Sunday, November 08, 2009

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Indian Summer, at last! A wonderful day to wake up early, be lazy, think about when (or if) to go to church, enjoy some football or some last-minute yard work, a great day to be alive! Today also is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, a special day set aside to pray for persecuted Christians.

Persecuted Christians? Isn't that history, gone with the wind, mostly over by the end of the 100 Years War, finished up when the Pilgrims moved to Plymouth? The sad answer is no. Today, in many countries of the world, Christians not only live in fear of practicing their religion freely but suffer at the hands of their neighbors or governments who persecute them.

Christians living in free societies are largely unaware of this tragedy. Bolstered by our own strong religious freedoms, the plight of persecuted Christians is easy for Americans to ignore--if they know about it at all. As Article 18 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights states "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." Unfortunately The Declaration hasn't made much of a difference in many countries that are UN members, who have either moved directly against their Christian citizens or have failed to stop the enemies of Christianity from wrongdoing against their Christian neighbors.

According to Open Doors, an evangelical ministry serving persecuted Christians worldwide, what persecuted Christians want most is your prayers. So do take some time on this fine Indian Summer day, to pray for those who seek to worship Christ in peace and truth, and remember them in the coming days. Many are suffering, some greatly. Take a few minutes to learn about the plight of persecuted Christians, and if you have a blog, consider doing a few posts for the cause.


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