How Can We Help the Persecuted Church?

I recently read that out of all the Christians killed for their faith in 2021, 80% of those deaths took place in Nigeria.1 I was then surprised to see that Nigeria was taken off the U.S. State Department’s Special Watch List,2 which tracks severe violations of religious freedom around the world. My heart broke, not only for the lives that were taken, but for my brothers and sisters around the world currently living in fear of religious persecution. 

Hearing news like this often moves us to want to save those who are being oppressed for loving Jesus. However, it’s also in these moments when our efforts can feel most futile and hopeless. How can we possibly do anything to help believers in these nations when even their governments are unable or unwilling to end the violence? 

As I reflected on this question, God reminded me that we do not have the power to end the persecution His people are facing on a daily basis around the world on our own. Only through God and His power will anything change or improve. When He invites us into this work, we must answer.  

The body of Christ must come together and raise up champions that will continually bring awareness to the issues of injustice happening in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and many others around the world. It’s too easy for those of us in the West to read a headline and forget about it a day later, but that doesn’t change the fact that millions of lives are still in danger and deserve our attention. 

We should also work toward prevention. I’ve seen how one government decision can close hundreds of churches overnight. We have to invest in prevention and advocacy for religious freedom in the hardest to reach countries in the world. 

Above all, we must pray. Prayer is the most useful tool we have in moments of crisis. Prayer activates a process of intervention through the Holy Spirit in every nation, and it’s through prayer that the underground church around the world is growing. God is still doing something incredible in these countries, even when all we see are distressing headlines and statistics. Jesus gives His people hope in the midst of oppression.

Even if Nigeria, or any other country confronting religious persecution, isn’t at the top of the watch list, it should be at the top of our prayer list. I encourage you to take a moment to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world facing persecution today. 

 


 

1 “Why Are More Christians Killed in Nigeria than Anywhere Else?” Open Doors. January 20, 2022. Accessed March 1, 2022. https://www.opendoorsuk.org/news/latest-news/nigeria-christians-world/.

2 “Countries of Particular Concern, Special Watch List Countries, Entities of Particular Concern.” U.S. Department of State. Accessed March 1, 2022. https://www.state.gov/countries-of-particular-concern-special-watch-list-countries-entities-of-particular-concern/.

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Rob Hoskins is the president of OneHope. Since taking leadership of OneHope in 2004, he has continued to advance the vision of God’s Word. Every Child. by partnering with local churches to help reach more than 1.8 BILLION children and youth worldwide with a contextualized presentation of God’s Word.

3 thoughts on “How Can We Help the Persecuted Church?

  1. Thanks for this message, Sir. It is quite encouraging. Of come, no one or group of people have the power to end persecution as you have clearly stated. Why? Because Jesus has said in the scripture that persecutions is part and will be part of the Christian life (Mark 10:30). It is important to note that persecutions are in different forms. It is not all about killing or death.
    Jesus Christ even stated that when you are persecuted in one place, move on or run to another.place (Matthew 10:23).
    I believe that if we are not facing any form of persecution, then we have to check our spiritual temperature, so to speak.
    There are some deep truths about persecutions revealed in the Book of Revelation for different periods from the time of the first Church in Apostle Peter’s time till the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    One thing that has kept many believers from going the extra mile for the Lord is the fear of death.The devil has kept many under his domain and control all these years because of fear of death (Hebrews 2:14 -15). Once we gain the consciousness that we have a better destination awaiting us in heaven, we are delivered from the fear of death and for the matter Satan’s control.
    The Book of Revelation states clearly that the bride did not fear to die (Revelation 12: 10-11). Hebrews also tells that many underwent unbelievable pesecutions with the consciousness that they were more than this world and all of its so called glory. Hallelujah!! (Hebrews 11:38). In other words, they were ready to make transition to a better place awaiting them. Glory be to God!! It was their individual decisions.
    I agree that through God the face of persecutions can be altered. May the Lord help us to answer when we are called to do so. God bless you richly and Shalom, Sir!

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