A heart for the least-reached and a concern for the persecuted church are intricately linked. But sometimes the hardship many Christians face because of their faith barely hits our radar. However, if we care about the spread of the gospel in places where it isn’t yet known, the challenges faced by our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are our concern.
Many persecuted Christians live in least-reached communities, and their testimony and example in the midst of suffering may be the only means through which these communities are exposed to the gospel. These believers are in prime positions to convey the hope of Jesus in some of the darkest places on earth!
As our fellow followers of Christ face violence, harassment, discrimination and rejection, how can we cultivate hearts that are passionate about the sufferings of believers around the world—and the least-reached communities in which many of them live?
When we don’t face the risk of persecution for our faith, it can be easy to forget that many Christians across the globe don’t enjoy the freedom and safety we are privileged to have. But Romans 12:15 (ESV) instructs us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” We’re called to share in the struggles of believers who are suffering, as well as rejoice with them in God’s unshakeable faithfulness in the midst of oppression and danger. We’re also called to praise the Lord with them, as through them, He makes His name known in least-reached communities.
Educate yourself. Find out where persecution of Christians is most common, and put yourself in the shoes of a believer in one of the countries where it’s most severe. Check out resources from organizations like Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors to learn about the challenges believers around the world face, and read stories of our brothers and sisters in Christ who’ve been mistreated and forced to flee their homes. As you grow in your understanding of the struggles of believers worldwide, you’ll be able to pray more strategically.
Hebrews 13:3 (ESV) tells us to “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” Through prayer, we possess the ability to hold up our fellow Christians who are facing persecution and even the risk of death because of their faith. Bringing them before the Lord regularly is one way we can stand with them as our brothers and sisters.
Find a way to make prayer for those who are suffering for their faith part of your routine. Use a list of requests like our prayer guide for persecuted believers and commit to lifting up at least one request daily. Or choose a country from Open Doors’ World Watch List, learn about it and intercede regularly for Christians living there.
In addition, consider how you could spread a passion to pray. Consider adding time for prayer for the persecuted church in your small group or Sunday school class, or starting an online group for sharing information and prayer requests for believers around the world.
As we care about, learn about and pray for persecuted believers, we wait eagerly to see how God will work in them and through them. We rest in the confidence that He has not forgotten them or the least-reached people among whom many of them live. And we ask Him to work so that both the persecuted and the persecutors can worship Him for eternity.
“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:24-25 (ESV)