"Are people still praying for me?" That is the question Pastor Andrew Brunson asked his wife Norine each week when she visited him in a Turkish prison where he was unjustly detained for nearly two years. Less than two weeks ago at FRC's Faith, Family, & Freedom Gala, we celebrated and praised God together with the Brunsons on the one-year anniversary of Andrew's miraculous release from Turkey. That evening he shared why he had repeatedly asked Norine if people were still praying. He said, "I needed that connection to the Body."
Andrew feared being forgotten, as do hundreds of millions of other brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe who suffer religious persecution on a daily basis -- most of whose names will never be in the headlines. In China, unregistered house churches are shut down and destroyed. In parts of the Middle East, converts to Christianity from a Muslim background must hide their faith or risk death from their community and even their own families. Some of these believers are in Northeast Syria, where they and other Christians are in danger due to Turkey's recent invasion and other events. In Nigeria, the terrorist group Boko Haram targets Christians to be kidnapped and killed. And as we heard from North Korean defector Ji Hyeon-A at our recent Values Voter Summit, believers face unspeakably horrific conditions in North Korea.
When faced with the evil of religious oppression, we can and should advocate for religious freedom -- and one of the ways we advocate is in prayer. As Hebrews 13:3 tells us, "Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body."
On Sunday, November 3, 2019, I am encouraging you and your church to join Christians around the world by observing the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Ask your pastor or church leaders to make this a priority, and encourage your family to make it a priority as well. This is a day to draw our attention to the plight of our brothers and sisters who place their faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of the cost.
FRC has resources available right now to better inform your prayers at rememberthepersecuted.org, and we'll be adding more throughout next week as we approach Sunday, so check back often.