Never Forsaken: A Day of Prayer for the Persecuted - Radical

Never Forsaken: A Day of Prayer for the Persecuted

It’s often difficult to keep track of how persecution is affecting so many in so many countries around the world. When it comes to praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ, where do we begin?

The first Sunday of November marks an annual tradition for Christians worldwide: the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. This short guide offers a few specific ways to pray, and a few specific places to consider.

Who to Pray For

Here are three regions of the world where persecution affects many believers, and just a few of the countries in those regions where persecution is particularly difficult:

1. The Middle East

The Middle East has boiled over into a hotspot for war this year, but it also remains a hotspot for the persecution of Christians.

  • In Afghanistan, the Taliban takeover of 2021 has made it perhaps more dangerous than ever to openly profess faith in Christ. Give thanks for reports that despite those dangers, people are still coming to know Jesus. Pray for Christians as they gather in small numbers in secret settings to worship the Lord. Pray for effective discipleship, and that God will provide mature leaders for this small church that needs them.
  •  In Iran, the gospel continues to reach people through digital media and local efforts in the Islamic nation, but it still remains dangerous to identify as a Christian. Pray that God will bless the good work underway to reach more Iranians with the gospel, and to help those who embrace Christ in this hard-to-reach place.
  • In Pakistan, blasphemy laws can carry the death penalty for anyone accused of insulting Islam. The laws grew stricter this year, and increased dangers for religious minorities, including Christians. This year also saw a rise in Christian and Hindu girls being kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam. Pray for God’s help to those in captivity, and His protection for Christians who continue to follow Christ.

 2. Asia

  • North Korea, remains one of the most brutal places in the world to be a Christian. The North Korean government considers any religion outside its own ruling ideology to be an existential threat, and treats Christians accordingly. Punishments can include long sentences in labor camps or death. Pray that God will protect Christians in North Korea, and cause His church to grow, despite the severe conditions. Pray for the millions of North Koreans suffering under harsh rule.
  • In India, attacks against Christians in certain states have continued, particularly in parts of the country’s northern region. Converts from Hinduism face harassment in some regions, and anti-conversion laws are sometimes used against Christians and other religious minorities. Give thanks that the Lord is continuing to grow His church in these conditions, and pray He will help His people persevere as the gospel spreads.
  • In China, the government still seeks to control and monitor churches by requiring official registration, and still persecutes house churches that refuse to comply. In the nation where the most Bibles in the world are printed, Chinese authorities even try to control the Bible that ends up in its own people’s hands. Pray that the truth of the Scriptures will reach many in China, and that God will continue growing His church.

3. Africa

Don’t forget to pray for their joy.

  • In Nigeria, Islamist militants have continued a campaign of violence against Christians, particular in the country’s northern states. Pray the Lord will protect these believers, and especially school children vulnerable to kidnapping and sexual assault.
  • In Eritrea, raids have continued against Christians meeting in house churches not approved by the government, and as many as 1,000 Christians have been indefinitely detained in extremely harsh conditions, with no official charges against them. Pray for God’s mercy on the church and for those imprisoned for Christ.
  • In Somalia, the Islamist government continues to oppress Christians, especially converts from Islam. Christian converts can also face danger from their own families, particularly young women sometimes forced into marriages with Muslim men. Pray for God’s help on this land and those in it.  

As you Pray

Remember the Bible commends this kind of prayer.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to New Testament churches, he often wrote from prison. He usually wrote to teach them about the riches of the faith, but he also included reminders like this one: “Remember my chains” (Colossians 4:18). The writer of Hebrews gave a similar plea: “Remember those in prison, as though in prison with them” (Hebrews 13:3).

Remember how persecuted Christians prayed for themselves.

Paul prayed that his persecution would work for the good of others in bringing them to the glory of the gospel. When some of the first believers in Acts learned about threats against them by ruling authorities, they prayed that God would make them even more bold to share the good news about Jesus.

It’s right to pray for protection, perseverance, and deliverance for Christians oppressed for their faith in Christ. It’s also right to pray God will use the persecution of His children to draw unbelievers to Christ, build His church, and glorify His name.

Remember Christ’s promises.

As we pray, we should remember the promise Jesus gave to His own disciples: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” (Matthew 5:12-13). 

Don’t forget to pray for their joy.

Jamie Dean

Jamie Dean is the Lead Writer for Radical. She has 20 years of experience in journalism and on-the-ground reporting.


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