Around the world there are more than 200 million Christians in the top 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, according to the Open Doors’ World Watch List.

Countries including North Korea and Afghanistan, who are in positions one and two on the list, respectively, continue to see high levels of persecution, while in other countries, where the political atmosphere is volatile, the threat of discrimination and abuse is growing.

So, this year it is as important as ever for Christians in the UK to take part in the International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the persecuted church, on Sunday, 18 November. Although a day has been dedicated to our joint plea to God, churches and individuals are being encouraged to spend all of November praying for our brothers and sisters who are suffering because of their faith.


IDOP gives Christians across the UK an opportunity to stand in solidarity with their global Christian family for whom following Jesus is a costly decision. Believers like Hae Woo, who was held in a prison camp North Korea for being a Christian, and Leah, who refused to denounce her faith and was abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria, are among the many who need our support.

The Evangelical Alliance echoes the call of IDOP organisers and implores Christians UK-wide to hold up the persecuted church in prayer. As an advocate of religious freedom, partnering with other Christian organisations including Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Release International and Open Doors UK through the Religious Liberty Commission to defend people’s religious freedom here in the UK and around the world, the Evangelical Alliance knows how effective such unity is.

From the earliest days of the Evangelical Alliance, religious liberty has been a priority. Looking back, in 1879 a delegation from the Evangelical Alliance travelled to Austria to advocate on behalf of Christians in Bohemia. The meeting successfully secured the right for Christians in the region to begin meeting and studying the Bible together again.

The Evangelical Alliance’s commitment to religious freedom around the world is firmly rooted in the Bible’s assertion that we are one body, one family, under the headship of Christ with God as our Father. In the Bible we can see that we are called to care for one another. Supporting our Christian family around the world isn’t an optional extra; it’s a key part of our lives as followers of Jesus.

To help you understand what the persecuted church is going through better and what you can do to help, follow our IDOP series. You’ll hear from Bishop Efraim Tendero, secretary general and chief executive officer of the World Evangelical Alliance, as well as Open Doors, Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Release International.