Christians to pray for persecuted church

Christians in the state of Orissa in India are among the millions of believers worldwide who have suffered persecution for their faith.AP

Christians around the world will be praying for the persecuted church this weekend.

The annual International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church falls on 3 November 2013, when prayers will be said for the roughly 200 million Christians currently suffering for their faith.

In the run up to the day of prayer, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) will be holding a special prayer event at All Souls Langham Place in London.

Dave Bilbrough will lead worship during the evening and guest speaker the Reverend Yunusa Nmadu, of CSW Nigeria, will share more about the plight of Christians experiencing harassment, discrimination and violence for their faith, as well as its work advocating on their behalf with politicians and key decision-makers.

Churches are being encouraged to host their own prayer events using free resources, including sermon outlines and children's activity ideas.

"Whatever you do, the important thing is that on IDOP Sunday we all join together in prayer for the persecuted Church," said CSW.

Barnabas Fund is holding its International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on 1 November as part of the Suffering Church Action Week.

It is asking believers around the world to set time aside on this day to remember the suffering Christian family before the Lord, with a special emphasis on the needs of children in contexts of persecution.

In addition to Suffering Church Sunday services, some churches will do their bit by holding coffee mornings and fundraising events.

This prayer has been produced for use around the International Day of Prayer:
Sovereign God, we worship You and rejoice that You know all of those who suffer in Your name. We remember those who are imprisoned for their faith and ask that they, like the Apostle Paul, would be able to see that their chains have helped to further the gospel, not frustrated it. May they inspire and embolden their fellow believers to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

God of all comfort, for those who are tortured both in body and mind, give them the grace to endure and to see their suffering as part of following in Christ's footsteps.

Merciful God, for those asked to pay the ultimate price − who are martyred because of their love for You − may they truly know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death.

Father God, for those who are widowed and orphaned as a result of persecution, may they know the comfort that comes from Your presence. May they be strengthened by Your Spirit, enabled to rejoice like the psalmist as they proclaim that the Lord will not abandon in death those He loves.

Heavenly Father, we ask that You would make us ever mindful of our brothers and sisters around the world who need us to stand with them as they suffer in Your name. Teach all of us what it means to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony; we pray that we would not love our lives so much as to shrink from death.

O Lord, hear our prayer.