Pray for the Persecuted Church

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The illustration below is hard to wrap your mind around. I’ve read the statistics. I’ve seen pictures of those wounded and slaughtered simply for believing in Jesus. I’ve read the heart-wrenching testimonies of unimaginable suffering. I’ve preached about the persecuted church worldwide. But I’ve noticed something about myself; that which is hard to fathom … is easy to forget.
 
I don’t think it’s callousness on my part … at least I hope not. A number of factors combined keep the plight of the persecuted church at edges of my mind. Maybe you can identify.
  • A compassionate heart makes it difficult to witness (even at a distance) their suffering.
  • I am frustrated by the disparity between two realities; my desire and my inability to help.
  • Their suffering reminds me that I could be called on to suffer for my faith in Christ.
  • It is largely ignored in the scheme of world news.

So even though my brothers and sisters in the faith suffer daily and by the thousands … I remember it seldom and reflect deeply on it even less. As I prepared to preach on prayer, one phrase brought them to mind; “always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18. It reminded me of the prayer requests I’ve heard from those who are being persecuted.

> “Pray for us!”
> “Pray that we don’t deny Jesus.”
> “Pray for our courage.”
> “Pray for the salvation of our persecutors.”
 
The one thing I can do … I should purpose to do. I should fight the forces that would drive their suffering from my mind. I should remember and I should pray. That’s what the author of Hebrews said, Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3
 

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Here are some resources to help:

www.persecution.com/pray

www.cru.org/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/prayer/pray-for-persecuted-church

www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/pray