Editor’s note: Sunday (Nov. 7) is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
NASHVILLE (BP) – God’s people are being persecuted today just as they were in Bible times, according to one expert who has talked with hundreds of believers living under persecution. Longtime International Mission Board missionary Nik Ripken believes up to 75 percent of Christians across the globe who are “truly practicing their faith” are facing some type of persecution.
“Everything you would read in the Bible is certainly happening,” Ripken said in a Baptist Press interview (video below). “Certainly today, this very day, some of your brothers and sisters will lose their lives because they refused to deny Christ.”
In “moderate countries” believers might lose their jobs or their children’s access to public education. This is very costly because there are no private schools in most Muslim countries, he said.
In other countries, if they are active in sharing their faith, “it’s very common for them to be jailed…to be beaten, to be tortured,” Ripken said.
Sunday (Nov. 7) has been set aside as the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians, according to Voice of the Martyrs and International Christian Concern, two organizations that support persecuted Christians around the world. The date also will be added to the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Calendar.
A similar day was recognized on June 6 by the 2021 SBC Annual Calendar.
Ripken told Baptist Press prayer is vitally important to believers in persecution who are often told they have been forgotten and are alone. “They will say to us, ‘You’re carrying us, when we can’t carry ourselves.”
He added that most of the believers facing persecution he talks with ask him and his wife to pray that they will obedient to Christ during their struggle.
“What we do most of all is not just pray for their endurance, because what they want us to do is focus on their faith and focus on how they give their lives to Christ with persecution being the byproduct. But their faith is the product,” he said.
Ripken encouraged believers who are not facing moderate or severe persecution to remember that believers in persecution are praying for them. He was moved greatly by believers in a very remote portion of a country facing heaving persecution who promised to get up one hour earlier each day to pray for other believers who were working to reach their own homeland.
Listen to Ripken tell the story in a video interview with Baptist Press.
More information about the ministry of Nik and Ruth Ripken is available at their website.