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International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church with Guest William Stark

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The simple act of living out their Christian faith is dangerous for so many Christians around the world. Because of extremism, many are part of underground churches that worship in secret. Other have no community support at all and worship on their own.

Let’s consider some facts on persecution. According to Open Doors, every month around the world the following occurs:

  • 322 Christians are killed for their faith
  • 214 churches and Christian properties are destroyed
  • 772 forms of violence are committed against Christians (this includes beatings, abductions, rapes, arrests, and forced marriages)

According to the Pew Research Center, among the world’s 25 most populous countries, these five countries have the highest religious restrictions: Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, and Turkey.

2016 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

This Sunday, November 6, 2016, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Please take some time to pray for those who are suffering for their faith. I have listed resources here that will help you to pray in an informed way. These resources also highlight other ways you can help if you desire. For example, through VOM I have purchased Action Packs and filled them with blankets, clothing, etc. for displaced Christians. You’ll find numerous opportunities to make a difference. But remember, we need to start with prayer, as that is the most powerful way to affect change.

Update to 2013 Podcast

In 2013 I interviewed Todd Daniels from International Christian Concern. This year Only By Prayer welcomes William Stark From ICC as he gives us an important update on what we can learn from the persecuted church and how we can support them. Listen below or you can also subscribe on iTunes.

Resources for the Persecuted Church

There are other organizations as well. These will get your started as you seek to become informed and to help. Thank you for supporting our brothers and sisters in Christ, and feel free to post your prayers in the comment section.

Pray on!




A Poem for the Persecuted

Once again today we hear of Christians being slaughtered for their faith.  The TV replays their deaths over and over; we can’t get used to wholesale murder, lives snuffed out before our very eyes. We must keep the persecuted ever before us in our prayers.

PersecutedFD2

Please join with Only By Prayer in praying for those in so many countries around the world who suffer at the hands of evil. Let’s lift up our prayers for the persecuted and their persecutors. If you feel so led, please add your prayer in the comment section below and share this post so we can keep their plight fresh in our minds and hearts. 

Pray on!




Pray for Iraqi Christians

If you have been following the international news over the past few weeks, you may have seen how our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq are suffering terribly at the hands of the terrorist group ISIS. Men, women, and children are being murdered mercilessly by this group. I’ve included a video and some sources that you can use to keep up with this current situation and other persecuted groups too.

At Only By Prayer, we’d like to request that you intercede for the Iraqi Christians. We need to pray for protection, for the persecution to stop, and for justice to be served. If you feel led, please share your prayer in the comment section below

Pray on!

International Christian Concern (main website)

ICC article : Iraqi Crisis

Voice of the Martyrs

I Commit To Pray

 




Freely Give by Kelsey Williams

photo 3I recently spent two weeks in Uganda, Africa on a mission trip. Being my third trip to Africa, I have seen more poverty than I imagined existed in this century. I have watched women bake rolls in an underground oven lined with handmade bricks. I have also had the humbling privilege of helping place brand new Bibles in the hands of nearly 200 Africans. Before we gifted the Bibles during my latest trip, my team leader asked if any of them already had a Bible of their own and, out of forty kids, only two raised their hand. When they bowed to thank us, their knees nearly touched the ground.

Humbled. Privileged. Blessed.

These words have shaped my life since my first trip to Africa. My heart aches and my eyes burn with tears even as I write this. Even so, pity is not in their vocabulary. They are a strong, beautiful people who trust the Lord to provide for their needs even in the midst of their trials and hardships, like maybe getting one meal a day. They believe fully in God’s faithfulness even as they watch their parents, siblings, and friends die of AIDS and other diseases. God has shown me many new facets of His love through these orphans. They have shown me how to love freely and unconditionally under the conditions of losing loved ones and suffering from many broken hearts. These children hold nothing back from each other. They share every material possession that they have to the point that you truly do not know to whom it belongs. They surround each other in such a way that you would think they are all brothers and sisters.

Loving Hearts

Something the Lord revealed to me through their love for each other is how much more closed off I become to people with each scar a person leaves on my heart. I quit giving freely because I want to protect myself. These orphans expect to lose the people they love but I have never seen it hinder the way they surround each other and continue to give freely from their heart in spite of the hurt to come. The Lord has been whispering to my soul, “I am your strength and defense (Psalm 118:14). You have nothing to fear (John 14:27) for fear cannot coexist with love (1John 4:18). Now give My love freely (Matt. 10:18).” This calls for a complete shift in my own actions as Jesus said His disciples would be known by love. And Jesus’ example of love was not cheap or convenient; it was costly and sacrificial.photo 1

During my time in Uganda this past August, the Lord showed me how He is a Father to the fatherless and His heart is for such as these. Satan, from the very beginning, has been trying to destroy God’s family, and he’s trying especially hard with the AIDs pandemic in Africa. Praise God that the story doesn’t end there, though, and we have hope for us and hope to offer the orphans. God has defeated Satan and is gathering His family together as a mother hen gathers her chicks. John 14:18 says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

God’s Heartbeat

There is so much that God revealed to me during those weeks about myself, about people, and about my passion for Africa but I consider the most precious what He revealed about Himself. The first morning in Uganda, He gave me an image of me sitting in His lap with my head against His chest, listening to His heartbeat. Generally we, as people, don’t lay our heads on just any random chest but only on the chest of someone we love and feel deeply connected to and intimate with. I knew He was telling me that, unless I was that close to Him, I would never hear His heartbeat. It is not until we’re able to hear His heartbeat that we’ll know what it beats FOR. Since then, I’ve also realized He’s trying to give me a heart transplant. It is an incredibly painful process that requires sacrifice and denial of self but a beautiful, genuine love is the outcome that can only take root in the fertile soil of God’s heart in me. This is only the beginning of a lifelong process, but I will photo 2consider the goal attained if He never stops breaking me apart and transforming me to be more like Him in all things. For it is in the places I feel the most broken apart that I feel the most alive in Him.

Rivers of Life

Our heavenly Father yearns for us to curl up in His lap and listen to His heartbeat. He has made us to be bearers of His love and Jeremiah 31:3 says He has drawn us with love, and He wants to continue to bring us to Him through each other. There is a dried up riverbed inside of many of us because we have built a dam, hindering the water flow. At our request, the Lord is prepared to demolish the dam and allow His waters of love to gush forth, up and out of us. He then nourishes our heart with His love; it flows freely into us and freely out as we begin to feel His heart beat. We have the humbling privilege and blessing of knowing what His heart beats for; we need only to start asking and listening.

 

Today’s guest post was written by Kelsey Williams, a college student studying nursing. She says, “The Lord has laid it on my heart to bring nursing skills into international missions and words cannot describe how passionate I have become about this calling on my life. In the mean time, I enjoy getting to know new people and letting them know how dearly they are loved by their Father in heaven. I also enjoy talking to people about my experiences in Africa and recruiting them to come with me.”

 

 




Voice of the Martyrs Interview with Todd Nettleton

ID-100131433For over 40 years, Voice of the Martyrs has worked tirelessly to help the cause of persecuted Christians around the world. Sunday, November 3, is recognized as IDOP, the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church. While it is important to pray everyday for those suffering for their faith, VOM is hoping to unite many churches and people to pray in unity.

In this videocast, Jane VanOsdol of OnlyByPrayer.com and Todd Nettleton, director of media development at Voice of the Martyrs (Persecution.com), discuss how VOM’s resources can help you pray for the persecuted church on IDOP as well as all through the year.  This short, 20-minute discussion is available in both video and as an MP3 so that you can download and listen to it at your convenience. Todd outlines several resources that will help you pray effectively and take action on behalf of those who are suffering for their faith.

Prayer and Action Resources:

Here is the videocast of the interview:

 

Here is the podcast of the IDOP interview:

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“Image courtesy of hyena reality / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.




The Persecuted Church with Todd Daniels of International Christian Concern

On today’s podcast I (Jane VanOsdol ) welcome Todd Daniels, the regional manager for the Middle East for International Christian Concern. With the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) coming up on November 3, 2013, we wanted to draw attention to this issue. Be sure to see the link below for your IDOP kit. The kit includes several resources to use for yourself, with a small group, or your church. You will even find a lesson for children in it.

In this podcast’s session, we discuss several issues concerning the persecuted church, including the following topics:

    • The scope of the problem of persecution
    • Steps to take to make a difference to suffering Christians around the world
    • How to pray for persecuted Christians
    • Relevant scriptures
    • Parts of the world where persecution exists

Resources

www.persecution.org

IDOP kit: http://info.persecution.org/IDOP2013

Save Our Sisters: http://www.persecution.org/assistance/save-our-sisters/

Suffering Wives and Children: http://www.persecution.org/assistance/suffering-wives-and-children/

https://www.facebook.com/persecuted

https://twitter.com/persecutionnews

The following organization is working with resettled Christians. It is a need, but a really challenging task:

http://www.iraqichristianrelief.org/our-projects/