Prayer for Persecuted Christians in Prison
Bible Verses for the International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
Content manager for Bible Gateway[See the Bible Gateway Blog post, Standing Strong Through the Storm: Stories from the Persecuted Church] [See the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Staggering Picture of Christian Persecution: An Interview with Johnnie Moore]
[See books in the Bible Gateway Store on the subject of Christian persecution]
The International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (#IDOP) is a time set apart to remember millions of Christians around the world who face persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ.[See the Bible Gateway Blog post, International Day(s) of Prayer for the Persecuted Church]
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Hebrews 13:3 (NIV)
“Persecution is the daily reality of at least 100 million Christians around the world,” says Godfrey Yogarajah, executive director, World Evangelical Alliance, Religious Liberty Commission (@WEARLC1).
“These Christians, who face routine harassment and difficulties, often suffer in silence and isolation. Over the years, the IDOP has served as a platform to highlight their stories and advocate their plight.
Moreover, in so doing, the IDOP has also been a source of solidarity and encouragement to persecuted Christians by reminding them that they are part of a larger, global family of believers.”[See the Bible Gateway Blog post, I Am N: An Interview with Cole Richards and Jason Peters]
…We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out. We always carry Jesus’ death around in our bodies so that Jesus’ life can also be seen in our bodies….
2 Corinthians 4:8-12 (CEB)
While the number of Christians martyred for their faith every year is difficult to precisely assess, Open Doors USA estimates that, in 2015, more than 7,000 Christians were killed specifically because of their faith.
Open Doors, with its list of countries where Christians are most in need of prayer, urges Christians and churches to remember those killed and pray for those in more than 60 countries still facing persecution because of their faith (see the Open Doors page).
“Under Caesar’s Sword” is a three-year, collaborative global research project by the University of Notre Dame to discover and draw attention to the ways Christian communities around the world respond to the severe violation of their religious freedom.
These strategies vary widely, ranging from nonviolent protest movements of the kind that Pope John Paul II led in communist Poland, to the complex diplomacy of Christian churches in China, to simply fleeing from persecution en masse, as Christians have in Iraq.The project aims to raise solidarity with persecuted Christians worldwide and to help them respond justly and effectively. Watch the documentary film.
The above slide presentation is a production of the Office of Social Justice, a ministry of the Christian Reformed Church.
The following organizations have resources ready to help you help others become more prayerfully aware of the plight of Christian brothers and sisters around the world:
Jesus Warns and Teaches About Persecution
- Matthew 10:16-42; Luke 14:25-35; John 15:18-16:4
The Apostles and First Missionaries are Persecuted
- Acts 4:1-22 – Christ’s supremacy threatens the supremacy of the totalitarian and theocratic leadership. (vv. 2, 17)
- Acts 5:12-41 – Power and attraction of the gospel arouses jealousy. (v. 17)
- Acts 6:7-15 – Success of ministry arouses competition.
- Acts 7:54-8:4 – Stephen becomes the Christian Church’s first martyr; persecution breaks out.
- Acts 12:1-4 – Herod persecutes apostles for political gain.
- Acts 12:1-18 – While Peter is in prison, the church prays.
- Acts 13:49-14:7 – Opposition to the gospel forces missionaries to flee.
- Acts 16:16-34 – The gospel threatens trade, economic prosperity and the fortune-telling industry (v. 19); false accusations lead to missionaries being severely beaten. (v. 22)
- Acts 17:1-15 – Missionary success arouses jealousy; missionaries forced to flee. (v. 5)
- Acts 19:23-32 – The gospel threatens trade, economic prosperity and the idol industry; idol-makers incite riot that goes control.
- Acts 21:27-36 – Enemies of the gospel incite hatred and violence; Paul beaten and arrested.
Possible Forms that Persecution May Take
- By slander (evil report). (Psalm 31:13; Job 19:18; 55:12-14; Luke 6:22)
- Shame. Open embarrassment, dishonor or disgrace. Manner in which our Lord was accused of being conceived (born out-of-wedlock); also, manner in which his nakedness was openly displayed on the cross. (Hebrews 13:13; 11:26)
- Falsely accused. (Psalm 35:11; 27:12; Matthew 5:11; Luke 23:2, 5, 10; Mark 14:55-60; Acts 6:13; 16:19-23; 26:2, 7)
- Ensnare through deceit, trapping, tricks. (Daniel 6:4-5; Luke 11:54; Matthew 10:16-18)
- Object of conspiracy. (2 Samuel 15:12; Genesis 37:18; 2 Corinthians 11:32; Acts 9:23)
- Mocked, scorned, scoffed, and sneered at. (Psalm 42:3; Job 12:4; Matthew 27:29, 31, 41; Acts 2:13; 17:18, 32; Hebrews 11:36)
- Betrayed, treated treacherously. (Matthew 24:10; Luke 21:16; Psalm 41:9)
- Despised, to have contempt for, to loathe, to think nothing of, to consider without honor. (1 Corinthians 1:28; 4:10c)
- Hated by family. (Matthew 10:21, 34-36; Micah 7:6; Luke 21:16)
- Hated by people. (Luke 21:17; Matthew 10:22; Job 19:19)
- Defamation of character, libel, slander, evil report. (Psalm 31:13; Job 19:19; 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Corinthians 4:13)
- Feared by own people. (Acts 9:26)
- Subject to special trials. (1 Corinthians 4:9-14; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28)
- Imprisoned. (Luke 21:12; Acts 4:3; 5:18; 12:4; 16:24; 2 Corinthians 6:5; 11:23c; Hebrews 11:36b)
- Beaten. (Acts 5:40; 16:23; 2 Corinthians 6:5; 11:24; Matthew 10:17)
- Contradicting. (Acts 13:45)
- Stir against. (Acts 6:12; 13:50; 14:2, 19; 19:23, 25-26, 29; 21:27)
- Charges pressed. (Acts 18:12; Matthew 10:17-18)
- Threatened. (Acts 4:18, 21; 5:40)
- Stoned. (Acts 7:58-59; 14:19; 2 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 11:37)
- Afflictions. (2 Timothy 3:11; Psalm 34:19)
- Expulsion. (Acts 13:50; John 16:2a)
- Exhaustion, extreme fatigue. (2 Corinthians 11:27)
- Hunger and thirst. (2 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Corinthians 4:11)
- Spectacle. (1 Corinthians 4:9; Acts 9:16; 20:23; 21:11; Hebrews 10:33a)
- Suffer physical need. (1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 6:4; Philippians 4:12; Hebrews 11:37)
- Martyrdom. (Luke 21:16; Acts 7:59; 12:2; John 16:2)
- Afflictions. (2 Timothy 1:8; 4:5; Matthew 24:9; Psalm 34:19; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 6:4; Hebrews 10:32-33; 11:25, 37; Colossians 1:24; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; James 5:10)
- Poverty. (2 Corinthians 6:10; Philippians 4:12)
- Loss of property and material goods. (Hebrews 10:34b)
The above list is a production of the World Evangelical Alliance, Religious Liberty Commission.
The above video is a production of The Voice of the Martyrs.
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Praying for Persecuted Christians
Making plans for this space is one of my weaknesses, to be honest with you.
The best bloggers keep an editorial calendar, scheduling posts months in advance, but me? I’m the one who often flounders right up until a post is due.
I can’t say I regret it though, because it’s one way God continues to keep me yielded to Him. Dependent on Him. Desperate for Him, even, as I trust that He’ll prompt my heart when and where He desires.
And He never, ever fails me.
With all that being said, I didn’t set out last week to write a mini-series on persecution.
When I started my post last week, Even at Gunpoint, Yes, I Am a Christian, I had no idea that by the end of it, God would nudge my heart with the followup, Preparing for Persecution.
And this morning, I awoke with Pastor Saeed, his wife Naghmeh, and their children on my mind. My heart aches for the ongoing separation they’re enduring. I have cringed and wept with the news of each new beating Saeed has suffered. I sometimes struggle to honor our nation’s President, who seems to consider Saeed’s plight with callous regard instead of concerned intervention.
What can we do, friends? What can we do for Saeed and for Syrian Christians and for Christians being enslaved and tortured and killed by ISIS?
I don’t know about you, but I despise this helpless feeling. This “something-must-be-done-but-I-have-no-power-to-do-anything” kind of feeling.
Truth be told, I’m getting that feeling a lot these days. And through it all, I’m incredibly grateful for a God who patiently points me toward prayer.
Because prayer is far and away the best thing we can do, whether or not it’s the only thing we can do.
In fact, Scripture teaches believers to lift prayers on behalf of those being persecuted.Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Hebrews 13:3
It’s interesting to me that we’re not commanded to circulate a petition for the release of our Christian brothers and sisters.
We’re not instructed to plan a jailbreak or call for a boycott.
We’re told to pray.
So with great thoughtfulness and humility, I’m sharing five prayers for persecuted Christians around the world. These prayers are particularly powerful, not because they’re words you’ve found at A Divine Encounter, but because they’re words that come from the pages of Scripture.
Will you join me in praying the Scriptures for persecuted Christians?
And consider going a step further, making these prayers part of your regular routine. Maybe you could pray for persecuted Christians as you perform a certain household routine each day. Or perhaps pray for them on a particular day each week.
Because time spent praying is time well-spent.
)Pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, 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. (Ephesians 1:17-20)
2.)Ask God to preserve persecuted believers as they take refuge in Him, acknowledging that He is their Lord and their Source of every blessing. Praise God for being their portion and their cup, and the One who holds their lot.
Claim His promise that the lines have fallen for them in pleasant places, and that they have a beautiful inheritance. Ask 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. (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. (Colossians 4:2-6)
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 they are weak, then they are strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
5.)Ask God to grant persecuted believers an unquenchable joy in spite of their circumstances, 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. (I Peter 4:12-19)
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International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is November 5th – Mission Network News
International (MNN) — This coming Sunday, November 5th, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). We’re doing a series of feature stories on the persecuted Church and how we can pray leading to IDOP.
First, we reached out to Todd Nettleton with the Voice of the Martyrs USA to ask, why is this day is so important?
Your prayers are powerful. (Photo courtesy of the Voice of the Martyrs)
“International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is a day where we hope every church will take some time out to follow the scriptural mandate that says, ‘Remember those in bonds as if you were bound with them.’”
He also says, “This is the first thing that persecuted Christians ask us to do. When our VOM staff travel around the world, we sit down, we meet with Christians facing persecution, we say, ‘We’re going back to America. How can American Christians help you?’ The first thing they ask is, ‘Pray for us. Please pray for us.’”
The power of prayer is clear throughout the Bible. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, believers are commanded to “pray without ceasing”. And when Jesus began the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18, verse one says, “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”
When it comes to the suffering, a tendency can be to focus our prayers on an end to the suffering. While not a bad thing to pray for, Nettleton says our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters tend to have a different perspective on suffering and faith.
“The challenging thing to me is that their prayer request is not, ‘Pray that we won’t have to suffer anymore. Pray that our government will change and suddenly we’ll be free to worship.’ Their prayer request is, ‘Pray that we’ll be faithful to Christ no matter the cost.’”
So on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, he reflects, “We’re literally joining hands with our persecuted brothers and sisters in hostile and restricted nations and we’re being unified with them through our prayers.”
Get Your Church Involved!
It’s not too late for your church to participate in IDOP this coming Sunday. The Voice of the Martyrs has several resources free for your church to utilize as you join the persecuted Church in prayer.
(Image courtesy of the Voice of the Martyrs)
“One of the things we do every year is a video…to show in your service on Sunday morning as you lead into the prayer time and it really illustrates the need for prayer. The video this year from VOM USA is a video that shares the story from Richard Wurmbrand’s imprisonment.
Richard Wurmbrand was the founder of our ministry.
He spent 14 years in prison and one of the things that the video says this year is, remember, we’re not only praying for Christian brothers and sisters who are being persecuted but Jesus actually calls us to pray for the persecutors as well.”
Other resources include church bulletin inserts, powerpoint slides, and more! Click here to get IDOP materials from Voice of the Martyrs.
Even if your church already has something else scheduled on November 5th, Nettleton says, “Okay, do it on November 12th. Do it on November 19th. Do it even after Thanksgiving on November 26th. But some Sunday, have your church gather around the throne of God and lift up our persecuted brothers and sisters. Every church ought to do this.”Finally, Nettleton implores, “Don’t make this a day you that you sort of cross off on your calendar and then say, ‘Okay, yeah, we’re done with that for this year.
’ This needs to be a pattern individually. And again, Voice of the Martyrs has resources. We have an app for your phone that will pull up a new prayer request every day.
We’ll send you an email every week with fresh prayer requests.
“Praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters is not just a once a year thing. This is a great day where we kind of unite and join hands and pray together, but we need to be praying for Christians facing persecution every single day.”
A Prayer for the Persecuted Church
As the Global Body of Christ prepares to pray together for the persecuted Church, we asked Nettleton to share his prayer:
“Jesus, we’re so thankful for our brothers and sisters who say ‘Jesus is more important than my personal safety or my comfort or even my freedom. Following Jesus is the most important thing in my life.
’ And I pray Lord that their example would inspire us Christians in free countries that we would be inspired by their example to be more passionate about our own faith, to be more passionate about our own time in your Word, our own time in prayer, that we would just follow their example and be inspired by that.
“Lord, we pray for Christians who are in prison, Christians who are homeless because they are not allowed to live in their village or because their home has been destroyed.
Father, firstly, we pray that you would just encourage them, that you would strengthen them to face the challenges and the trials that they’re facing. We pray, Lord, that you would protect them and provide for them.
Allow other Christians to help them, even Christians from outside the country.
“Father, the last thing I would pray is that they would know — supernaturally even at this moment — they would know someone is praying for them, that they’re not alone, they’re not forgotten, but that they are being prayed for right even at this moment. Lord, we thank you again for their example.
“I pray for the American Church as we remember the International Day of Prayer, as we join hands to pray for persecuted Christians, let them inspire us and let this become a regular part of our prayer lives to lift up those who are in prison, those who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ. In Jesus name, amen.”
PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS—Why and how should we pray and act for the suffering church?
See this page in: Dutch, Indonesian
“…as followers of Christ, we must take a bold step: we must shed the ‘enemy image’ we have of those who persecute us. Because the moment we have an enemy image of anyone, God's love can no longer work through us to reach them! We must pray for and even love those who hate us.”
Each year, millions of Christians around the world participate in an International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. For those of you who take part, I want to thank you on behalf of all those millions of beleaguered Christians living in areas where faith costs the most.
We have to speak for the 200 million Christians worldwide who live under persecution (examples). We have to speak against those oppressive regimes where atrocities still happen, because we do not speak up enough as the church in the free world. We do not speak enough to God through prayer about the issue, and we do not speak enough to and through our governments.
what is the solution? The Bible clearly teaches us it is forgiveness and reconciliation, bathed in prayer
Around the world the situation is the same: the suffering cannot cope without our help. But what is the solution? The Bible clearly teaches us it is forgiveness and reconciliation, bathed in prayer.[Note: A Biblical study on how to pray for the persecuted church is presented below.]
I was in a Christian town totally destroyed in one night by a wild Muslim mob, leaving 10,000-20,000 Christians homeless, seeing all their possessions destroyed. We had a big gathering of Christians and Muslims right afterward, and we spoke about forgiveness and reconciliation.
Why? Because life goes on even during and after persecution! We have to look for those opportunities, not just the needs, not just the crises, but the opportunities and the solutions that God gives to those who are dedicated to him.
On that very same day, I received a telephone call from the main Imam [Muslim leader] of that country. He said, “Brother Andrew, can you please come and pray with me? I am very sick!”
So I decided to take a local pastor with me who had just been released from prison; a man who had suffered because of the Muslims. Together, along with other members of our Open Doors team, we went to see him. There I explained exactly who Jesus was.
I gave a testimony of my personal faith in Christ. Then I began to pray, and I laid my hands on this Imam, and as I was praying I felt a hand on top of my hand. It was the pastor who had just come from prison.
What a perfect illustration of the teaching of Jesus: pray for those who persecute you.
Christians have an answer in those situations that the world does not know anything about. But as followers of Christ, we must take a bold step: we must shed the “enemy image” we have of those who persecute us. Because the moment we have an enemy image of anyone, God's love can no longer work through us to reach them! We must pray for and even love those who hate us.
I’m willing to die for Him, and I’m also willing to die for you So in reality, the way Christians live out their lives before others is the most powerful message we can share. It far transcends the words or methods we may try to employ to impact a needy world in the face of the challenging question, “Who is God?”.
Christians must be able to point to our hearts and say, “Here is God! He lives in me.
And I'm willing to die for Him, and I'm also willing to die for you because that's what He did for us on the cross at Calvary!” Nothing else will work in this age of confrontation unless and until every Christian is not only willing to give their lives, but one day actually does it.
I challenge the Christians of the world to pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters, to act on their behalf and to live out the life of Jesus in this needy world around us. Only then we will see a radical change take place in the lives of people. Only then we will see the love of Christ replace the hatred of this world.
Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors
How to Pray for the Persecuted Church
For their physical protection and deliverance.
Matthew 26:39 “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”
Acts 12:5 “So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.”
Philippians 1:19 “For I know that this shall turn out for my deliverance [from jail] through your prayers.”
Philemon 22 “I hope that through your prayers I shall be given to you [from jail].”
Romans 15:30-31 “Now I urge you, brethren… to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those who are disobedient in Judea”.
God predicted persecution:
Acts 20:23-24 “the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course”
And the suffering came:
Acts 21:30-31 “And all the city was aroused, and the people rushed together; and taking hold of Paul, they dragged him the temple; and… were seeking to kill him.”
That God would give them the right words and that they would fearlessly make Christ known
Here Paul tells how to pray for him when he was suffering for Christ in jail—notice his prayer was not for release.
Ephesians 6:19-20 “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”Colossians 4:2-4 “Devote yourselves to prayer… praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.”
[See our Effective Evangelism section]
That they will see God's grace as sufficient and God's power perfected in their weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
That they would love Christ's appearing all the more
2 Timothy 4:5-8 “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Hebrews 11:35 “…others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection”.
That they will rejoice in sharing the sufferings of Jesus so that they will rejoice even more when Christ is revealed
Hebrews 10:34 “…accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one.”
Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
I Peter 4:13 “but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.”
That they will endure
Hebrews 10:36 “For you have need of endurance.”
That they will choose ill-treatment and the reproach of Christ, not pleasures of sin
Hebrews 11:24-26 “Moses… (chose) rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.”
That they will arm themselves with this purpose: to suffer so as to eradicate sin
1 Peter 4:1 “arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in flesh has ceased from sin.”
Hebrews 5:8 “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.”
That they will love Christ far more than life itself
Revelation 12:10-11 “they overcame (Satan) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.”
Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Acts 20:24 “I (Paul) do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course.”
That they will love their enemies
Luke 6:27-31 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
That they not enter into temptation—an easy possibility under the stress of persecution (Luke 22:39-45 – Jesus in the garden)
That they will rejoice that they are considered worthy to suffer for HIS name
Acts 5:41 “So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.”
That they will remember they were made for such persecution
Acts 14:22 “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
Philippians 1:29 “For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”
That they will live the joy of the Lord before their persecutors
Acts 16:25 “But about midnight Paul and Silas (in jail) were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
Philippians 1:28 “…in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.”
That they will remember their unbelievable future glory
Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
That they would learn to more completely trust in God
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead”
That they would rejoice that they bear in their bodies the “brand marks of Christ”
Galations 6:17 “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.”
That they would rejoice in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's sufferings
Colossians 1:24 “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions.”
Note: Our sufferings do not add to the atoning worth of Jesus' sufferings. Rather, His sufferings are not known to the world, and so we suffer to bring that news to those His sufferings were meant to save.
This Biblical study on how to pray for the persecuted church was submitted by a friend of Films for Christ, a pastor who prefers to remain anonymous.
More about persecution
Brother Andrew, a Dutchman whose real name is Anne van der Bijl, has always been a trailblazer. He made history during the early days of the Cold War when in 1955 he began “smuggling” Bibles into Communist Eastern Europe.
On the last day of his first trip, as he sat reading his Bible, he says that the Lord spoke to him through Revelation 3:2 to “strengthen what remains and is on the point of death.
” His delivery of one suitcase of Christian literature to the suffering church in Poland was the humble beginning of Open Doors with Brother Andrew, now an international ministry that brings literature and much-needed assistance to Christians living in difficult circumstances in 58 countries around the world.
Authors: First portion provided by Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors, via Assist Communications, PO Box 2126, Garden Grove, CA 92842-2126, USA. Second portion provided by a friend of Films for Christ, a pastor who wishes to remain anonymous.Copyright © 1998, 1999, Films for Christ, All Rights Reserved—except as noted on attached “Usage and Copyright” page that grants ChristianAnswers.Net users generous rights for putting this page to work in their homes, personal witnessing, churches and schools.
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