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Archive for the tag “prayer”

Three ways to fight the sex trafficking plague

More people are understanding the plague of sex trafficking is more widespread than they realized — even to the point of infecting their own neighborhoods. But what can one person actually do to fight back?

Trillia NewbellTrillia Newbell writes for ERLC:

News outlets across the nation reported the rescue of more than 100 teenage victims of sex trafficking. From a statement from Ronald Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division, NBC reported that the sting resulted in the arrest of 159 “pimps” from San Francisco to Miami; the youngest victim was 13 years old. For many, this may be the first news of such atrocities occurring in these United States, the land of the free.

Sex trafficking is not only happening, the numbers are staggering. The FBI estimates that nearly 293,000 American youths currently are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Victims are often young, from broken families or orphans. They are taken and sold for forced sex or prostitution. Most are girls, but boys are exploited as well.

Sex trafficking is a global issue. The FBI reports that it is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world. Money and lust motivate men and women to abuse and exploit children in ways unimaginable, so much so that I have resisted linking to the plethora of graphic and disturbing images and articles describing the torture these children endure day in and day out. I’ve seen only a small portion of what this might look like.

As a young and naïve college student I had no idea what I was about to stumble upon during my visit to Amsterdam. I knew that marijuana was legal and that I might encounter it (oddly, I never did). But I did find myself in the middle of the Red Light District. The images I saw have haunted me since that trip. Women posing in windows for anyone to gawk at as voyeurs walked by. It is legal. It is blatant. And I now know it was a small taste of the devastating sex industry. What I saw was tame compared to the many reports of secret housing holding women hostage to be raped repeatedly.

As we learn about these tragedies the question that haunts us is, what can be done? How can the church help? The Psalmist wrote, “For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight,” (Psalm 72:12-14).

Because of its criminal nature we are slightly limited in what we can do; but limitations aren’t impossibilities. And we know nothing is impossible for God. Here are three ways you might get involved.

1. Pray

The poor, needy, oppressed and orphan are special to the Lord. We can bow before God and ask Him to rescue “the needy when he calls.”

— Pray for government officials to continue to crack down on these crimes and for the criminals to be found.

— Pray for families to be healed and children to be protected before a sex-trafficking criminal can reach them.

— Pray for the salvation of all those involved, that the Gospel would penetrate hearts and break the sinful bondage that entangles them and pour out forgiveness and grace.

— Pray for healing for the girls and boys who have been rescued, that they would be able to return to society and live healthy, normal, productive lives.

This is not an exhaustive list, the prayer needs are many.

2. Be informed

You can’t share what you don’t know. This article is only an introduction. Various organizations have produced information to keep you informed and some are developing tools to help you remain active.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board shares Christ and serves those in spiritual and physical need through avenues such as OneLife’s One Woman and One Brothel projects.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s website has an entire page devoted to resources on human trafficking.

Other organizations, such as International Justice Mission, Salvation Army, Sower of Seeds, Project Red Light Rescue and the Nefarious: Merchant of Souls documentary, provide numerous resources to help you get started.

3. Spread the word

Because of the horrific nature of sex trafficking, many of us do not want to face the truth that this could happen right under our noses. One way to assist is to inform your churches and neighbors. Many articles are graphic in nature and therefore require discernment regarding which to share. There is, however, information available.

Through prayer, sharing and education we can be active citizens in helping the fight against sex trafficking. We won’t be able to solve the problem in one day, one year, or even five; but by the grace of God we can be the feet of Jesus to a world that is dying and for these young girls and boys who are enslaved in the most inhumane way.

Learn more about how you can become involved in fighting sex trafficking by clicking here.

Nov. 4: A day to pray for the persecuted

Christians are martyred for their faith in many countries of the world today. Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, and India are regularly in the headlines — if you know where to watch headlines. In other places, such as North Korea, acts of persecution take place, but we don’t see or hear of it. Brother Andrew of Open Doors once said, “Our heroes are not with us simply because they are in prison.”

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church — observed Nov. 4 by many congregations, as well as on other dates — is set apart for us to remember thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who suffer persecution, simply because they confess Jesus Christ as Lord.

Godfrey Yogarajah writes at

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:3 to ‘remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering’.

Can we today pause our busy lives and think of those who are enduring persecution for the sake of the Gospel? Let us remember those who have not eaten for days because they are given nothing to eat … those languishing in prison … Christian families who have watched their homes burn to the ground … pastors who are beaten and tortured for their faith and enduring physical pain … Christian families and children living in constant fear of violence … those who have lost their loved ones … those who are facing death, even right at this moment, for refusing to denounce Christ…

If you or I were in such a situation, what would you ask your wider church family to do for you?

Every time I ask a persecuted Christian what we can do for them, the answer is always the same: ‘please pray for us’.

On a visit to India, I met several widows of Christian leaders who were killed in the Orissa violence in the summer of 2008. They had lost everything: their homes, their possessions and their husbands. ‘We have lost everything except our faith,’ one told me, clutching her baby. ‘Pray that we stay strong and bring up our children in the faith for which their fathers gave their lives.’

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) gives us the privilege of joining together with over half a million churches in 150 countries to pray for the suffering church. It plays a vital role in encouraging and strengthening the persecuted church and also awakening churches in places where there is no persecution.

Let us unite in prayer in 2012 for the persecuted church, in the spirit of oneness that Christ commanded: ‘For, if one suffers, we all suffer.’

Godfrey Yogarajah is executive director of the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance.

Resources to help your congregation or group participate in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church are available from and the website of International Christian Concern,

Persecution news is available from Compass Direct, a service of the Open Doors with Brother Andrew ministry.

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