Over 360 million Christians—more than the entire population of the United States—are persecuted every single day. For this reason, we take time this Sunday to remember the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church and to support them through prayer. Suffering for faith in Christ may look like discrimination, alienation from family, threats of violence, or martyrdom. Groups like Open Doors Canada, Voice of the Martyrs, and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada work to support this important initiative.
A list of the top 10 countries of persecution for Christians is published by Open Doors and they include North Korea, Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Iran. One such group of people who face ongoing persecution are Pakistani Christians. Pakistan is predominately Muslim (97%) with Christians making up approximately 1-2% of the population. We especially want to pray for Christians within the city of Jaranwala in the Punjab province.
This August 2023, these Christians witnessed a 7,000-member mob burn 26 of their churches to the ground, within the city’s vicinity, while 260 families watched their homes ransacked and burned. Due to the destruction of these homes, 30 families lost their home-based businesses. Various Christians were harassed and assaulted while being accused of blaspheming the Islamic faith. We pray that they would remain strong in their faith and that God would flood their hearts and minds with peace in the midst of such overwhelming loss (Phil. 4:7). CLA has sponsored a family from Pakistan to come to Canada and we have been working on this file for a few years, pray for their release so that we can see them come to safety. For some reason they have languished in a refugee situation and have not been green lighted to come despite our preparations and efforts. Additionally, there is a lady in our church family, Hannah Ratnam, who is working on making a story of Pakistani Christians come to life on the screen (an ambitious goal and project). She is having an event at CLA on Saturday, November 25th and has a table in the foyer on Sunday – consider checking it out.
Three ways to make a difference on this important topic is to 1) be aware 2) pray 3) support our refugee program. Education of this topic is important, that’s why I included the links. More Christians face persecution today than any other time in church history. Therefore, we must pray. Pray for global workers, for the national churches, and for widows and displaced peoples. When the family from Pakistan arrives, we will let you know, and your tangible love will be so important. CLA global missions continues to partner with John A., Leila, Cuba, Ethiopia, Egypt, and parts of southeast Asia every month to be hands of grace extended in the most trying of circumstances. You can give to “refugee support” any time. From the depths of my heart thank you for being informed, moved with compassion and for prayer.