Faith

The Persecution of Christ’s Followers Around the World Takes on a New Urgency for Believers

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is set for November 3 and November 10, when all Christians are called to pray for those facing unimaginable pressure and harm

“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.” 

These are the sobering yet hopeful words of Rajesh in India, one of millions of listeners of The Tide’s global gospel radio programming. Here in the U.S., believers in Jesus can easily flip on Christian radio in their cars or listen to a Christian podcast any time they want.

But around the globe, that is not the case. 

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Open Doors USA reports that 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 lost their lives 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.

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So what can Christians here in America do? We can start with prayer. 

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Each year, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is set for early November. This year, on November 3 and 10, all Christians are being called to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing persecutions we cannot imagine. 

The Tide radio ministry has seen and heard some of this persecution from our millions of radio listeners around the world.

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For 73 years, The Tide ministry has recorded, produced and broadcast gospel radio and audio programming. Of the eight countries in which we work with local partners on the ground, half of those 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, we are making inroads to offer the hope of Jesus to a group in Pakistan (No. 5), where Christians experience extreme persecution. 

But with the scourge of persecution so pervasive, 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. 

For more than seven decades, The Tide ministry has had a singular goal: to reach the unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through media.

Many of these at-risk listeners even experience persecution, hardship and often alienation from their own families, just like Rajesh is experiencing in India. 

Likewise, in Nigeria, where violence against Christians makes headlines almost daily, The Tide ministry shares the hope of Jesus in 11 languages. Since 2009, these programs have had the potential to be heard by millions of people who do not yet know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

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We routinely witness groups of Nigerian villagers or families gathered around radios, listening to gospel messages in their own “heart” language — the languages they were born to speak. With the struggles these people face daily, they desperately need the hope of Jesus and to actively be a part of His plan for their lives. 

Christians also face harsh anti-conversion laws in Nepal, where The Tide ministry has broadcast the gospel for 15 years through programs in two languages: Nepali, reaching over 19 million people with the message that Jesus came to give them abundant life, and most recently, the Tharu language, a tribal people group practicing an ethnic religion influenced by Hindusim. 

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, reports the International Day of Prayer

Will you pray with us on November 3 and 10 — and every day thereafter — for our brothers and sisters worldwide who do not cannot worship God freely without fear of persecution?

They do not have our same freedom and opportunity as we do.

They live in fear of carrying a Bible in plain sight or turning the dial to gospel radio programming

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). 

Don Shenk is director of The Tide global radio ministry, which broadcasts gospel programming in 25 languages across eight nations. For more information, visit www.TheTide.org.

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