11 November–International Day of Prayer

On today, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, Christianity Today has an interview with Carl Moeller, president and CEO of Open Doors USA about the state of religious rights throughout the world.

What is the point of prayer and aid for people in persecuted countries?

We believe that the important role that the church has to play in every culture is to be a source of hope and healing. Jesus called it salt and light. If the church leaves because of persecution or pressure, if Christians flee, where will that salt and light come from? So our job is not to remove Christians from persecution, but it’s to strengthen them. Christian support, love, commitment, prayer, physical and tangible resources so that they can remain where they are and ultimately that they can see the kingdom of God advance even in a situation as desperate as a persecution context.

How do you differentiate between persecution of Christians because of their beliefs and general oppression?

We resist the temptation to claim that everyone who’s a Christian who’s killed in a certain region is a martyr for Christ. We all know that ethnic, religious, political conflict produces casualties. That’s not religious persecution per se; it’s just people caught in the crossfire who happen to be Christians.

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