt of her conversion, they rejected her and stopped paying her college fees.

In the West we might complain about Christianity being marginalised and be concerned about what could happen in the future. However, in many counties in this world the price of following Christ is very high as we can see in the examples above. They already right now are facing some incredibly tough situations. There are also other countries where it is just too dangerous for people to be open about their faith and they must keep it secret.

If you wish to pray for your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in the countries where it is most dangerous to follow Him, then the following resource will be helpful to you.

World Watch list 2021

In January, each year Open Doors publish their World Watch list which lists the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. The top 10 countries are currently:

  1. North Korea
  2. Afghanistan
  3. Somalia
  4. Libya
  5. Pakistan
  6. Eritrea
  7. Sudan
  8. Yemen
  9. Iran
  10. India

For many years Open Doors have been doing a very good job in supporting the worldwide persecuted church and if this is something that interests you, I would highly recommend that you explore their website.

Praying for the Persecuted Church

There are many countries in the world today where life can be difficult for Christians. In these countries both individual believers and the church face persecution for their faith.  For those Christians who live in Muslim countries Ramadan can be especially tough and challenging for them.

We may at times feel helpless to know how we can assist and support our fellow Christians in their struggles. One thing we can do though is to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. But what should we pray?

Open Doors is an organisation that works to supports the persecuted church throughout the world. There are many resources available on their website to help us in praying for our fellow Christians.

They also have a prayer diary and the following five prayers are taken from this month’s issue in which some of the prayers focus on Christians in Muslim countries during Ramadan.

  • Ramadan is a lonely time for many believers from Muslim backgrounds, especially those who must keep their faith secret. Many feel intimated because they are not fasting. Pray that isolated believers will know the Lord’s comfort and be strengthened in their faith.
  • There is an urgent need for Christians who can stand by  believers from Muslim backgrounds, to model the Christian life to them. Pray that churches will be places where  believers from Muslim backgrounds are warmly welcomed and receive the love and care they need – especially during Ramadan.
  • Believers from Muslim backgrounds often visit their families during Ramadan in Malaysia, but these visits can be incredibly difficult, as not every family member supports their decision to follow  Christ. Pray for wisdom for these believers and ask God to use them to open the hearts of their families to the love of Jesus.
  • Pray for wisdom and boldness for Christians in Muslim majority areas looking for ways to share the love of Christ with their Muslim neighbours during Ramadan. Pray that many Muslims will begin their journey towards Jesus as a result of their witness.
  • A Christian in Indonesia was rejected by his family when he became a believer, but he still plans to visit them this Ramadan because he wants them to know about Jesus. Pray for courage and protection as he shares the good news and ask the Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts of his children and relatives to receive the seed of the gospel.

Open Doors do a very good job in supporting the persecuted church and if this is something that interests you I would highly recommend that you explore their website

Vanya by Myrna Grant

In July 1972 a young soldier in the Russian army, Ivan Vasilievich Moiseyev who was a Christian, suffered a violent death. Myrna Grant records the events that led up to his death in the book “Vanya.”

When he joined the Russian army, at the age of 18 years old, Ivan had only been a believer for two years, but he had a Christian maturity way beyond his years. The night before he started his service with the army, Ivan told his father that God had told me to speak out for Him and not be silent. Ivan made the brave and very costly decision to follow that command from God.

It did not take very long after joining the army before Ivan ran into problems as a result of his faith. Throughout the book we read of the severe trails and punishments that he endured for being faithful to God. We also read about a number of miraculous signs and events that occurred which baffled those persecuting him.

There are numerous accounts of questioning he went through and pressure being put on him to deny his faith. However, not only did he refuse to deny Christ but bravely spoke out witnessing in His name.

Towards the end of his life Ivan sensed strongly that he was not going to survive the ordeal he was experiencing, Yet he preserved. At the end of the book there is a collection of letters he wrote to his family in the last month of his life which are very powerful. In these he speaks of his love for Christ and his determination to be faithful to Him.

Ivan was only 20 years old when he died and he had only been a Christian for four years. He paid the ultimate price for being loyal to his Saviour.

I’ve read this book a number of times and strongly recommend it. This is an amazing story and it’s very challenging to read about how brave and loyal Ivan was to Christ.