In many parts of the world, it is illegal for Christians to worship God or share their faith. To protect their lives, Christians must meet together covertly.

In 2022, Open Doors USA made a list of what it considered the most dangerous countries for Christians to live in.

The top ten were: Afghanistan, North Korea, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Eritrea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran and India.

We in the West can, and should, be praying for protection and perseverance for our brothers and sisters in those countries.

When Zechariah’s son John is born, he bursts forth into joyful, prophetic song. The theme of his song is a celebration that this will now mean freedom from Israel’s enemies (vv71,74).

Living in occupied territory means constant, wearying anxiety. His great hope for John’s birth and Jesus’ ministry was political freedom.

However, Jesus didn’t come to overthrow the Romans, and sadly today religious freedoms are still stifled in many countries.

In the later part of his song (vv76–79), though, Zechariah identifies spiritual freedom – ‘knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins’ (v77).

Through Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, we have been bought a great freedom from the power and consequences of our greatest enemies, sin and death.

While Jesus’ first coming brought freedom from the power and consequences of sin, Jesus’ second coming will go one step further and remove even the presence of sin.

Whenever we despair at the lack of freedom in this world and perhaps in our own heart, we can call on the one who rescues us.


A Prayer To Make:
‘Lord, thank You for rescuing us from the consequences and power of sin. We long for the day when You return in glory and remove all evil. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Hold those countries listed, and others known to you, that are dangerous for Christians to live in. Pray for the Christians there and pray for freedom.

Scripture To Consider:
Pss. 32:1–5 & 130:1–8; John 3:14–17; Heb. 9:25–28

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.