The Forbidden Church
By Fin Sheridan
Every day, in the CBN Europe offices, we have a devotional slot. Just before lunch, each team gathers to pray, read the Bible and grow together. Last week, Milly, our Superbook team leader led us through a time of prayer for the persecuted church.
Open Doors, a UK charity that focuses on serving and supporting persecuted Christians around the world, provide an annual report called “The World Watch List” which details the top 50 most dangerous places to be a Christian. The survey “measures the degree of freedom Christians have to live out their faith in five spheres of life – private, family, community, national and church life – plus a sixth sphere measuring levels of violence.”
The methodology provides ‘persecution points’ for each sphere. As a result of the WWL process, each country gets a specific final score and is ranked accordingly.
“It’s all very well saying that we’d die for God – I wonder if we’ll be brave enough to live for him?”
In our devotional time, we each took it in terms to pray for a particular country. As we read through the list of each place, and the penalties for being a follower of Jesus, it was humbling to imagine what it must be like to be there. To watch family members be arrested and tortured, to risk everything, just for being a Christian.
I like to think that, if I was threatened for my faith, I wouldn’t deny God. Just as they taught us in Sunday School, I’d be brave like Daniel or Joseph. And yet, as we prayed for people unwilling to deny Jesus, I felt the conviction of someone who is reluctant and sometimes embarrassed to talk him.
I get nervous. I miss opportunities. I don’t think I’m alone in this, so the question that I think we have to ask ourselves is this: It’s all very well saying that we’d die for God – I wonder if we’ll be brave enough to live for him?