“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (Eph. 6:19-20)
The Apostle Paul knew what it meant to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ. Throughout his ministry, he endured various imprisonments and persecutions. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul wrote from prison and asked them to pray for him that he would continue to speak boldly and not give in to the temptation to fear.
But there was something that scared Paul more than painful beatings and long imprisonments. Paul was concerned that the fear of more suffering might hinder him from fulfilling his calling to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, so, he wrote to fellow believers and asked them to pray that he would continue to boldly proclaim the gospel.
Did you know one of the most common requests of persecuted Christians is that people would pray for them? Around the world today, Christians are suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. They may not have the ability to write us letters and ask for our prayers, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if our persecuted brothers and sisters were also those who received the most support through intercessory prayer.
Here are five countries where the persecution of Christians is considered the most extreme. Open Doors has provided several helpful suggestions for how to pray for people in each of these countries.
1. Pray for North Korea
- Pray that new diplomatic efforts will pay dividends and will lead to a softening of the North Korean government toward its people.
- The situation for Christians is vulnerable and precarious. They face persecution from state authorities and their non-Christian family, friends and neighbors. Pray for their protection.
- Pray for strength and courage for Christians who suffer in prisons, labor camps and remote areas.
- Pray that God will prepare the underground church in North Korea to be a light for the country—and that they will be ready to share the gospel freely someday soon.
2. Pray for Afghanistan
- Christian converts from Islam face strong pressure from family, friends and neighbors and can even be attacked. Pray for these believers to have courage and protection.
- The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan does not allow conversion from Islam. Please pray for a softening of the country’s leadership and local rulers.
- Pray for isolated believers in Afghanistan, many of whom are totally cut off from any other Christians.
- Pray for secret Christians living in areas controlled tightly by radical groups like ISIS or the Taliban. Pray for their protection and that they will be able to find other believers in their area.
3. Pray for Somalia
- Somali Christians often must hide their faith to stay safe. Pray for their safety and discipleship opportunities for these isolated believers.
- Pray for Christians who convert from Islam, that they will be protected from violence and oppression.
- Pray for the government of Somalia, that its leaders will be opened to the truth of the gospel of Jesus.
- There is no room for Christianity in Somalia. Pray that the Lord will continue to build His Kingdom there despite hostilities. Pray that more laborers will be released into the harvest. Pray that Christian workers will be wise and have grace to daily express God’s love.
- Please pray for God’s wisdom and protection for field teams. Pray that Somali Christians would feel the support and hope of their brothers and sisters from around the world, and that Open Doors’ efforts will help the Somali church into greater spiritual maturity.
4. Pray for Libya
- Pray for the isolated Christian converts in Libya, that they would find other believers and be encouraged in their faith.
- Pray that God would disrupt the plans of ISIS in Libya to show them His mercy, grace and sovereignty over all.
- Pray for the protection of migrant workers, especially for those who are Christians and face double persecution.
- Pray for stability in Libya, and that the rule of law would improve and enable more rights for religious minorities.
5. Pray for Pakistan
- Pray for Pakistani converts from Muslim backgrounds who suffer the brunt of the persecution in Pakistan. Radical Islamist groups see them as apostates, and their family, friends and neighbors see their conversion as shameful to the community.
- Pray for Christians accused under blasphemy laws, that they would not face violence or mob “justice” and that they would stand strong in the midst of great risk.
- An estimated 700 girls and women are abducted each year. They are often raped and then forcefully married to Muslim men in the community. This usually results in forced conversions. Please pray protection over Christian women and girls in Pakistan.
There are many more countries where brothers and sisters need our prayers. See Open Doors’ World Watch List for a complete list of Christians who need our prayers.