Pray for the Persecuted Church in Asia
Hannah Chao | FEBRUARY 15, 2019 | 2 MIN READ
One in every three Christians in Asia experience high persecution because of their faith, according to the 2019 Open Doors World Watch List.
The watch list ranks the 50 countries with the highest amount of persecution for Christians. There were 16 Asian countries on that list: North Korea (1), Pakistan (5), India (10), Maldives (14), Myanmar (19), Laos (19), Vietnam (20), China (27), Indonesia (30), Nepal (32) Bhutan (33), Brunei (36), Russia (41), Malaysia (42), Sri Lanka (46), and Bangladesh (48).
Islamic extremist groups contribute to the violence against Christians in Pakistan. Christians are often accused of blasphemy against Islam, and churches and Christians are often targeted by bombs and other attacks. Currently, the acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy has consumed the country, as mass protests erupted across Pakistan by hardline Islamists angered by the ruling.
The situation in India for Christians continues to deteriorate. In 2015, India was ranked 21 and scored 55/100 on the persecution scale, while in 2017, it increased dramatically to 81/100 and up to number 15 on the list. In the 2019 ranking, the country received 83 points, pushing it into the top 10. This increase persecution was caused by a rise in Hindu nationalism that says that the Hinduism should be the only religion for Indians. Nationalist groups, with some implicit help from some local government officials, has been cracking down on Christians and churches, as well as other religious minorities.
China is also increasing pressures on its Christians. In 2018, it was ranked 43, while in 2019, it has jumped to 27. The Chinese government wants to consolidate all its power under President Xi Jinping, and it sees the Christian church as a threat to the social order. We have published articles about this tightening, and it seems to be escalating.
It is troubling that Christians all over the world are being persecuted for their faith. But we hope that we as a church can pray for our suffering brothers and sisters, asking God to strengthen their faith, for relief from persecution, and to provide all things for them.
Let us also pray for boldness for these persecuted Christians. Here at the SOLA Network, we highlighted the Chinese government’s crackdown on Early Rain Covenant Church, who was arrested in December along with dozens of its congregation members.
In “My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience,” Wang Yi, the head pastor of the church who is still in detention more than two months after his arrest, wrote:
“Those who lock me up will one day be locked up by angels. Those who interrogate me will finally be questioned and judged by Christ. When I think of this, the Lord fills me with a natural compassion and grief toward those who are attempting to and actively imprisoning me. Pray that the Lord would use me, that he would grant me patience and wisdom, that I might take the gospel to them.”
Hannah Chao is a writer and the editor for SOLA. She is also on staff as the administrator at All Nations Community Church. Hannah is a wife and a mom of two beautiful little girls. You can follow her on Twitter.