Over the last two years, there has been a sharp increase in violence against Christians. See Not Forsaken, published in WORLD magazine. Much of the world’s Christians cannot practice their faith without fear of church burnings, torture, incarceration, humiliation, and death. Most of this persecution has been at the hands of Muslims. See Christians Being Persecuted all Over the World.
As Jamie Dean writes in Not Forsaken, persecuted Christians believe in the Power of Prayer. They will pray openly today, November 4, even at the risk of violence. They believe that condemned pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was released from his prison in Rashi on September 8, 2012, because church members around the world prayed for his release. Prayers were repeated in emails, on FaceBook, and Twitter. He was facing a death sentence for his crime of "apostasy against Islam."
The list of murder and torture is prevalent and brutal. In Syria, Christians once enjoyed some measure of freedom. No more. Both Christians and non-Christians by the millions have been forced from their homes, sleeping outdoors, mourning the loss of loved ones, some living without access to shelter, clean water, power, food,and medical care.
In Egypt last year, Christians suffered through the "Maspero Massacre," when the "Egyptian Army opened fire and used tanks to plow down Christians protesting the burning of a church in Cairo."
Every Sunday morning Christians across Nigeria return to churches, despite regular attacks by a vicious Islamic group that often massacres dozens at a time. The group has demanded that Christians leave the region or face extermination.
And yet, through it all, these persecuted Christians believe that there is nothing stronger than prayer.
"The first thing that people in this situation ask for isn’t activism or advocacy," says Iranian pastor Mansour Borji, based in London. Many groups, such as Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Open Doors USA, Stephen’s Children (SC), Evangelical Fellowship of India, and others are promoting the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church .
Today, please pray for all persecuted and incarcerated Christians, especially for Iranian pastor Behnam Irani.
Mr. Irani is serving six years in a prison in Karaj for so-called actions against the state. His alleged crimes include pastoring a group of converts and sharing his Christian faith with Muslims." Due to beatings and lack of medical attention, it is feared that the father of two young children could die within a few months.