North Korean church leaders are asking Christians worldwide to pray for their country amid increased war threats and combat preparation by North Korean military officials.
Prayer for beleaguered believers in North Korea is more important than ever, says Open Doors, an organization that supports persecuted Christians in 60 countries.
According to underground Christians, there is a war-like atmosphere in the country:
“We are to meet the decisive battle with a gun in one hand and a hammer in the other,” summarized a Christian leader about the message the North Korean people recently received from the “high command.”
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“The military army, navy, air force troops, strategic rocket troops, the red guards and the red youth guards are already in combat mode. Urgent meetings are being held everywhere, regardless if it is day or night. At those meetings, officials make decisions on what needs to happen in case war breaks out and everyone, including women, needs to be combat ready.”
According to Open Doors sources, many cars on the roads are covered with camouflage nets. Also, soldiers are wearing hats with camouflage dried branches and carry guns. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un released a statement to his people, saying that “If war breaks out because of the actions of the U.S. and puppet South Korean’s unpardonable behavior, they will end up with a disgraceful downfall, and our people will greet a brilliant new day of reunification. The day has come to show off the power of ‘Military First’ and our great nation to the whole world.”
However, Christians and other citizens fear war and its consequences.
“Many people are in a hurry to purchase emergency food supplies and daily goods just in case. The prices of goods, including food, are skyrocketing,” tells one believer in North Korea.
North Korean Christians are grateful for their fellow believers in the West and request their urgent prayers.
“I would like to thank the many brothers and sisters around the world for their continuous love and support,” says the Christian believer. “We know that our journey will not be an easy one, but we are sure that our faith, desperate hope and passionate desire will some day bear many fruit. No matter how difficult life is for us, we never blame or complain about our circumstances. God has promised us in the Bible that if we seek His Kingdom first, all other things will be given to us as well. Please pray for us.”
Jerry Dykstra, a spokesman for Open Doors USA, adds: “Beneath the surface of the all the rhetoric of war and the possible launch of nuclear missiles are the suffering and persecution of the estimated 200,000 to 400,000 Christians in North Korea. Also, an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 Christians are in harsh political prison camps. The government has been the No. 1 persecutor of Christians for 11 years in a row, according to the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List (www.worldwatchlist.us).
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“We must respond now to the Christian leaders’ request to pray for them. Pray for Kim Jong-Un; that God will work in his heart and he will pursue peace and not war. Pray for wisdom for leaders in the United States, South Korea and China. Pray for Christians who are put in even more danger due to war preparations. Pray families will find food to feed their families. Finally, pray that no matter what happens Christians will remain strong in their faith.”
Here are just a few facts about religious persecution*:
- More Christians were martyred in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined 171,000 Christians were martyred in 2005 [Int. Journal of Missionary Research]
- It is estimated that currently over 200 million Christians are being persecuted worldwide
- Nigeria: In 2010 Christians suffered terror from Muslim extremists. Whole village massacred Iran: Its parliament believes Muslims who change their faith should be put to death
- India: up to 70,000 in Orissa have been forced to flee their homes in riots against Christians Indonesia: Between 2000-2002 Muslims slaughtered 10,000 Christians
- Iraq: half of Iraq’s Christians have fled the country since the fall of Saddam Hussein
*Pew Research Report 2012