What, and Who exactly, is the Persecuted Church?

It is the Christian church . . . those communities of believers who worship, in secret, in places like Iran, Iraq, and China in fear of persecution. It is the brave missionaries who have made their way into the areas of the world where they must write back home, never disclosing the names of people with whom they are talking or exactly what town they may be in, for fear of persecution. These are the Christians whose homes are subject to search at any time by the authorities who are looking for “Christian materials”. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ who do not share the freedoms we have to worship when and where we desire. idop-blog-graphic John Langlois, Chairman of the WEA Religious Liberty Commission, tells a story of growing up at his home. “Don’t just stand there! Do something!” his mother would say to him when there were things that needed doing around the home. Is that how God feels about us sometimes? He did tell us to go into the world and “bear witness” in words and deeds. But sometimes we think, “well, I’m not a missionary, it’s not my gift”. No, maybe it’s not. But God is telling us “Don’t just stand there in silence, do something!” And there is something we can do, and that is what this Day of Prayer is about. The primary focus of the day is prayer and action on behalf of persecuted communities and peoples of the Christian faith. Prayer is also encouraged for the souls of those who oppress and the nations that promote persecution. So, let’s not just stand there, let us fall to our knees and lift up our prayers to the God of all nations and people. As it says in 1Timothy 2:1-3: “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf . . . Pray this way for . . . all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior.”

Joan Bargholz