Dr. K. P. Yohannan, GFA founder and international president of ospel for Asia, spoke of the importance of praying for those being persecuted, saying, "Jesus promised his church that there would be persecution and tribulations. Tens of thousands of believers, missionaries and pastors are experiencing the reality of persecution on a daily basis. Yet they recognize the honor it is to suffer for his sake. May the Lord lead us with his burden to intercede for these brothers and sisters."
The persecution of Christians is done both physically and mentally. Many believers are beaten or deprived of food to the point of literal starvation. Others are mentally tortured. There are confirmed cases of parents throwing their children out of their homes and schools refusing to allow students to attend because they dare to openly claim Jesus as their Savior. Houses are burned, clothing and personal possessions are destroyed and many are ultimately killed.
Just last month, the elder of a GFA-sponsored church in Nepal was murdered while praying for the sick. In September 2013, two suicide bombers left 81 dead and 140 injured at a historic church in Pakistan.
In 2008, in the India state of Odisha, more than 500 Christians were killed, and some 50,000 were driven into the jungles. More than 4,000 Christian homes were destroyed and dozens of churches were ransacked or completely burned out. These believers were attacked for no other reason that their Christian faith. Many lost everything.
"Sometimes, even as we pray for the persecuted, the Holy Spirit reveals to us that we can be part of the answer to our own prayers," said Yohannan. "Many who heard of the persecution in Odisha and prayed for the victims also sent donations to furnish lost clothing, replace burned Bibles, construct a house of worship for them and rebuild their simple homes."
Churches all over the world are urged to emphasize the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted anytime during the month of November.
Free resources for churches and individuals are available at www.gfa.org/info/idop and include practical ways that Christians can pray for the persecuted, as well as church bulletin inserts and a 3-minute video designed to be shown during a church service.
"To understand what it means to take up our cross and follow Christ, we must walk in his footsteps," said Yohannan. "Join Christians around the world in spending time praying and fasting in tears over a map of the world where our fellow believers are suffering for their faith."