Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.–Matthew 5:10-12
There seems to be no end to the heart-breaking news coming from all over the world. And Christians are being targeted like never before. This isn’t a blogpost to tell our readers that things are alright and we can relax… things aren’t alright, and we must partner with each other in prayer like never before. Wait till you read the statistics.
According to Open Doors USA, Christian persecution has reached a new high: in 2014 Christian persecution was greater than it has ever been in modern history, and it is projected to increase in 2015.
There is not one terrorist group to blame for the endless terror and slaughter across the globe. These extremists are by no means united. What is clear, however, is the anti-Christ attitude targeting our believing brothers and sisters and we see collateral damage across people of various faiths because of a raging intolerance. Jesus didn’t sugar coat the risk of following him in a world that doesn’t recognize him. He preached a hard gospel, but a good gospel, better and truer than anything we could ever conceive.
How Can I Pray?
Biblically speaking, we can pray the Lord’s Prayer, that God’s will be done. That His justice meets us all where we’re at. We can pray for deliverance and salvation. Seek the Lord for guidance in what you should be praying. Here are some prayer points to get you started:
- God’s will done on the earth
- Mercy, peace, and deliverance for victims, families of the martyred, and the displaced
- Salvation for the lost
- Mercy and revelation of Christ Jesus for those that extremist groups are targeting for recruiting
- Providence for refugees and non-profit causes aiding them
- Christians around the world being called to prayer for their persecuted brethren
- Boldness in just leaders
What Can I Do?
It’s not always enough to pray; we need to keep our hearts open to the voice of the Holy Spirit, to respond when He calls us to. Pray and ask the Lord for guidance and seek His wisdom for further action and trust that He will speak to you. Here’s a step-by-step action list*:
- Get informed: learn about what is happening in the global family of God through reliable news sources or missionary contacts.
- Get God’s Word to them: many Christians are starved for the Bible because of book bans and strict environments of control.
- Participate in advocacy campaigns for religious freedom.
- Tell their stories: spread testimonies of those suffering for Christ. You never know who else might want to help.
- Visit them: are you able to visit imprisoned Christians in your area? Minister to them with God’s Word and kindness.
- Get involved: there are various non-profit groups dedicated to helping persecuted Christians around the world (Open Doors USA, Barnabas Fund, Christian Freedom International, International Christian Concern, etc…).
- Provide resources: persecuted Christians need your financial assistance through organizations that deliver Bibles, church materials, spiritual leadership training, and legal counsel.
Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.–1 Thessalonians 5:17-18