Millions to Rally on International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich., — As summer comes to an end and autumn approaches, Christians around the world are preparing for the 2011 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).The IDOP, which was first organized in 1996 by the World Evangelical Fellowship, has evolved into one of the largest worldwide prayer events in existence today. For the past 15 years, thousands of churches and organizations, as well as individuals and families, have participated in the tradition of setting aside one Sunday each November to spend time in intercessory prayer for the millions of Christians around the world who are persecuted, oppressed, and even martyred for their faith each year — and who, whenever asked, unfailingly place intercessory prayer at the top of their list of needs.
On a general scale, Christian persecution has become a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions. According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, persecution has become especially prevalent in countries like India and Iraq, while countries of particular concern that have been known for consistent religious and human rights violations include North Korea, China, and Sudan.
But the United States government is not alone in its monitoring of the crisis. Many Christian ministries and nonprofit organizations have made it their mission to advocate and provide humanitarian support for those in the persecuted church, most of whom suffer a range of abuses from societal or even family ostracism, physical abuse, kidnapping, or false imprisonment on an almost daily basis.
One such organization is Christian Freedom International (CFI), a Michigan-based organization that works extensively in countries like Burma, Pakistan, and Egypt — all regions where Christian persecution is steadily on the rise. In addition to its humanitarian support of food, clothing, medical assistance and educational opportunities, CFI has been an outspoken advocate for the persecuted church, providing compelling testimony before Capitol Hill and promoting general awareness of persecution through online petition campaigns. Each year, CFI also actively encourages churches and individuals throughout the U.S. to remember the persecuted and participate in the IDOP.
Although Sunday, November 13 is the designated 2011 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, it will be held one week earlier, Sunday, November 6, in the UK and Ireland.
To learn more about the IDOP and for free, downloadable resources, visit www.dayofprayer.org.
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