Each second Sunday in November is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. The recent attack in a Baghdad church is a brutal reminder that there have been more religious persecution deaths in recent decades than ever in history! Here is the update from Open Doors.
Two Sundays ago, as faithful Christian believers gathered at church in Baghdad to worship, Al-Qaeda attacked and took about 120 worshipers hostage, beat and killed three priests, and detonated explosives moments before Iraqi security forces stormed the church in a rescue attempt. At least 64 people, mostly worshipers ––including a 3-year-old–– were massacred and an estimated 300 wounded….. Al-Qaeda’s Iraq splinter group, was responsible for the attack and threatened more attacks against Christian centers and organizations. Here is a video report.
1. A wonderful short article by Al Janssen called The Persecuted Church Taught Me to Pray.
2. A major paper from the 2004 Lausanne Meetings in Thailand that is a comprehensive presentation of the issue from a biblical, historical, contextual, and advocacy perspective.
I’ll close with a quote from Janssen’s article:
The persecuted Church needs our prayers. But we also need their example. Often, they have told me that they pray for the Western Church—that we will be faithful to Christ in the midst of our materialism and the numerous temptations of our culture. We need their prayers, not least because they need for us to be strong in our faith in order to stand with them. Together we are one body—suffering together and rejoicing together.