Around the world, millions of Christian women face persecution for both their faith and their gender. Open Doors’ vision is that every woman who is persecuted for her faith and gender is seen, valued and empowered to reach her God-given potential. And that vision is being realised through your prayers and support – thank you. Below are some prayer points to help you to keep praying for our persecuted sisters.
Millions of Christian women around the world suffer persecution that is hidden, violent and complex. Open Doors’ vision is that every woman who is persecuted for her faith and gender is seen, valued and empowered to reach her God-given potential.
Today, please pray that this vision will become a reality for our persecuted sisters.
Sarah from North Africa was rejected by her family and then her husband after she became a Christian. Thanks to your prayers and support, Sarah now has a job and is involved in discipleship training. But the doors of her family’s home remain closed to her.
Pray that Sarah will remain strong in her faith and that her family will come to know Christ.
In North Africa, women who convert to Christianity from Islam often face expulsion from their homes, as leaving Islam brings shame to the family. Unmarried women are not expected to live away from the family home and lack support.
Ask the Lord to provide for their practical needs and be their support.
“There are cases where [Christian] women are imprisoned in their houses,” says Pastor Salah from North Africa. “Contact with people outside is forbidden and often their cell phone is taken from them.”
Pray that God will comfort and encourage these women, and that their captors will come to know the Lord Jesus.
“There are cases where [Christian] women are imprisoned in their houses”PASTOR SALAH, NORTH AFRICA
Nelya* works with persecuted women in North Africa: “I am in contact with two young women who are following Jesus. At home they can’t speak about their faith, so we meet in secret online or on the phone. These women are not allowed to come to church or meet with other believers.”
Pray for wisdom for Nelya as she supports these two women.
Kabia, an elderly woman, was expelled from home for her faith by her daughter-in-law who is a devout Muslim. A woman from her church has taken Kabia into her house, and fellow church members are now providing for her needs.
Pray for God’s comfort for Kabia and that she will stay strong in her faith.
Sisters Alma (21) and Benedicte (22) became Christians at secondary school. When their father found out, he cut their funding for university. Open Doors was able to help them with registration and exam fees to enable them to continue their first year.
Pray that God will bless them in their studies and that they will remain firm in their faith.
On International Women’s Day, Open Doors joined with Aid to the Church in Need to host a panel on the persecution of Christian women. Please send a copy of the report, The Persecution of Christian Women and Girls, to your MP – and you can catch up with the event here.
Please pray that MPs who attended the panel will engage with the issues raised and take tangible action to ensure that the government recognises faith as a vulnerability in gender-based violence.
Salamata (pictured right) was caught up in a deadly church attack where all the men in her church were killed by Islamic militants. Back then, Salamata told us, “In our lives, we know only tears and suffering.” But when Open Doors partners caught up with her in late 2021, Salamata’s spirits were lifted. She said, “I was in sadness and I asked you to pray for me. You prayed for me and now joy came. I thank God and I thank you! Now I can smile. Pray to God so that the Lord may take care of Burkina Faso.”
Please pray for continued healing and restoration for Salamata.
Sharifa (21) from Sri Lanka had been secretly attending church – but when her family discovered it, they threw her out. Her mother told her, “You will be welcomed back at this house when you are ready to convert to Islam.” Sharifa now lives with a relative and Open Doors partners have been helping her pay her class fees.
Pray that Sharifa will stand strong and not waver in her faith.
Lorena’s husband was violently killed when insurgents came to their village. She fled her home, but her faith in God remains: “In no one else I trust, only in God and Jesus Christ. Because He did not leave me.” Lorena and her family have received emergency relief aid through Open Doors partners.
Pray that God will heal Lorena and restore to her what she has lost.
Sharda works with impoverished women and children in her community. Life became extremely difficult when her son was shot by Hindu extremists. Fortunately, he survived and now lives in another town. Open Doors partners helped Sharda set up a tailoring business to support her – but she still faces opposition.
Pray that God will protect Sharda and her family as she continues to serve Him.
“[These girls] have to know their value as Christian women”GHADA, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
Around 85 per cent of Syrian women between 30 and 40 are unmarried – this is largely because so many men have fled the country because of war and persecution. In Eastern culture, a woman is considered a liability to her parents if she reaches a certain age and is still living with them.
Ask the Lord to provide for these women and dissolve the cultural stigma around being single.
In January, around 20 girls were taken by Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in raids around Chibok in north-east Nigeria. Professor Babagana Zulum, Borno State Governor, says, “The ISWAP fighters are more sophisticated, educated, armed and brutal than the Boko Haram terrorists.”
Pray for the safe and imminent release of all held captive.
On Thursday 14 April it will be exactly eight years since Boko Haram abducted over 270 schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria – more than 100 remain in captivity. Militant groups in Nigeria frequently use abduction, rape and forced marriage against Christian girls and women.
Keep praying for the safe return of the girls who are still being held, and that God’s presence will be with them and their families.
Since becoming a Christian, after being miraculously healed of an illness, Geetika – a single mother of two – has faced hostility from local people who don’t believe Indians should be Christian. But because she knows Jesus, she has found true peace, and your support is helping her provide a healthy living for her family.
Give thanks for the work of Open Doors partners who are supporting persecuted Christian women like Geetika.
Julia is a Buddhist-background believer. Her community frequently cuts off her electricity and water supply because of her faith. Their hostility also makes it hard for other believers to visit her. Still, she doesn’t give up: “Nothing could stop me from worshipping God. Jesus Christ is already enough for me!”
Pray that Julia and her family will continue to stand strong in their faith.
Leah has been held by Boko Haram for over four years, after she was taken from her school in February 2018. “I have not lost hope because God is in control and people are praying,” said Rebecca Sharibu, Leah’s mum, in an interview last year. “I have the hope that one day, I will see my daughter again.”
Pray for Leah’s swift release, and that God will strengthen and sustain her family.
Ghada is a teacher at a girls’ school in Beit Sahur, just outside Bethlehem. Above all, she is passionate about seeing the gospel transform the lives of her students, so they in turn can share the good news of Jesus with others. “[These girls] have to know their value as Christian women, so they can share their faith with the next generations,” she says.
Praise God for faithful Christian women who are sharing their faith with young girls and women and discipling them.
*Names changed for security reasons
You can send a message of encouragement to persecuted Christian women, like Sarah mentioned above – they would love to hear from her sisters and brothers around the world.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus. Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.