The Persecuted Church
Muted media coverage does not change the fact that persecution of Christian Believers worldwide is on the increase. Christians are persecuted in 130 countries. The top ten offenders are countries within the 10/40 Window. A recent Pew survey indicates that Christian Believers in most countries in the 10/40 Window face "very high" to "high" governmental restrictions and hostility from fellow citizens.
According to Amnesty International, "Sectarian attacks on Copts and their churches by alleged Islamists appeared to increase" in Egypt. The same report provided details of arbitrary detention, arrest, and death of Christians in Eritrea. The report also provided instances of abuse of Christians under the pretext of blasphemy in Pakistan where a thirteen-year-old Christian schoolgirl in a town in Pakistan was "expelled from school for misspelling an Urdu word, resulting in accusations of blasphemy. Her family was forced to go into hiding."
In 2011, the world watched with horror and hope as the Arab Spring swept most of North Africa. Many were hopeful that it would bring the dawn of a new day. However, in reality there is "pronounced increases in social hostilities involving religion, while government restrictions on religion remained exceptionally high," according to a report by the Pew Research Center.
Whether one is a Christian Believer in Azerbaijan or Indonesia, India or Iran, Syria or Israel, one faces tremendous persecution for one's faith.
Open Doors defines persecution as, "a policy or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate a people because of their religion, race, or beliefs."
Christian Believers are persecuted when they are denied religious freedom, when they are prevented from converting to Christianity because they are threatened legally or socially. They are persecuted when they are forced to leave home, family, and job. They are persecuted when they are imprisoned and interrogated. They are persecuted when they are killed.
Pray for Christian Believers in countries where governmental restriction and social hostility make it incredibly difficult to practice their faith in Jesus Christ (The Bible, Romans 16:20).
Pray for Believers in the beloved 10/40 Window. Pray for God's guidance and protection as they live and share their faith in Jesus Christ (The Bible, 2 Samuel 22:3-4).
Pray that God will change the hearts and minds of people who cause immense trouble for Christians, whether they are government officials or private citizens (The Bible, Proverbs 28:2).
Pray for courage and strength for these faithful followers of Jesus Christ, so they will share the love of God with those around them (The Bible, Deuteronomy 31:6).
Sources:Amnesty International Report 2012 The State Of The World's Human Rights About Persecution (Open Doors USA) Religious Oppression Rises Despite Arab Spring, Pew Study Shows (Huffington Post) Restrictions of Religious Freedom Around The World
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