Christianity is the most persecuted religion on the planet with a Christian dying for their faith every six minutes… This is the opening sentence in an article by Anugrah Kumar originally posted on Christian Post. The call was to join Sunday the 5th’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
The following is from another article by Eric Metaxas on breakpoint.org, On a sunny day last May, several families climbed onto a couple of buses, happily looking forward to visiting a monastery together.
They never made it. Instead, half of them, including ten children, were slaughtered. You see, these families were Egyptian Christians.
Islamic terrorists dressed in military fatigues stopped the buses and ordered the riders off. As one eyewitness later said, “As each pilgrim came off the bus, they were asked to renounce their Christian faith and profess belief in Islam. But all of them—even the children—refused.” The terrorists murdered 29 Christians before fleeing.
This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. It’s a time to focus our attention on our brothers and sisters who are being arrested, tortured, murdered, and driven out of their homeland, simply because they worship Jesus.
The attack in Egypt was just one of many around the world last spring. In Germany, a Muslim stabbed a woman to death—one who had converted from Islam to Christianity.
In Pakistan, a Christian pastor was sentenced to life in prison and tortured for blasphemy. He reportedly has been tortured many times.
In North Korea, entire families are thrown into labor camps, where they often die from torture, beatings, and starvation.
In Turkey last year, American missionary Andrew Brunson was locked up on the absurd grounds that he was a terrorist.
Islamists have also swept through Niger, setting fire to Christian churches, orphanages, schools and homes. I could go on.
According to Open Doors USA, the worst offenders are North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan. Sometimes Christians are persecuted by a hostile government, as in China. But in the majority of countries, Islamist extremists are at fault. Tragically, western governments and the United Nations are not doing enough to prevent genocidal efforts, according to the Catholic News Agency.
They should—and they must. More Christians are being persecuted today than ever before in history. Some one hundred million believers are at risk. And yet, the world press largely ignores this massive humanitarian horror.
Why, you may ask, are Christians being persecuted in such great numbers today? In part, it’s because they’re considered part of the “imperial” West. And in many countries, Christians are the ones who are speaking out against the exploitation of the poor. Third, Christianity is spreading rapidly in predominantly Muslim countries. And totalitarian leaders hate Christians because our ultimate allegiance is always going to be to God and not to a government.
Folks, we need to wake up, speak out, and urge our leaders in government to do what it can to fight atrocities committed against innocent men, women, and children around the world.
Above all, we need to pray for them fervently. Lifting them up before God’s throne is what persecuted Christians say they need most.
There are two websites I urge you to visit. First, go to opendoorsusa.org, you’ll find resources to help you and your church observe this international day of prayer for the persecuted church. Then there’s the Voice of the Persecuted.
Finally, to those who are suffering for their faith, I leave you with the words of Joshua: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid . . . for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
We felt compelled to post as the news came in that a gunman opened fired inside First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, killing as many as 26 people before being shot dead by police. At least 20 others were wounded.
“If the number of people dead is confirmed, Sunday’s shooting would be the deadliest at a church in modern U.S. history,” Fox News reports. The pastor’s 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle, a 5-year-old child, and a pregnant woman were among the worshipers killed on Sunday.
Our prayers are with all those harmed by the attack in Texas and with persecuted Christians all over the world. Let us continue daily to, as Eric puts it, Wake Up, Speak Out, Pray.