Join us on our podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.
North Korean church leaders are asking Christians worldwide to pray for their country in the midst of war threats and preparation for war by country officials.
"Prayer for our beleaguered brothers and sisters in Christ is more important than ever," reports Open Doors, an organization that supports persecuted Christians in 60 countries.
In a secret letter that was smuggled out of the country, the underground Christians describe the warlike atmosphere.
"We are to meet the decisive battle with a gun in one hand and a hammer in the other," summarized a Christian leader about the message that the North Korean people recently received from the "high command."
"The military army, navy, air force troops, strategic rocket troops, the red guards and the red youth guards are already in combat mode. Urgent meetings are being held everywhere, regardless if it is day or night. At those meetings, officials make decisions on what needs to happen in case war breaks out. Everyone, including women, needs to be combat-ready."
According to Open Doors' sources, many cars on the road are covered with camouflage nets, and soldiers carry guns and wear hats with camouflage dried branches.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un released a statement to his people, saying that "if war breaks out because of the actions of the U.S. and puppet South Korean's unpardonable behavior, they will end up with a disgraceful downfall and our people will greet a brilliant new day of reunification. The day has come to show off the power of 'Military First' and great nation to the whole world."
Christians and other citizens fear war and its consequences.
"Many people are in a hurry to purchase emergency food supplies and daily goods, just in case. The prices of goods, including food, are skyrocketing," says one believer in North Korea.
North Korean Christians are grateful for their foreign counterparts and request their urgent prayers.
"I would like to thank the many brothers and sisters around the world for their continuous love and support," says a Christian believer. "We know that our journey will not be an easy one, but we are sure that our faith, desperate hope and passionate desire will some day bear fruit. No matter how difficult life is for us, we never blame or complain about our circumstances. God has promised us in the Bible that if we seek His kingdom first, all other things will be given to us as well. Please pray for us."
Jerry Dykstra, a spokesman for Open Doors USA, adds, "Beneath the surface of all the rhetoric of war and the launch of nuclear missiles are the suffering and persecution of Christians in North Korea, whose government is the No. 1 persecutor of Christians for 11 years in a row, according to the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List.
"We must respond now to the Christian leaders' request to pray for them. Pray for Kim Jung Un, that God will work in his heart and he will pursue peace and not war. Pray for Christians who are put in even more danger due to war preparations. Pray that believers will find food to feed their families. Finally, pray that no matter what happens, Christians will remain strong in their faith."
For a limited time, we are extending our celebration of the 40th anniversary of Charisma. As a special offer, you can get 40 issues of Charisma magazine for only $40!