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International Day of Prayer

Posted by Gary Labels: , ,

Today is the IDOP for the persecuted church worldwide. Many people today are languishing under torture or duress for the sake of the Name. What about us? We go to church, chat afterward, and rush home to watch the Cowboys game. Eat, drink, and be merry.

This is not how we should be. We must be constantly alert soldiers, armored with righteousness and faith, with the Sword of the Spirit -- the Word of God -- as our weapon. When Paul uses that phrase in Ephesians 6 (and in 1 Timothy 4), he is referring to words with God: prayer. Prayer is our weapon, and we must be constantly diligent and alert, praying at all times.

I only hope these stories will give you an idea of the need for this warfare.

Brave men like Gao Zhisheng of China stand up in opposition to the Communist Party's policy of brutal control over religious affairs. He was captured in February this year and carried away to brutal torture. He has not been seen publicly.

Women of steadfast faith like Asia Bibi of Pakistan are under duress because of their faith. Asia was arrested and is awaiting trial on charges of blasphemy. She belongs to one of the three Christian families in her village of 1500 families. When her Muslim coworkers began to pressure her to reject Christianity for Islam, and she said that "Our Christ is the true prophet of God." As the story says: "Upon hearing this response the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia Bibi. Then some men came and took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey." Christians got the police to intervene before this could happen, but she still awaits trial on blasphemy charges.

Some Christians were not so lucky as to have police intervention. In Gao's case, police intervention was the problem and not the solution. During one of the last times he was kidnapped, they tortured him grievously, leaving no place untouched and no torture means unused. They used the electric baton everywhere. His testicles. His anus. His mouth. They stuck toothpicks into his... "lamp."

It's not just men and women. Children are suffering, too. Silvia Merry Sarker, a Christian girl in the 8th grade, was kidnapped by four men of a Muslim family who wants to take her father's land. They forced Silvia to convert and marry one of them, Al-Amin by name. She is not even twelve years old, but a forged affidavit claims that she is 19, married, and converted to Islam. Her kidnappers were detained as suspects, but got out on early bail before police could garner any useful information. She's been missing for three months, and Silvia's father is afraid to send his older daughters to school ever since his youngest, Silvia, was kidnapped. The government of Bangladesh is being negligent of this Christian minority's plight.

The way of peace is being killed. As Revelation explains, for righteousness to truly come, the righteous must first shed their blood and fill the cup -- "for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure" (Gen 15:16).

See also the Persecution Blog. "Fear none of the things you are about to suffer. Behold! The Devil is about to cast some of you into prison so that you may be tested and may have affliction for ten days. Become faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life... Whoever overcomes will by no means be affected by the second death." Rev. 2:10-11.