International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
November 13, 2016
"Sharing In His Sufferings"
2 Corinthians 1:5 NIV For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
Above is the theme verse for this year's International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. This passage goes on to say: "If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:6, 7 NIV).
Although we and other Christians may suffer for our faith, we can be assured that God will comfort us in our times of distress. Comfort does not refer to luxurious accommodations. God comforts us with His encouraging presence.
As Christians, we can expect some persecution because of what we believe. Jesus explained clearly in His teachings about that: "'Truly I tell you,' Jesus replied, 'no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields--along with persecutions--and in the age to come eternal life'" (Mark 10:29-31 NIV).
Persecution for our faith can separate us from friends and family. In some countries, Christian leaders are thrown into prison simply because of practicing their faith. They are separated from their families--who sometimes do not even know where their loved one is being imprisoned. Families are left to support themselves while the breadwinner is confined to a prison cell.
Yet in the midst of such suffering, God gives comfort to these families. They can pray for each other's protection, safety and provision. God hears those prayers. Despite their hardship, these believers are cared for by the Lord.
Here in Canada, Christians may not suffer as much as our fellow believers in other nations. We enjoy lives of relative comfort. But we need to remember to intercede for our persecuted brothers and sisters.
"Pray for us ..." is the cry of persecuted Christians around the world. Today across the earth more than 200 million of them are suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. Each year, Christians in more than 130 countries stand in prayer with our persecuted sisters and brothers through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). Join with us as Christians across Canada unite in prayer for our brothers and sisters who suffer because they declare their faith in Christ.
IDOP Canada 2016 will take place on Sunday, November 13. If you are unable to participate in IDOP Sunday on this date, you are encouraged to set aside time on another day to remember our persecuted brothers and sisters. The important thing is to pray. The IDOP Canada team annually creates free downloadable resources. Be sure to register to access those resources. The 2016 resources will be posted by September 30. Thank you for your prayers.