5. Countless people driven out of their homes for Jesus
In many countries around the world, Christians have literally been displaced and become refugees, driven from their homes by persecution. In many African countries, like Nigeria and Mozambique, where extremist military groups are heavily active, it is safer for believers to flee than to stay, knowing one slip up or call from a neighbor could mean their family’s lives. In Eritrea, Christian women flee to avoid obligatory military service, where they could be beaten, assaulted or worse.
After last year’s military coup, Christians in Myanmar face increased danger—and more and more Christians are forced to run for their lives. With the fighting taking place in many Christian provinces, believers and their families have no choice but find safety in camps for displaced people; in these camps, Christians are often deprived food and healthcare because of their faith.
Knowing their names are on a list, many Christians have fled Afghanistan, leaving anything they have ever known, including their Christian support networks. In Iran, it’s much of the same: the radical Islamic government raids the houses of Christians, then sentences them to prison for “crimes against national security.” Believers are left with a choice: Stay in Iran, and keep quiet about Jesus; be thrown in prison; or run across the border.
In countries where tradition and culture are highly valued, like parts of Colombia, Mexico and Vietnam, some Christians are targeted for going against customary practices. They’re seen as cultural and family traitors. If these Christians don’t flee, their houses could be burned and their families kidnapped or worse.
There are many takeaways from this year’s World Watch List, but these are the five that jumped out to us. The Church is under attack all over the world, and Christians remain persecuted solely because they follow Jesus.
But these trends should not discourage us, or make us despair of God’s action in the world. If anything, what’s happening to God’s people should drive us to prayer—and deepen our faith as we watch our brothers and sisters follow Him, no matter what.
Download the 2022 World Watch List prayer booklet, and pray through the World Watch List over the next 52 weeks. You’ll find a prayer prompt for each day. Lift up God’s people and see how He changes their lives—and yours.