Our friend Chioma from Release International, an organisation that supports persecuted Christians prayerfully, pastorally and practically shares a few thoughts on what we can learn from the persecuted Church, and how we can support them.
Are there Christians facing persecution today?
Christians in many countries around the world face hostility, discrimination and prejudice on a daily basis due to their faith, and a rise in nationalism and extremism.
The levels of persecution are of varying degrees and range from Christians in Syria fleeing ISIS to Copts in Egypt being attacked, Boko Haram/Fulani Herdsmen killing people in droves in northern Nigeria and the imprisonment of Christians in North Korea and China. For example, Churches in China are being closed down where pastors are being arrested, leaving churches to meet in secret to escape attack from the authorities.
What can we learn from this?
We have freedom, so use it and don’t take it for granted!
As Christians in the Western world, we are able to enjoy religious freedom such as attend church services, meet with other believers and have free access to Bibles so it is essential that we don’t take this freedom for granted!
The story of 16-year-old Leah in northern Nigeria is an inspiring and true example of faith in difficult circumstances. Leah was one of 110 girls abducted by Boko Haram in February 2017 from her school when she was just 14.The next month, following negotiations by the government, the girls were put into vehicles to go home, and as they were about to leave, the kidnappers told Leah she had to recite the Islamic profession of faith. Leah refused to. And In a moment of extraordinary courage she counted the cost of following Jesus and refused to deny her faith. Her friends begged her to fake her conversion so they could all leave together. And although she could have easily renounced her faith, she tearfully refused to do so and said she couldn’t live with herself for denying her Saviour!
This story is one of many, but we can learn a lot from our persecuted brothers and sisters such as perseverance, fervent prayer, discipleship and resilience, faith during adversity and the true cost of following Jesus.
How can we support our persecuted brothers and sisters?
In 1 Corinthians 12:26 it says,
“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad”
When the persecuted church suffers, we do too and so it is important that we support them with our prayers, our voice and by using our freedom to speak out!
Richard Wurmbarand, a romanian pastor who was imprisoned for 13 years in communist Romania said this...
“Our brothers and sisters there, alone and without help, are
waging the greatest most courageous battle, equal to the
heroism, courage and dedication of the Early Church. And the ‘free’ Church sleeps on. Will you sleep while your brethren in Christ suffer and fight for the gospel?
Will you hear our message: Don’t abandon them!”
Here are a few ways we can support our persecuted brothers and sisters:
- Pray for persecuted Christians using our daily Prayer Shield
- Follow and share us on social media to raise awareness
- Volunteer and become part of the change maker program to help create change that will support persecuted Christians
- Write a letter of encouragement to a prisoner
- Watch our inspiring DVD Tortured for Christ to learn more