Each November, Christians are asked to pray especially for the over 340 million Christians who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus.
Prayers are needed now more than ever as for the millions of Christians who are experiencing attacks on an extreme level, according to Open Doors USA. The organization serves in more than 60 countries to bring support and help to strengthen Christians, wherever they are threatened for their faith in Jesus.
CEO David Curry told CBN News, “Some places like North Korea are exceptionally difficult…if you are caught with a Bible you may spend the rest of your life in prison or even lose your life.”
He also said, “Due to the recent U.S. military withdrawal, Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous places to be a Christian.” Though some Christians were able to flee, those who are in danger in that country asks us to pray they would be faithful in spite of the suffering.
“An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 Christians remain in Afghanistan, a country of about 38 million people that ranks second only to North Korea in its persecution of Christians, according to the “2021 World Watch List from Open Doors’” the Baptist Press reported.
“Every day, 13 Christians worldwide are killed because of their faith. Every day, 12 churches or Christian buildings are attacked. And every day, 12 Christians are unjustly arrested or imprisoned, and another five are abducted,” Curry told Christianity Today.
Curry went on to say, “The numbers of God’s people who are suffering should mean the church is dying—that Christians are keeping quiet, losing their faith, and turning away from one another….But that’s not what’s happening. Instead, in living color, we see the words of God recorded in the prophet Isaiah: ‘I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert’” (Isa. 43:19, ESV).
Open Doors tracks the persecution of Christians around the world. Their yearly report names the top 10 countries where it’s the hardest to follow Jesus include: North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria and India.
On Oct. 31, dozens of Nigerian Christians were kidnapped and two were killed in an attack on a Baptist church in Kaduna. Open Doors states that a group of armed bandits stormed the church. Last year, nine in 10 Christians killed for their faith were in Africa, the rest in Asia. Nigeria led the world with 3,530 martyrs confirmed by Open Doors for its 2021 list.
“Worldwide registered martyrdoms rose to 4,761 in the 2021 report, up 60 percent from the 2,983 tallied the year before and surpassing the 4,305 deaths noted in the 2019 report. (Open Doors is known for favoring a more conservative estimate than other groups, who often tally martyrdoms at 100,000 a year.)
When you and I attend church this Sunday, we will carry our Bibles, sing hymns, hear preaching, and pray together without fear of persecution. While we’re sitting in our comfortable buildings on comfortable pews, let us not forget Christians in other countries whose faith cost them more than we will ever know.
Jan White is a wife, mother, and freelance writer who lives in Andalusia. Her email address is email@example.com.