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We conclude our month of focus on the Persecuted Church with Open Doors (www.opendoorsusa.org), perhaps the best-known of the organizations devoted to believers persecuted for their faith.

Open Doors was founded by Brother Andrew in 1955 in response to the increasing persecution of the church in Eastern Europe.  Brother Andrew focused initially on smuggling Bibles into Eastern European countries, and chronicled this work in the book God's Smuggler, published in 1967.

Like other organizations, Open Doors has a multi-pronged ministry approach, including prayer, advocacy, financial support for the persecuted, and volunteerism.  Probably the single most pervasive aspect of their work is prayer.  Open Doors publishes a number of strategic prayer resources, including:

  • The World Watch List, an annual report of the 50 countries where Christians suffer the most intense persecution
  • A monthly prayer calendar focused on multiple strategic areas of prayer with daily prayer items.
  • A weekly prayer alert with recent news items and suggestions for prayer.
  • A number of resources related to the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

All of the Persecuted Church organizations relay stories of persecution at all levels, but Open Doors has a more strategic focus than the others - meaning that more of their prayer material is developed at the country level than is true with the other organizations. 

The Open Doors website is well-organized and easy to navigate.  Major sections include:

  • Christian Persecution, including pages on the World Watch List, persecution stories, resources, and their store.  
  • Take Action featuring a number of ways to pray, volunteer, advocate, and donate. 
  • Newsroom, highlighting current news stories about persecution.

 

The Christian Persecution page concludes with the following encouragement to us: 

1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us that we are one body—when one member suffers, we all suffer. When one member is lifted up, we all rejoice. Persecuted Christians and Christians in the free world are not two separate entities, but rather are one body. The persecuted church needs the free church to support them and most importantly to lift them up in prayer. The church in the free world learns lessons from the persecuted who have stood strong in the face of persecution. Christ is the head of the body and uses the church (both free and persecuted) in unique and powerful ways.

Praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world is the single most important thing we can do for them, so we will conclude this month's focus with the same Scriptural encouragement that began this focus:

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering -- Hebrews 13:3

 

Pray.Network Spotlight by Andrew Wheeler.

See Andrew's website at www.togetherinprayer.net

 

 

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