Kim Jong Un

Prayer for North Korea and North Korean Refugees: Peace

This week’s prayer topic is simple: Please pray for peace for North Korean refugees and North Korea's people. However, as we pray for peace for North Korea and its people, we understand that the nation is always on the brink of violence. Though war seems unlikely, it is unclear how far North Korea’s new, unseasoned leader may escalate tensions and fear.

In our many conversations with North Korean refugees along the border, defectors in South Korea and South Koreans, nobody wants war – not one person. Nobody thinks it would be good for the Korean people. We pray for peace through God's protection and provision.

In the face of anxiety for the things we cannot control, for the things that are out of our power, we at Crossing Borders ask that you would help us to place North Korean refugees and the people of North Korea into the hands of the Lord.

“O Almighty God, the Father of all humanity, turn, we pray, the hearts of all peoples and their rulers, that by the power of your Holy Spirit peace may be established among the nations on the foundation of justice, righteousness and truth; through him who was lifted up on the cross to draw all people to himself, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” – William Temple, “Prayer for Peace Among Nations”

“O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of Your presence, Your love, and Your strength. Help us to have perfect trust in Your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to You, we shall see Your hand, Your purpose, Your will through all things.” - Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Five Topics to Pray for North Korea

North Korea is a chaotic and confusing nation. Their government tests nuclear weapons while their people suffer from starvation. They speak of peace and unity one day and war the next. Listed below are items we feel need your prayer:

  1. Pray for the people in North Korea – If you’ve read the Bible, it is clear that God has a soft spot for the poor, the widow and the orphan. North Korea is filled with such individuals. There are no signs that the food situation in the country is moving toward any form of stability, and eyewitnesses invited into the country have confirmed this. This is causing instability in families, disease and suffering. The poor, the widow, and the orphan desperately need our prayers.
  2. Pray for North Korean refugees – North Korea can be enigmatic because of the lack of good reporting in the country. The regime controls most media outlets in the country and the ones it doesn't control are not allowed full access to all parts of the country. The best information coming from North Korea is through North Korean refugees who travel beyond the country's borders to find hope in a new and terrifying capitalist world. These refugees, many of them homeless, hungry, impoverished, seek a life free from the North Korean regime. Please pray for these North Korean refugees. Please pray especially those in China, North Korean refugees who are scared and in hiding due to China’s zero tolerance policy toward escapees from North Korea.
  3. Pray for North Korean politicians – North Korea is a political problem for world leaders, most of who are afraid of a nuclear North Korea and rightfully so. But this can often divert the world’s attention away from the suffering people of North Korea. For things to change in the world on a global scale, there must be a political response. Pray that our politicians would not lose focus on the pain of the North Korean people.
  4. Pray for North Korea’s leadership – Some say it is a waste of time to pray for North Korea’s leadership who are often seen as power-hungry hedonists who would crush a whole nation to remain in power. The worst thing we can do is to turn this group of people into caricatures. Jesus was clear when he commanded us to “pray for our enemies.” This accomplishes two things: 1. If they are in the wrong, prayer can change their hearts and 2. prayers for our enemies instantly humanizes them. These are fallen people just like us. They need our prayers.
  5.  Pray for North Korea’s underground church – This is perhaps the most persecuted church in the world. No one is sure how large it is. No one can be sure what their activities are. But it has been confirmed by multiple sources that the underground church in North Korea exists. Not only do Christians fear the government’s heavy hand but they also fear their friends, family, neighbors and even their own children. North Korean children are taught to report their parents if they do anything the regime finds threatening. Christianity is at the top of this list. The only way for North Koreans to have true and lasting peace is through the gospel. They can have food. They can have freedom. But we believe the gospel is the only way for them to truly be transformed and to find healing.

Prayer for North Korean Refugees: The Poor, Hungry

North Korean refugees are escapees from a nation akin to the world's largest prison. This week, the New York Times reported that the poor are staying poor in North Korea, despite recent economic developments, and that it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to leave the country.

Think about this for a minute. Kim Jong Un is pampering his family friends while the rest of the country languishes in poverty. And to make things worse, he has closed the door to food and medical help that North Koreans sought as a last-ditch measure.

This means that there are less and less alternatives for most North Koreans to find food.

Many experts say that the economic and cultural shifts are only meant for the North Korean elite. They say that the increase in pop culture and luxury goods are gifts to the politically loyal to make them happy as the regime makes it’s third hereditary shift of power.

Economic reform in North Korea is only for the elite because the whole country is built for the elite.

This harkens back to the days of the Great Famine of the 1990s when Kim Jong Il would throw lavish parties catered by foreign chefs. He would fly in professional wrestlers to entertain him and his friends while about 2 million people died of starvation.

Many North Korean refugees we have helped witnessed this disparity first-hand. One family reported to us that a man in their village was so delirious from hunger that he pushed his child into a fire and ate her only to realize afterward what he had done. This happened around 2005, when the famine was supposedly over.

The New York Times article mentions that North Koreans are still being found dead along the roadside in the country. Starvation is still a present reality and commoners still have to forage to make ends meet.

As we pray this week for North Korean refugees and the for the North Korean people, let us not be discouraged. It can seem the regime is an immovable mountain, one that will oppress its people forever. But we have hope.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 5:3