I travel continually to meet with members of our persecuted Christian family in the world’s most hostile and restricted nations. When I am with them, I am usually involved in VOM’s work to provide them with material aid, Bibles and ministry tools. But I am also there to carry out our most important work: providing spiritual encouragement, which always includes a prayer commitment. I look them in the eyes and tell them that you, their Christian brothers and sisters in the U.S., will be praying for them.
Our commitment to pray means everything to our persecuted Christian family in places like Syria, Nigeria, Iran and Afghanistan. Our Christian brothers and sisters realize that, in our prayers, they are not forgotten. They do not stand alone because they have Christ’s presence and our prayers. I am always humbled and challenged when they testify that since they have Christ and His Body, the Church, they have everything they need. They have the right values and priorities in this way — something I struggle to achieve each and every day.
Recently, I returned from the ISIS front-lines in Iraq and tearfully appealed to our U.S. staff here at VOM with a challenge that I give you now:
I have just been with our persecuted Christian family members. They are suffering for Christ and serving Him faithfully in the midst of extreme peril and great need. I told them that you will be praying for them, and I challenge you now… in fact, I plead with you… Make it true!
This Sunday, April 17th, our friends in several organizations that represent religious freedom interests — including Family Research Council, Open Doors, Christian Solidarity Worldwide and others — are challenging American Christians and churches to lift up our persecuted Christian family in prayer. Here at The Voice of the Martyrs, we want to join in that appeal.
April 17th has been dubbed, “Stand with the Persecuted Sunday.” You, and your church/group will be blessed by participating. Please go to frc.org/stand to learn more.
Cole Richards is the Executive Vice President of The Voice of the Martyrs. See persecution.com/bios to learn more.