We must never forget to pray for the persecuted. The majority of readers of this blog live in areas of the world where we have at least some degree of freedom to worship God. We should always remember to be extremely thankful for this, but we must never take it for granted. In many parts of the world, to follow Jesus is to risk losing one’s friends, family, employment, housing, freedom, or even their life. It’s a reality they live with every day.
In many countries, to choose Jesus is truly to risk everything. We who do not face such pressure can barely relate. It is imperative we move beyond simple head knowledge of persecution, and internalize it. When one part of the body suffers, we all suffer (1 Corinthians 12:26). We must never forget to pray for the persecuted.
It is so easy to go about our days not giving a thought to the plight of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. We focus on our own problems and too often forget the needs of others. Can I be extremely blunt? The problems in my life and yours dramatically pale to what our persecuted brothers and sisters face every moment of their lives. Are you stressed out by your job? Trying being fired because you believe in Jesus which means no one else will hire you either. How will you put food on the table for your family when merchants refuse to sell to you even if you can scrounge a few coins together? That’s stress. We have no idea what that feels like.
The horrific stories of torture I’ve read are not for the weak stomached or the faint of heart. These are real events happening to real people. The sadistic nature of the methods of torture employed drive me to my knees. We can’t ignore what is happening. We can’t avoid reading about the truth because it makes us uncomfortable. We must know and recognize what our brothers and sisters are going through on behalf of their witness for Christ. They are identifying with Him in suffering while we turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. This is happening on our watch. This is happening to our family. Believe it. Feel it. Pray for the persecuted, and pray diligently.
You might be thinking, “what can I do about the problem?” The answer is as simple as it is powerful: pray for the persecuted. Our prayers can work wonders through the power of God. Pray they will have the strength and courage to endure what is being inflicted upon them. Pray the Lord will provide food, clothing, and shelter for them and their families. Pray the way they suffer will be such that many will come to know the love of Jesus. I often pray those imprisoned will have the opportunity to share the gospel with their fellow prisoners and with their guards and captors. The Voice of the Martyrs is a fine organization and offers many tools and prayer guides to help you minister to the persecuted. Thank God you live in freedom, but never, ever, forget to pray for the persecuted.