In recent weeks, American churches have received an inkling of what it means to really be persecuted for the sake of Christ. In Houston, a group of pastors were subpoenaed to submit their sermons in writing before they were preached so as to be sure they weren’t speaking counter-intuitively to the Mayor’s edicts. The constitutional right of Freedom of Speech was threatened. Oh, the irony of it all, though, since submitting those sermons would only mean that they would be read, offering an opportunity for seeds of truth to be planted amongst those blinded by lies. Besides receiving jabs from non-believers, experiencing relatively mild consequences of those biased against the gospel and being caught up in political debates for decades, that’s been the extent of most American evangelicals experiences with persecution. That isn’t to say those things are not important. The consequences just happen to be not as violent and life-threatening as fellow believers experience world-wide.
The world is so much larger than the East and West Coasts and the states on either side of the Mason-Dixon Line. We may face some of the persecuted church’s experiences sooner, rather than later at the rate our society seems to be going. But, around the world, Christians are being tortured, taxed, shunned, and murdered for their stand for Christ.
I’ve been placed in an area of the world where I can (for the moment) freely use my voice to stand for my brothers and sisters and to rally other believers to pray for them. So, today, I am appealing to you to do the same. Use your voice. Your platform. Your prayers. Pray for the persecuted church around the world.
Historically, the greatest growth in the Christian church has been through intense seasons of persecution.
I often think of Pastor Saeed, the American Pastor, who is imprisoned in Iran for being a Christian. For two years, we have prayed for him to be released and beseeched our governmental officials to demand his release. I still am not sure why a bunch of special forces haven’t swooped in to get him out of there quite yet. But in the mean time, I’m confident that the Lord has kept him alive and faithful to the name of Christ for the purposes of spreading the story of Jesus to those in prison with him and also to the world infiltrated by the media. People are hearing of Jesus because of Saeed’s persecution and imprisonment.
There are millions of others whom the media has not given a name to. But they are critically influential for the cause of Christ.
Hate-filled groups and individuals who do not know justice because they do not know truth are treating Christians unjustly. Those physically harming followers of Christ world-wide need to be stopped. They are merciless and have committed unimaginable crimes toward their fellow mankind.
Until they are stopped, and even after they are stopped, we must pray for our fellow siblings in Christ as if we were there with them. In doing so, there doesn’t seem to be a way for praying for them without praying for the enemies that would seek to see them utterly destroyed.
My prayer for this age of persecution is that not only would believers be rescued from the perilous, torturous, dreadful treatments of enemies sent by the enemy of Satan, but that the body of Christ would grow.
I’m confident that it will, because ALL authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to our mighty King Jesus… and He came to seek and save the lost.
If the church commits to obeying the great commission of going into all the world and making disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all things that Jesus has commanded us, it will grow.
We are God’s vehicles for reaching the lost with His good news. His good news isn’t like the news that we receive every day of hate-filled people wreaking havoc and execution against people. No, His news is that of resurrection and hope.
Johnnie Moore recently sent out a tweet that sums it all up…
When ISIS bombed Jonah’s tomb in #Mosul they accidentally uncovered an ancient Byzantine church. b/c the gates of hell won’t prevail ..#WeAreN
— Johnnie Moore ن (@JohnnieM) October 16, 2014
The church of Jesus Christ cannot be buried. If it were, it would be buried alive and busting out of the graves. No, the gates of Hell won’t prevail, only King Jesus.
Today, November 2nd is going to be an especially powerful day for prayer. It is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Use your voice to pray for those who are being persecuted for following Jesus and use it further as a platform to rally others toward prayer and action too.
One of the things I’m most excited about is WorldHelp’s initiative to spread the gospel through both printed copies of the Bible and Flash Drives that have the Bible and study software on them. You can find out more about participating in this wonderful gospel-spreading method here.
Will you join me in praying for our body- the body of Jesus Christ? Our fellow brothers and sisters need prayers for perseverance, protection, provision, rescue, and courage. Pray for rapid growth to come from this terrible era of persecution and for the hearts of the ones who seek to do evil would have a Saul to Paul sort of transformation!
WorldHelp offers an outstanding breakdown in what sort of persecution is going on world-wide and how we can pray. PLEASE check it out here and pray specifically.
Thank you for writing about the causes we support with such passion and conviction. I pray your words would awaken the hearts of the people who read them–awaken them to take action.
Absolutely, Michele-Lyn! I don’t know how we CAN’T be moved for those who are face to face with persecution. We get so lazy when it isn’t actually affecting us directly. But these people are FAMILY! May we who claim the name of Christ remember that and come boldly before our Father’s throne on their behalf! Until He comes…