Date: October 30, 2013
(Image courtesy Seoul USA's Facebook page)
North Korea (MNN) ― As people gather to pray this Sunday (November 3) during the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP), they should remember Christians in the world’s most persecuted country.
Rev. Eric Foley, CEO of Seoul USA, says instead of praying FOR members of the North Korean underground church, people should pray WITH them. “They don’t ask God to deliver them from persecution. They pray they’ll remain strong and faithful in the midst of their suffering.”
North Korea is the world's biggest Gospel opponent and persecutor of Christ-followers. It tops the Open Doors USA World Watch List, a ranking of the 50 countries where persecution of Christians is most severe.
Officials routinely put believers in modern-day concentration campsand worse. The government has tried repeatedly to extirpate Christianity from the country, but the underground Church has survived and has overcome severe suffering.
“The NK Christian’s example may help Americans better prepare for the persecution that may be coming soon to the USA," explains Foley. “Their experience reminds us that a commitment to the four pillars of worship is integral to the Christian life.”
The four pillars are featured in Seoul USA’s 100 Days of Worship campaign that runs through December 31. A video explaining the 100 Days campaign and presenting background on the persecution of North Korean Christians can be viewed here.
Foley says Americans may be surprised to learn that North Korean Christians often pray for people of the USA and South Korea.
“They pray for us because they feel we are persecuted by our prosperity and it distances us from God," he explains. "They pray that we will remain faithful to the Lord.”
In an August blog, Foley shares the following comment from an underground NK believer:
“American and South Korean Christians have a strong sense that most problems can eventually be fixed with a combination of money, freedom, and effort. They have a hard time accepting that many situations can only be solved by God’s direct intervention. And God often waits to intervene until we run out of money, freedom, and effort and turn at last to Him, because only then can we really see what it means that He is God.”
Seoul USA recently obtained exclusive new video of faithful North Korean Christians worshipping inside a North Korean home. The rare video may appear shocking because the underground Christians shown are not poor.
“It means the Gospel is spreading among those in the higher classes,” says Foley.
China has recently joined NK government efforts to prevent the Gospel from spreading inside North Korea by jamming Seoul USA’s Christian shortwave radio broadcasts.
“The cooperation of the Chinese government suggests the North Korean regime feels threatened by these broadcasts,” says Foley.
Pray that the eyes of Western believers will be opened to persecution. Pray that they will lift up their oppressed brothers and sisters in prayer.