Many countries around the world are shrouded in spiritual darkness. This could mean large pockets of their population have not been reached with the gospel. It could also mean they are dangerous places for Christians to live.
Each year, Open Doors releases a list of the 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted. The persecution in these countries ranges from legal threats to the risk of being killed. In its 2021 report, Open Doors calculated that an average of 13 Christians are killed every day because of their faith.
The strain on Christians in these countries is unimaginably great, and they need support from the global Church. One of the first steps to helping persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ is to pray for them. Below are five ways to pray for persecuted Christians.
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” -Psalm 5:11
God does not always prevent harm, even when the harm is toward His children. But He hears every prayer and will protect His followers when it is part of His complex yet perfect plan.
Pray that God would protect believers from those who wish to harm them. As they gather in underground churches or hide a Bible in their homes, pray that they would have safety and not be discovered.
Pray for protection so believers can continue spreading the gospel. Ask God to grant them favor, that others would be inspired by their faith and would choose to accept Jesus as their Savior.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” -Psalm 27:1
The enemy would love to use persecution to paralyze believers with fear. But God’s strength allows His children to have the endurance they need to keep going and to fight the good fight.
Pray that God would give persecuted believers strength to replace their fear. Pray that believers would receive the endurance needed to face the horrors and hardships of persecution with grace.
Pray that these Christians would continually look to God for their strength. Whatever sufferings come their way, pray that any turmoil would only fuel their resolve to be wholly dependent upon the Lord.
“‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’” -Matthew 5:4
Jesus promised that the lives of His followers would be difficult (John 16:33). For persecuted believers, the difficulties come more often than not. Lift up in prayer those who are mourning in the midst of persecution.
Pray that God would comfort His children who are mourning a loss. Whether it is the loss of a loved one, loss of property, loss of freedom, or loss of security, ask the Lord to surround them with great peace.
Pray that persecuted believers would be comforted so they can comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Pray that brothers and sisters in Christ would go to one another to weep and be encouraged together.
“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.” -1 Corinthians 9-10a
Paul, who sought to kill Jesus’ followers and end His Church, was transformed by God to become one of the greatest evangelists in history. If God can change Paul, He can change anyone, even those who vehemently hate Christians.
Pray that those who persecute Christians would be radically transformed by God. Pray that the scales would fall off of their eyes to see and accept the truth of the gospel.
Pray that these former persecutors would find fellowship with Christ followers. Ask God to soften the hearts of those they’ve persecuted to forgive them and welcome them into the Body of Christ.
Prayer for Countries
Lastly, pray for the specific countries on the World Watch List and anywhere else that Christian persecution takes place. Read through the prayer points for each country on the World Watch List, and lift up other countries that have experienced attacks on churches or Christians.
Persecuted brothers and sisters around the world need our prayers more than ever. Commit to pray for them today. Also consider partnering with any number of organizations with a focus on spiritually dark nations. Learn more about how East-West wants to shine the light of the gospel in spiritual darkness.