CHAMBERSBURG, Pa.—This coming Sunday, Nov. 10, is set aside for the annual International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, when Christians join together to pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide.
The Tide® (www.thetide.org) global radio ministry has seen and heard some of this persecution from millions of radio listeners around the world. For 73 years, The Tide ministry has recorded, produced and broadcast gospel radio and audio programming. Of the eight countries where the ministry works, half are on the 2019 World Watch List for Christian persecution from Open Doors: India (No. 10), Nigeria (No. 12), Nepal (No. 32) and Bhutan (No. 33). Likewise, The Tide is making inroads to offer the hope of Jesus to a people group in Pakistan (No. 5), where Christians experience extreme persecution.
According to Open Doors USA, more than 245 million Christians live in places where they experience high levels of persecution. In one year’s time, more than 4,300 Christians were killed for their faith, 1,847 churches and other Christian buildings were attacked, and 3,150 believers were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced or imprisoned.
“In our comfortable, welcoming churches, it’s almost more than we can comprehend,” said Don Shenk, director of The Tide ministry. “What can Christians here in America do? We can start with prayer. But with the scourge of persecution so great, will our prayers really work? The Bible tells us that where two or three are gathered, there the Lord will be also. When we pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters alone or with our families, God hears us. But it is so powerful when an entire church comes together in prayer to pray for other churches that do not experience the same religious freedom we enjoy here in America.”
From Pakistan to Kazakhstan, Nigeria to North Korea, Sudan to Syria, Christians daily face discrimination, harassment, violence and even death for their faith in Jesus. And through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, all Christians have a chance to pray corporately for brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing unimaginable persecutions—such as this listener to The Tide programming in India named Rajesh.
“I have been a regular listener to (The Tide) radio programs,” Rajesh said. “I am 36 years old and belong to non-Christian family of Odisha. I was an alcoholic, but after listening to the radio programs and the Word of God, my life has been changed. In my family, I am the only one who believes in the Lord and because of that there are threats to attack me and kill me. It seems my own family is involved in this, but when I listen to the Word of God, I am very much blessed and encouraged. Pray for me that I would leave the bad company of friends and would trust and follow the Lord.”
Shenk added that he and other ministry leaders hope Christians around the globe and in the U.S. will pray this month for fellow believers worldwide.
“Many cannot worship God freely, do not have our same freedom and opportunity, and may live in fear of carrying a Bible in plain sight or turning the dial to gospel radio programming,” Shenk said. “Let us not forget Hebrews 13:3: ‘Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering’ (NIV).”