North Korea has never been more in the American public eye than it is now. Once a closed off, anonymous and mysterious country on the other side of the world, North Korea is now known for its nuclear aggression, human rights violations and demonically systematic persecution of Christians. North Korea is #1 on Open Doors’ World Watch List and anyone caught owning a Bible, praying or worshiping in the country is quickly shipped off to one of the country’s massive concentration camps.
In the face of such brutality, we as Christians know we’re supposed to pray, but sometimes it’s hard to find words to say. Fortunately, the Bible guides us in moments like these. Here are 5 verses from the Gospels that can guide us as we remember our persecuted brothers and sisters in North Korea.
1. ‘LORD, CALM THE STORM’
“And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39)
Leader Kim Jong-Un has unleashed a storm of persecution and oppression on anyone he sees as a political enemy. In recent months over ten thousand people were either killed, incarcerated in prisons and camps or banished to closed villages, among them many women and children. It is unknown how many Christians were caught during this time of persecution but one source estimates at least 33 Christians connected to an arrested South Korean missionary were sentenced to death. Only Jesus is able to calm this storm. Pray that He will and pray with courage. After Jesus calmed the storm in his gospel Mark quoted Jesus saying: “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” With faith pray that Jesus calms the storm of Kim Jong Un’s evil.
2. ‘LORD, LET THE CHILDREN COME TO YOU’
“But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 18:16)
Being a Christian parent in North Korea can be heartbreaking. No prayers before or after dinner. No Bible stories before bedtime. Never taking your child to church. This is the ugly reality of raising kids in North Korea. In many cases children, taught loyalty to the Un above all else, may report their parents as enemies of North Korea. Parents can only pray that once their children are old enough they will be receptive to the gospel. Jesus said that nobody should hinder the children to come to him. Pray for Christian parents and their children, that the seed of the Gospel will be planted in their hearts and that God will nurture it throughout their lives.
3. ‘LORD, OFFER YOUR LIVING WATER TO THE BROKEN WOMEN’
“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’” (John 4:10)
Many North Korean women, often mothers, have been tricked, or to provide for their families voluntarily entered into, human trafficking. Tens of thousands now live in China where they forcibly are married to Chinese men. Others work in prostitution. In most cases women left husbands and/or children behind. Their Chinese families exercise control over them, often resulting in abusive behavior. Like the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4, the lives of these women have fallen apart. They need Jesus to heal them and restore them. His living water is what they need. Pray He will offer it to them and reveal Himself to them. Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well and the result was an entire village coming to faith. Pray for the women under Open Doors’ care.
4. ‘LORD, CALL OUT THE CHRISTIANS TO WALK OVER WATER’
“And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’” (Matthew 14:28)
Following Jesus Christ can be a frightening thing. When Jesus approached the boat the disciples didn’t even recognize Him at first, but Jesus reassured them by quoting His Father: ‘I AM.’ Jesus is Lord and in the darkest night He is present. For Christians in North Korea the stakes are high as they determine the will of God. How should they pray? When is it safe to talk about the gospel? When, where and how is it possible to meet other Christians? How can they help each other and their neighbors? They need Jesus to call out to them and give them the faith to walk on water. And even if they lack faith for just a second and start to sink, that they’d know Jesus will reach out to them and pull them out of the water. So pray for the Christians of North Korea to discern the Lord’s voice. Pray that like Peter they would fix their eyes on Jesus.
5. ‘LORD, FORGIVE THEM. THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY DO.’
“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” (Luke 23:34a)
North Korea’s rulers are blinded. They need to see with the eyes of their hearts. God needs to forgive them and free them and our prayers for forgiveness are necessary. Why else would Jesus have used all His energy and strength to ask forgiveness for those who had tortured Him and were now nailing Him to a cross? He asked the Lord not to hold this sin against them. In the same way we need to intercede on behalf of the persecutors. We don’t know if any of the Roman soldiers came to faith and we will never know what effects our prayers will have on the North Korean leaders, but we must follow the example of our Lord. Pray the Lord’s prayer for the North Korean Church, but also for the oppressors. We all need the Lord to bring us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light at some point in our lives (Colossians 1). Pray God will forgive their sins as well as ours.
To learn more about North Korea and continue to pray for our brothers and sisters living there by checking out our World Watch List | North Korea.
This article was originally published here.