I recently read the testimony of a believer who experienced tremendous persecution.
He was beaten for being a Christian and nearly lost his life. He’s experienced what it means to suffer for Christ. I can’t even imagine.
Platt’s book, “Radical,” that I’ve referenced several times, encourages us to pray for the entire world as part of radical experiment in the next year.
I’d like to encourage you to pray for the persecuted believers around the world. Pray for the men and women in India and Bangladesh who take lashes for Jesus. Pray for Christians in Iraq, in the Middle East who die for their Savior. Pray for brothers and sisters in the most populated country on earth who meet underground.
These men and women don’t pray for the persecution to stop. They pray for strength and faith to stand strong. As you pray, pray that the Lord would be their comfort, and that He’d grant them faith and grace to withstand.
The Bible never promises being a Christian will be easy, and these believers aren’t putting their trust in Christ to be comfortable.
Stephen, the first martyr, didn’t have to give the speech he did, standing up to the authorities. He stood up for what he believed, even if it meant stoning. His last words were a prayer for his attackers, that they’d find forgiveness.
In the testimony of the believer I mentioned earlier, the believer said God has provided for all of his needs. He continues to pray in the midst of the storm.
How easily I complain about the minutest things. It’s a reality check to read testimonies of persecution, especially after I’ve just complained about something as small as someone who did something annoying to me.
I had an awesome Thanksgiving season this year. I was able to celebrate four times. And what I’ve realized, through Bible reading, personal experience and reading testimonies of believers, is that I think giving thanks, thanksgiving, is a crucial part of withstanding persecution. I don’t mean in the “Thanksgiving,” the American holiday sort of way, I mean in everything, giving thanks to the Lord. We have no right to demand anything from God. He is the Creator of all, who am I to demand an answer?
Giving thanks also takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it on God. When we’re giving thanks, we’re less likely to dwell on our pain.
Prayer also takes the focus off of ourselves. When we pray, we are, or should be, looking upward to Chris. In praying for the world, we are praying for others and not ourselves. We take a step away from self-absorption. The Bible tells us to pray for others. It also tells us to go and tell others about Him.
I have so much to learn. I look at the faith of believers throughout Asia who’ve been beaten, imprisoned or tortured, and I’m inspired and amazed. They’ve experienced so much, relied on the Lord and their faith is exuberant and unfaltering.
So now, if you would, take a moment and pray for the persecuted church.