Drawing a connection between America's suffering following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the suffering that persecuted Christians experience throughout the world every day, Dr. Carl Moeller says that Christians need to “stand in the gap” for their spiritual brothers and sisters – much like the firefighters, police officers, and other emergency responders did on Sept. 11, 2001.
"As the events of 9/11 showed us, we are all connected,” he told The Christian Post on Wednesday. “And the fact that Christians are suffering globally is an important aspect of life that we ignore at our peril ... we can't ignore the suffering of our brothers and sisters because to do so is to truly ignore the suffering within our own body."
Moeller, the president and CEO of Open Doors USA, is also the co-author of a new book called ,The Privilege of Persecution. The title, he says, came from a conversation he had with a Latin-American pastor who said that Christians where he lives are “privileged to suffer for the name of Christ.”
"God has a different definition of 'blessing' than we do in the West,” Moeller said. "The message of the book ... is to refocus and awaken the church on things that we've forgotten because we've become comfortable.”
He says that the terrorist attacks, which resulted in the death of almost 3,000 Americans, woke our nation up and brought an “enlightened, informed understanding of just how brutal suffering can be.”
Today, there are over 100 million Christians worldwide who live in countries where they are in danger of being persecuted for their faith.
A 2011 report from the British branch of Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic organization, found that 75 percent of the religious persecution that happens in the world today is against Christians.
There are a number of ways that Christians can “stand in the gap” to help persecuted believers, Moeller says, but the greatest way is prayer. Christians should pray for their strength and for less opposition, and should work to provide for the physical, emotional, and training needs of those who are being persecuted, he listed.
One With Them, an initiative of Open Doors USA, is encouraging Christians from around the globe to unite with and pray for those in the church who are being persecuted. Plastic wristbands, which look like barbed-wire and say “One With Them,” are being distributed as a reminder for Christians to pray.
Organizers of the One With Them campaign are also promoting the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, which will take place on Sunday, Nov. 13.
"We need to respond much like the first responders to 9/11 did,” Moeller urged, “to go boldly into the middle of the worst places on earth to bring the love of Jesus Christ to those that would bring hatred and death and destruction to us."