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06

Nov 2013

International Day of Prayer

This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, which is timely for us as we begin our examination of Peter’s letter to “elect exiles” experiencing “various trials” and being “tested by fire.” And while 1 Peter is an encouragement to those Christians living in the midst of suffering and persecution, it is also a call to all believers everywhere to pray for those persisting under these conditions for the sake of spreading the Good News of Jesus. While this may not be the reality for the majority of Christians living in Richmond, Virginia, around the world, many believers are persecuted, imprisoned, and even killed for their faith.

Since Jesus laid down His life, over 43 million Christians have become martyrs. Over 50% of these were in the last century alone. And right now 200 million people face persecution for believing in Jesus, and 60% of those people are children, according to Christians in Crisis International Ministry, a prayer advocacy ministry for persecuted believers.

Because the New Testament was written to persecuted believers, it is filled with examples of how we can pray for our brothers and sisters under attack.

Here are 5 examples from Ephesians:

  • Please pray persecuted believers would know the hope God gives (Ephesians 1:8).
  • Pray the Holy Spirit would strengthen them (Ephesians 3:16).
  • Please pray persecuted believers would know how much God loves them (Ephesians 3:17)
  • Pray they would know how to share the gospel (Ephesians 6:19).
  • Please pray persecuted believers would fearlessly tell others about Jesus (Ephesians 6:20).

 
Along with the examples of prayers in the Bible, there are some practical needs persecuted believers would covet our prayers for:

  • Please pray persecuted believers would have access to a Bible.
  • Pray they have the courage to remain in their homeland.
  • Please pray for believers who have been rejected by family and friends. Pray that God would surround them with a new Christian “family” who loves them and supports them emotionally and physically.
  • Pray for God to be an advocate for women who are socially vulnerable or have lost the custody of their children because of their faith.
  • Please pray that God would provide persecuted believers with jobs and safe places to live.

 
To learn more ways to pray for the persecuted church, and read news alerts on current crises, visit the US web site for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

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