Currently there are questions about the whereabouts and the health of North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un. Some reports claim that he has either died or is near death, while others claim that his failure to appear at recent public events is not unprecedented and that he may simply be isolating himself due to the current pandemic.
What is not in question is the threat Kim Jong-un and his regime pose to followers of Christ in North Korea. That’s why North Korea is the first country that appears in our Secret Church 20 Prayer Guide.
This Prayer Guide contains thirty-seven days of prayer for twelve of the hardest to reach countries in the world. We began praying through it immediately after Secret Church 20, but churches and individuals can begin praying through these countries at any time.
The Prayer Guide identifies twelve countries in which the government persecutes Christians and many people are still identified as unreached (have little or no access to the gospel). Find out more about how Radical is working to reach these specific countries through Urgent.
For each country, we are praying for (1) the government, (2) the persecuted church, and (3) the remaining unreached peoples. Below you can see the entries for the country of North Korea, a place where professing Christ results in imprisonment under cruel conditions and sometimes death.
Although government-enforced persecution makes it difficult for many to gain access to the gospel, the fact that there are believers in North Korea is evidence of God’s grace and power.
Praying for the Government of North Korea
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, wields absolute power over the country. The government, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a single-party dictatorship. It does not permit dissenting political or religious views. Juche, or “national self-reliance,” is the official state ideology.
The people of North Korea are afforded very few individual freedoms by the government, and many, including many Christians, are subjected to cruel labor camps for so-called crimes and threats against the government. The government targets Christians, in part through an intricate system of informants. The government arrests, imprisons, and sometimes kills any individuals suspected of following Christ.
- Pray for God to open the hearts of Kim Jong-un and other government leaders to acknowledge their guilt before God, to repent of their sins, and to put their trust in Jesus Christ.
Praying for the Persecuted Church in North Korea
There is no country on earth where it is more dangerous to identify with Christ than in North Korea. This is why Open Doors consistently ranks North Korea #1 in its annual World Watch List. The government forbids any expression of Christianity, including owning or reading a Bible.
Under the direction of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean government actively seeks out and ruthlessly punishes Christians. Christians must always be alert. The government uses a wide-ranging network of informants, including family and friends, in its surveillance. Those caught face imprisonment, consignment to slave labor camps, and even death. Needless to say, the pressure to hide or abandon one’s faith is intense.
- Ask God to strengthen the faith of North Korean Christians so that they will continue to follow Christ, regardless of the cost. Pray that God would give them hope and peace through the power of the Holy Spirit so that they might persevere in the midst of intense persecution and suffering
Praying for the Unreached in North Korea
The government’s attempts to stamp out Christianity have not been successful, though persecution continues to present significant barriers to the spread of the gospel. Thus, in a country of over 25 million people, Evangelical Christians make up an estimated 1.57% of the population.
About 99.3% of North Koreans are considered unreached, which means they have little or no access to the gospel. In terms of people groups, 2 of North Korea’s 5 people groups are considered unreached.
“Access to ministry in North Korea is greater than commonly perceived. Foreign NGOs, both Korean and Western, are on site through aid and development projects. Strict limitations on ministry are in place. However, the very presence of believers and the testimony of loving generosity can make a difference in many lives. There are possibly hundreds of Christians in North Korea in this capacity.” (Operation World)
- Pray that God would use the witness of North Korean Christians to spread the gospel among those who have never heard. Ask God to give His people compassion for their fellow citizens and love for their enemies.