If they Persecuted Me…

Yeshua (Jesus) warned, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20) Today, anti-Christian persecution is at an all-time high with more than 260 million Christians suffering for their faith. Although we know their reward in heaven will be great (see Matthew 5:10-12), they still need our prayers and practical assistance. In this article, you will learn how to participate in a global prayer movement (IDOP) for the suffering church and give much-needed aid.

by William L. Nowell

International Days of Prayer (IDOP) 2022

  • Mark your calendars:
    • International Days of Prayer (IDOP) for the persecuted church:
      Sunday, November 6 & 13, 2022

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. … As he traveled, and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” “Who are You, Lord?” he said. “I am Yeshua (Jesus), the One you are persecuting,” He replied. (Acts 9:1, 3-5 HCSB)

Ask yourself this, if you were Satan and wanted to lash out against God, how would you do it? Obviously, there's nothing you can directly do to the Almighty God. So, your next best option is to lash out against His beloved children; i.e. lash out against the followers of the Lord Yeshua (Jesus). And that is exactly what is happening around the world today.

Around the world, at least 360 million Christians experience persecution because of their faith. Though differing in degrees of severity, persecution comes in many forms. Daily, Christians endure intimidation and harassment, discrimination, beatings, rapes, kidnappings, arrests, torture, acid attacks, and worse yet, murder. Last year in Nigeria, no less than 4380 Christians were murdered. That translates into roughly one Christian put to death every two hours. Yet, Nigeria is just one of more than 50 countries where Christians face ongoing and oftentimes severe persecution.

The Open Doors World Watch List is an annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution. It sheds light on the systematic mistreatment and persecution of Christians, which is one of, if not the most, under-reported crises of our time. Simply download the World Watch List 2022 to learn about and pray for the persecuted church. In addition, visit I Commit To Pray for up-to-date information on what's happening to specific persecuted Christians and how to pray for them. Also, use VOM's interactive Global Prayer Guide to learn where Christians face persecution and how to pray for them.

The Killing of Deborah Samuel

Deborah Samuel was a Christian student attending college in Nigeria. Her parents pinned their hopes and dreams on Deborah's success. She was set to graduate in the 2023-2024 school year. Tragically, that all ended with Deborah's heinous murder at the hands of a vicious mob of her Muslim classmates. Though some of the students in the class tried to help her escape, the mob overpowered them and threatened to kill anyone who stood in their way. As Deborah pleaded for mercy and called out for help, the irate mob dragged her out, flogged and stoned her, and then set her on fire. What a horrible way to die.

Deborah Samuel pic
Deborah Samuel - murdered (beaten, stoned, and set on fire) because of her Christian faith.

The events leading to Deborah's brutal murder began when someone innocently asked her how she passed her exams from the last semester. In her reply on the class WhatsApp platform, she gave credit to Jesus. Offended by her comment, three of her Muslim classmates demanded that Deborah retract her statement, but she refused. One thing led to another including an accusation of blasphemy against the Prophet of Islam. This in turn caused the events of that day to spiral out of control.

What's more, Deborah Samuel's gruesome murder is not an isolated incident. Deborah is but one in an extremely long line of victims of violence directed toward Nigerian Christians. Ranked at number seven on the World Watch List, Nigeria is not the worst offender in terms of Christian persecution. That dubious distinction belongs to Afghanistan .

Suffering Church Action and Awareness Week

  • Mark your calendars:
    • Suffering Church Action and Awareness Week (SCAAW):
      Sunday, October 30 – Sunday, November 6, 2022

Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don't have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” … Can't you see that faith without good deeds is useless? (James 2:18, 20 NLT) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10 MEV)

Suffering Church Action and Awareness Week (SCAAW) is a ministry of Barnabas Aid . Many followers of Christ suffer immensely and are in dire need of tangible help in addition to our prayers. And so, this is the perfect time for Christians with a heart for the persecuted to put our faith into action.

Call to Action

Letters of Encouragement

Write letters of encouragement to prisoners of faith . To help with this activity, Release International has published a set of guidelines for writing cards and letters. It's true that not all of us have the gift of encouragement, as did Barnabas, who the apostles called the "son of encouragement." (See Acts 4:36) Nevertheless, most of us can find a few words of encouragement and/or solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the faith.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is … to encourage, then give encouragement. (See Romans 12:6-8)

Aid Packages

Give much-needed items to persecuted Christians through a Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) Family Med Pack . Fill your pack with items such as adhesive bandages, gauze, toothbrushes, etc. Then VOM will deliver it to a country where it's most needed. Similarly, VOM actionPACKS are another way for individuals or small groups to come together and assemble aid packages for Christians in need.


Be a voice for the voiceless and help save Christian lives.

News and Information

Ministries to the Persecuted

Related Articles

Below is a list of previous IDOP articles and related topics.

Remember the Persecuted

Continue to remember those in prison (for their beliefs) as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13:3)

The writer of Hebrews calls upon us to keep on remembering those persecuted for Christ. First, and foremost, we remember them by praying for them. Our prayers can make a tremendous difference. Never forget that "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:16)

In addition, let us take advantage of every opportunity we have to provide practical help. That is the basic premise of Suffering Church Action and Awareness Week. We all have different skills, knowledge, and abilities we can use to uplift the suffering. Our only limits are our creativity and empathy for the persecuted.

Finally, let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up. Therefore, as we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. (Galatians 6:9-10)

Yeshua (Jesus) said, "If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you." (John 15:20) And today, Christians worldwide endure persecution and hatred as a regular part of everyday life. May we never forget them when we pray and continue to work for their good.

Three Crosses