Pray for the Persecuted
7th March - 13th March 2021
Each week until Easter, please join us in prayer for brothers and sisters living in the top 10 most dangerous places to be a Christian. We will focus our prayers each week on those living in different persecuted nations around the world. Across the globe, more than 340 million Christians - one in every eight believers - experience high levels of persecution, just for following Jesus.
Paul, in writing to Timothy, highlights God's deliverance from acts of persecution when we speaks about how the Lord rescued him. And he points out that all Christians will face persecution when their commitment to live a godly life clashes with the ways of the world. Sometimes we might think that God is not answering our prayers for the persecuted because the persecution continues. However, again and again, God is rescuing his people from acts of persecution even in some of the most persecuted lands.
10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:10-12)
Persecution type: Clan oppression
Estimated number of Christians: A few thousand
How Christians are suffering: Christians in Yemen usually keep their faith secret, because if they are discovered then they could face the death penalty. Leaving Islam is forbidden and all Yemenis are considered Muslims by the state. Christians are a tiny minority in the nation - most are ex-pat workers or Ethiopian refugees. Yemeni Christians that have converted from Islam must keep their faith a secret so only God knows how many there are.
The humanitarian situation in war-torn Yemen, on the south-western corner of the Arabian Peninsula, is one of the world’s worst as a result of a civil war involving Houthi rebel forces, which intensified in 2015 when a Saudi Arabian led coalition intervened on behalf of the former government. The United Nations warned in 2019 that more than 22 million Yemenis were in immediate need of humanitarian aid, including 15 million on the brink of starvation.
Since the humanitarian aid is distributed by Islamic aid agencies, there are reports that those suspected of being Christian do not receive any aid. And there are reports of people being turned away from hospitals because they are believed to be Christians.
Prayer: Father, we cannot imagine being refused basic things like food or access to a hospital because we follow your Son. Yet that is the reality for some of our brothers and sisters in Christ in Yemen. Lord, give them today their daily bread. Please provide for their needs and care for them we pray. We also pray for Muslims in that nation and we ask that they would look upon Christians with compassion. We ask for peace in that nation and for the efforts of aid agencies to reach all those in need. And Father, we pray for secret believers and secret house churches, and we take heart that their faith is not secret to you for you are the God who sees everything including what happens in secret.
Open Doors: https://www.opendoorsuk.org/persecution/world-watch-list/yemen/
Barnabas Fund: https://barnabasfund.org/countries/Yemen/
If you would like to pray as a family, then Open Doors have a free World Watch List pack for children and you can set off together on a journey of prayer through the year. Each week, children can colour in a flag in the prayer passport, pray for that country and put a sticker on that country on the map. These can be ordered from https://www.opendoorsuk.org/products/product/wwl-21-childrens-pack
This post is based on a very helpful blog post by Joe Carter, editor for The Gospel Coalition, entitled "The Countries Where It’s Most Dangerous to Be a Christian in 2021"