June 16th, 2014 by Carl Buffington
Sheryl Shaw- Global Teams
This coming Sunday we are remembering the Persecuted Church. Below are a few statistics to help give a small picture of what is the reality for so many of our brother and sisters in Christ.
More Christians have been martyred in the 20th century than in all the rest of church history combined.
One third of the world’s people live in areas where preaching of the gospel is restricted in some way.
Every 3½ minutes a Christian loses their life for belief in Jesus—that’s 400 a day. More Christians will die today than were killed on an average day in the Roman Coliseum—a Christian had a better chance against the lions in ancient Rome.
Around the world, 200,000,000 Christians suffer massacre, rape, brutal torture, beatings, mutilations, imprisonment, extortion, harassment, family division, children sold into slavery, and crippling discrimination all due to their faith in Christ.
As New Covenant has partnered in ministry all around the world, the most often heard request is to be remembered in prayer. In response to those requests I have shared a prayer below and would ask that you join with me in praying this, especially this weekend.
PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS
Sovereign God, we worship You and rejoice that You know all of those who suffer in Your name. We remember those who are imprisoned for their faith and ask that they, like the Apostle Paul, would be able to see that their chains have helped to further the gospel, not frustrated it. May they inspire and embolden their fellow believers to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
God of all comfort, for those who are tortured both in body and mind, give them the grace to endure and to see their suffering as part of following in Christ’s footsteps.
Merciful God, for those asked to pay the ultimate price − who are martyred because of their love for You − may they truly know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death.
Father God, for those who are widowed and orphaned as a result of persecution, may they know the comfort that comes from Your presence. May they be strengthened by Your Spirit, enabled to rejoice like the psalmist as they proclaim that the Lord will not abandon in death those He loves.
Heavenly Father, we ask that You would make us ever mindful of our brothers and sisters around the world who need us to stand with them as they suffer in Your name. Teach all of us what it means to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony; we pray that we would not love our lives so much as to shrink from death.
O Lord, hear our prayer.
And to close, I would like to give you this scripture to study and meditate on as we prepare for Sunday. I am so thankful to be a part of a church who has such a heart for prayer and understands it’s importance in the on-going work of the Kingdom.
“Remember those in prison as if you were fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3”