Christians around the world are being martyred daily. It’s shocking, isn’t it? I didn’t realize this until about 10 years ago. I thought persecution of Christians was a thing of the past, but sadly it’s all too real. That’s why June 29–this Saturday–is being recognized as the Day of the Christian Martyr.

Want to pray for the persecuted church? Get these 9 ways to start praying for our brothers and sisters today!

What is The Day of the Christian Martyr?

Persecution in the world today

If you’re anything like me, you might not be aware that many Christians are experiencing persecution around the world, even today. Personally, until about 10 years ago, I just assumed the persecution of Christians was a thing of the far-away past.

Then I heard about The Voice of the Martyrs. One of the men at church got up one Sunday morning and began to share what he’d learned. There is a persecuted church of followers of Christ active–and often underground–spread across the world today.

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Christians in many countries face persecution every day, in many forms and to many degrees, the most extreme being through martyrdom. And yet so many believers remain in the dark to what is happening to our brothers and sisters the world over.

Most events surrounding Christian martyrs and persecution go uncovered by mainstream TV news programs, but now with social media and online sharing, more and more people are being reached with the truth.

Which is why Saturday, June 29 is being recognized as The Day of the Christian Martyr.

Martyrdom within the church of Christ

So many believers throughout history have willingly faced persecution and have chosen to sacrifice their very lives for the name of Jesus Christ.

It was astounding and so very touching to me when I first began to learn of those Christians who are being martyred for their faith. Their loved ones who are left behind suffer indescribably, yet they count it all joy because of the honor to serve Christ.

Think about it for a moment. What could be more important than life itself? Nothing. Right?

Wrong. And how challenging it is to entertain that thought! But there is something more precious than life, and that is for one to surrender his or her life so fully to Christ Jesus that they’re willing to die for His name’s sake.

These brothers and sisters are so precious and so steadfast. They face incredible suffering–persecution socially, financially, emotionally, physically, and of course spiritually.

And yet they press on. They choose to.




So where is this happening?

Take a look at this map I recently received from The Voice of the Martyrs ministry. It shows the degrees of hostility to the gospel of Jesus Christ in countries around the globe.

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As you can see, all the countries in orange are labeled as dangerous and/or difficult places to share the gospel. For the countries marked by dark red, it is illegal to either own Bibles or be a Christian, or else the governing bodies highly restrict it.

What about the countries marked in black? They are so hostile to the message of Jesus Christ that only extremely covert operations can be used in order to distribute Bibles or for Christians to meet for fellowship or Bible study.

Sharing the gospel in these regions must be done very carefully and with extreme caution due to the severe persecution that occurs if one is identified as a Christian or turned over to authorities.

DANGEROUS (orange)

  • Colombia
  • Mali
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Egypt
  • Central African Republic
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Turkey
  • Syria
  • Jordan
  • Iraq
  • Bahrain
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Pakistan
  • India
  • Sri Lanka
  • Nepal
  • Bangladesh
  • Myanmar
  • Vietnam
  • Philippines

ILLEGAL (red)

  • Cuba
  • Morocco
  • Algeria
  • Tunisia
  • Libya
  • Sudan
  • Eritrea
  • Djibouti
  • Oman
  • Kuwait
  • China
  • Bhutan
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Brunei

COVERT ONLY (black)

  • Mauritania
  • Somalia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Yemen
  • Qatar
  • Maldives
  • Iran
  • Afghanistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Tajikistan
  • North Korea

Christians in all these countries are in danger of losing their jobs, their families, their homes, their freedom, and ultimately their lives.

It’s not simply a question of the greater communities choosing to ignore the message of Christ or being ignorant of it.

It’s not simply a difference of “religion.” (I use quotations because Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.)

It’s not simply that some people choose to believe one way and leave followers of Christ to believe their way.

No. The reality of the situation of the global body of Christ is that we/they are viewed not only with opposition, but with hostility.

Want to pray for the persecuted church? Get these 9 ways to start praying for our brothers and sisters today!

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The Day of the Christian Martyr

So what is The Day of the Christian Martyr all about? It’s a day to honor and remember all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to the Lord Jesus by giving their lives for His Name’s sake.

The Apostle Paul’s martyrdom is commemorated on June 29, thus the choice of this date for The Day of the Christian Martyr.

Throughout the weekend, believers around the world will pause to reflect, honor, and be inspired by those who have given their lives for the sake of Christ.

So many have answered the calling to give their all for the advancement of the gospel, and it’s something we should take time to observe with a thankful heart.

And even though it may be a sad thought, it’s a necessary one.

The reality of the persecuted church doesn’t have to be one of depression though, because these people have such joy and such willingness to serve the Lord with gladness.

Yes, they–as well as the missionaries who serve them personally–need our prayers for comfort and wisdom, and they need our financial support. But inspiringly, they manage to look beyond their trials with an eternal perspective, and their joy is incredible.

The astounding truth is that these, our brothers and sisters, are glad and thankful to offer their lives and their bodies as a sacrifice to the Lord.

All because of their love for the lost and for the furtherance of the gospel.

Let’s be inspired by their example, and knowing what they’ve faced, let’s be bold and share the gospel with everyone in our lives!

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How to get involved

Can you guess the #1 request of these persecuted brothers and sisters? Or the families of these martyrs?

I try to imagine what I would ask my family in Christ for if I were in such a position as they are. I would probably ask for help to escape, for finances to help support myself and my family, for relocation, for a way out.

But none of those are it.

They’re top request? Prayer.

PRAY.

Oh, if it were me? Yes. Oh yes. I’d probably be asking for prayers for deliverance. But not these precious ones!

They ask for prayers to withstand.

That they can forgive.

That their persecutors would turn to Christ.

Utterly amazing. Does that astound you as much as it does me?

Such grace. Such selflessness. Such LOVE.

So the number one way you can get involved? Pray.

Please join me in praying for our brothers and sisters as they experience martyrdom, persecution, and suffering for the sake of Christ Jesus.

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection]. | 1 John 4:18, AMPC




GIVE.

Another way to get involved in supporting Christian martyrs is to give of our belongings and finances. To contribute to the provision of their physical needs and to help bear their burdens.

There are many ministries out there who serve the persecuted church in this way.

But let you share a word of caution. Be careful in choosing a cause or organization when giving. There are always those who would seek to take advantage of people, so please do your due diligence and research and read the disclosures on the websites of the organizations you’re considering giving to.

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I can say that I highly recommend The Voice of the Martyrs, obviously! They are a worthy, Bible-believing ministry that works to bear up our family in Christ across the globe, and from my own research, they’ve proven to be very responsible and take their mission extremely seriously.

They serve the church in so many ways, providing help where most needed, medical help for martyrs, support for their families, entrepreneurship and skills training, provision of food, shelter, clothing, schooling, and relocation if necessary.

And their primary goal is to support Christians on the front-lines of evangelism to further the kingdom of God and share the saving news of Christ Jesus with the lost.

SHARE.

Are your fellow believers aware of what’s happening to our family in Christ?

Is your church teaching about Christian martyrs around the world and praying for them regularly?

Does your family know?

So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]. | Romans 12:5, AMPC

The Voice of the Martyrs has a wonderful resource you can sign up for about The Day of the Christian Martyr–it’s free!

This resource includes things like an incredible video testimony, a church bulletin insert, a look at the Martyrs Memorial ceremony on Facebook Live, a PowerPoint presentation you can share with your family or group, and social media graphics.

Even if you can’t use all of these by June 29, it’s still an amazing and inspiring resource to take advantage of! I already got mine, get yours below, too:

Get your free resources for The Day of the Christian Martyr here!

Remember to stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters on Saturday, June 29! Pray, give as you’re led, and be sure to share with others. Let’s raise awareness of the persecution of believers via the Day of the Christian Martyr!

P.S. If you want to stay in the loop so you’ll know how to better pray for and support our persecuted family in Christ, sign up to receive The Voice of the Martyrs monthly newsletter here–it’s free!

I subscribe to the VOM newsletter, and the stories are wonderfully encouraging! They also give me an opportunity to pray more specifically.

Want to pray for the persecuted church? Get these 9 ways to start praying for our brothers and sisters today!

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