Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - A Pentecost prayer for the persecuted - Open Doors UK & Ireland
24 May 2023

A Pentecost prayer for the persecuted

As we celebrate Pentecost, it’s good to remind ourselves that the great, revolutionary Christian faith began in a house. Please join us this Pentecost in praying for the millions of Christians who secretly meet house churches around the world. 

Somewhere in Central Asia, defying the authorities, this house church meet for secret worship every week.

It all began in a house.

'They were all together in one place,' runs the account in Acts, when 'a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting' (Acts 2:1-2) 

Pentecost is the birthday of the church. It's that moment when the first followers of Jesus turned from a frightened group of renegades into a radical, revolutionary movement. 

And it all began in a house. 

Today, the house church continues to be a place of revolutionary power. In countries where the church has been driven underground, the house church is a vital gathering place for Christians.

  • In China, increasing regulation and oppressive surveillance has led many big churches to divide into smaller, less visible house churches.
  • In Iran, Christians meet in houses and apartments, trying to avoid the attention of the secret police.
  • In Central Asia, Christians gather together and share an evening meal – what looks like a social occasion is actually a church service in disguise.

So, this Pentecost, please ask God to pour out His Spirit afresh on all those who gather in secret around the world. The revolution began in a house. And in houses and apartments around the world, it is still happening - because nothing can stop the power of the Holy Spirit.

A Pentecost prayer for the persecuted church

God of all power and might,  
Inspire us all by the power of Your Spirit, Kindle the flames of faith,  
Ignite the light of truth,

Give us the burning passion to share the Good News about You to those around us.
We pray especially for our persecuted brothers and sisters at this time,  
For all those who meet in houses and apartments,  
The underground outposts of the revolutionary Kingdom of God.

Protect them all we pray,  
May Your Spirit visit them anew,  
And fill them afresh with hope, courage and love.


Prayer points

  • Pray for protection for underground churches throughout the world where gathering in secret in homes carries enormous risk.
  • Thank God that the underground church is not just alive, but growing.
  • Pray for safety for churches celebrating Pentecost. Major Christian festivals can be moments of high visibility for churches in certain areas, bringing with it the danger of attack.
  • Pray that the power, wisdom and comfort of the Holy Spirit would be with all believers at this time. It is only the presence of the Holy Spirit which enables the persecuted church to stand strong.

Secret House Churches in Yemen

When Mohammad* became a Christian he thought he was the only one in his country.

He found a Bible in a second-hand shop in Yemen. Curious about the contents, he bought it, read it, and gave his life to Christ.

But he thought he was alone. “When I came to faith, I thought I was the only believer in Yemen,” he says.

It's easy to see why. Yemen is number 3 on the Open Doors 2023 World Watch List. Leaving Islam is forbidden, so Muslims who decide to follow Jesus risk the death penalty. There are no open church activities or private worship. No wonder that the few thousand Christians in the country keep their faith hidden. The situation for Christians in Yemen has become even more perilous due to the long-running civil war.

Gradually, though, Mohammed was able to find others believers.

“For a long time, I didn’t know any other Yemeni Christians," said Mohammed. "Now I know many, and there are many more like us.”

Knowing they risked their lives, Mohammad and Alima*, his wife, started not one, but four secret house groups in their home: two for women, two for men. The meetings, which lasted around three or four hours, usually consisted of prayer, reading the Bible and singing songs together using worship found on YouTube. For safety, the house groups did not have contact with each other.

“We stayed separated, and each group didn’t know the whereabouts of other groups. That’s so there could be no betrayal of others if a group was discovered,” Mohammad explains. “Security is very important for all of us. It’s always a major concern.”

In the end, the family were forced to flee Yemen with their children because of their faith. But they remain connected to the church in their homeland and they intend to return.

Mohammad says, “When the war is over, I hope we can return to Yemen. I hope that one day I will see the church growing, bearing a lot of fruit.

“We hope that the Word of God will spread in Yemen and that Yemen will be won by Christ. That is our daily prayer. The church in Yemen is definitely growing. That is what you hear everywhere… We often hear of whole families coming to Christ.”

* Names changed to protect identities

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