“Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). These words penned by the apostle Paul in the first century still play out today on the world stage. Now, in the 21st century, Christians endure everything from minor harassment to extreme violence and murder, precisely because they follow Jesus Christ.
When I hear these stories or read another tragic account, the need to pray overwhelms me. Yet, I feel so inadequate about how and what to pray. My first thought is to pray for their physical deliverance – to pray that all believers would have the same freedom to worship Christ that we enjoy here in America.
I want to beg God to deliver them from their persecutors, to petition heaven that all persecution will end.
And I do pray that. But God has also been shifting my perspective on the persecution of believers, how He uses it, and how it fits into His overall purposes. I don’t mean to say – nor do I believe – that God causes or brings the persecution. But somehow, in His mysterious economy, He chooses to use it. (For more on a biblical perspective of Christian persecution read this post.)
Under this paradigm, praying solely for the persecution to end felt weak and powerless. So I asked God to teach me how to pray for His people enduring great suffering for the name of Christ.
The Holy Spirit led me to God’s Word for the answer. He prompted me to look up passages about sharing in the sufferings of Christ. For that is what our brothers and sisters around the world are doing – sharing in Jesus’ sufferings.
These passages gave me some direction, some catalyst for my prayers. The following 10 “prayers” come straight from Scripture. (Download the printable PDF and put it in your Bible!).
10 Scripture Prayers for the Persecuted
- That they would experience the overflowing comfort of Christ through the very real and abundant presence of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
- That their lives would produce patient endurance (2 Corinthians 1:6-8).
- That they would learn to rely totally on God (2 Corinthians 1:9)
- That God would help them maintain an eternal perspective, keeping Christ above all earthly things (Philippians 3:7-9).
- That they would know Christ deeply and intimately (Philippians 3:10).
- That Christ’s resurrection power would flood their lives (Philippians 3:10).
- That their suffering for Christ would be a clear, strong testimony to Christ, bringing Him glory (1 Peter 3:15-16).
- That they would experience overwhelming joy as they participate in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:12-14).
- That their hearts would swell with praise for God (1 Peter 4:16).
- And finally, for their ultimate deliverance and glory in Christ (Romans 8:17-18).
Will you join me in using these prompts to pray for these suffering believers? Let’s pray for Christians around the world who are being persecuted because of Christ. May His name be glorified!