Image: Overly well known sign saying Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem from the Psalms. Can be found in Garden tomb just outside the old city of Jerusalem.
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” John 15:18-20
Many books in the Bible are written by the persecuted for the persecuted, especially in the New Testament where the early Church was first oppressed by the Jews, and then the Romans. Jesus Christ himself warned the disciples of impending hatred from those around them. And as with all of His other teachings, this warning is relevant for us today as it was for the disciples 2000 years ago.
For the last 20 years we have produced the World Watch List – 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian. This list reminds us that as followers of Jesus Christ, we will be hated by the world. It also reminds us that this is a reality that our persecuted family lives in – humiliation, beatings, discrimination, imprisonment, and even death.
But this list is not just a ranking of the hardest places to be a Christian. It’s a display of God’s plan in action. While these countries are the hardest to follow Jesus, each and every one of them also has a church, a body of believers in it. Let the list encourage you this year as you pray for Christians who are living for Jesus in the most dangerous places.
- Praise God for Christians living in persecution who continue to be a light in darkness.
- Pray for persecutors to have a chance to meet the one true God, Jesus.
- Pray for Christians to stand strong in the faith, and to hold fast to the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.