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IDOP: Pray for Children

Children of persecuted Christians have unique needs. Some need safe houses to live in while their parents evangelize in dangerous areas. They may be kicked out of school because of their parents’ faith. Often they lack Christian friends. They might not have Bibles to help them stay strong in their faith in places where most people do not know Jesus.

Persecuted Christians and their children all have one very important need that you can meet — they all need prayer. The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on November 5th is one way we remember and pray for persecuted Christians. Ask your parents, teachers, or pastor if they have plans to observe it.

8 Ways to Pray for the Children of Persecuted Christians

Pray That the Children Will Follow Jesus
Some children of Christian workers are not yet following God’s will for their lives. Pray that they will trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Pray for Peace
Children in persecuted families sometimes worry about their family’s safety. Ask God to give them peace. Pray that they will not have bad dreams.

Pray for Christian Friends
Pray that the children will have Christian friends to encourage them in staying strong in their faith.

Pray for Protection from Bullies
Some children in Christian families are the only Christian children in their school. Ask God to protect them from students and teachers who might want to bully them.

Pray for Christian Marriages
Christian youth in some countries don’t know any Christians their age. They wonder if they will ever meet someone they can marry. Pray they will wait on the Lord and not marry non-believers.

Pray for Girls
Girls are not as important as boys in some place where persecuted believers serve the Lord. Pray that they will know that Jesus loves them and values them as much as boys.

Pray for Courage
Ask God to help children of Christian workers get the courage to be bold witnesses for Christ.

Pray for Strength
Pray that their experiences of God will help them stand strong against superstitions and the worship of false gods that are part of the cultures where they live.

 

 


IDOP 2017: 10 Ways to Pray

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is on November 5th this year. IDOP reminds us to pray for Christians around the world who are persecuted for following Christ and leading others to Him.

This year, Christians are encouraged to pray in the 10 ways shown below. Can you make a poster listing the 10 ways to hang up as a reminder at home or in a classroom? The poster and related Bible verses will help you and others to remember to pray for persecuted Christians all year long and not only during IDOP.

10 Ways to Pray

Pray our persecuted family will…

*Sense God’s presence — Hebrews 13:5
*Experience God’s comfort — 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
*See God open doors to evangelism — Colossians 4:3
*Boldly share the gospel — Acts 4:29
*Forgive and love their persecutors — Matthew 5:44
*Know we are praying for them — 2 Timothy 1:3
*Be granted wisdom in covert ministry work — Acts 9:23-25
*Remain joyful amid suffering — Acts 5:41
*Mature in their faith — Colossians 1:28-29
*Be rooted in God’s Word — 2 Timothy 3:16-17

 


Activity: Underground Sunday School

“Secret cave” at a Missouri VBS

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is on November 5th this year. IDOP reminds us to pray for Christians around the world who are persecuted for following Christ. Many of those Christians have to meet together in secret to avoid being caught by authorities.

Can you help your teacher prepare an “underground” (secret) Sunday school meeting for your class for IDOP Sunday?

Preparation
Locate a well-hidden area outside or an unused room inside. If desired, place a play tunnel outside the meeting place to enter through. Christians in some places have to crawl through small spaces to meet in hidden caves. Add “jungle” decorations, and rocks or planks to sit on.

Ask someone to play the part of a police officer. The officer will wait outside the meeting until time to enter. Provide a birthday cake and a few decorations to use as a “cover,” so your meeting can become a “birthday party” if it is discovered. Use flashlights or electric candles for lighting. Before going to the meeting place, discuss who most recently had a birthday so that person’s birthday can be celebrated if necessary. If children in the class are young enough that they might be scared or not understand that they are not really in danger, discuss the situation with them in advance.

Meeting Day
Large groups raise suspicion in countries where Christianity is restricted, so have students enter the meeting place in pairs rather than all at once. Ask everyone to whisper.

Christians in some countries do not have Bibles. They have only the verses that they carry in their hearts. Ask everyone to take turns sharing any verses they know. Sing songs softly, and pray quietly for Christians in persecuted countries.

As everyone prepares to leave, let the “police officer” enter and ask suspiciously, “What’s going on here?” Bring out the cake and decorations and ask the officer to stay for the birthday party. The officer can warn the others that he has heard about Christians meeting illegally and he himself has arrested some Christians. After he has a piece of cake, he may leave—or he might stay and allow the Christians to share the truth about Jesus with him.

Have students leave the meeting in pairs.

Discussion Questions
1. What did you think about meeting “secretly”? Was it hard to remember to talk and sing quietly?
2. What would be the hardest part of having to gather secretly for worship?
3. What are some reasons why it is important to memorize Bible verses? (See Psalm 119:11,105.)
4. If you had to meet secretly for worship, what would you want Christians in other countries to pray for you?


Standing Alone?

Alone
Elijah the prophet was hiding under a tree alone, deep in the wilderness. King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, had threatened to kill him, so Elijah had fled as far away as he could run in one day.

Elijah spoke the truth about King Ahab’s evil behavior. He also stood up for the Lord against 450 of Ahab’s false prophets. Elijah had enjoyed God’s love and care for him when ravens brought him bread and meat and when a widow fed him from an endless supply of food provided to her by God. (See 1 Kings 17.)

But now, under the tree, Elijah felt alone and discouraged. “I’m the only true prophet left, and they’re trying to kill me,” he said to God. (1 Kings 19:10)

Middle of the Story Questions to Think About

• How do you think Elijah felt when he believed he was the only true believer in the land?
• Do Christians today ever have to speak up for the truth to people in power?
• How does standing up for the truth show that you trust God?
• Do you ever keep silent when someone is speaking up for the truth, even when you agree with them?
• Does it ever feel better to be part of a big group that is wrong than to be the only person telling the truth? Why is it better to trust God and be alone anyway?

Back to the Story
However, Elijah was not alone at all! Seven thousand people in the land worshiped the true God. (1 Kings 19:18) Apparently Elijah didn’t know about these true believers. Perhaps they stayed silent about their faith out of fear. But they were surely encouraged when Elijah stood firm for the Lord publicly. And Elijah realized that even if there were no other true followers, God would never leave him alone. He even provided Elisha to take over Elijah’s work after he was gone. (I Kings 19:21)

 


Persevering Christians

Do you know what a backhoe is? (See the photo above.)

Backhoes can:
*Dig a trench
*Plow snow
*Remove brush and trash

Can you think of any other jobs a backhoe can do?

Non-Christian officials in a village in Vietnam had another idea. They used a backhoe to push village Christians’ houses into a river. The Christians became homeless. They moved to another area and set up tents to live in.

The Christians were farmers, but the land where they moved was not suitable for farming. But with hard work and God’s help, the Christians were able to grow crops on the land.

Even though they are in difficult circumstances and must work hard to take care of their families, the Christians still take time to talk to people in the area and tell them about Jesus! A VOM worker said, “Thank God for their perseverance, and pray that He will continue to meet their needs.”

To Talk About
*What is perseverance? How did the Christians in Vietnam show perseverance?
*Have you ever thanked God for the good example provided by faithful persecuted Christians?