Today, can we take pause in our busy lives and think of those who are enduring persecution for the sake of the Gospel? Let us remember those who have not eaten for days because they are given nothing to eat, those languishing in prison, Christian families who have watched their homes burn to the ground, pastors who are beaten and tortured for their faith and enduring physical pain, Christian families and children living in constant fear of violence, those who have lost their loved ones, those who are facing death, even right at this moment, for refusing to denounce Christ…
If you or I were in such a situation, what would you ask your wider church family to do for you?
Every time I ask a persecuted Christian what we can do for them, the answer is always the same: ‘please pray for us’.
On a visit to India, I met several widows of Christian leaders who were killed in the Orissa violence in the summer of 2008. They had lost everything: their homes, their possessions and their husbands. ‘We have lost everything except our faith,’ one told me, clutching her baby. ‘Pray that we stay strong and bring up our children in the faith for which their fathers gave their lives.’
The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) gives us the privilege of joining together with over half a million churches in 150 countries to pray for the suffering church. It plays a vital role in encouraging and strengthening the persecuted church and also awakening churches in places where there is no persecution.
Let us unite in prayer for the persecuted church, in the spirit of oneness that Christ commanded: ‘For, if one suffers, we all suffer.’
Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director, WEA Religious Liberty Commission
We cannot help but cry: “Why Lord?” (Psalm 10:1). Yet Jesus warned us that persecution would come (John 15:18-16:33), indeed, that tribulation/pressure would be inevitable in this world (John 16:33a). “But,” he added, “take heart! I have overcome the world” (v33b). When trouble rolled in, threatening life and liberty, King David exercised radical faith in his faithful God. He petitioned Yĕhovah (Psalm 10:12-18), confident that Yĕhovah would hear and not ignore the cry of the afflicted/humble (`anav) (Psalm 9:12).
You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them & you listen to their cry. (Psalm 10:17) Our English translation is very soft compared to what this verse is actually saying, which is: Our eternal God (Yĕhovah) hears the desire / longings (ta’avah) of the afflicted / helpless / humble (`anav); he strengthens / makes firm / establishes (kuwn) their hearts, and always remains keenly, sharply attentive with ears pricked (qashab) to hear (Psalm 10:17).
invest our hopes in human beings (that are mortal), human institutions (that cannot save), human works (that are insufficient), political power (that is self-interested), military might (that is limited) and money (which can only buy what is unprofitable and useless).
If we will but petition our faithful God, then even if our cry is but a whispered prayer, delivered with heavy heart and failing breath from a dark and lonely place, our faithful Yĕhovah will hear because he has inclined / extended (natah) his ear toward us (Psalm 116:1-2).
Sometimes, in wisdom and providence, God waits1 / tarries (chakah) to show grace and mercy (Isaiah 30:18a). That does not mean he has not heard. “Blessed are all who wait (chakah) for him” (Isaiah 30:18b). He has promised salvation. Cry / petition / pray / intercede withconfidence to our faithful God who hears, and wait /keep watch (tsaphah) in faithful expectation (Psalm5:1-3).
Place and power of prayer:
2 Corinthians 1:10-11
– God works as we pray.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 & Ephesians 6:10-18
– Spiritual battle requires spiritual weapons.
Elizabeth Kendal, International Religious Liberty – Analyst and Advocate
The IDOP is a time set apart for us to remember thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who suffer persecution, simply because they confess Jesus Christ as Lord.
For the last 3 years Persecution Watch has partnered with the International Orality Network and other ministries to host a 12 hour conference prayer call on the International Day of Prayer in November. We serve as one prayer venue among many to lift up prayers for our persecuted brethren around the world. These calls have always been a blessing.
Churches, Organizations, Prayer groups
Download these resources, share them with your praying friends and groups. Be sure to order your Free IDOP Church Resource Kit at http://idop.org/en/resources to lead your church to get ‘all in’ to support the persecuted around the globe in prayer.
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