Prayer is the first thing persecuted Christians request when Voice of the Martyrs spokesman Todd Nettleton encounters them in countries where it’s difficult to practice their faith.
Whether the woman he encountered on a recent trip to the Middle East who has planted 30 house churches since accepting Christ two years ago, or the man he interviewed who has lived with no legal status after fleeing persecution by the Islamic State seven years ago, prayer is their top concern.
“It’s the first thing they want Christians in the free world to do to help them and to stand with them,” said Nettleton, VOM chief of media relations and message integration.
That’s the logic behind VOM’s latest global prayer guide, a free tool that has fueled Christian prayers for the persecuted since 1997.
“It’s a tool that we want every American Christian to have in their home to help them pray, to help them answer that first request of our persecuted brothers and sisters,” Nettleton said. “Instead of just saying, ‘God, help persecuted Christians,’ we can start to drill down and pray for specific Christians in specific situations in China, or Iran, or Nigeria. It really is a tool to help people pray more effectively.”
The 2022 Global Prayer Guide tracks more than 60 countries where Christians suffer persecution, informing readers of the type of persecution suffered, the source of the persecution and what drives the mistreatment. Countries are grouped into categories of “hostile” and “restricted.”
In hostile nations or territories, practicing Christians suffer persecution from family members, community extremists and terrorists, despite governmental efforts to protect Christians. In restricted nations or territories, Christians suffer government-sanctioned persecution and anti-Christian laws that subject them to harassment, imprisonment or death.
Nettleton encourages Christians to request free copies of the printed guide at www.persecution.com/prayerguide, to make it a part of their daily devotions and to share it with others at Bible study groups and other gatherings.
— Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ senior writer.