pray for persecuted christians

Praying For Persecuted Believers

November 3, 2022
aaron mercer
Aaron Mercer

Browncroft has a rich history of supporting global outreach partners. And with Sunday’s launch of this year’s “Send Me” conference, I found myself thinking back to a Browncroft Blog post titled “Trusted Ambassadors in the Middle East.” It was a touching story of God at work written by one of our overseas missions partners during our Reconciled series.

What strikes me today – in addition to the beauty of the story – is that the authors’ names were redacted. And there is a reason for that. Being a Christian is dangerous in many parts of the world.

Open Doors USA, an organization that ministers to persecuted Christians, produces an annual World Watch List highlighting the top 50 most perilous places for Christians. That report shows that 1 in 7 Christians around the world are subject to high levels of persecution, and the Middle East – the setting for last year’s Browncroft Blog article – is sadly well represented. A country like Iran being named may not surprise you, but NATO ally Turkey is also there. In fact, the only nations in that region not on this terrible list are Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates.

One thing I can do is make an effort to see the trials and to pray. And this Sunday we get a special chance with churches around the globe to join in an International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

And of course persecution is not only in the Middle East. Following the resurgence of the Taliban, Afghanistan jumped to the #1 most dangerous place for Christians with North Korea right behind it. China is also there – a place where oppression is technologically sophisticated. But so are places you might not expect. Democratic nations like India and Nigeria, for example, are in the top 10 (above China).

Actually, Nigeria is the most deadly place for Christians. While other forms of persecution (imprisonment, harassment, etc) push others up higher on the list, Open Doors notes, “Persecution in Nigeria is, simply put, brutally violent.” On average, 1 Christian is killed for his or her faith by Islamic militants every 2 hours!

All told, Open Doors estimates that more than 360 million Christians live in places of significant persecution and discrimination. That is a number bigger than the entire U.S. population!

“It may be surprising, but Christian persecution around the world is one of the biggest human rights issues of this era,” says Open Doors.

My heart breaks when I read those statistics. Especially because I know that each number is actually an individual… a brother or sister in Christ. But what can I do about it? The numbers seem so big and the causes so difficult and even far away.

Well, one thing I can do is make an effort to see the trials and to pray. And this Sunday we get a special chance with churches around the globe to join in an International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

Groups like Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs have extensive resources that can help. For example, the video below:

You can also sign up for prayer updates from our Browncroft missions team, which has made prayers for persecuted Christians a priority this year.

But the key is again to see and to pray.  

As Open Doors notes, “Your prayers help our brothers and sisters know they’re not alone … and they’re not forgotten.”

Let’s lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world together this Sunday.

Photo by Pedro Lima on Unsplash

About The Author

aaron mercer
Aaron Mercer

Aaron Mercer is Browncroft Community Church’s Communications Director. Previously, he lived for two decades in Washington, DC, serving on Capitol Hill with a U.S. Senator and in two diverse evangelical Christian associations.

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