*Drawing by a former North Korean prisoner, depicting North Korean prisoners eating plants in a labor camp.
Imagine yourself a Christian living in North Korea, a land that is barren… a land that is silent. You have no church, no freedom to share your faith, no Bible, and no contact with other Christians. You are alone.
We can only imagine that Christians in North Korea today are echoing these exact words found in Numbers, but instead of God crying to Moses, they are crying to God! “How Long?” In our perspective, Christians in North Korea have been suffering for long enough. But they are not without hope. In the book of Isaiah God tells us through His Word some of His plans and promises for His people, including His people in North Korea.
Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, was once called the Jerusalem of the East. Beginning on January 14, 1907, when a group of Korean Christians and Western missionaries met in Pyongyang for a Bible study …God began to move. Realizing their sin, and the need for Jesus, the group fell on their knees in repentance. In that instant a revival began that lasted 40 years.
When Japan was defeated in 1945 during World War II, Korea was divided into the North (under Soviet Union rule) and the South (under US rule). After the North established the Democratic People’s Republic (DPRK) in 1948 severe persecution began. That was over 65 years ago…in comparison the Israelites wandered in the desert for only 40 years.
In the book of Isaiah God tells us through His Word some of His plans and promises for His people.Holding on to these promises join today in intercessory prayer, through His Word, for North Korea.
THE LORD WILL MAKE NORTH KOREA A PRAISE IN THE EARTH
The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth; “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes’! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.'” They will be called the Holy People the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted. – Isaiah 62:11-12
North Korea is the most dangerous country in the world to be a Christian. And yet the Word of God continues to go out, especially in the cities near the Chinese border. Every year North Koreans risk their lives to cross into China. If they are fortunate enough to arrive safely, the danger continues. But if they fall under the care of Christian’s operating safe houses, the gospel message is shared… for many this is the first time hearing the name of Jesus. After receiving Christ, many return to North Korea, at great personal risk, to bring the gospel message to their family at home.
THE LORD WILL GLORIFY HIS CHURCH IN NORTH KOREA
…So He became their Savior. In all their affection He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, and He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. – Isaiah 63:8-9b
On the surface, the fruits of God’s work are not evident in North Korea today. The church may be thought of as “desolate” because of its suffering and lack of visible strength. And yet, His Spirit is there, working in silence. Open Doors supports North Korean Christians in secret with Bibles, books, education and relief aid. Often we receive thank you letters from underground church leaders; oneNorth Korean Christian wrote:
“I am very proud to see our believers’ faithful lives becoming more mature. Their lives are in danger and still they follow the Lord. This could have not been possible if it wasn’t for your endless effort and love. Please continue to pray for us.”
GOD’S SPIRIT WILL NEVER LEAVE NORTH KOREA!
“As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from now and forever.” –Isaiah 59:21
Imagine not being able to pass on your faith to your children? In North Korea this desire is dangerous for both believers and their children. If their faith is discovered, they, with their children, are sent to prison and forced into hard labor. Other North Korean children may have been abandoned by their parents due to hardships, for others, their parents may have died. Living on the streets struggling to survive; Timothy, shares his story:
“Like so many children, I was separated from my parents. My father had to flee the country in a hurry. For years, I lived on the streets. Every day, I had to manage to find food. I only slept for a few hours each night and tried to stay awake in order not to die of hunger. I survived by helping to carry luggage at stations. After some time, I realized that I had no future in North Korea. While fleeing to China, I was detained by the border police. They took me back to North Korea where the guards tortured me severely. I kept praying to stay alive, because I had discovered that there was a God. After two weeks, I was released but because of the torture, I was no longer able to stand. My grandmother paid a woman to carry me across the river into China on her back. In the end, I gained freedom and I was reunited with my father. Whatever situation you are in, do not give up, but keep praying!”
GOD WILL REVEAL HIMSELF TO ALL
“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call my name. I said ‘Here am I, her am I.'” Isaiah 65:1
Kim Il Sung, the founder of the DPRK, understood the power of worship and set himself up to be the only one.. Statues of him were erected; people were required to bow down before them. Kim Il Sung created a belief system called Juche which twisted the Holy Trinity of Christianity by teaching that Kim Il Sung is god, his son Kim Jong Il is the Christ figure, and the ideology of Juche replaces the Holy Spirit. Kim Jong Il referred to it as “Kimilsungism.” All North Koreans are indoctrinated with this belief system from cradle to grave. But God has permitted Himself to be found by people who did not seek Him. That grace… guaranteed on the cross of Jesus Christ… is available to everyone, including the leaders of North Korea.
JOIN IN PRAYING THIS PRAYER
Father God, when will the promise, “For they will be a people blessed by the Lord.”(Is 65:23) be fulfilled completely? Will it be upon the return of Your Son Jesus Christ when all earthly kingdoms will be destroyed and only Your Kingdom remains? Father, we know that we are to wait for Your perfect time, but our hearts break for those in North Korea who are blinded by the lies. Father, remove the scales from their eyes so that they can see Your glory. We join today in prayer for a mighty, overwhelming outpouring of Your Spirit over the Korean peninsula, believing as we come to You on our knees, and petition on their behalf, that the next great revival in Korea will come soon, and that Your splendor will be spread over the entire nation. Praying in Jesus Name, our Redeemer. Amen.