Pray for the Persecuted

“So Peter was kept in prison, but the
church was earnestly praying to God for him.”

Persecution for your faith can come in many
different forms and from many different places.  We are blessed in the Western
church to boldly share and practice our faith in most countries without fear of
physical persecution.  Yet sadly, across the world, there are many who do not
share that freedom.  Our hearts yearn for a way to ease the hardship of
Christians who are discriminated against, harassed, unjustly arrested, beaten,
imprisoned or even killed by regimes who oppose Jesus Christ.

The early church, in the book of Acts, also
went through severe torment, not just from Gentiles, the ‘outsiders’, but from
those they would call brothers, their fellow Jews!  Peter, as one of the early church leaders, had
to bear the brunt of a lot of persecution, as he was often the one boldly
standing up for his faith, and preaching the message of Jesus Christ.  Yet what
is so clear throughout the book of Acts, is that the believers did not pray for
Peter’s release per se, but rather for him.

Often we think that praying for freedom for oppression,
or from hard situations, is the answer but when we read of the prayers of the believers,
we are challenged to refocus our prayers.  Perhaps we should pray instead that
God may give the persecuted the strength to endure, because even in the midst
of persecution, something beautiful can be birthed.  Take for example, Paul and
Silas’ captivity in Philippi. (See Acts 16)  Through their imprisonment and an
earthquake, the prison guard and his whole family were saved, baptized and
filled with the Holy Spirit.

Today, if you are going through some adversities,
persecution, or you know of someone who is, why not try and pray, that God
would give them the strength to endure it and birth something beautiful from
it; that God may be glorified.  After all, “…we know that in all things God
works for the good of those who love him…”
(Romans 8:28)  We might not
always see the fruit of our suffering, but we can rest in the knowledge and
peace, that God will always get the glory.  Don’t give up!

Some suggestions on how to pray for the

1) Pray that the God of our Lord Jesus
Christ would give persecuted believers the Spirit of wisdom and of
revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of their hearts
enlightened, that they may know what is the hope to which He has called
them, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what
is the immeasurable greatness of His resurrection power toward them. (See Ephesians

2) Ask God to provide refuge for persecuted
believers, acknowledging that He is their Lord and their source of every
blessing.  Praise God for being their portion, and that God would counsel them,
and instruct their hearts in the night.  Pray that as they set the Lord
always before them, they will not be shaken.  Ask that God would grant them a
glad heart, and that they would rejoice with their whole being, knowing that
they are secure in God’s hand.  Rejoice that He will not abandon them,
and ask that He would make known to them the path of life.  Ask for a keen sense
of His presence at every moment, bringing a fullness of joy that exceeds human
understanding. (See Psalm 16:1, 5-11)

3) Pray that persecuted Christians
would themselves be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with an
attitude of thanksgiving.  Ask God to open up a door for the Word, so
that they may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which they have been
imprisoned; that God may make it clear in the way they ought to speak.  Ask
that God’s grace would enable them to conduct themselves with wisdom
toward unbelievers, making the most of every opportunity.  Pray that
their speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that
they will know how they should respond to each person. (See Colossians

4) Remind God of His promise of grace that is
sufficient in every circumstance, and of power that is made perfect in
weakness.  Pray that His persecuted children would glory in their weaknesses,
trusting that the power of Christ would rest upon them.  Ask Him for
supernatural grace that would allow them to be content with weaknesses,
insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  “For when I am weak,
then I am strong.”
(2 Corinthians 12:10b)

5) Ask God to grant persecuted believers a
limitless joy in spite of their situations, because according to the measure
that they share in Christ’s sufferings, they will be exceedingly glad when
His glory is revealed.  Pray that God would remind them that if they are
insulted for the name of Christ, they are blessed, because the Spirit of
glory and of God rests upon them.  Pray that God’s grace would keep them above
reproach, and that they would not be ashamed, but would glorify God and give
thanks that they can bear the name “Christian.”  Ask that those who
suffer according to God’s will would entrust their souls to a faithful Creator
while doing good. (See 1 Peter 4:12-19)

Can God change your life?

God has made it possible for you
to know Him, and experience an amazing
change in your own life.

Discover how you can find peace
with God.

Reproduced with permission from Russ Sharrock.

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