This Sunday and next Sunday—Nov. 4 and 11—Christians will join together for the International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. The annual observation sets aside time to unite in prayer for the millions of Christians who are persecuted for their faith daily. From Pakistan to Kazakhstan, Nigeria to North Korea, Christians routinely face discrimination, harassment, violence and even death for their faith in Jesus, reports the International Day of Prayer website. Their suffering is unimaginable. The Tide® records and broadcasts Gospel programming in four of the countries that appear on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List for Christian persecution: India (No. 11), Nigeria (No. 14), Nepal (No. 25) and Bhutan (No. 33).
“For 70-plus years, The Tide ministry has had a singular goal—to reach the unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through media,” said The Tide Director Don Shenk. “Of those potentially millions of listeners, many experience persecution, hardship and even alienation from their own families because of their faith in Jesus. Many of us here in America will never know what it’s like to live in fear because of our faith or know that carrying a Bible with us or listening to Christian radio could have grave consequences, as we’ve learned from national headlines this year. That is why it is so important for Christians who are free to worship as they please to band together and fervently pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who do not have that same freedom and opportunity.”
In 2018, the World Watch List ranks the top five countries for Christian persecution as North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and Pakistan. Shenk recently returned from India, Nepal and Pakistan, where he met with leaders and learned more about each culture. The Tide ministry’s work and travels are making impact, as radio listeners respond with accounts like this one:
“I have been a regular listener to the ‘Aap Ke Liye’ and ‘Shanti Data’ radio programs. I am 36 years old and belong to non-Christian family of Odisha. I was an alcoholic, but after listening to the radio programs and the word of God, my life has been changed. In my family, I am the only one who believes in the Lord and because of that there are threats to attack me and kill me. It seems my own family is involved in this, but when I listen to the word of God I am very much blessed and encouraged. Pray for me that I would leave the bad company of friends and would trust and follow the Lord.” — Rajesh, India
The International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) on Nov. 4 and Nov. 11 aim to keep with the scriptural command in Hebrews 13:3 for Christians to pray for those suffering as if they themselves were suffering. Over the years, the IDOP has served as a platform to highlight the stories of persecuted Christians and mobilize the global Church to respond to their plight, while also becoming a source of solidarity and encouragement to persecuted Christians by reminding them that they are part of a larger, global family of believers. For information and resources on the two Sundays set aside for prayer, click here.