"Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name." 1 Peter 4:16 ESV
We have been very fortunate in the United States that we do not suffer for our faith in Christ, but the very sobering fact is that it is not true for much of the world. On January 15, 2020, the nonprofit organization Open Doors released its annual World Watch List based on statistics from 2019 from the top 50 countries where Christians face the worst persecution. Here are some of the statistics from that study:
260 Million Christians experience a high level of persecutions
2,983 Christians were killed for faith-based reasons
3.711 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned
9,488 Christan churches or Christian buildings were attacked
In another study published by Study of Global Christianity (CSGC), they estimate "that there have been over 70 million Christians martyred in history. Over half of these were in the 20th century under fascist and communist regimes. In the early 21st century, we estimate that, on average, over the 10-year period from 2000–2010, there were approximately 100,000 Christians killed each year (1 million total)."
We pray that the day may never come when we will suffer for our faith, but if that time comes, we have the spiritual strength to stand for Christ. Standing in proudly in our faith, with the assurance given to us by Jesus in Matthew 10:39, "'Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it." What we are asked to suffer in this life is temporary; our promise lies beyond this life to the eternal.
God, we give you thanks for your Son, who came sinless to live among us. His suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension was done for us. In conquering death, he opened a way through the curtain of this mortal world to the eternal. Father, we ask that if the time comes when we are asked to suffer, you give us the courage to stand proudly in our faith. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
“Quick Facts About Global Christianity.” Center for the Study of Global Christianity, 8 Dec. 2019, www.gordonconwell.edu/center-for-global-christianity/research/quick-facts/.
“Top 50 Countries Where It's Most Dangerous to Follow Jesus.” Open Doors USA, 10 Mar. 2020, www.opendoorsusa.org/2020-world-watch-list-report/.