“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” II Timothy 3:12.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.” I Peter 4:12 – 13.
Having considered compassion for the suffering of others as a doorway to prayer, another logical doorway is suffering experienced by believers because of persecution. Praying for Christians experiencing persecution can follow several different paths.
Persecution is not merely pain and hardship suffered by Christians. We live in a fallen world that has been marred by sin. Rather, persecution is suffering by Christians because of their faith and often because they are witnessing their faith.
Perhaps the most obvious path is that we pray for the persecution to cease. This seems intuitive. Yet a trait often displayed by those enduring persecution that might stun many church-attendees in our tranquil land is their request, not for prayers that their pain and suffering would cease, but for prayers that the Gospel would spread. They have taken James 1:2-3 to heart and their focus is on His kingdom.
Another request our persecuted sisters and brothers often have is that they would stand firm.
This has the dual benefit of proving the genuineness of their faith (Acts 5:41) and emboldening their fellow brothers and sisters. This deepening of faith among God’s kingdom is revival breaking out.
As Christians remain firm in their faith, they are witnessing to their persecutors as well as their fellow believers. Those persecuting the believers are confronted with an apologetic that conflicts with any worldly perspective. Saints singing as they endured death have haunted untold legions with hard hearts and has melted many of them as God has called them to repentance.
From the confirming of a believer’s faith to the strengthening of the faith to those around her or him, to the spreading of faith, our prayers for our brothers and sisters who are bearing the brunt of the world’s attack can focus on much of what God employs to generate revivals. As God brings about these revivals around the world, perhaps He will revive our church which has all-to-often been blind to the ongoing persecutions in our age.