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Published on January 19th, 2015 | by Discussion Questions

How should we pray for the persecuted church?





ALYSSA WRITES: It is clear in the bible that persecution is expected, and that it will worsen before Christ returns, so is it wrong to pray for it to stop? Or should we mainly be praying for the Christians to have perseverance in tribulation?


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  • Fervently.

    • Ruthie C

      How is it that some people (um, me) use paragraphs to make points and list thoughts while commenting, and then someone comes in and posts this really short, to-the-point brilliant answer, and the short one is usually the best?? not. fair. lol

    • Joyful joyful

      Yes!

  • Martial Artist

    We shouldn’t pray for the persecution to NOT stop. But since persecution for Christians is inevitable until Jesus comes back, we should spend our time praying for other issues:

    We should pray that Christians would be bold in spite of persecution.

    We should pray that through the strength of Christians that others will come to know Jesus and bring others to our cause.

    We should pray that through the bravery of persecuted Christians that their captors and persecutors would see the errors of their ways.

    With this in mind, we keep the memories and the legacies of those persecuted, alive. And I know that when those persecuted know that their brothers and sisters have their backs, it gives them courage and strength. I know that it would help me immensely if I knew there were others praying for me in a time like that.

    Hope this helps. :)

    • Josh A

      OK I was going to write a long spiel about this topic and then this comment pretty much said exactly what I was going too. :-) My pastor actually preached a sermon about persecution on Sunday – some good verses to look at are Acts 5: 41, Colossians 1:24, and 2 Timothy 3: 12.

      • Great verses! I absolutely love Acts 5:41! A couple more include Romans 5:3-5 and James 1:2-4

      • Martial Artist

        Thanks dude.

  • Eva H.

    Wow, I haven’t really thought about this before. I think that we shouldn’t be praying for the actual persecution to just stop, because first of all, in the Bible it says that suffering for the name of Jesus is a privilege. Paul rejoiced when he was persecuted because he was counted worthy to suffer for Jesus. Secondly, like you said, persecution is expected, and if you are a Christian, you WILL be persecuted, even if it is in small things like your friends making fun of you. We should always pray for those around us to be able stand up under it with His strength. And we have seen in the past in history and in the Bible that God does strengthen Christians and they are even able to die for Him without fear.

    • Alyssa Cross

      Yes, it’s definitely true that God gives us strength! Another point is that throughout history, Christianity has flourished in times when Christians were persecuted. Persecution really separates those who say they believe versus those who actually believe.

      • Eva H.

        That’s so true! Isn’t it amazing to witness Christianity grow under extremely difficult circumstances? It blows my mind

  • tmselden

    My early experiences at church were at the beginning of the emergent church movement where our greatest concern was asking for me and my needs. I have since learned that it has never been about me but others. I admire your sensitivity towards the persecuted. I have stopped asking and started praising and thanking Him for everything. I thank Him that He knows all and that there is nothing beyond his radar. I thank Him for the work He is doing in those being persecuted as they are truly blessed. I praise Him for His faithfulness to those in need and thank Him that He is the provider to all those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Nothing gets by Him. Thank Him for his ongoing care for those in dire situations and that all is being done for His glory.

    Blessings!
    Jean

    • Eva H.

      I have a quick question about your comment. I was just wondering as I read it if you meant that you had stopped asking God for anything and that you now only thank Him. Or were you just talking about the persecuted church…if that makes sense?

      • tmselden

        I was referring to those who are in need. My asking basically lies in The Lord ‘s Prayer. But I spend more time in thanksgiving as I grow in my faith. Thanks or asking. Love your name.

        • Eva H.

          Thanks for answering! That cleared it up for me:) I agree that thanksgiving is a very important thing in our prayer life and wish that I spent more time doing it every day. And also thank you for liking my name:)

    • Alyssa Cross

      I agree that it is so important to remember that “there is nothing beyond his radar.” When I feel overwhelmed with the dire needs of the world, it’s encouraging to know that it does not surprise God; in fact, he allows it!

  • cara d

    It’s a tough one because obviously we don’t want our brothers and sisters in Christ to be going through it. But there’s a puritan quote ‘when gold is in the refiner’s fire, the goldsmith is never far from hand’. I’m not sure what the answer to your question is but I tend to pray that God’s purpose would be made clear in the suffering and that if it is not his will to spare them the experience, that he would give them the strength to endure to the end.

    • Sarah Phillips

      Exactly! :) Thanks, Cara!

  • This is one of my many passions :) God has opened my heart to the hurting of the persecuted church immensely in the past 6 months. I think we should pray that God’s will be done throughout it, regardless of what that is. If it is His will that the suffering may continue to bring Him glory, then I pray that those who have to experience such persecution to remain strong and stay faithful, keeping their eyes on the One who suffered all.

    • Alyssa Cross

      Ya, I wonder what people think when they hear on the news that Christians are being killed for not recanting their faith. I hope they can see that the Christian God is greater than death or powers of this world, and not think we’re crazy :p

      • That’s one of the really sad parts about the persecuted church. A lot of people who don’t understand it, don’t stick up for innocent lives because they think that person chose their death :( I love Martin Luther’s statement when he was asked to recant, “My conscience is taken captive by God’s word, I cannot and will not recant anything. For to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen”

  • Haylie

    My heart has been burdened for the persecuted church lately. What is happening to our brothers and sisters in Christ is unfathomable. But God is in it, and He will be glorified! We must pray for our fellow believers to have the strength they need to walk the walk God has called them to, and that others will find God’s love as a result of their suffering. I’m looking forward to reading other comments on this DQ.

  • I find that when I pray for something I care about, I pray hard. So hard that is drains me, physically.

    I oftentimes wonder, how many times should I pray? Where is the line of praying enough and not.

    Then I realized that God does not look at the outward appearance, but at the heart. I believe if you pour out your heart with everything the first time for an issue you are a part of, you shouldn’t feel guilty for not praying more, unless you feel burdened to pray again.

    I believe the same thing probably applies to praying for the persecuted church too, in a similar way. Now obviously, you’re not only going to pray once in your lifetime for this very important thing, but the same principal can be used. Pray over it, but don’t let it consume you by feeling obligated to pray every spare minute of the day.

    I see this doesn’t exactly answer your question, but I do think it may be helpful to remember when you are praying about such stressful topics.

    • Eva H.

      Wow, I totally agree with that

    • I’ve only had a couple of prayers that intense before, but they have a way of totally changing your perspective and deepening your faith like crazy :)

    • Alyssa Cross

      Thanks for this, Trent. I do struggle with how much to pray- I want to be diligent and persevering in my prayers, but I don’t want to feel guilty either.

  • defyingdepravity

    I can’t do much more than re-emphasize what others have already said. Pray that the persecuted will not lose sight of the great God they are being persecuted for, that they will see that they are counted worthy to suffer for His name, and that they will remain strong. Don’t pray that it will stop; pray that God may be glorified and His kingdom furthered by persecution.

  • alana

    I don’t think we should stop praying for the persecuted church, but as others have said before me, we shouldn’t pray for persecution to stop. I’ve heard how being a Christian where the church is persecuted is a radical choice. I think they have a clearer conscious than the American church, where we have the amazing blessing to worship without the government trying to kill us.

  • Clare

    Wow great question I had never thought of that. I dont think its neccesarily wrong to pray for persecution to be alleviated, remember how Jesus asked that if it was the will of the Father that the cup be passed from Him? I think we should pray that if it be God’s will, the persecution be removed, but that His will would be done for His glory, and that His people would glorify Him in and through the persecution.

  • Riley H.

    This was a big topic on my mind this past summer because I went on a missions trip with my church to the Voice of the Martyrs headquarters for a week to do volunteer work: packing action packs, stuffing envelopes, writing letters, etc. Basically the Voice of the Martyrs’ goal is to provide both spiritual and physical support for the persecuted church. Being there and learning first hand what they do made a huge impact on me. I was very struck by just how real and active persecution is. It was a sobering experience. I learned just how important and vital our prayers are. A few specific prayer needs I remember from that experience are:

    1. Pray for the VOM Christian workers who are out there in the danger zone, risking their lives to offer help and encouragement to the persecuted church.
    2. Pray for the action packs containing Bibles that we send out by parachute or other means of travel to not be confiscated but to safely reach their destination.
    3. I think most importantly, pray for the families who live under persecution. Pray for the parents in jail, separated from their families. Pray for the kids who live in these situations but do not understand the violence and the hatred. Pray for the parents to have the courage to entrust their children to the Lord. Some of the stories I heard about families being separated or hurt were heartbreaking.

    But yes, there is a balance that needs to be had. We can spend every second of our day agonizing over and praying for the suffering Christians, just as we can do the same for the orphans, for those dying of Ebola, etc. Sometimes I feel guilty that I live such a safe and happy life, when people are suffering and dying right now in other areas of our world. But God has us here for a reason, and He knows our hearts. Ask Him to break your heart for the things that break His. Be open to where He might lead you – but then entrust these people to the Lord. Because, after all, our all-powerful, all-knowing God knows how to handle these situations much better than we do.

    • Riley H.

      For more info about VOM, their website is: http://www.persecution.com . They also send out newsletters every couple of months or so containing a lot more specific prayer needs.

  • Amy W

    Hi. This is my first time commenting on the Rebelution! I don’t know if anyone mentioned this yet, but there is an organization called Open Doors and on their website you can find profiles of the top countries where Christians are persecuted, and specific ways to pray for them. I must confess I’m not nearly as consistent in praying for the persecuted believers, nor in thanking God for my freedom as I should be.

    On another note, I thought I’d share this challenging quote that I’ve been thinking about lately:

    “I cannot forget the words of my friend, Stoyan…”I took great joy that I was suffering in my country so that you could be free to witness in your country.” And then he raised his voice to say: “Don’t you ever give up in freedom what we would never give up in persecution – and that is our witness to the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!”

    ― Nik Ripken

    Oh, and one more thing! I ran across the fallowing quote and I was wondering you all think of it.

    “…our pilgrimage among house churches in persecution convinced us that God may actually want to use them to save us from the often debilitating, and sometimes spiritually-fatal, effects of our watered down, powerless western faith.”
    ― Nik Ripken

    Sorry for all the quotes! I just like quotes a lot.

    • Welcome, Amy! Great first comment!

    • Haylie

      Hello Amy! That was a very well thought out, inspiring comment. Thank you!

    • Martial Artist

      Hey, welcome! Those were some good quotes and the comment was well thought out. Who founded Open Doors? Do you know? I think I read the book about the founder, but I can’t for the life of me remember his name!

      • Amy W

        Thanks for the welcome! The founder is Brother Andrew. He wrote the book God’s Smuggler. Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain back when there were oppressive communist governments in eastern Europe.

        • Martial Artist

          Yes! Brother Andrew! I read the book an thought it was really good, I just couldn’t remember his name. Thanks.

        • I loved his book “The Narrow Road.” A few years ago began reading it. I only got half-way, but I need to find my place & finish it. :)

        • Hey Amy,

          I know I’m late to the party (as in almost a month),

          But I just wanted to say, thank you for being bold enough to comment and for thinking before you wrote it. Something I struggle with all took often is hitting “Post” before thinking too much about it.

          God bless you Amy!
          – Trent

    • Josh A

      Hey Amy welcome to the Rebelution! I really like the second quote!

      Another good resource that I’ve heard of is Voice of the Martyrs.

    • Sarah Phillips

      So I’m not the only one who loves quotes?! 😀 Welcome, Amy! That was an insightful first comment!

    • Welcome! I use the app PrayerMate and subscribe to get prayer requesfs from Open Doors everyday through it. It’s really humbling to see our brothers and sisters in such suffering

    • Joyful joyful

      Welcome!
      You should see my notebook of quotes…
      Open doors was founded by Brother Andrew, I believe. “God’s Smuggler” is my favorite book…

  • I would pray for it to stop, at the same time asking for God’s will to be done, and for Him to strengthen and uphold the persecuted. Just like what I would do if praying for a sick friend. It might be God’s will for them to be sick, but that doesn’t mean I stop praying that they get well, I just defer to His will. Jesus prayed to have the cup removed from Him, but at the same time asked that God’s will be done. If He must drink it, than so be it. He was willing to accept God’s will, even if it wasn’t what He wanted it to be.

  • Leane Coffey

    I live in a county where Christians are persecuted. My church looks, from the outside, like and unfinished building in the middle of nowhere. But the joy in the church members, their fire for God is so incredible. I think it was so strengthened by their persecution. While they do need prayer, I think it is also important to pray that we can be like them. Their persecution has made their faith rock strong, given them a fire for God, something that our generation really needs.

    Secondly, we can pray for their growth. For their truth and joy and fulfillment shine so strongly that everyone, even those most strongly against them, wonder what they have. God works in wonderful, amazing, miraculous ways and I know that He has the power and means to make their worst persecutor their strongest minister. It reminds me of Paul. It also reminds me of James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” I think this isn’t only important because of what it says but also because the person who wrote this verse was obviously preparing the receiver for inevitable. It also brings up that point that persecution comes in many forms. There are probably kids at a lot of schools who are picked on for being Christians, there are endless ways to pray for the many people( sadly) who are persecuted for their faith.

    We can also pray for them to see the big picture. Everything that happens is part of God’s perfect plan and these thorns are going to grow roses. A quote from my favorite radio show, Adventures in Odyssey, “Lord, I thank thee for the roses. Help me to thank for the thorns as well.” Another thing to pray for is faith. They may not be able to see the big picture but if they have faith that there is a big picture and that the best is yet to come, roses can surely sprout from that.

    A helpful prayer strategy is also to put yourself in their shoes. If you were in position they are in, how would you want others to pray for you, and how much you would want to know others were praying for you. I also want to point out that it’s wrong to put limits on persecution. Every Christian experiences one kind of persecution or another, and everyone needs prayer. I hope this has helped. A word of encouragement, your prayers are changing the world, I can see it when I look outside. Prayer is doing hard things and it is changing the world.

    • Eva H.

      Wow, I love the quote! I used to listen to Adventures in Odyssey all the time:) It’s sooo true, too. It’s not easy to thank God for the thorns.

    • Josh A

      Great comment! If you don’t mind me asking, what country do you live in?

      • Leane Coffey

        I’m sorry but I can’t tell you :( But tell you it’s an amazing place and the people here really need prayer.

    • Alyssa Cross

      What a humbling prayer to ask to have faith like those who are persecuted!

      And that is a helpful strategy to put myself in their shoes. It revitalizes prayer when I’m not sure what else to say. Thanks for the encouragement, and I definitely need to remember more often that prayer itself is a hard thing that changes the world.

    • Joyful joyful

      What country? (if you want to share)
      I’ve been praying for all who are persecuted for years… now I got to here from one of the people I’ve been praying for!…
      Actually, I feel God is calling me to be a missionary in a country with persecution. Is there anything you would say to me?

      • Joyful joyful

        oops… I should scroll down the page completely before I start commenting… I understand privacy issues for country info…

      • Leane Coffey

        Being a long-term missionary is both really hard and really great. You will most likely need to learn a new language in order to communicate which is very challenging. Also, you need to be completely willing to bend to God’s will. If I had known saying yes to him three years ago would have resulted in eight moves in two and a half years I would have never said it. Also, a good organization is vital.
        Another thing, practice. It’s no good to finally be out on the field and have no idea where to start (this is usually with learning the language). Read as much as you can about the places your interested in, missionaries you’d like to model after. There are endless things I could say to someone like you but I the most important is the importance of a rock strong relationship with God.

      • Daniel

        One big thing I would say hard getting use to is the culture. In the country I live in an extremely different culture which is very different from U.S culture. I have grew up with it so I am sort of a mix of both. When you get there try to learn the culture immediately and try to have a neutral perspective on it, until you learn ore about it.

    • Chris T.

      I love that quote! It sounds familiar, but do you know which episode it’s from?

      • Leane Coffey

        It’s from Thank You God, about Whit’s stepmother. She tells it to him right before he accepts the LORD.
        Juts out of curiosity, what does you picture mean? It looks like a letter to me.

        • Chris T.

          It’s hard to see because it’s so small, but here’s what it says above and below the letter: “This symbol is the arabic letter ‘nun’- the first letter in the word ‘Nazarene.’ It is being painted on properties owned by Christians in Mosul, so that Islamic terrorists can identify them.” I started using it as my profile picture after ISIS started becoming a huge news story. My heart is heavy for the kind of persecution Christians face there.

          • Daniel

            Yeah, I’ve seen one in person. It’s scary.

  • Sarah Phillips

    I would say it’s not wrong to ask persecution to stop completely, but Jesus did say “in this world you will have trouble..” So I guess I would re-focus my praying to the specific needs the persecuted church has. Funny that this VOM poster should be on my wall the moment I open this DQ.. :)

    It’s called “10 Ways to Pray for Our Persecuted Family”:

    1) Pray that the persecuted believers will sense God’s presence (Hebrews 13:5)

    2) Pray that they will feel connected to the greater Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:20, 26)

    3) Pray that they will experience God’s comfort when their family members are killed, injured or imprisoned for their witness (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

    4) Pray that they will have more opportunities to share the Gospel (Colossians 4:3)

    5) Pray for their boldness to make Christ known (Philippians 1:14)

    6) Pray that they will forgive and love their persecutors (Matthew 5:44)

    7) Pray that their ministries activities will remain undetected by authorities or others who wish to silence them (Acts 9:25)

    8) Pray that they will rejoice in suffering (Acts 5:41)

    9) Pray that they will be refreshed through God’s Word and grow in their faith (Ephesians 6:17)

    10) Pray that they will be strengthened through the prayers of fellow believers (Jude 20-25)

    Blessings as you pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ!
    -Sarah

  • Good question! I never really thought of that and don’t really have an answer, but even though persecution is going to get worse, eventually (when Jesus comes back) there won’t be persecution anymore. I don’t think it would be wrong to pray for Him to come back quickly, and Jesus does tell us to ask Him for His will to be done “on earth as it is in Heaven”. Is that helpful? Thank you for asking.

    • You can get a prayer calendar that has a thing to pray for for each day from VOM.

  • Check out the Voice Of The Martyrs Ministry. They have lots of good stuff.

  • Emma Rosario

    That is a good question. If you think about it,as Christians, God says a lot in the book of Matthew that if you follow Christ you will be persecuted untill Christ comes, or untill Christ takes you away.

  • Elizabeth Marie

    I believe we should pray for GOD’s mercy in every situation! Not necessarily for the trials to end, but that in the trials GOD will give HIS people the strength to do HIS will and stand firmly on HIS Word.

  • Joyful joyful

    I believe we should pray for those who are being persecuted, that God would give them strength, and hope, and faith, and joy, and comfort, and perseverance…
    We also need to remember to pray for their persecutors–when you think about it, they’re really the ones in trouble…

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