International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church: Sunday, November 13

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) is this Sunday.  It’s held each year on the second Sunday of November.

In honor of this day, I’d like to mention The Voice of the Martyrs organization (VOM).  They work to aid Christians being persecuted for their beliefs around the world. 

In America, it’s easy to forget that real persecution is still happening to Christians, that people are actually still being tortured and killed for their beliefs.  While Christians in America may feel marginalized at times and/or may be unfairly (and even illegally) censored, we rarely face the persecution these people face (and most of us, thank God, never will).

However, the fact that we don’t face the same dangers as Christians in other countries, doesn’t mean we get to ignore the problem.  These are our brothers and sisters.  These are members of the body of Christ who are risking their lives when they practice and/or share their faith.   We are told to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15).  We’re also told to remember our brothers and sisters in chains, as though we were suffering with them (Hebrews 13:3). 

Sometimes people want to avoid these issues because these stories are often heartbreaking and hard to hear (I have, sadly, been part of this group), but we have to remember that people are living these stories.  From our place of luxury (at the very least, relative luxury) we can raise awareness and we can pray.  And remember: Raising awareness of such issues and praying in groups are two of the very things Christians are killed for in other countries.

To learn about the restrictions on Christianity around the world, see this map: http://www.persecution.com/public/restrictednations.aspx?clickfrom=bWFpbl9tZW51.

To learn more about the couple who started this ministry, click here: http://www.persecution.com/public/40years.aspx?clickfrom=c2lkZWJhcg%3d%3d.

There are other ways to help as well.  On the left-hand side of the homepage, you’ll see a list of links that give specific tangible ways to get involved: www.persecution.com.  And here are some other ways: http://www.persecution.com/public/ministryoutreach.aspx?clickfrom=c2lkZWJhcg%3d%3d

If you want to start sharing some of this information with your child, their partner website would be helpful: http://www.kidsofcourage.com/.  You and God know best how much of this type of information your child can handle.  Please pray for guidance to share as much as you should, but not more. 

And finally, in honor of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church this Sunday (November 13), please consider sharing some of this information with your Sunday School classes this weekend (or a weekend in the near future, if this Sunday).

VOM has put together a power point presentation highlighting some of the issues Christians face around the world.  The PPP is towards the bottom of this page: http://www.persecution.com/idop.   They also have materials you can buy, but the PPP is free.

If you’re interested in having your Sunday School class commit to pray regularly for our persecuted brothers and sisters, you might consider getting the prayer cards.  You get 160 (20 sheets of 8 cards) of them for $2.  These cards highlight specific prayer needs from specific regions, and can be useful reminders to pray for the body of Christ.

To those of you who will pray or get involved: Thank you so much.  Though we may never meet these persecuted brothers and sisters in this life, we will meet them in heaven.  What a glorious day that will be!

Please feel free to link to this post and/or share this information on your blog or website or twitter account or facebook page, etc.  (You can do some of those things by clicking on the “share” buttons at the bottom of this post.)  How amazing that in America, we have the freedom and ability to spread the word about this sort of issue to literally thousands of people using social media.  So often social media is used for negative purposes (bullying, slander, gossip) – but we have to remember that it can also be used for positive purpose (raising awareness, sharing prayer requests, encouraging each other).

Even if it isn’t about this issue (though it would be awesome if it was), please consider using whatever social media you regularly use for something that will specifically build and/or encourage the Body of Christ today.

Thanks, y’all!

Christian Stone Cross

Image by freefotouk via Flickr

To read this week’s wife post, click here: wife.

To read the wife series from the beginning, click here: wife series.

To read the fully submitted series, click here: becoming fully submitted.

To learn more about this blog, please see the About page or the first post.

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