By Our Reporter
Churches across the globe on Sunday joined in prayer for the persecuted Christians suffering because of their faith in Jesus Christ across the African continent and the world.
In a statement by Missions Box News, The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) which falls November 4th saw Christians throughout the ‘free world’ band together in solidarity with believers who live out their faith in the face of harassment, attacks, false imprisonment and even death.
This year, Christians stood together in lifting up those who follow Jesus in North Korea, the country that has ranked #1 on the Open Doors World Watch List for 17 consecutive years indicating that it is the most difficult place in the world to be a Christian.
Open Doors USA estimates that more than 215 million believers in 60 countries around the globe face high levels of persecution because they have decided to follow Jesus. Some scholars estimate more Christians have been martyred in the past 10 years than in every previous century combined.
“Although we are asking Christians to join us to pray for the 215 million people, we also need to recognize that there are 195 officially recognized countries around the globe. That means that Christians face high levels of persecution in close to 30% of the world,” the statement read.
Persecution can take on many forms. Persecution may be slander, threats, harassment, and abuse. However, in several countries, is increasingly taking on the form of imprisonment, torture, and execution.
UG Christians News has in the last 2 years profiled believers in Uganda facing unreported levels of persecution.
Just last month, police in Budaka district, eastern Uganda launched investigations into a case of a 12-year-old Christian boy who was admitted at Budaka Health Centre unconscious after being attacked by muslim extremists in the area, who he said forcefully wanted him to convert to Islam.
Emmanuel Nyaiti was on Oct. 25 going to pick up some plates from his grandmother’s house 200 meters from his home in Moru village, Kiryolo parish in Kaderuna Sub-County, Budaka District, when four area extremists ambushed him shortly after 9 p.m. and took him to a cassava plantation less than a mile away.
“There was a smell around his mouth that a doctor suspected was a kind of chloroform. Doctors also identified strangulation marks,” Emmanuel’s father, Mr Kauta Yokosofat, said.
While many Westerners assume that Islamic terrorists are the leading source of persecution of Christians, Missions Box News said campaigns promoting ethnic nationalism are nearly equally accountable for bringing terror to followers of Jesus.
“Nationalism claims that Christianity is a cultural and political threat – an enemy of the people and/ or the state. Nationalism in Eastern nations takes on an anti-minority form in which the dominant ethnic and political authorities seek to prevent the spread of the Gospel through anti-conversion laws. There are several entities that seek the complete eradication of Christianity in their countries,” Missions Box News’ statement read.
Adding, “It is a good thing to set aside a special day for prayer for persecuted believers but it is even better to pray for them continually. Having begun a good work praying for them, let us continue to do so faithfully and without ceasing.”