Friday, November 10, 2017
This Sunday is designated as a day of prayer for the persecuted Church worldwide. Christians are undergoing severe persecution in many parts of the world. It is estimated that during the 20th century, more Christians were martyred 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. Religious, political and social authorities serve as guardians to protect that system. They have a long arm through the government and police, the mosque and sheikhs, work and family, friends and neighbors, and so forth. The Islamic 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), rulers and common people in today’s world are persecuting your children!
Brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering persecution do not love their lives so much as to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11). I may not know them personally, but I intercede for them. You taught us to “bear one another’s burdens,” so I want to stand alongside them. They are members of the Body of Christ; when one member suffers, the rest of the body suffers.
O God Almighty, be with those who are enduring 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.
In prayer I ask you to wake up the Church around the world to pray for persecuted believers and come to their assistance. Christians who occupy influential positions could act to alleviate the pain of our suffering brothers and sisters. Father, help them to not 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).