As thousands of churches around the world prepare for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) on Nov. 13, Open Doors USA has placed urgency on the worst persecutor of Christians in the world - North Korea - with its slated prayer campaign launch.
The North Korea Prayer Campaign calls Christians in America to commit a few minutes out of the IDOP week to pray for the country that Open Doors has listed at the top of its World Watch List for the past three years among other nations where religious persecution is prevalent.
"In North Korea, the persecution of Christians is almost beyond description," said Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller in a released statement. "Thousands of Christians suffer cruel treatment in concentration camps. Some are treated worse than animals. Christianity is observed as one of the greatest threats to the regime of Kim Jong Il, who is worshipped as a god by millions of North Koreans."
In conjunction with IDOP, the prayer campaign is designed as an ongoing prayer chain, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across the nation. At least 1,008 Christians are called to sign up for a time slot of 10 minutes of prayer a week as Open Doors provides updated information on the status of Christians in North Korea to help facilitate prayers.
"The power of prayer has made a difference around the world and we need Christians to unify in powerful, consistent prayer for North Korea," said Moeller. "This is your opportunity to make an impact and be a prayer warrior your prayers are like long-range missiles targeting Christians in this closed country. I encourage you to sign up now."
Of the 20 million people in North Korea, some 200,000 to 400,000 people are Christians, according to Open Doors USA. Among Christians, 50,000 to 70,000 are placed in harsh concentration camps.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom listed North Korea as a country of particular concern in the State Department's 2004 Annual Report and reported that there is no evidence on there being any improvement in conditions for religious freedom in the past year.
Prayers for the communist nation are encouraged as one Open Doors co-worker says that Christians in North Korea are aware of the prayer campaign and its support.
"The fact that other Christians know about them and pray for them gives them so much strength and hope," he said in a statement. "On behalf of the suffering Christians, I ask you to continue to pray, because without prayer support they can't spread the gospel, dont find the strength to remain faithful and can't spread Bibles. Without prayer the North Korean church can't survive."
Prayer campaigns in the past have also involved the Soviet Union and the Muslim World, where years of prayer led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and an increased request from Muslims to know Jesus Christ, respectively.
To register for the Prayer Campaign for North Korea, visit www.opendoors.org/prayercampaign.