When Paul the Apostle was imprisoned for his beliefs he encouraged followers to pray for him: "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." (Colossians 4:2-4)
Today, around 200 million Christians in over 50 different countries face some sort of governmental or social persecution for trying to live according to their faith. The situation is particularly troublesome throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and India. It can be easy for Christians in the Western world to turn a blind eye to their suffering brothers and sisters, but if you do not want to stand idly by any longer and feel motivated to take some action, then here are a few ways you can support persecuted Christians around the world:
- Provide assistance through non-profit organizations
There are numerous non-profit organizations working to bring relief to Christians who must hide or risk being punished for their beliefs. These organizations provide financial support to churches and pastors, distribute Bibles, offer legal aid to Christians who have been imprisoned, and sponsor Bible colleges. Donating to a non-profit such as Voice of the Martyrs, Samaritan's Purse, or Open Doors is one of the best ways to make sure that your money goes directly to helping Christians worldwide freely practice their faith.
- Spread the word
If your friends and family do not know much about what is happening to Christians in other parts of the world, then tell them! Sit them down and have some one-on-one conversations about how millions of Christians are discouraged or completely barred from believing in Jesus Christ. Consider speaking at your Church to spread the word to your congregation as well. Many people would probably love to step in and help, but they often simply do not know the full extent of what is going on.
- Take part in rallies
Pay close attention to local news and events and take part in rallies that are organized in order to call attention Christian persecution. If you see enough interest after speaking to your friends, family, and congregation, then why not organize one yourself? The goal is to spread awareness and let your elected representatives know that people demand they take action.
- Pray for them
When Paul the Apostle was imprisoned for his beliefs he encouraged followers to pray for him:
"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison-- that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak." (Colossians 4:2-4)
These spiritually inspiring words show us that Paul was aware of the enormous power of prayer, and that we need to be aware of it as well.
Christians are called to pray for each other not only because prayer itself can have a real effect in the world, but because keeping our brothers and sisters in our hearts and on our minds is one of the best ways to ensure that we take effective action when we have the chance. Prayer can open up the opportunities and give us the motivation to raise awareness and give what we can to support persecuted Christians around the world.