“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” — Matthew 5:11-12
In 1915, a Russian Armenian Christian was reading his Bible when he was beheaded for his faith. That Bible still exists today, and a red stain which permeates most of the book can still be seen. This man was one of more than a million casualties from a religious and ethnic holocaust carried out by Turkish Muslims from 1915-1923.
Today in 2014, the persecution of Christians is at an all-time high. In fact, a recent Pew study concluded that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. Yet in the relative safety of the Western world, it can be easy to forget that many of our brothers and sisters in the faith face unimaginable challenges because of their beliefs.
So what can be done? Well, persecution of Christians isn’t going to stop. But there are ways we can support persecuted Christians as they move the Kingdom forward in very difficult areas. One way to start is to simply pray for believers in these areas. Open Doors is an organization that supports persecuted Christians, and has compiled a list of the top 50 countries where persecution is most severe.
There are more persecuted Christians today than at any time in history. And the persecuted church needs your support and encouragement to move forward. Support these fellow believers by praying that God would use their boldness to bring many more people into the Kingdom!
Pray for an area of the world where Christians are facing daily persecution. Ask God to empower and embolden persecuted believers in their faith even in the face of danger.
Questions for thought
What does it say about the truth of the gospel that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world?
Imagine you live in an area where Christians are arrested and even killed for their faith. How might living in such circumstances strengthen your faith?