1/14/2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) NORTH KOREA: Population: 25.7 million, Christians: about 300,000
Number 1 on the World Watch List
Due to the Communist government’s secretive nature, little is known about the current status of Christians inside North Korea. Pyongyang, the capital, was known as the “Jerusalem of the East” in the early 1900s because of its 2,000-plus churches. The Communist government depends on Juche (the North Korean religion that requires worship and subservience to the Kim family) to maintain stability, and Christianity is considered subversive. Anyone discovered to be a Christian (or, in many cases, discovered to have had contact with Christian ideas) is considered an enemy of the state. The gospel is still proclaimed in North Korea through various creative means, including shortwave radio and bold evangelists who risk their lives smuggling materials into the country.
What It Means To Follow Christ In North Korea:
Christians are sent to concentration camps, where they are starved, overworked and tortured. North Koreans have a saying: Whenever two or three people are gathered together, one of them is a spy. This is true even in family settings, as children are taught to spy on their parents from a young age. Therefore, North Korean Christians must be extremely careful in what they say, what they do and how they pray; all must be done in secret. When a Christian is discovered, the government punishes the entire family. Despite the threat of persecution and heavy social pressure, Christians in North Korea hold firmly to their faith. For example, one North Korean defector told VOM that her mother continued to shelter orphans even after they stole from her. Christian and secular analysts estimate that about 30,000 Christians are suffering in prison and labor camps.
Access to Bibles:
It is very dangerous to own a Bible in North Korea. Owning even a few pages of a Bible can result in detention in a concentration camp, but there are still secret ways to obtain one. Most North Koreans have found that memorization is the safest way to keep God’s Word. VOM provides Bibles via balloon launches, broadcasts Christian teaching over a special radio network and ministers to North Koreans wherever they are found.
One man who was arrested after converting to Christianity was forced into a metal cage measuring 3ft high by 4ft wide. He told Korea Future Initiative researchers: “There were steel bars on all four-sides that were heated with electricity. “Usually, prisoners lasted only three or four hours in the cage, but I sat there for 12 hours and prayed.” I kept praying to God to save me.”
Women suffered terrible treatment including sexual violence and forced abortions at a camp in North Hamgyong province. One witness described how pregnant women were were forced into induced labour before their babies were taken away and smothered by guards using sheets of plastic and cloth sacks
The report said methods of torture included strangulation, sleep deprivation, the use of stress positions and pouring water laced with pepper down prisoner’s nostrils.
A female former inmate told researchers: “Men were beaten like dogs. Even in the cell. They screamed like crazy because they hurt so much.” Even though women were beaten less, I was hit in the face and my skin ruptured and I bled a lot.” I wept a lot when they hit me again. Blood and discharge ruptured during my next pre-trial examination. They hit me again because I wept.’
Prisoners were often executed by firing squad if found guilty of owning a bible.
Others were killed for trying to smuggle pages torn from bibles into North Korea from China.
- Pray that the Lord will reach Kim Jong-un and other top leaders with the power of the gospel
- Pray for perseverance and courage for the Christians suffering in the brutal labor camps.
- Pray the Lord will enable Christians to forgive their persecutors
- Pray for protection of the very small house churched from the enemies of God.
- Pray for the millions of North Koreans who have not heard the Good News due to relentless Christian persecution and oppression that the Lord will bring His light into the darkness.
- Pray that the border to China will reopen to allow Open Doors/VOM to bring in food and spiritual support. (over 20% of the population is malnourished)
- Pray for the believers that the Lord give them strength, courage and safe methods of communication that are not detectable by the police and informers.
- Pray that the Lord will make his presence felt to all His believers in the prison system and gives them supernatural strength to recall scriptures and hymns that strengthen them and to be a light to the lost.
- Pray that the numbers of believers will continue to grow substantially
Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for:
- Leah Sharibu and Alice, prisoners of Boko Haram. Pray that they will be set free.
- Pray pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison
- Pray for Anita, a Christian convert persecuted for her faith in Iran.
You are invited to join us on Thursday, January 14 in a prayer call for the persecuted church.
Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator
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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.
The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.
With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.
Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.
Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.
If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!
NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.
Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.
Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.