American Christians are largely sheltered from the kinds of persecution believers face around the world. We don’t get arrested for giving someone a Bible, find for sharing the gospel, or beaten for pastoring a church. But many do. We need to be aware of their suffering, not so we will simply feel bad for them or feel guilty because we don’t suffer as they do, but so we are empowered to pray. The Apostle Paul’s closing words to the Ephesians provoke me.
“Keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” – Ephesians 6:18-20
Notice Paul doesn’t just remind the Ephesians of his persecution. He provides a very specific prayer request in light of his persecution and exhorts the Ephesians to persist in prayer. Here’s where an organization like Open Doors can help us. Their mission is to serve persecuted Christians worldwide by equipping the church to pray. Every month, they publish a Prayer Force Alert Calendar designed to inform and guide our intercession on their behalf.
What I love about Open Door’s approach is the way they not only provide a specific prayer request for every day of the month, but also highlight four of the most important needs in a monthly email. I personally find the latter approach more doable and am trying to make sure that at least one day a week, I time to pray for persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. The October edition is attached below or you can sign up to have it delivered straight to your inbox. I also plan on incorporating some of these points into our pastoral prayers on Sunday mornings.
God help us to not be selfish in our prayers and to faithfully speak up for the oppressed and downtrodden.
Click here to download Open Door’s October newsletter.