It’s hard to think about all of the brokenness in the world. War, human trafficking, abuse, death, the massive number of people who have never heard of Jesus, persecuted Christians, I could go on and on. It gets depressing to constantly hear all of this bad news. We want to focus on the good news, or at least I like to.
So that’s what I’ve always done. I ignore the bad news and I focus on the good news. As long as the bad news isn’t personally affecting me, why should I put that in my mind and in my life? I don’t see it every day, so I don’t think about it. Out of sight, out of mind.
I recently read an article in The Alabama Baptist about the newly updated World Watch List from Open Doors USA. The list is a ranking of the 50 countries in the world where it is the most difficult to be a Christian based on pressure and violence (you can read more about the ranking system and see the full list on their website opendoorsusa.org).
At first, I just skimmed through it. But it ended with a call to action: a call to prayer. And that pulled me in and convicted me. I haven’t been praying for the persecuted Church. I counted it as bad news and moved on. But I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this list and about how my prayer needs to include it.
The call to prayer was to just pray once a week for persecuted Christians. They even offer an app that gives prayer requests for you, if you don’t know how or what to really pray for. It even offers reports of answered prayers (so there’s good news ).
I’d encourage everyone to look up the report and see the list of countries and the reason they’re on the list, even to read the stories the report offers. But if you don’t have the time for that now, here’s a list of the top 10 countries.
1. North Korea
Add believers in these countries to your prayers. I’m going to try to remember to include them in my prayers at least weekly, but I’d love to get in the habit of including them every time I pray.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)