Sunday, April 5, 2009

Learning About The Persecuted Church

I was catching up on my Google Reader the other evening and came across the article below on my friend Lisa's Blog.  It was one of those I couldn't help but pass on....

Learning about the Persecuted Church,

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3

As we are getting ready to go to Asia, I have become more aware of what is going on in the church outside the world. I was somewhat aware before, but would shamelessly try to shield myself from too much detail because it was painful to think about (you would be shocked about some of the horrors that are now taking place). Lately I have been spending more time reading about the persecution Christians are currently experiencing around the world, and it is having a profound impact on me, as it should. It's something we wish we could ignore... but we do at the cost of our brothers and sisteres who are suffering. How much do you value your freedom to worship here in America? :

Did you know that it is illegal to own a bible in 52 countries? That owning a bible alone qualifies you for death in Iran? That over 7 countries impose death as a penalty for converting to Christianity? That over 300,000 Christians are currently in refugee camps in north India after being persecuted out of their homes? That Chinese believers are regularly tortured and imprisoned for years for worshipping in their own homes? China alone is seeing 30,000-40,000 new believers each day. Without access to bibles, even pastors don't have the Word of God.

Do you know the number of countries where Christians are being persecuting for their faith?

Red = Restricted Nations Purple = Hostile Nations

Reflecting and praying about all of this has changed my attitude toward my freedom to worship Christ in America, where the worst that could happen to someone is rejection and ridicule or loss of respect from others. We have access to more bibles than we could ever want, churches on every corner, and the right to worship publicly on the street or plaza.

As the body of Christ, let's actively pray for the persecuted church. I copied the following list of countries from a website. They broke the regions into 7 days of prayer. They reccomend Matthew 5:10-12, 44, John 16:2, Romans 8:35-39, Hebrews 13:3 as a few verses to help cultivate a humble attitude toward prayer for these places.

Monday: Africa: Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Comoros Islands, Egypt

Tuesday: Israel & Neighbors: Israel, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, West Bank, Jordan, Syria

Wednesday: Middle East: Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Oman

Thursday: Central Asia: Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan

Friday: South Asia: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma, Sri Lanka, Maldives Islands

Saturday: East & Southeast Asia: China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mindanao (Philippines)

Sunday: Caribbean and Eastern Europe: Cuba, Colombia, Chiapas State (Mexico), Belarus

Pray with us! Voice of the Martyrs keeps a website with new information as it comes in about cases around the world. You can stay updated about the persecution that is happening right now and help in pressuring foreign governments to release prisoners. Visit their website at (another way to help is to give to Voice of the Martyrs. They advocate for persecuted Christians around the world and help meet their needs and the needs of their families).

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