June 7 designated as SBC Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

June 7 designated as SBC Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

More than 2,920 people were killed for the cause of Christ last year, according to the 2020 annual report from Open Doors’ World Watch List. In addition, 9,488 churches or Christian buildings were attacked and 3,711 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned.

Overall, 260 million Christians experienced high levels of persecution in the top 50 countries on the World Watch List in 2019, Open Doors reported. The top five include North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and Pakistan.

In recognition of the persecution faced by Christians around the world, the Southern Baptist Convention last year designated the first Sunday in June as a Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. In 2020, the day of prayer is set for Sunday, June 7.

Approximately 60 Southern Baptist missionaries and children have died due to violent circumstances while serving with the International Mission Board (formerly the Foreign Mission Board) since the organization’s founding in 1845. The causes include accidents such as drowning, automobile and aircraft crashes, and ships lost at sea. They also include deaths as a result of war and criminal or terrorist acts. In some cases, the missionaries were targeted specifically because of their faith or missionary service.

Of those 60, more than 20 FMB/IMB missionaries lost their lives “as a result of human hostility in a cross-cultural setting,” said Scott Peterson of IMB’s global research team. (IMB)