For some beautiful reason, of late, my mind has been centered around Christian persecution. I know its to prompt me to pray but I also want to prompt you to pray.
Lots of Christians nominally live each day in a bubble, passive about what is going on to others who call upon the name of the lord like they do.
Very often growing up, I heard my mum lead people to pray for Christians in the persecuted world by saying (paraphrased):
“you wake up on a Sunday morning and tie your colourful headscarves and on your way to church, you see several others in colourful attires, so you think there are many Christians. But it isn’t so. There are many people in various parts of the world who cannot publicly act like you do. When they get courage to hold services, they do it quietly without clapping to draw any attention. when they meet to pray, they do it in ten minutes in a toilet or some other secret unsuspecting places.”
On the contrary to this thought pattern of there being many Christians everywhere, ChrstianityToday, states that approximately 215 million Christians experience high, medium or low levels of persecution, which turns out to be one in twelve Christians.
Did you read that?
Let’s make this clear. In some of these places, its not just forbidden, it is illegal. Its like having cocaine on you. Religious Nationalism is in place. You mostly cannot share your faith with your children, you can only pray that one day they would be touched and turn to the lord. Sharing your faith with your children is risky as they’re terribly indoctrinated at school and other places. For your safety and theirs, its almost best to wait.
And you won’t believe it! – While typing this post, I stood up to get my phone to check a fact. It was then I saw this from someone on Whatsapp – ‘Asia bibi has been released, praise the lord’ . It was unbelievable. It was sent in by 5:10pm. I checked my phone at 6:00pm. how could I have known that when I set out to type this post, this lady had been released? You don’t get ? She was acquitted today – 31st October, 2018(the time of initial blogpost draft). She was freed from the charges of blapsphemy the day I sought to share the need to pray for persecuted Christians. She’s been acquitted, declared innocent by the supreme court of Pakistan after eight years!
Read the abridged version of Asia Bibi’s story on BBC here.
There’s trouble on the horizon though. The acquittal has stemmed lots of protests and now Asia Bibi can’t leave the country yet. In fact, another appeal can now be made against her acquittal (and that might eventually lead to her death depending on the outcome if carried out). All these because of the violent protests. Read on BBC.
Christians are imprisoned, beaten, made to lose properties, molested and even killed for their faith. Christians are one of the most persecuted groups in the world.
“You will be hated by everyone for my sake, but he that endures to the end shall be saved” Mathhew 10:22.
Christian persecution is hostility based on identification with the lord Jesus Christ. Haven’t you heard that “what isn’t worth dying for, isn’t worth living for?” A time comes when you’ve gone beyond basic bread and butter Christianity, a time when you say like Peter when asked to leave the Lord: Lord, to what person could we go? Your words give eternal life. John 6:68.
I’m only afraid that some Chrisitians have never considered the hard questions – really, would you lose a limb for Jesus? Would you stay in jail for him for eight years like Asia Bibi?
Today, would you pray for the faith of those who go through these things that make you tremble? Would you also build your faith beyond fair-weather Christianity?
One Chinese Church leader who spent 23 years in prison, once said to the Christians who did not face persecution:
“I was pushed into a cell, but you have to push yourself into one. You have no time to know God. You need to build yourself a cell, so you can do for yourself what persecution did for me – simplify your life and Know God.”
North Korea consistently ranks top in the world’s most dangerous place to practice the Christian faith(ranked top for 17 years). Afghanistan comes closely behind. Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Eritrea etc. Pakistan scores highest in violence towards Chrisitans
According to Opendoors USA, Every month:
- 255 Christians are killed
- 104 are abducted
- 180 Christian women are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage
- 66 Churches are attacked
- 160 Christians are detained without trial and imprisoned.
The website also states:
“There is something about hardship that allows us to know God deeply. When times get really tough, we discover more about who God is and how he really works”
Scripture says in Hebrews 13:3 “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” .
There are mission resources for praying around the world. As children, my sisters and I used the children edition of Operation World – “you can change the world through prayers“. There are resources everywhere for everyone, you just have to be deliberate about it.
“Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. ‘if they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”
2 Timothy 3: 12
“Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Persecution is seen in all the pages of the Bible, not just with the early church in Acts but right from the start.
The church prayed for Peter. You can pray too. Get specific prayer directions that would help you be accurate in your prayers, you can go beyond repeating “God, I pray for Christians facing persecution” every single day. You can still pray for total protection for Asia Bibi and her family from those still threatening them. You can pray for others too by name or tribe. I knew of Asia Bibi through WOMIG -TKP.
1 Corinthians 12:26 “if one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share it’s suffering. If one part is praised, all the others share in its happiness.”