30 prayers for suffering Christians in Olympic countries

February 10, 2022 by Tim Dustin in Persecution updates

Each country has sent its best athletes to compete in the Games—but, let’s not forget their Christian citizens who live in fear of intimidation, arrest and threat of violence, solely because of their faith.

The greatest athletes in the world have descended upon Beijing to participate in the Olympics, but controversy continues to surrounded the games like a dense fog. Observers note the ever-present, watchful eye of the Chinese government, the lack of free speech and the lack of human rights and religious freedom. But as the focus remains on China, there are other countries participating in the games where following Jesus can lead to suffering and persecution (to read more, check out the 2022 World Watch List).

Each country has sent its best athletes to compete in the Games—but, let’s not forget their Christian citizens who live in fear of intimidation, arrest and threat of violence, solely because of their faith. Please join us in praying earnestly for believers and governments in these countries; let’s lift our family in Christ in prayer and petition. Here are 10 countries on the World Watch List who are competing in the 2022 Olympics—and here are 30 ways to pray for the believers who live there:

China

China’s government has a history of using force and pressure to achieve its agenda and goals. That means squelching anything outside of what it interprets to be in the best interest of the nation, including religions like Christianity.

Pray that, despite intense surveillance, faith will flourish in China and even more people will discover God’s love.

Pray that local Open Doors partners will be able to reach vulnerable Christians with vital Christian literature, training and fellowship.

Pray for the authorities in China to recognize the importance of religious freedom, and allow the church to gather and worship without restriction.

Pakistan

Christians are considered second-class citizens in Pakistan and are discriminated against in every aspect of life. Church leaders can be arrested if they don’t abide by the authorities’ wishes, and Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws continue to be leveraged to accuse non-Muslims (or minority Muslim sects) of insulting the Prophet Muhammad or the Quran; even a false accusation can lead to mob violence and worse.

Pray for any believers who are falsely accused of blasphemy.

Pray for the entire Christian community in Pakistan, that they would be encouraged and kept from exhaustion and despair.

Pray for an end to the unjust blasphemy laws; pray that freedom of religion will be tolerated throughout the country.

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Iran

In Iran, the government sees the growth of the church as an attempt by Western countries to undermine Islam and the Islamic regime. House groups made up of converts from Muslim backgrounds are often raided, and both their leaders and members have been arrested, prosecuted and given long prison sentences for “crimes against national security.”

Pray their new president will honor the rights and contributions of Iran’s religious minorities.

Pray God will open the eyes of the authorities to see that Christians aren’t a threat.

Pray that house churches will continue to powerfully equip believers for serving Jesus.

India

The persecution of Christians is intensifying in India as Hindu extremists aim to cleanse the country of their presence and influence. This is leading to a systemic—and often violent and carefully orchestrated—targeting of Christians and other religious minorities, including use of social media to spread disinformation and stir up hatred.

Pray social media companies will do more to combat the spread of disinformation and hatred on their platforms.

Pray for continued protection, strength and encouragement for Open Doors partners as they serve the church in India.

Give thanks to God that many people are coming to know Jesus after being healed of sickness; pray these miraculous healings continue.

Nigeria

Persecution in Nigeria is—simply put—brutally violent. In much of northern Nigeria, Christians live their lives under the constant threat of attack from Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Fulani militants and criminals who kidnap and murder with few consequences. Christians who convert from Islam also face rejection from their families and are often pressured to recant their faith in Jesus; sometimes, they are even violently attacked.

2021 was dominated by reports of increased lawlessness. Pray national and local authorities would work to find solutions and uphold justice.

The level of trauma among Christians has reached crisis levels as men are killed, women are raped and abducted and youths are left in despondency over the future. Pray for healing and hope.

Pray for the many militant groups who attack Christians in Nigeria; ask God to change their hearts as only He can.

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To get immediate prayer requests from believers in all of these countries and more, click the button below to download the Open Doors Prayer App.

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Saudi Arabia

The majority of Christians in Saudi Arabia are foreigners who temporarily live and work in the country. Most of these workers come from low and middle-income countries, and there are numerous reports of migrant workers being abused and being subjected to horrific working and living conditions. Foreign Christians are heavily restricted from sharing their faith or gathering for worship, and any actions outside of the norm can lead to detention and deportation.

Pray for Christians who are migrant workers, that they will be protected from mistreatment.

Pray for the secret Saudi believers who must hide their faith from friends and family.

Ask God to soften the hearts of religious leaders and the monarchy.

Morocco

Article 220 of Morocco’s penal code criminalizes “shaking the faith of a Muslim.” This law puts many Christians (both Moroccan and foreign) who share their faith with others at risk of arrest and criminal prosecution. Christian rights advocates have also been targeted by the Moroccan government for their activities and are threatened with violent attacks by Islamic extremists.

Pray with isolated believers in Morocco who must sustain their faith alone or risk physical attacks, arrest and imprisonment.

Ask the Lord to draw close to His people and fill their hearts with the knowledge of His presence and love.

Pray for tolerance of faiths other than Islam in Moroccan society, with freedom to gather.

Mexico

In Mexico, criminal groups struggle for territorial control. Christians are known to be against criminal operations and violence and are therefore at constant risk of being targeted for elimination. In rural indigenous communities, anyone who turns from traditional religious beliefs can face rejection and punishment in the form of fines, imprisonment and forced displacement.

Pray for believers who face difficult choices when confronted with organized violence in their communities; ask God to give them wisdom and courage to confront it in a Christ-honoring way.

Ask God to give indigenous believers courage to maintain their faith, even when their villages turn against them.

Pray for open minds in Mexico when Christian voices speak out about social issues. Pray that people would listen and move toward God.

Colombia

Though Colombia has a high percentage of Christians, believers still face persecution from criminal gangs and indigenous groups. Guerrilla groups threaten, harass, extort and even murder church leaders, who are targeted because they denounce corruption, defend human rights and oppose cartels. Their children may also be targeted, to discourage church leaders from speaking out against organized crime and corruption.

Pray for protection for pastors and communities who are targeted by organized criminal groups.

Pray for wisdom and the presence of the Holy Spirit so that indigenous Christians can remain steadfast in the gospel.

Pray the faith of new believers would increase as they trust God in areas hostile to Christians.

Turkey

Christians in Turkey experience incredible pressure from very strong—and increasing—religious nationalism. It’s not technically illegal for Muslims to convert to Christianity, but any Muslim who decides to follow Jesus comes under immense strain from their families and communities, who often demand they return to Islam.

Pray for Christians in Turkey as they live, work and worship in a place that doesn’t seem to want them.

Pray for deliverance from discrimination and an increasing awareness of God’s love and grace.

Ask God to protect converts from Islam and to bring them to a place where they can worship Him freely.

***

During this year’s Winter Olympics, pray for Christians in all of these countries—and everywhere where it’s costly to follow Jesus. When the world’s attention is no longer on the best athletes in the world, we can continue to lift up our brothers and sisters around the world. Because we are all one Church, and one Family.

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