We serve Christians around the world whose brave faith in Jesus means they are, beaten, threatened, imprisoned, tortured, falsely accused, disowned and hated.

North Korea: Three things to pray for

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The picture above is a insight into the often hidden and unknown world of North Korea. In the picture a girl plays the piano in one of the countries ‘children palaces’ – institutions where the most gifted North Korean children are trained in arts and sports.

But in the pic, you can also see the portraits of North Korea’s deceased leaders Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il – members of the Kim dynasty that have ruled North Korea since the 1950s. Portraits like this, and of Kim Jong Un, the current leader (grandson to Kim Il-Sung and son of Kim Jong-Il), hang in houses, offices, shops and buildings across the country. Their presence is everywhere, from the statues and propaganda murals in every town, to the state owned TV and radio channels.

They are always watching, reminding the people of North Korea who holds power and who should be obeyed. Unlike in the UK and most democratic countries, leaders are not openly questioned, held to account or challenged. The Kim dynasty has tried to enforce the idea that they are divine – they want to be seen as gods, holding all the power, saving and guiding the people of North Korea.

As a result, many people who disobey, think differently or are just in desperate need, find themselves in trouble in North Korea. Christians fall into that category – tens of thousands are thought to be held in terrible prison camps, simply for daring to believe in a higher authority than the Kims.

If we want to pray for our North Korean church family, it’s important we know some of what’s going on to pray more precisely and effectively. Here are three current areas to bring to God…

1. Missile tests and military escalation

North Korea has few friends. Aside from China, Russia, Iran and a few other nations, the international community has shunned North Korea. Japan, South Korea and the United States are vigilant and periodically perform joint military exercises in the region. These are taking place now and always illicit a response from the North, usually in the form of more ballistic missile tests. In the eyes of Kim Jong-Un, these are necessary to deter the ‘aggressors’. The North Korean state in its propaganda condemns the enemies and thus creates a warlike atmosphere. This is then used to manipulate ordinary citizens and make them work more and harder.

Pray now: For peace and that ordinary North Korean citizens will begin to question the narrative put forward by the authorities…

2. More digital persecution

North Korea’s parliament has recently amended the Law on Mobile Communication which first came into effect in 2020. It makes it illegal for citizens to use ‘unauthorised foreign telecommunication devices’ and to disclose confidential information through mobiles phones.

What the exact amendments are, has not been published, but their is concern that this law will be used to further surveil and restrict those showing any sign of dissent. It will mean it will become harder for North Korean’s to connect with people who want to help them, in for instance China. Secret Open Doors partners in China regularly support North Korean refugees who have illegally fled the border. This work could become much harder.

Pray now: That Open Doors partners would find safe and reliable ways to communicate with contacts inside North Korea. Pray also that regular North Koreans will find ways to access media and communications from outside North Korea to challenge the things they are being told by their government.

3.Food shortages

Most people know that North Korea often experiences food shortages. There are waves of famine. Under and max nourishment is rife. Even so, a recent North Korean news article has highlighted just how bad things are becoming. We won’t go into the detail, but reports say, a family were so desperate for food, they made soup from a pet dog – and whilst eating dog meat isn’t uncommon, eating pets is. The story gained a lot of attention in North Korea, demonstrating the despair of a hungry family.

Pray now: That regular North Koreans will find the food they need. Pray that God will provide for secret Christians who will live generously sharing what they have with others as a sign of God’s love. Pray again, that the constant food shortages (that don’t impact the ruling elites) will cause many to question how god-like and benevolent the leaders really are.

Keep praying...
1

Please pray with perseverance for North Korea. Pray that the North will soon see freedom, that the labor camps will open, that prisoners are released, that hunger will be a thing of the past and that all persecution will stop, digitally and offline.

2

Pray that until that day comes, God will give supernatural strength to the North Korean people, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters. They suffer even more than most, because aside from the general struggle to live, they are being persecuted for their faith. Pray for perseverance.

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