One in three Asian believers face severe persecution.
Each year, on the first Sunday in November, believers, churches, and organisations around the world participate in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Much prayer is required for the persecuted church, especially across the continent of Asia.
Of the world’s fifty countries where persecution is considered most severe, over half are found in Asia. Whether it is Islamic oppression, Hindu nationalism, Buddhist opposition or communist rule, one in three believers in Asia are unable to live and worship Christ freely.
We long to see Asia set free – to see the church meet and witness openly without fear of imprisonment, torture, or execution. We long to see the gospel proclaimed freely and received openly by all whom the Lord calls. Pray with us for the persecuted people of Asia and for a day when the church can proclaim Christ openly.
Below are just three examples from our partners in three different regions to aid you in your prayers for the persecuted church this month. All names have been changed for security purposes.
Persecution comes from ruling communist authorities in two nations and local Buddhist and spirit–worshipping communities. City–based churches enjoy some tolerance and but in rural or remote areas the church must meet in utmost secrecy. The Bible is considered contraband and regularly confiscated by authorities.
Pastor Anou works among a people group with a growing underground church. In the summer, authorities came to confiscate Christian materials he was distributing and left him with a warning. Undeterred, Anou continued to evangelise in his area. An officer returned and charged him for performing “illegal spiritual witchcraft”, and warned if the charge didn’t stick, he would plant drugs in Anou’s home and arrest him for possession.
In this Muslim–majority nation, Christians are discriminated against in all aspects of life, passed over for work and subject to exploitation from authorities. Women and girls are often victims of kidnapping, forced marriage and conversion.
A wave of violence broke out in the summer, with dozens of churches attacked and hundreds of families displaced. Our partner oversees a network of churches and outreach ministries providing critical support. Sadly, he recently shared that a pastor he knew was shot dead in Faisalabad after refusing to renounce his faith.
Believers are regularly arrested with church leaders disappearing off the street. House churches meet secretively as control is exerted over teaching in churches that are registered with the government. House churches can be raided without warning by the authorities. The Chinese Communist Party are distributing edited copies of God’s Word that depict Jesus as a sinner. The true Bible is the only holy book unavailable through normal commercial channels and printing inside the nation is fraught with danger.
Huang operated a facility printing and distributing Christian materials. Authorities arrested him one day and imprisoned for a year – nine months of which his family had no idea where he was. On his release, Huang joined another ministry, distributing Sunday School materials for children.
HOW TO PRAY
– Pray that persecuted Christians would know the hope God gives.
– Pray that they would experience God’s peace even in their current circumstances.
– Pray that their witness would inspire those who plan to harm them.
– Pray that as they share in Christ’s sufferings, they would be able to rejoice in the hope God offers them.