During this thanksgiving season, I am grateful we do not face the kind of religious persecution many in our world do today.
Sunday, November 5th is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). It was started to support our Christian brothers and sisters in prayer. From Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and beyond, over 360 million Christians now live in places where they face high levels of persecution, equating to one in seven Christians globally. Eighty percent of religious persecution worldwide targets Christians.
The statistics for Christian persecution are distressing. According to the World Watch List in 2022, 5,621 Christians were killed, over 2,100 churches were attacked, and more than 4,500 Christians were detained for their faith. Many believers endure daily – harassment, discrimination, wrongful imprisonment, and even death for their devotion to Christ.
One of the purposes of IDOP is to bring global attention to the plight of our persecuted brothers and sisters. In places where they share our faith, they do not always share our freedoms. We recognize their most urgent and basic need is for prayer. Hebrews 13:3 commands us to pray for those who are mistreated, understanding their pain is our pain, and we are one in Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:26.
We are very blessed to live in a country where religious freedom is one of the building blocks of our constitution and foundational to our culture in Canada. Let us exercise this right by joining the global church in an expression of solidarity and fellowship. Please take time on Sunday, November 5th, to lift up our persecuted brethren, praying the Holy Spirit would empower them to stand firm in their faith and be obedient to Christ even amidst hardships.
May our prayers and support strengthen the persecuted, knowing the global church stands united in solidarity, bound together by our shared faith in Jesus Christ.
Happy Thanksgiving Seasoning