November is here and Looking Out My Window today I’m pondering two upcoming calendar events. The first is this Sunday while the second is coming up next Wednesday. While on the surface they may seem disconnected, in the day and age we live in today, I believe they are more connected than we might think.
This Sunday, November 8th is International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. In some countries Christians are thrown into prison simply for practicing their faith. Saeed Abedini is an American Pastor currently held in an Iranian Prison. Officials say Pastor Saeed is serving an 8 year sentence in one of Iran’s toughest prisons simply for sharing his Christian faith. Facing persecution and beatings while in prison, Pastor Saeed also continues to share his faith with other prisoners. An excerpt from the IDOP website says;
“Pray for us …” is the cry of persecuted Christians around the world. Today more than 200 million are suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. Each year, Christians in more than 130 countries stand in prayer with our persecuted sisters and brothers through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Join with us as Christians across Canada unite for our brothers and sisters who suffer because they declare their faith in Christ”.
The second event I’m thinking about is Remembrance Day coming up on November 11th. Remembrance Day – also known as Poppy Day – has been observed since the end of the First World War to remember those in the military who lost their lives in the line of duty. The day is observed on the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”. As a kid the only thing I remember about Remembrance Day were school assemblies. For the most part I had little to no connection with the military so the day came and went with little purpose for me. However in recent years that has changed as our son has now completed two tours of duty with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and the memories of battle-buddies lost is forefront in my mind come Remembrance Day.
But, how are these two events connected?
As we pray for the persecuted church we can also pray for those in the military who find themselves caught in a religious war of sorts these days. With images of ISIS beheading Christians overseas to images of Christians being shot down on school campuses and church buildings burning in North America, the reality of Praying For Persecuted Christians seems to cross all borders. Just a few short weeks ago headlines declared “Soldier Killed In Daring Mission To Free ISIS Hostages”. Officials say the soldier died as he was part of a mission to rescue hostages scheduled to die within hours. Rescuers expected to find 20 hostages but once on the ground, they discovered 70 hostages ready for execution by ISIS. During the course of the rescue mission gunfire broke out and the soldier later died from injuries sustained in the attack.
There was a time when things like praying for persecuted Christians or remembering what Remembrance Day is really all about seemed distant and disconnected. But as we head into November let’s remember those in prayer – not only in the world – but right here in our own nation, that are persecuted or feeling the effects of war. Ezekiel 22:30 says “I looked for one who would stand in the gap” for My people. Will you pause and pray this Sunday not only for persecuted Christians, but also those connected with war?
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.