Friday, November 11, 2016
This Sunday has been designated as a day of prayer for the persecuted Church worldwide. Christians are suffering severe persecution in many parts of the world. It is estimated that more Christians were martyred in the 20th century than in the prior 19 centuries combined! In Muslim countries, the followers of Christ are often mistreated, imprisoned and murdered.
The Islamic system does not allow freedom of religion. The system’s guardians include the religious, political and social authorities. They have a long arm through the government and police, the mosque and sheikhs, work and family, friends and neighbors, and so forth. The system persecutes and disposes of people who leave Islam. Today untold numbers of our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering persecution.
Sovereign God, as Herod, Pilate and other leaders made plans against Jesus (Acts 4: 27), today rulers and common people are persecuting your children!
My brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering persecution do not love their lives so much as to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11). Perhaps I do not know them personally, but I intercede on their behalf. You told us to “bear one another’s burdens,” so I want to stand alongside them. They are members of the Body of Christ, and when one member suffers, the rest of the body suffers.
O God Almighty, be with those who are going through a nightmare of mistreatment, beatings and abuse. I bring their plight to your attention, merciful Father. Visit them. Soothe their pain. Comfort their souls. Encourage their hearts. May your face shine upon them.
I pray that you will wake up the Church around the world to pray for persecuted believers and come to their assistance. Some Christians occupy influential positions and could act to alleviate the pain of our suffering brothers and sisters. Father, help them not to be silent. Move them to respond to the tragedy of the persecuted Church.
“Your healing will quickly appear… the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. …you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. …your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD… will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:8-11, NIV).