This is a topic I revisit every so often, but probably not often enough. We need to remember the persecuted around the world. Every day while we enjoy the comforts and freedom of our lives, our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing unspeakable torture and persecution. Throughout the New Testament, Paul urged all believers to be united as one (Ephesians 4:1-16). Jesus prayed His followers would be as close as He and His Father are (John 17:21).
To be united, to stand as one, we must continuously pray for and identify with our fellow believers around the world. Allow me to throw down a challenge to you in the form of a question: how much time are you spending in prayer for our brothers and sisters in chains?
I’ve read countless stories of people who visit Christians in persecuted areas who discover those believers are not wallowing in pity for themselves, but rather are praying for us. That’s incredible! In their deepest need, in their moments of despair, they aren’t praying for deliverance. They are praying for you and me. How can we do any less in the midst of our luxury, abundance, and safety? As we go throughout our days of relative ease, we must find ways and triggers to remember the persecuted. They deserve nothing less.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know how well I’d fare if had to exchange my life with theirs. These people have incredible faith and courage. How badly would my own faith and courage fare in comparison? How about yours? How many times have we fallen to our knees, overwhelmed with gratitude we were born in places where we are free to worship our Savior and Creator? How many times have we been overcome with emotion when we pluck a Bible off our shelves?
We have no idea the pressure and pain our fellow believers are experiencing on a daily, even hourly, basis. It’s easier to not think about such atrocities. The more stuff we buy, the more we can distract and distance ourselves from the realities of the suffering Church around the world. These Christians are doing what Christ called them to do, and are suffering on His behalf. They, more than us, have identified with Christ. They understand what it means to suffer injustice. Like Jesus, they have been accused by false witnesses, convicted in their innocence, killed for nor no reason, tortured by the ones they love. How dare we forget them.
We must remember the persecuted. We must fall on our knees every day to pray for their endurance, courage, strength, healing, and effectiveness in spreading the beautiful Gospel of Christ. Set a reminder on your phone. Place a note on your dashboard or bathroom mirror. Carve out a time and place to pray where you can remember our brothers and sisters in pain and in prison. Pray for their healing. Pray God would keep them strong physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Ask the Lord to help their witness be such their captors and persecutors are drawn to Christ by it. And pray we, as the body of Christ, never forget to lift up the persecuted. Pray we as the bride of Christ, the body of Jesus, will be united in suffering and rejoicing as one (1 Corinthians 12:26).
If you’d like to learn more about persecuted Christians around the world, visit the website of The Voice of the Martyrs.