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Archive | Christian Persecution

10 Things to Pray for Persecuted Christians

10 Ways Persecuted“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

  1. 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).
  2. That their lives would produce patient endurance (2 Corinthians 1:6-8).
  3. That they would learn to rely totally on God (2 Corinthians 1:9)
  4. That God would help them maintain an eternal perspective, keeping Christ above all earthly things (Philippians 3:7-9).
  5. That they would know Christ deeply and intimately (Philippians 3:10).
  6. That Christ’s resurrection power would flood their lives (Philippians 3:10).
  7. That their suffering for Christ would be a clear, strong testimony to Christ, bringing Him glory (1 Peter 3:15-16).
  8. That they would experience overwhelming joy as they participate in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:12-14).
  9. That their hearts would swell with praise for God (1 Peter 4:16).
  10. 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!

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A Prayer for the Persecuted

Prayer for the PersecutedAlmost every day there’s another story in the news about Christians being persecuted because of their faith in Christ. Each account seems to be more brutal than the next. Yes, these stories break my heart. But they also call me to prayer.

Are you praying for persecuted believers in the middle east and around the world?

Yesterday, during my morning Bible reading, I came across a passage that makes a powerful prayer for the persecuted. It is part of the story in Acts 3-4 about Peter and John healing a man who had been crippled from birth. The miracle drew a crowd and gave Peter an opportunity to tell the crowd about the One who has the power to heal and to save. He told them about Jesus.

The healing and the preaching got Peter and John arrested. After spending the night in jail they were brought before the Jewish leaders to explain by what power the man was healed. So Peter got to preach again!

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12, NIV

The Jewish leaders felt their hands were tied. The crowd had witnessed the miracle. And the man was running around as proof he had been healed. So they ordered Peter and John not to speak or teach again in the name of Jesus, threatened them with future punishment, and released them. This time.

Immediately they went to meet and pray with the other believers. They raised their voices in prayer. They praised God and asked Him to help them stand firm through future persecution and to continue to work miracles in the name of Jesus.

They knew the persecution would continue and even increase as they obeyed God. They didn’t ask God to remove the persecution. No, instead they asked Him to give them boldness to testify and for God to glorify the name of Jesus in their midst.

Their prayer is a great example for us today. To pray for ourselves and other believers around the world:

  • Strength to stand firm
  • Boldness to speak out
  • Glory for Jesus

Will you pray for yourself and someone else today?

A few other posts you might find helpful:

4 Ways to Prepare for Christian Persecution

My Changing Perspective on Christian Persecution

10 Things to Pray for Christians in Iraq

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4 Ways to Prepare for Christian Persecution

Christian persecutionChristian persecution went viral over the weekend. On Sunday, the terror group ISIS released a 5-minute video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in Lybia. The video was titled, “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross.” Obviously, ISIS purposefully targeted followers of Jesus.

Franklin Graham responded publicly to this brutal act with these remarks:

As we mourn with the families of those 21 martyrs, we’d better take this warning seriously as these acts of terror will only spread throughout Europe and the United States. If this concerns you like it does me, share this. The storm is coming.

“The storm is coming.”

Like Franklin, many believe terrorism will continue to spread across the globe. And yes, here to the United States. By it’s nature, terrorism specifically means the targeting and persecution of Christians.

While the persecution of believers has risen in other parts of the worlds over the last century, we have remained free from it here in America. The unfortunate result is that the faith of many American believers is weak and shallow. We have not been tested. We have not been forced to rely on God and His strength.

I often wonder how I would respond with a gun to my head – or a knife to my throat. Would I stand firm? Would I be willing to die rather than deny my Jesus?

And what about you?

Let’s begin to prepare our hearts and minds now. Let’s be ready to weather that storm when it comes.

Those Egyptian believers remind me of those faithful saints of the Hall of Faith in the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews. This morning I read it again to see how these men and women lived “by faith” no matter what came their way. Even in the face of death.

4 Ways to Prepare for Christian Persecution

The passage gives us these following characteristics of one who “runs with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

  1. Cling to God’s Promises (Hebrews 11:13) – Many of God’s promises to us won’t be fully realized until eternity. But we can hold fast to them now, knowing without a doubt our heavenly Father always keeps His promises.
  2. Remember Our True Home (Hebrews 11:13-15) – We are but foreigners and sojourners here on the earth. This physical life is only temporary, a mere breath. Our true home – and our true life – is now and eternally with Christ.
  3. Turn Away from Sin (Hebrews 12:1) – Sin entangles and trips us up. Disobedience weighs us down and hinders our faith journey. Instead, a holy life gives us strength and freedom to run hard after God.
  4. Keep Our Eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) – Jesus is our goal. He is the prize for which we run. He is our source of life. The life within us. Don’t let your focus drift. Fill your heart and mind with Him.

These preparations will help us stand firm whether terrorist come to our door or our neighbor laughs at our commitment to Jesus. Sometimes I think the more “subtle” persecution is the most dangerous. I know for me, it’s often easier to justify a “small compromise.”

Will you join me in committing to stand firm for Christ in all the big and little persecutions? What kind of persecution have you witnessed around you recently?

 

Other posts you might be interested in:

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