International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church

Read more about IDOP 2023 below…

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International Day of Prayer 2023

On Sunday November 5, Release International will again be taking part in an online event to mark the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church (IDOP).

Since the mid-1990s IDOP has been marked, in November, by Christians around the world as a way of remembering the plight of, and focusing prayer on, the needs of persecuted Christians.

In recent years Release International has joined with other agencies in the UK to produce an online presentation. This year’s IDOP event will be streamed on the evening of Sunday, November 5 (7.30pm). The Evangelical Alliance will again be hosting the event, which in addition to Release International’s will include contributions from Open Doors and CSW. Details on how to register to watch are available here.

Details of IDOP 2023 will be added here as they are finalised, but in the meantime you can still watch the 2022 event below and download resources which you can use in a service or House Group.

International Day of Prayer 2022 Webinar

Thank you to everyone who attended the joint International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church webinar with Release International, the Evangelical Alliance, Open Doors and CSW on Sunday, November 6 2022.

If you missed the webinar – don’t worry – you can now catch up and watch a recording of the webinar here which shares the latest news and testimonies from Christian survivors of persecution in China, Cuba and Iraq.

Click on the image to view the video of the webinar.

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Your International Day of Prayer 2022

We also want to encourage you to mark IDOP in your own local church by organising a special prayer time during one of your Sunday services in November (or at any time more convenient to your diary). We have compiled the resources below to help you do this.

IDOP Resources For You To Use...

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This presentation is designed to accompany a short talk. It includes four individual prisoner profiles, a Bible reading and several prayer points. Click here to download as a Powerpoint file (14.2MB).

Sermon Outline

If you are able to dedicate an entire service to IDOP, you may want to use this sermon outline based on Hebrews 13:1-3 to help encourage a biblical response to persecution and supporting prisoners of faith. Click here to download as a WORD document.

How Can I Pray?

IDOP is about prayer and these prayer points for prisoners of faith and their families will help guide your petitions.

  • Pray for all those who are imprisoned because of their faith in countries like Iran, China, Eritrea, Pakistan and North Korea: that they will know the sustaining power of God, that they will have opportunities to see their families and have fellowship with other Christians, that they will be able to share the love of Christ with their guards and fellow prisoners, and that in God’s time they will be released.
  • Pray for the families of Christian prisoners who often face hardship, harassment, social ostracism, and deprivation. Pray that God will provide for all their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
  • Pray for Christians in Pakistan who have been falsely accused and incarcerated under the notorious blasphemy laws. Pray for justice and for the laws to stop being misused against innocent people. Pray that Zafar Bhatti who has already spent 10 years behind bars will be acquitted soon.
  • Pray for long term Christian prisoners in Eritrea. Some like Dr Kiflu have never faced trial. Pray that he will know the love and encouragement of the Lord as he spends his 18th year separated from his family and church.
  • Pray for Christian pastors and church leaders who have been detained and imprisoned in China. Pray that God will protect them from harsh treatment by the prison authorities. Pray for Pastor Wang Yi and his wife and son, that their faith will remain strong and that Wang Yi’s courageous testimony will continue to encourage other pastors to keep on serving.
  • Pray for house church leaders in Iran who face the threat of arrest, interrogation and lengthy prison sentences for their Christian work. Pray they will continue to have courage to plant and lead local churches despite the risks. Pray that the Iranian government will recognise the value of its Christian citizens.
  • Pray for Christians who are detained in harsh labour camps in North Korea. Pray that they will know the freedom of Christ in their hearts and have opportunities to share the hope of the gospel with their fellow prisoners.
  • Pray for Release International’s partners in various countries who are serving Christian prisoners of faith and their families. Pray that channels of communication would remain secure and open. Pray that practical provisions will be able to reach those who need it most. Pray that partners who have the opportunity to visit prisoners will have the right words to bring support and comfort.
  • Pray that as Christians in the UK we will be moved to remember those in prison as if we were with them. May God give us compassion to learn their stories, to commit to praying for them, to write to them, and to speak up on their behalf wherever we have the opportunity.

Click here to download these Prayer Points as a WORD document.


You may also find it helpful to reflect on these hymns/songs and integrate them in your IDOP service.

Safe in the shadow of the Lord by Timothy Dudley-Smith

Strong God by Vertical Worship

Psalm 142 by Poor Bishop Hooper

The church’s one foundation by Hymns of Grace

Prisoners of Faith

You may also like to include details of the following Prisoners of Faith in your IDOP Service:

Wang Yi Jailed 400x400


Arrested: December 2018

Sentence: 9 years in prison

Pastor Wang Yi is the leader of Early Rain Covenant Church. He was arrested with around 100 members of his church during a police raid. He was eventually convicted of ‘inciting state subversion’ and ‘illegal business operations.’ Since his arrest his family and church have been monitored and harassed by government officials.

Click here to download Pastor Wang Yi’s Prisoner Profile as a pdf document.

Kiflu Gebremeskel


Arrested: 2004

Sentence: Held without trial

Dr Kiflu is a senior church leader in Eritrea. He was arrested in an early morning raid on his home but has never been charged with a crime or brought before a court. He has been prevented from seeing his wife and four children for long periods of time.


Click here to download Dr Kiflu’s Prisoner Profile as a pdf document.

Zafar Bhatti


Arrested: July 2012

Sentence: Death

Zafar Bhatti was sentenced to life imprisonment for sending a blasphemous text message, a charge he has always denied and for which there is conflicting evidence. In early 2022 his sentence was increased to death.


Click here to download Zafar Bhatti’s Prisoner Profile as a pdf document.