Prayer Advocacy | 21 January 2024

7 bold prayers for persecuted Christians in 2024


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“Be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 3:18).

This challenge from the apostle Paul to the church of Ephesus comes right after the familiar passage describing the pieces of the armor of God. Paul knows that prayer is essential to winning battles because it connects us to God’s power, and Paul wants to make sure the churches he has planted get that! Sometimes the magnitude of Christian persecution can be difficult to comprehend … and even harder to understand what we can possibly do to move the needle. But that’s when we pray … consistently and boldly, knowing that we have been called to “be alert and keep on praying.” As you start 2024, will you commit to praying these seven bold prayers with us for God’s people … our persecuted family?

Pray for a resilient church in sub-Saharan Africa
As a recent post on Open Doors’ Facebook page shared: “Note to self: Pray EVERY DAY for Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.” Almost daily, we get reports of attacks on our family in sub-Saharan Africa. According to Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List research, Nigeria remains the most violent country in the world for Christians—and sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s deadliest region for God’s people. The statistics are horrifying. Out of every 10 Christians murdered for their faith, nine are killed in this region. Out of 2,700 Christians kidnapped in 2022, 92% were in Nigeria [link to a Nigeria article on your website]. Pray boldly that our family in this region would be resilient, that they “would walk and not grow weary” (Isaiah 40:31).
Pray that God would confuse the plans of those who would want to do harm to His people
Violent attacks are extremists’ primary weapons to cripple and ultimately, eradicate the church. Throughout the world, believers are arrested, beaten, raped, kidnapped, imprisoned and even killed for their faith. In the Psalms, David says with confidence, “The LORD frustrates [the Hebrew word means “to break, bring to nothing, utterly take the plans of”] the nations; He thwarts the devices of the peoples.” And in the same breath we’re reminded that God’s plans will not be thwarted—“The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the purposes of His heart to all generations …” (Psalm 33:10). Pray boldly for the safety and protection of our sisters and brothers.
Pray that North Korea’s rulers would meet Christ and open the country to the gospel
For 76 years, the Kim family has ruled North Korea through fear and indoctrination. At an early age, children are taught to revere and worship the country’s rulers as gods. Christianity is viewed as a “hostile state,” and any allegiance to Christ is quickly snuffed out. But it wasn’t always like this. At the end of World War II, there were more Christians in North Korea than South Korea. And the parents of North Korea’s founder Kim Sung II were devout Christians. Currently, the nation’s underground church is an estimated 400,000 Christians, who long for the day when their country is once again open to the gospel. Open Doors is strengthening the church in North Korea, preparing them to be ready to share the gospel when that day comes. And through our bold prayers for the Kim regime, we can do the same.
Pray that children could get an education and that no child would be banned from school because they and their family follow Jesus
We continue to hear how extremists use school and education as weapons of retaliation and coercion. When a family leaves the local or national religion to follow Jesus, their children can be banned from school. And when threatened Christians must flee their homes to avoid attack, shelter, food and basic needs in displacement camps are higher priorities than education. The lack of education becomes another tactic to cripple the church. Pray that persecuted children would “soar on wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31).

Pray that God would raise up churches in difficult and unexpected places where Christians are persecuted or marginalized
From a gathering of three Christians in a women’s outhouse in a North Korean prison camp [link to Hea-Woo article if it’s on your website] and whispered worship in the jungles of Myanmar, to a Bible study in a Pakistani brick kiln and a hidden gathering in an Iranian living room, we continue to hear how Christians are risking their lives to gather others and share Christ in meaningful ways. Pray boldly that as the gospel spreads and more people put their trust in Christ, churches and leaders would spring up exponentially.

Pray for hidden manna for persecuted believers

In North Korea and the country’s inhumane prison camps; in impacted displacement camps and numerous other places where Christians are struggling to find food; in the places where worship has to be done in a whisper. In North Korea, food is most scarce during the winter. In internal displacement camps filled with tens of thousands of people, food can be difficult to find. And Christians in these camps have shared with us that they are often at the end of food distribution lines, discriminated against for their faith. Please pray boldly for provision for God’s people … for unexpected miracle discoveries of hidden manna.

Pray that our persecuted family—more than 360 million people around the world–would know they’re not alone.

Isolation and feeling as if you’re the only one in the struggle can be one of the Enemy’s most powerful tools, especially in places where following Jesus makes you a target for discrimination and attack. Saad (not his real name), a secret Christian in Afghanistan, shared, “We feel disoriented and alone.” Our local partners tell us they often hear from Christians, especially new converts, “I thought I was the only one.” Pray boldly with us, asking God to give His people like Saad visions and dreams of the worldwide Church standing with them. Ask Him to place unexpected people and situations in their lives as constant reassurances and comfort that that they are not alone.

If you want to make a daily commitment to pray for your persecuted family, we have resources to help you do that. Check out our monthly prayer calendar where we’ve gathered specific prayer requests from persecuted Christians around the world  or Subscribe to our regular emails. How powerful to pray the same prayers with millions of people around the world each day!