By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, November 2, 2018: The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) has called on the Church in India to observe the 4 and 11 November 2018 as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).
“Let us stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers who pay a high cost for their faith on a daily basis. Let us identify with them and walk with them in their sorrows and in their joy and join with them in prayers,” Reverend Vijayesh Lal, EFI general secretary, told Matters India.
In the modern church calendar, the first two Sundays of November (4 and 11) are set apart to remember and pray for the persecuted church, through the IDOP.
Today’s greatest untold story is that more than 100 million Christians worldwide face persecution for their faith in Jesus. Daily Christians in countries such as Eritrea, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Sudan and Sri Lanka face imprisonment, violence and even death.
Across India, there is a rising intolerance towards missionaries, pastors, and priests and violence against Christians have resulted in loss of lives, livelihoods and property. Religious Liberty Commission of EFI has documented over 200 incidents of violence and hate crimes against Christians from January – October 2018. Last year, 351 such incidents were recorded.
“IDOP gives us the privilege to join with over half a million churches in over 150 countries to pray for the persecuted church every year. An initiative of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), IDOPs are promoted in India by the Evangelical Fellowship of India, as days of intercession for persecuted Christians worldwide,” said Reverend Lal.
“The primary focus is the work of intercessory prayer and citizen action on behalf of persecuted Christian communities. We also encourage prayer for the souls of the oppressors and the nations that promote persecution, and those who ignore it,” he added.
EFI recommends that special IDOP services to raise prayer for the persecuted Church may be organized by interested Churches, organizations and individuals on 11 November, all over India, according to their convenience.
The following resources for IDOP are available and can be accessed at our website (www.efionline.org) and on our Facebook Pages: https://www.facebook.com/EFoIndia and https://www.facebook.com/idopindia
EFI, founded in 1951, is the national alliance of evangelical Christians. As a central network of evangelicals and a service organization, it is the custodian of Evangelical faith, movement and values in India, representing the Evangelical voice, articulating Biblical values, building capacity, advocating for the poor and marginalized and promoting participation in nation building.
EFI is a charter member of the WEA. Its membership includes over 54 Protestant denominations and related congregations (over 65,000 Churches), over 150 Church related mission agencies and organizations and thousands of individual members. It is the most inclusive fellowship with membership from most Protestant denominations and organizations of India.