New Map Download to Pray for Persecuted Christians
Last week, Open Doors, USA announced the 2017 World Watch List with a press conference. The World Watch List is a ranking of the top 50 countries where Christians face the most severe persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. Open Doors, USA has been publishing this list for several decades.
The way Open Doors, USA ranks the countries is quite complex (check out the methodology behind the World Watch List) but the simple explanation is that they compile information from people who are on the ground for Open Doors and other external experts on Christian persecution. Once the data is gathered, Open Doors calculates the information by analyzing the level of violent persecution, plus the pressure experienced in five spheres of life—private, family, community, national and church. The rankings and report are audited by the International Institute for Religious Freedom.
I encourage you to download the map of the 2017 World Watch List so that you have a way to be reminded of your brothers and sisters who are suffering for their faith. In 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 (NLT), Paul writes about the importance of being there for each other:
"This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it."
We live in a country where worshipping Jesus is not punishable, but actually encouraged. Yes we may be mocked, talked about, or even "unfriended" on social media for our faith, but that is nothing compared to what our brothers and sisters are experiencing overseas. We have this opportunity right now to pray, support and encourage them as they continue to run the race for Christ while facing an immense amount of pressure form countless outside forces.
My prayer is that you take the time to go and download the map and start a prayer routine for our friends. Get creative—attach it to your fridge, bathroom mirror, bedroom wall or work cubicle as a reminder.