Tomorrow brings us to another International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We will devote exclusively our monthly concert of prayer on the evening of the 10th at 6 PM in F5 to interceding for our brothers and sisters in chains. Why does it matter that we do this? Here are several reasons.
- Jesus suffered much at the hand of a host of persecutors. He identifies completely with their weakness (Heb. 4:15). So should we.
- Multitudes of believers worldwide, some 200 million, pay a great price for their faith, even martyrdom. The sheer extent of the need cries for our attention. More Christians were martyred in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined (International Journal of Missionary Research).
- Scriptures command us to remember their plight as if incarcerated with them (Heb. 13:3). How better to remember than in prayer?
- The most frequent prayer request by the persecuted is that other believers would pray for and with them. Can we possibly refuse?
- When one member of the body suffers, all suffer (1 Cor. 12:26). Sixty to ninety minutes of prayer is a small price to pay to identify with the suffering of dear saints around the globe.
- Praying for one another imitates the model of Jesus who prayed for Peter in advance for his strength in the face of persecution sure to come (Luke 22:32). What would Jesus do?
- God answers prayers for the persecuted in miraculous ways.
One reason why I read Voice of the Martyrs’ monthly newsletter is that it includes countless reports of how God miraculously encourages saints under duress as a direct result of the prayers of God’s people on the other side of the world. Join us on Sunday evening.
Part of me wants to say this: if you don’t come to any other of the eleven concerts of prayer OGC hosts, come to this one. Remember the persecuted. In the sovereignty of God you and I could just as easily find ourselves today holed away in a North Korean prison camp for our faith as opposed to luxuriating ourselves in the affluent West. Enough said.
For a look at the World Watch list top 50 restricted nations for 2013 click here.