“I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire,” –Daniel 3:25
Sunday, November 5, 2017 is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). The event that occurs every year on the 1st Sunday in November, calls for the body of Christ worldwide to pray for our brothers and sisters persecuted for their Christian faith and witness.
There’s greater awareness of the suffering Christians are experiencing around the world, thanks to the increased news coverage. However the scope of the persecution against the Church is well beyond what we’re exposed to, through the media. A sister-site of Voice of the Martyr, icommittopray.com, lists 222,067 prayers in 154 nations for Christians persecuted in Afghanistan, India, Syria, Iraq, China, Laos, Nigeria, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Uganda, Tanzania, etc.
In North Korea, which ranks #1 globally in Christian persecution, 30, 000 out of the 100,000 known Christians are in prison. In Somalia, those suspected or known to be Christians face execution. Jesus prepared his followers of what was to come: “They will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons… for My name’s sake.” (Luke 21:12). After His resurrection we read accounts in the book of Acts of the persecution against the Early Church. The Bible gives us a narrative in the book of Daniel of three Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who refused to deny their faith, and choose instead to face the fiery furnace.
Followers of Christ should expect persecution, but instead of running away from the fire, pray for God to give us the grace and boldness to run into the fire, to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing that whatever the cost in this life, ultimately, Jesus walks with us in the midst of the fire. “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).