November 6 was marked as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, and Christians around the world prayed for their fellow believers who are being persecuted in different parts of the globe.
On the International Day of Prayer, Christians from over 100 countries came together to raise those laborers in faith who suffer every day for the sake of the Gospel.
The day was first celebrated in 1996 as "Day of Prayer for Iran" when an Iranian pastor was murdered in the country. It has become an annual day of prayer when Christians lift up their brothers and sisters in Christ and join in their support for them.
Incidents of persecution of Christians are reported frequently in the international media, which recount how believers are targeted for sharing the gospel, distributing tracts, and even assembling in homes.
"From merciless killing, destruction of churches and buildings, to being forced to denounce Jesus as their Lord, Christians are being stripped of the ability to follow Christ in safety and freedom," Open Doors USA said on its website.
"Because we have freedom of religion in the United States, we can freely and openly worship Jesus Christ. Let us stand in the freedom we have to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world," it continued.
A Nigerian pastor was quoted as saying by Open Door: "Only guns of love can silence guns of hatred. What better way to love someone than to pray for them?"
Christians around the world are invited to pray for persecuted believers on the first and second Sundays of November every year. The International Day of Prayer (IDOP) ministry has distributed devotionals, Sunday School materials, and prayer points via dropbox.
"According to statistics, persecution is the daily reality of at least 100 million Christians around the world," said Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director of the World Evangelical Alliance and the Religious Liberty Commission.
"These Christians, who face routine harassment and difficulties, often suffer in silence and isolation. Over the years, the IDOP has served as a platform to highlight their stories and advocate their plight. Moreover, in so doing, the IDOP has also been a source of solidarity and encouragement to persecuted Christians by reminding them that they are part of a larger, global family of believers."
"We believe that God uses the prayers of his people to strengthen and deliver suffering saints. Based on scripture, we are also convinced that though sorrow maybe the present reality of those suffering for Christ, triumph is their ultimate reward," he continued.