Prayer is the first thing persecuted Christians ask when Voice of the Martyrs spokesperson Todd Nettleton meets them in countries where it is difficult to practice their faith.

Whether it’s the woman he met on a recent trip to the Middle East who has planted 30 house churches since accepting Christ two years ago, or the man who ‘he interviewed who lived without legal status after fleeing persecution by the Islamic State seven years ago, prayer is their main concern.

“It’s the first thing they want Christians in the free world to do to help them and stand by them,” said Nettleton, head of media relations and message integration at VOM.

This is the logic behind VOM’s latest global prayer guide, a free tool that has fueled Christian prayers for the persecuted since 1997.

“This is a tool that we want every American Christian to have in their home to help them pray, to help them respond to this first request of our persecuted brothers and sisters,” Nettleton said. “Instead of just saying that God is helping persecuted Christians, we can start digging and praying for specific Christians in specific situations in China, Iran or Nigeria. It really is a tool to help people pray more effectively.

Hostile and Restricted Countries

the World Prayer Guide 2022 tracks over 60 countries where Christians suffer persecution, educating readers about the type of persecution suffered, the source of the persecution, and what motivates the mistreatment. Countries are grouped into “hostile” and “restricted” categories.

In hostile nations or territories, practicing Christians are persecuted by family members, community extremists, and terrorists despite government efforts to protect Christians. In restricted nations or territories, Christians face government sanctioned persecution and anti-Christian laws that subject them to harassment, imprisonment, or death. Countries that restrict the circulation of Bibles or other Christian publications are also considered restricted.

“We have staff traveling in and out of these countries, and are in constant contact with church leaders and other Christians in those countries to hear what is going on, what is going on. “, did he declare. VOM annually assesses its list on the basis of new information received. The 2022 list is virtually unchanged from 2021.

“Voice of the Martyrs has identified more than 70 countries where Christians are persecuted,” he said. “This is the information contained in this 2022 prayer guide.”

Nettleton encourages Christians to make the prayer guide part of their daily devotion and to share it with others at Bible study groups and other gatherings.

“Essential tool”

“It has become a really vital tool for many people who are committed to praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters,” Nettleton said. “There are many committed Christians who have this prayer guide sitting next to their Bibles, where they will see it when they take their Bibles for devotion. They might have it on the breakfast table, and as a family they choose a country each day and pray for the believers in that country.

“We hear stories like this from people using it to help them pray effectively for persecuted Christians around the world.”

Considered hostile to Christians are the Central African Republic, Colombia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Israel (including the West Bank and Gaza), Kenya, Lebanon, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippine island of Mindanao, southern Mexico, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda.

Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, China, Comoros, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen.

The guide does not classify countries according to the level of persecution suffered.

“If you’re the Christian facing persecution, it doesn’t matter if you live in what someone else says is the worst country or the fifth worst country or the 50th worst country,” Nettleton said, “you are still facing persecution You are still in the midst of this struggle.

“And our goal as the Voice of the Martyrs is to stand with every Christian who faces persecution, so for us the question is how to help them. The first thing they ask us to do is pray.

Other resources

In addition to the prayer guide, VOM has an app, Pray Today, which sends out a daily prayer reminder with a specific prayer request.

In addition, prayer requests and information are posted on icommittopray.com, where users sign up to receive regular prayer requests and also post prayer requests for persecuted believers. Find all these resources on persecution.com / prayerguide /.


Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), information service of the Southern Baptist Convention.