November 5th: International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
This coming Sunday, November 5th, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).
Speaking to the Missions News Network, a member of the Voice of the Martyrs USA, Todd Nettleton, reminded Christians of the day’s importance.
Todd said, “International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is a day where we hope every church will take some time out to follow the scriptural mandate that says, ‘Remember those in bonds as if you were bound with them.'”
He also says, “This is the first thing that persecuted Christians ask us to do. When our VOM staff travel around the world, we sit down, we meet with Christians facing persecution, we say, ‘We’re going back to America. How can American Christians help you?’ The first thing they ask is, ‘Pray for us. Please pray for us.’”
The power of prayer is clear throughout the Bible. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, believers are commanded to “pray without ceasing”. And when Jesus began the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18, verse one says, “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”
When it comes to the suffering, a tendency can be to focus our prayers on an end to the suffering. While not a bad thing to pray for, Nettleton says our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters tend to have a different perspective on suffering and faith.
“The challenging thing to me is that their prayer request is not, ‘Pray that we won’t have to suffer anymore. Pray that our government will change and suddenly we’ll be free to worship.’ Their prayer request is, ‘Pray that we’ll be faithful to Christ no matter the cost,’” he says.
So on November 5, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, he reflects, “We’re literally joining hands with our persecuted brothers and sisters in hostile and restricted nations and we’re being unified with them through our prayers.”
Click here to get IDOP materials from Voice of the Martyrs to get yourself and your Church involved.
Even if your church already has something else scheduled on November 5th, Nettleton says, “Okay, do it on November 12th. Do it on November 19th. Do it even…on November 26th. But some Sunday, have your church gather around the throne of God and lift up our persecuted brothers and sisters. Every church ought to do this.”
Finally, Nettleton implores, “Don’t make this a day you that you sort of cross off on your calendar and then say, ‘Okay, yeah, we’re done with that for this year.’ This needs to be a pattern individually. And again, Voice of the Martyrs has resources. We have an app for your phone that will pull up a new prayer request every day. We’ll send you an email every week with fresh prayer requests.
“Praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters is not just a once a year thing. This is a great day where we kind of unite and join hands and pray together, but we need to be praying for Christians facing persecution every single day.”