Persecution, Prayer, and Our Obligation To Do Something

You’re probably reading this on your computer, maybe an iPhone or iPad. You might be drinking some coffee, perhaps laying on a couch with a warm blanket. You could be avoiding homework (I’m happy to be of help), or maybe you’re scrolling through Facebook and happened upon this. You’re pretty relaxed. Life is peachy for the time being and altogether pretty comfortable.

Let’s pause for a sec.

I’ve been reading a lot about ISIS and the Christians facing persecution. It’s heart breaking hearing about these atrocities. According to an article published by Relevant magazine, “Last year—2014—will go down in history as having the highest level of global persecution of Christians in the modern era.” You should reread that sentence.

We have a lot to be thankful for. We live in country where our safety and well-being are typically the least of our concerns. We take for granted our security and protection. We live comfortable lives and think our biggest problems are how many friends we have and whether or not we will make Dean’s list this semester. Big whoop.

Pardon the fiery tone behind this post, but I encourage you to think about it this way. If a member of your family were killed or hurt by someone because of their faith, you would mourn the loss. You would involve yourself emotionally and personally because they were a family member and you loved them. Well, members of the family of the Kingdom of God are being hurt and killed. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing persecution because they believe in the same God we do. I think we are obligated to personally involve ourselves. After all, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it…” (1 Corinth. 12:26).

I think it’s time to stop being passive about the problem just because we don’t know the martyrs or because we lack control over the situation or because we ourselves are not personally impacted by it. It’s time to do something.

I get what you’re thinking: “Life goes on Abby and it’s impractical and impossible to just drop our lives here to go help these Christians. We can’t do anything nor should we feel guilty for not being able to do anything.” I disagree.

I’m suggesting that we pray.

I think as members of the family of God, we are obligated to do so. We don’t give this act of faithfulness enough credit and I think we often underestimate the power of prayer today.

We are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17) and on all occasions (Ephes. 6:18)- so why don’t we? In the New Testament, Paul wrote to the churches on many occasions asking for prayer for himself and other believers who were being persecuted for their faith.

“(30) I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. (31) Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea…”

Romans 15:30-31

“(19) 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, (20) for which I am an ambassador in chains.”

Ephesians 6:19-20

“(2) And pray  that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. (3) But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (4) We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command.”

2 Thess. 3:2-4

Like I said before, we underestimate the power of prayer. It’s easy to see it as the only  thing we can do- as if it’s not good enough. In reality, prayer is one of the most powerful things we can do.

“…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

James 5:16

So I challenge you to pray. Pray hard, pray boldly, and pray faithfully. Pray for protection, perseverance, strengthened faith, and hope. Pray with the knowledge that the God of the universe is on our side and he is more powerful than any terrorist group. Lets call on him for help.

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”

Psalm 145: 18

The truth is, you can do something. You can pray.

P.S. Did you know that you can write letters to Christians that are being persecuted around the world? How stinkin’ cool is that? Check it out here!

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