Forgive me for carelessness, for going about my day without a second thought about my brothers and sisters who are struggling to survive. For grimacing at the mac and cheese when those little boys and girls are eating mud pies. For looking away from the Book beckoning me on my kitchen table when men and women are desperate for a few Words. For reading about stock prices and marketing tips when pastors and church leaders are imprisoned for the sake of the gospel.
You have called us blessed when we suffer injustice for Your Name.
And yet I cringe at the mere thought.
I push away nightmares of running for my life, looking over my shoulder, suffering pain in this body. I pray for blessings, for health, for protection over my family, for success in our careers.
My soul is made for the eternal, but I ground myself in the temporal… because it feels safe.
And The Church at large is praying for me, for my American brothers and sisters, that we would be set free of the chains of materialism and comfort. They pray we would rise above the prosperity that distances us from You. They ask that our eyes would be opened to the privilege of suffering for Christ. They beseech You on our behalf: we, the spoiled, enjoying the bounty of Scriptures while our siblings gather scraps wherever they can.
What can I say? How can I lift my head to face the shame?
Only this: that the Savior who loved and forgave Peter extends the same grace to me. By His wounds I gain forgiveness and entrance to the Father. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Washed in his righteousness, I stand before Your throne and eagerly beseech You for my fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering for Your sake:
- strengthen them through the power of the Holy Spirit to stand faithful to the end
- give them the words to fearlessly answer their accusers
- enable them to live the joy of the Lord before their persecuters
- comfort the widows and the orphans with Your grace
- embolden those who proclaim You in dangerous territories
- open the eyes and hearts of those who are persecuting, that they may be struck by the beauty of Christ
And for those of us still enjoying religious freedom,
- forgive us for our indifference and shortsightedness
- impress on us a longing for You alone
- recalibrate our sight to focus on the eternal
- burden us to pray for those who suffer for Your sake
- refine us to be worthy of bearing Your Name in our bodies
- prepare us to joyfully endure persecution and affliction in our own land
These words do not come easy, but if ever I ask You to do otherwise, do not grant me my request.
Do you, like me, wonder how to pray for the persecuted church? Check out this free resource from Voice of the Martyrs that will give you specific Scripture passages to pray for them, and join me in prayer.