Four ways to care for the persecuted church
How (and why!) you should show your love for persecuted Christians
Most of the people reading this article would be leading fairly peaceful lives as Christians. Maybe some of you suffer bullying, or maybe your parents don’t like you going to church. But I’m pretty sure hardly any of you suffer a constant threat to your life because of your faith.
This is not the case for millions of Christians across the world. For so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ, daily life is severely impacted by persecution. This persecution comes in many forms – violence, exclusion, imprisonment and more – and from many sources. In some countries, the governments or regimes want to restrict Christians from evangelising and gathering. In other nations, factions and terrorist groups want to stamp out Christianity. Sadly, in many places, families and friends persecute those who convert from other religions and tribal beliefs to Christianity.
Why should we care?
The Christians who are suffering from persecution are not just distant strangers – they are our family in Christ. 1 Corinthians 12 says that as believers, we all form the body of Christ, each playing our parts in serving the Lord faithfully. And verse 26 reads…
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
As fellow members of the body, we should mourn the suffering of our persecuted brothers and sisters.
But we shouldn’t just be sad about it! God wants us to show our love and care for persecuted Christians. Here are four ideas you can use to help you care for the persecuted church.
Read through the Open Doors World Watch List
Open Doors, an organisation that supports persecuted Christians, releases an annual list of the top 50 countries where persecution is the worst. The 2016 list is soon to be released, and once it is you’ll be able to read about persecution in each of the 50 listed countries. This will help you understand what is going on in each country, which will inform and motivate your prayers! Make sure you check it out.
Start a prayer group
If you want to commit to praying for the persecuted church, why not gather a group of Christians and pray together. You could meet weekly at your church or school, and bring along prayer points and articles you’ve read about persecution. Maybe you could even pick a different country to focus on each time you meet!
Give some money
Many organisations like Open Doors support persecuted Christians, and they desperately need the support of people like you to ensure their programs can continue. Consider giving a donation to an organisation like Open Doors, so that Christians under pressure can receive practical help, pastoral care and vital training.
Write to a persecuted Christian
Open Doors and other organisations provide opportunities for Christians to write to their persecuted brothers and sisters! There will be some guidelines you need to follow to ensure the security of the struggling believers, but the letters you write can be a great encouragement to those who are suffering. It’s a great idea to add in some Bible verses and share what you’ve been praying.