Open Doors reports a significant increase in attacks against Christians during 2014-2015. Last year, more than 7,000 Christians were killed for their faith, which they note is “almost 3,000 more than the previous year.” The largest areas of growing Christian persecution occur in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. Those numbers are expected to scale upward.
In general, persecution of Christians is increasing, “and the rate of increase is accelerating”, said Lisa Pearce, chief executive of Open Doors UK and Ireland. The nature of persecution was also changing, she added. “It used to mean several years in a forced labour camp. Now it means watching your loved ones being beheaded.” TheGuardian.com
In a nation uniquely founded upon the Judeo/Christian ethic and “Freedom of Religion”, Americans have been witnessing committed Christians being persecuted in their own country. Over the last six-plus years, there have been rapidly expanding attempts to marginalize, demonize, and criminalize the free practice of the Christian faith in the US Armed Forces and in the United States in general. Restoring Liberty
The astounding increase in persecution around the world should not surprise us. The Bible warns us about increased persecution in the last days. Jesus painted a vivid picture for his disciples:
Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?”
Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:3-12 NLT)
Paul described last days persecution to Timothy this way:
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! (1 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT)
Ignoring the reality of the horrors of persecution taking place around the world . . . and on the beginnings of persecution right here in the United States . . . will not make it go away. It’s here to stay. And it will impact our lives more and more.
So what can we do? God doesn’t want us to leave the answers to others. Every believer needs to act according to God’s individual plan for him or her. Some may run for political office. Others may take a stand against the evil by making others aware of what is happening. Some may join organizations that are making a positive difference. Different gifts. Different callings. But every believer needs to pray. And to pray most effectively we need to be aware of what is happening here and around the world.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:18)
On FindChristianLinks.com you will find links to websites and ministries that can help keep you informed and guide you in biblical ways to pray. I am searching for more links to help all of us make a kingdom difference. Please visit a page I just added: Praying for Persecuted Christians. On this page you will find links to more information about persecution taking place and well as links to prayer guides. I had been praying for those being persecuted but wasn’t sure the best ways to pray. These links offer biblical ways to pray. I’ve been using one of them and plan to use others. Very helpful. Please send me links to websites you have found helpful so I can add those as well.
Would love to hear your thoughts. Please get in touch.