Int'l Week of Prayer for North Korea Begins

The International Week of Prayer for North Korea begins today as people around the world have signed up to host prayer meetings.

Spearheaded by NK Missions, a movement coordinating efforts for North Korea missions, the campaign aims to catalyze the start and growth of local prayer groups, regional mobilization, and involvement, according to the NK Mission website.

The worldwide prayer week is Dec. 4-11.

In the seventh annual International Religious Freedom Report released early November, North Korea was redesignated as a "Country of Particular Concern" for severe violations of religious freedom. Other reports, including eye-witness accounts and a study by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom titled Thank You, Father Kim Il Sung, exposed the ongoing persecution and execution of North Koreans, particularly Christians.

The reports on the severe human rights violation in North Korea were released in November, with hopes that the issue will be brought to the international agenda as a priority.

Mobilizing prayer and action for the people suffering under the totalitarian regime, NK Missions sponsors strategic prayer movements every year. Last year, the International Week of Prayer for North Korea saw participation from such locations as Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Uganda, Ghana, Israel, Germany, South Korea, South Africa, and others.

This year, South Korea is holding a large scale Candlelight Prayer Meeting, led by the Christian Council of Korea, at Kwang Hwa Moon on Dec. 10. The gathering is expected to draw some 300,000 Protestant believers and involve many of the churches, including Sarang Church, led by the Rev. Oh Jung Hyun.

"Every churchgoer should take part in the prayer meeting, knowing that this meeting is an important spiritual battle," said the Rev. Suh Kyoung Suk, who handles the human rights issues for the CCK, according to NK Missions.

The CCK is making efforts to mobilize all South Korean churches for the prayer event.

"We'll devote all our energies to the prayer meeting," said the Rev. Choi Sung Kyoo, head of the CCK, according to NK Missions.

South Korean churches will declare Dec. 11 North Korean Human Rights Day, which will then be followed by a Christian rally the next day at Seoul Church.