250 Million And Counting...

Anti-Christian persecution is spreading like cancer around the world impacting upwards of 250 million Christians. And it is increasing in severity reaching the level of genocide in some regions. What's more alarming is that persecution is making inroads in formerly safe areas.

by William L. Nowell
  • Mark your calendars:
    • Suffering Church Action and Awareness Week (SCAAW): Sunday October 27 - Sunday November 3, 2019
    • International Days of Prayer (IDOP) for the Persecuted Church: Sunday November 3 and Sunday November 10, 2019

Persecuted but Not Abandoned

Internationally, Christians are the most persecuted people in the world. Consequently, it is imperative that we come together on the International Days of Prayer and pray for the persecuted church. What's more, we ought to seize every opportunity to do good to those who suffer because of their faith in Christ.

SCAAW is a time for Christians from around the world to mobilize, strategize, and then give practical assistance to the suffering church. Furthermore, IDOP is a time for the church to come together in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. Always remember that “the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective” (see James 5:16b).

In over 50 nations, Christians endure persecution as a normal part of everyday life. Varying in degrees of severity, persecution comes in the form of intimidation and harassment, beatings, rapes, imprisonment, torture and even murder. Partly because persecution is so normal, much of it goes unreported. Thus, data collection is a highly complex task. However, statisticians estimate that 200–250 million or more Christians are suffering because of their faith.

Christians who suffer and die on account of their faith are not newsworthy from the perspective of the mainstream news media. And so, the media is mostly silent on the topic. But far worse than the media's silence is the silence coming from the pulpits. Roughly 52% of American pastors do not talk about persecution to their congregations. This is according to a survey by the Barna Research Associates. Hence, most church-going Americans will never learn of our persecuted Christian family from the pulpit. That's where you and I come in. It's up to us to spread the word.

A Lesson from the 1st Century Church

One might think that the Apostles, more than anyone else, would have had Divine protection. This would especially apply to Peter, James, and John; Yeshua's (Jesus') inner-circle. However, James' execution proved otherwise. James was the first apostle executed (see Acts 12:1-19). King Herod Agrippa I, having ordered James's execution, saw that it pleased the people. And so he arrested Peter intending to execute him as well. Unlike Saul who persecuted Christians out of misguided religious fervor, Herod persecuted Christians solely for political gain; he realized that it pleased the people.

James' execution taught the church a valuable lesson. His death taught the church to pray. Nowhere does the Scripture indicate that anyone prayed for James before his execution. However, upon Peter's arrest, the church came together in earnest prayer. Without ceasing, they prayed as though Peter's life depended on it; and it did. The Lord not only heard their prayers but responded by performing a miracle to rescue Peter from the hand of his executioner.

After his miraculous escape from death, Peter lived his life dedicated to the service of the Lord, accomplishing much good for the Kingdom of God. We will never know what James would've accomplished if only someone had prayed for him.

Like James, we have no valid reason to believe we will always be protected, especially if no one prays for us. But there are millions of Peters out there who desperately need our prayers. And that is precisely why the International Day of Prayer is vitally important.

Anti-Christian Bias in the USA

There was a time when Christians and Judeo-Christian values were well-respected in America. But in today's post-Christian culture, Christians are increasingly marginalized and mocked. And at the same time, Judeo-Christian values are increasingly ridiculed and despised. Below are just a few examples of anti-Christian prejudice in the USA.

A child in fourth grade routinely read from his Bible during recess until the principal of the school confiscated his Bible. The principal told the child that he could no longer read from it or meet with other Christian children during recess to discuss their religious beliefs. For more information, visit the religious liberty section of the ACLJ website.

The Virginia Real Estate Board charged a Christian realtor with violating fair housing laws and ultimately forced her to resign from her job. All this simply for putting the Bible verse John 3:16 on her business website and using the phrase "Jesus loves you" in her email signature. For more on the topic, visit CBN News .

A couple living in a Florida retirement community placed a small, inconspicuous 12-inch cross in their yard. Then someone complained about their cross. And now, the couple must remove it or face serious consequences. It could cost them exorbitant fines, a possible lawsuit, and even the imposition of a lien on their property. The ACLJ is currently handling their case.

An elderly semi-retired pastor and his wife have been ordered by their residential complex to stop holding Bible studies in their private apartment — or face eviction. The law firm First Liberty Institute is representing the couple. But, please sign the petition to H.U.D Secretary Ben Carson urging him to put a stop to discriminatory housing practices that prohibit residents from hosting Bible studies and other religious gatherings.

These four examples of anti-Christian bigotry and hatred are not simply isolated anomalies. Instead they are but the tip of an ever-growing iceberg of intolerance of all things Christian. In fact, First Liberty Institute documented more 1400 cases of hostility directed toward Christians between 2012 and 2017. Since then the numbers have continued to grow and include average Americans from all walks of life. And it seems that no one is off limits. We are all painfully aware of the vicious publicly held character assassination of Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh.

Respect for Christians and for Judeo-Christian values is eroding and being replaced by Christophobia — the irrational fear and loathing of Christians and Christianity. Christophobia is spreading like a cancer, not only in the USA, but throughout the Anglosphere (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States). One group that especially manifests Christophobia is the LGBT community.

Rise of the Radical Rainbow People


Instagram Post
Israel Folau's “controversial” post.

Israel Folau , Australia's foremost rugby player, is banned for life from playing the sport he loves. He is banned for the “crime” of paraphrasing Galatians 5:19-21 on his personal Instagram page. Radical LGBT extremists made sure Rugby Australia terminated his employment contract. So to fight his unjust termination, he launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for his legal defense. In just four days, more than 10,000 supporters donated over $750,000 to the Christian athlete's defense fund. That's when the LGBT radicals put pressure on GoFundMe who quickly shut down his page and returned all donations; not even allowing him to defend himself. Remember to pray for Israel Folau.


Pastor David Lynn was arrested for preaching the gospel message in an LGBT community. After an angry mob surrounded and harassed Pastor Lynn, the police (including one wearing rainbow pin on his uniform) came, not to disperse the crowd but to arrest the pastor. To this radical LGBT community, the phrase “Jesus loves you” is hate speech. At the time of this writing, Pastor Lynn's church is meeting outside in a park, having been evicted from their place of worship. Remember to pray for Pastor David Lynn.

United Kingdom

Dr. David Mackereth, a Christian doctor in the UK, lost his job for not referring to a biological man as a woman. A UK court ruled that not believing in transgenderism and using “preferred pronouns” is “incompatible with human dignity.” Thus, he is unable to practice medicine simply because he will not acquiesce to the insanity of transgenderism. Remember to pray for Dr. Mackereth.

United States

More and more Drag Queen Story Hours are indoctrinating children into the LGBT lifestyle. At one such public event, police arrested Pastor Afshin Yaghtin “for questioning the police's favorable treatment of supporters and unfavorable treatment of anyone they perceived as non-supportive.” According to the Pacific Justice Institute, Pastor Yaghtin's arrest is a clear example of “viewpoint discrimination.” Each of us with a Biblical worldview is likewise subject to viewpoint discrimination. Remember to pray for Pastor Yaghtin.

Many of us tend to think of the persecuted church as “those people over there”. And so the International Days of Prayer appropriately remind us to pray for “those people over there”. However, as we see the tide of persecution turning toward “us over here”, we should remember that we are “one in Christ”. Thus, we can no longer afford to think in terms of the “persecuted church over there” vs. the “free church over here”. Instead, we must pray for the persecuted church wherever they may be.

Target Your Prayers

An effective prayer is an informed prayer. But to pray knowledgeably, we need up-to-date information from news sources and from ministries serving the suffering church. With information from the following selected sources, you can target your prayers to the specific needs of our Christian family.


To read my previous articles for IDOP and other related topics, use the list below.

Man praying in a destroyed church

Biblical View of Persecution

In Acts 9:1-5 we read about Saul's encounter with the Lord Yeshua (Jesus) on the road to Damascus. While on a mission to arrest Christians, Saul, blinded by a flash of bright light, heard the voice of the Lord asking, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” Yeshua (Jesus) didn't ask “why are you persecuting My church”; by “why are you persecuting Me?” Yeshua (Jesus) took Saul's persecution personally. And here's why.

When we accept God's gift of Salvation through Christ and thus become “born again” (John 3:3), God puts His Holy Spirit in us (Romans 8:9b). Since the Spirit of Christ lives in all born again Believers, we are the “Body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27). So when Saul persecuted Believers indwelt with the Spirit of Christ, he quite literally persecuted Yeshua (Jesus). Likewise, today when wicked men persecute Christians, they are actually persecuting Christ; the Christians are more or less collateral damage.

The Bible also has much to say about how we ought to respond to persecution. Here are but a few selected verses on the topic of persecution and suffering for righteousness. Reflect on these teachings during the International Days of Prayer.

  • For the Prayer Warriors:

    2 Thessalonians 3:2 | 1 Timothy 2:1-2 | Ephesians 6:12, 18 | James 5:16
  • Unity and Love in Action:

    1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 20, 26-27 | Galatians 6:10 | Hebrews 13:3 | Matthew 25:31-46
  • Expect Persecution:

    John 15:18-20 | Romans 12:18-19
  • Encouragement and Rewards for the Persecuted:

    Matthew 5:10-12 | Romans 8:35-39 | Romans 8:18 | Romans 8:28

Final Thought for IDOP

Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ daily live in fear and suffer extreme persecution. And no doubt, we will sometimes feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of their problems and our inability to do anything about it. But that's where prayer comes in. When we pray, we acknowledge that some problems are bigger than we can handle. But keep in mind that there's nothing too hard for God, (Jeremiah 32:27, 17) the Creator of heaven and earth. Let's remember our Christian family by taking them to the Lord in prayer.

Three Crosses