Written by: Stefan J. Bos
Article source: www.worthynews.com
Christians worldwide began praying Sunday for the more than 360 million fellow believers who “globally live in places where they face a high level of persecution for their faith,” the World Evangelical Alliance said.
The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, abbreviated as IDOP is held on November 5 and November 12 amid a growing global crackdown on devoted believers, organizers say.
Thousands of Christians are known to have been killed, kidnapped, and jailed, including in Nigeria, North Korea, China, Nepal, India, Laos, Myanmar, Pakistan, Iran, and many other nations, Worthy News established throughout the years.
In a message to Worthy News on Sunday, a vital co-organizer of the annual event asked not to forget “those suffering in silence,” including Nigeria.
“Pray for Rhoda Jatau, who Nigerian authorities have detained since May 2022. Pray for her family and children. She is a mother of five,” said Jubilee Campaign USA, a Christian group representing those often overlooked in the world’s busy news cycle.
Jatau, a devoted Christian, was arrested in Nigeria’s troubled northeastern state of Bauchi for sending a message perceived as blasphemous via online messaging service WhatsApp, Worthy News learned.
This act was allegedly in response to “the tragic murder” of second-year Christian college student Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu in Sokoto, Nigeria, “who fell victim to mob violence due to a similar message,” Jubilee Campaign added.
In comments shared with Worthy News, her husband said, “All I want is for Rhoda to be alive and free.” Northeastern Nigeria is among several areas where Christians face attacks by Islamist groups and authorities, according to multiple sources investigating the situation.
“Pray for an end to violence against Christians and others by [Islamist groups] Boko Haram, Fulani militants and other criminal gangs,” Jubilee Campaign wrote.
The group also asked Christians to pray for the “release of the enslaved [Christian] women and girls, including Leah Sharibu” who was among 110 schoolgirls aged 11–19 years kidnapped by Boko Haram.
The girls were kidnapped from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College in Dapchi in the Bursari Local Government area of Nigeria’s northeastern Yobe State.
Five schoolgirls died on the same day of their kidnapping on February 19, 2018, and nearly all others were released several weeks later in March, Christians said. However, Sharibu has been held captive for refusing to convert to Islam, according to Christians familiar with the case.
“Pray for open doors for [her and other] enslaved girls to escape. Pray for states to prioritize the return of the girls and women,” Jubilee Campaign said in its message to Worthy News.
Among other prayer requests, Jubilee Campaign mentioned Nepalese Pastor Keshav Acharya, who was reportedly detained for “sharing” his Christian faith with other Nepalese online.
Last week, the Supreme Court of Nepal upheld “the human rights violating decision of the Jumla High Court affirming the one-year imprisonment of Pastor Keshav,” Jubilee Campaign said.
He was charged with “proselytizing [sharing his faith with fellow Nepalis],” the group added. “This decision by the Supreme Court sheds light on the concerning direction Nepal is taking, suppressing religious minorities and individuals with beliefs diverging from Hinduism.”
Jubilee Campaign also expressed concern about communist-run China, where authorities have banned children below the age of 18 from attending church. However, the Bible’s verse Matthew 19:14 says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,” Jubilee Campaign recalled.
It comes amid growing concerns within the ruling Chinese Communist Party about the spread of Christianity, Worthy News established. There are at least 96 million devoted Christians in China, according to conservative estimates, while other sources say it may be at least 130 million.
Christians were also encouraged to pray for other reportedly persecuted Christian individuals and the Persecuted Church in general, which also includes many refugees.
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Date published: 09/11/2023
Feature image: Image for illustrative purposes only. Artwork from pixabay.com
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