Voice of the Martyrs has released a detailed prayer resource to help Christians in the U.S. support the growing number of Christians being attacked for their faith abroad.
The Oklahoma-based Christian persecution watchdog group’s “2020 Global Prayer Guide” was created with the goal of helping American Christians better understand and pray for Christians living in intolerant countries.
VOM spokesman Todd Nettleton, who also hosts the organization’s radio program, told The Christian Post that the guide on various nations was based off extensive research by the group’s staff and regional Christian communities.
“A great deal of work and effort has gone into making sure that the 2020 Global Prayer Guide is accurate and up-to-date so that people can use it to pray knowledgably for Christians in nations where they are persecuted,” Nettleton explained.
The guide divides countries that are intolerant of Christianity into two categories: “Restricted Nations” and “Hostile Areas.”
A “Restricted Nation” would be a country that engages in government-sponsored repression of Christians, with examples including China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Vietnam.
By contrast, a “Hostile Area” is a region where Christianity is technically legal, but persecution occurs through families or factions, with examples including Colombia, India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka.
Nettleton told CP that he believed a reason for the rise in persecution was due to the “growth of the church in hostile and restricted nations.”
“Part of the reason we see more persecution in some of the nations where VOM works is because the church is growing so fast,” said Nettleton.
“More Christians — whether in China, in India or in the Muslim countries of the Middle East — means there are more targets for potential persecution.”
Nettleton hopes the guide will be a valuable “tool” for American Christians to “pray in more detail” for those suffering persecution for their faith.
“My hope is American Christians will put it next to their Bible and use it throughout the year to guide their prayers for our persecuted brothers and sisters,” he added.
“This guide gives people information about how to pray and what to ask God to do for our brothers and sisters facing persecution.”
The release of the guide comes as the Communist Chinese government is expected to implement harsher measures against religious groups.
The Vatican news outlet Asia News recently reported that, starting Feb. 1, religious groups will be expected to seek government approval for more aspects of their lives and will be required to promote the Communist Party.
“Religious organizations must spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as national laws, regulations, rules to religious personnel and religious citizens, educating religious personnel and religious citizens to support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, supporting the socialist system, adhering to and following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” read the news rules, in part.