For Immediate Release
Prayer has always been the strongest weapon used by the followers of Christ in all situations. This year, Christians in over 100 countries will join in prayer to strengthen those who are persecuted for their faith and to comfort those who are overcoming the great losses wrought by the Southeast Asian tsunami, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the 7.6-magnitude earthquake in South Asia.
“In the context of his own life Jesus demonstrated the tremendous importance of prayer,” said Johan Candelin, global coordinator for the International Day of Prayer (IDOP) and director of the World Evangelical Alliance’s Commission for Religious Freedom. “We therefore want to transform our longings into prayer and ask God to transform the world through the prayers of his people.”
IDOP, which began in 1996 by the World Evangelical Fellowship – now known as the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), has gained tremendous support from countries and church groups around the world. What began as a core group of about 7,000 churches, the IDOP has grown to be the largest prayer day event of its kind in the world. Last year, an estimated 200,000 churches experienced the spirit of unity by taking part in this Day of Prayer.
The 2005 IDOP week begins on Sunday, Nov 13th and ends on Nov. 20th. While churches are encouraged to pray throughout the week, they are specifically urged to take part in the unified act of advocacy through prayer on either Sunday.
“It is a great blessing for everyone to pray together on the same day, for it helps remind us how big the Church of Jesus Christ is and how many brothers and sisters we have,” said Candelin. “The least we can do is the most we can do: PRAY!”
Resources for the 2005 IDOP is available online to download, and hard-copies of IDOP kits are available to order by mail in at least four countries – U.S.A., Canada, Australia, and Switzerland. Resources are also available in English, Spanish and French. The kits include sermon outlines, drama scripts, game ideas, country profiles for select nations, children’s materials, a prayer map, and a DVD movie that can help Christians pray effectively for the persecuted church.
The U.S. IDOP package, provided by Open Doors USA, features the country profiles for India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia – the three countries that were hardest hit by last December’s devastating tsunami.
The Canadian IDOP package, titled “More than Conquerors,” has the four focus countries of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and Somalia.
"This is a time to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering for Jesus Christ every day," said Janet Epp Buckingham, Director of the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, one of the partners in IDOP Canada. "Prayer is the most powerful tool to help those who are persecuted. And it is what those who are persecuted ask for the most."
According to organizers of IDOP, more than 200 million men, women and children in more than 60 countries face discrimination, persecution and even death for their Christian faith. The goals of IDOP are three-fold: increase awareness of the persecuted church worldwide, lead in prayer on behalf of the persecuted church, promote ongoing and appropriate action on behalf of the persecuted church.
Pauline Chang, Press Secretary
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Sylvia Soon, Communications Director
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