Praying for the World's Beaten, Tortured Believers

Christians across the globe will gather on Sunday to pray for the millions of Christians who are beaten, tortured and imprisoned for their faith in Christ.

On Sunday roughly a half-million congregations will observe the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church by dedicating at least a portion of their worship services to prayer and remembrance.

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The prayer day is co-organized by Open Doors USA, which advocates for persecuted Christians worldwide.

"The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church presents a tremendous opportunity for millions of people to make a difference in the lives of those being persecuted for their faith in countries like North Korea, Iran, Iraq, China, India and many more," Moeller said. "Persecuted believers have asked us who live in freedom to pray for them. [It's] always their No. 1 request."

On Sunday, Moeller will participate in a civil forum about persecuted Christians hosted at Saddleback Church by pastor Rick Warren.

In the run up to Sunday, Open Doors is encouraging churchgoers to find practical ways to help persecuted believers. The group is challenging Christians to sacrifice luxuries, such as visits to Starbucks, to help buy Bibles. Churches may want to lead prayer walks, hold candlelight vigils or sing accapella to remember the millions of Christians forced to meet underground and worship with only their voices as instruments.

Open Doors is encouraging Christians to also advocate for persecuted believers by opposing a proposed United Nations resolution that is expected to be voted on by the end of the year. The cleverly worded resolution, which is strongly backed by Islamic nations, would lend U.N. support to local and national laws that prohibit the "defamation of religions." Many Muslim nations consider converting from Islam to be defamation of religion, and it is sometimes punishable by death.

"This resolution would effectively put the moral authority of the United Nations on the side of those countries like Saudi Arabia, like Iran that say it is illegal to convert from Islam to any other religious belief," Moeller said.

He is asking that Christians sign a petition, dubbed Say No to the U.N. Resolution That Suppresses Religious Freedom, at opendoorsusa.org.

Open Doors estimates that 100 million Christians are being unjustly interrogated, arrested and discriminated against for their belief in Christ. Some are even killed.

As recently as August two Iranian women were given an extended prison sentence because they would not deny their faith, according to Compass Direct News. The women are still in prison on charges of "apostasy" and "propagation of the Christian faith."

In China, 90 percent of Christians worship underground due to strict government laws.

Open Doors reports that in North Korea there are believed to be 40,000 to 60,000 Christians in prison on religious and political charges.

"North Korea has been suffering just the most horrendous abuse for the last 60 years," Moeller told Charisma. "Yet despite that we continue to have reports from our friends and networks on the ground that the church continues to grow.

"On Nov. 8 we have the opportunity to collectively lift our petitions to the Lord on their behalf."

Saddleback's Civil Forum for the Persecuted Church will be held Sunday at 5 p.m. Pacific. For more information, click here.

 

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