“Not every Christian is called to become a martyr, but every child of God is a co-martyr. He feels the bonds of others as bound with them; he weeps with those who weep; he helps to bear the burdens of the sufferers.” – Richard Wurmbrand , VOM founder (1975)
The news of our persecuted brothers and sisters often reaches us in bits and piece. A news article here, a headline at the bottom of the news channel next week sometime, a sermon a few months down the road. Sometimes, we’ll hear the Spirit’s whisper break into a quiet moment of our day. You have brothers and sisters who will risk their lives for Me today, every day…love them, pray for them.
It is all we can do to breathe out a prayer, a cry of the heart: “Oh God, help them…”
We want to say more but their experience of persecution is so far off from what we know. We freeze when faced with the weight of their reality, the torture endured and lives taken. The implications of their faith is amazing and beautiful.
We receive Voice of the Martyr updates here in the church office to help us keep informed of what our persecuted family is facing. VOM is an incredible resource for keeping informed, current prayer requests, and opportunities to get involved, you can even write letters to prisoners. This past month, they included a list of 10 ways to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ as they live to glorify Him regardless of the cost of suffering they will endure. Read it and use it as a framework as you join us in praying for them.
10 WAYS TO PRAY FOR OUR PERSECUTED FAMILY
- Pray that persecuted believers will sense God’s presence
- Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body…be content with what you have for he has said ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’ (Hebrews 13:3, 5b-6)
- Pray that they will feel connected to the greater Body of Christ.
- As it is, there are many parts, yet one body…If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. (1 Cor. 12:20, 26)
- Pray that they will experience God’s comfort when family members are killed, injured, or imprisoned for their witness
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in comfort too. (2 Cor. 1:3-5)
- Pray that they will have more opportunities to share the gospel
- At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison– that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. . (Col. 4:3-4)
- Pray for their boldness to make Christ known
- And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
- Pray that they will forgive and love their persecutors
- “You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matt. 5:44)
- Pray that their ministry activities will remain undetected by authorities or others who wish to silence them
- When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. (Acts 9:23-25)
- Pray that they will rejoice in suffering
- and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. (Acts 5:40-42)
- Pray that they will be refreshed through God’s Word and grow in their faith
- and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God… (Eph. 6:17)
- Pray that they will be strengthened through the prayer of fellow believers
- But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.