It is a privilege to pray for those who pray in secret and this year the persecuted Church is the focus of the Diocese during the Thy Kingdom Come Global Prayer event taking place between Ascension and Pentecost.
Hidden Church is an interactive prayer booklet giving glimpses into what it is like to keep faith hidden. When we hear the personal details and stories of faith it makes it easier to pray. In North Korea, hiding a Bible under a fire pit and lighting a fire over it is one way of hiding that you have a heart on fire for Christ. Reading your Bible at home is not simple because even a family member may report you to the authorities. One daughter in North Korea had to make a decision between informing her teacher or confronting her father over a little black bible she’d found. Thankfully, the daughter confronted her father first. He took her outside, showed her creation all around, then opened the first page at Genesis to explain that the person who made all of this is Christ. Eventually she discovered a love of God for herself.
I first became involved with the persecuted church after having heard about those worshipping in secret through Open Doors UK at a Spring Harvest Christian conference. I was moved by stories like the one above, and this led to me to being invited to the Open Doors UK World Watch Report at the Houses of Parliament, an annual event listing the top 50 countries where the worst persecution takes place. Around 80 MPs and peers attend.
With the Church Warden, I went to speak to our MP. He arranged two debates, the second leading to the acceptance of the 22 recommendations from Bishop Philip Mountstephen’s Review into support given to persecuted Christians by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. A group of us attended and saw the best cross party deliberations, with everyone in agreement saying persecution had to stop. It seemed that this debate happened in the right time and place.
From then on I continued to share stories about those suffering for their faith, and I encouraged prayerful action perhaps by emailing an MP, or taking part in an ‘I See You’ 16,000 fabric square petition to Government for women persecuted for their faith and gender.
Photo: I met Tirham from Nigeria at Westminster Abbey – not her real name. She cares for 16 women each week at her Trauma Centre.
It is a honour and privilege to pray with the persecuted church because they strengthen our faith when we notice how they keep hold of Christ even in the most difficult places. I do hope the Hidden Church resource I have written will give you some insight into their lives and that you will join me and the Diocese, along with the international prayer community, to pray for the persecuted church these simple yet powerful words of the Lord’s Prayer: Thy Kingdom Come.
For more free resources from the Diocese for Thy Kingdom Come, please visit southwark.anglican.org/tkc.