It’s never been more important to pray for Christians who are suffering for their faith! According to Open Doors, each month 66 churches are attacked, over 250 Christians are killed for their faith, more than 100 are abducted and 160 are detained without trial and imprisoned.
When one part of the church is hurting, the rest of the church hurts as well: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” (I Corinthians 12:26a) Praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ is one way we can stand with those who are suffering. But that’s not the only reason to pray for them.
Most of the countries that made the World Watch List are places where the majority of people are least-reached. Local Christians are the most likely messengers of the gospel to these people who have never heard. It’s important to pray for persecuted believers not only for their own sake, but also for the sake of the least-reached people around them who need to hear the good news.
Believers Being Targeted By Local or National Authorities
In many of the countries where it’s most difficult to be a Christian, leaving the majority religion is viewed as apostasy. Professing faith in Christ can lead to imprisonment or even death.
- Pray that believers will stand strong in their faith no matter how great the cost.
- Pray that believers will find favor with those in authority.
- Pray that believers who’ve been imprisoned will be encouraged.
- Pray for protection for those living under the threat of imprisonment or harm.
Christians Facing Opposition From Their Families
Accepting Christ can lead to rejection or persecution from family members. Believers’ families may try to force them to renounce their faith or marry an unbeliever. Believers may also be disowned or subject to abuse.
- Pray that believers won’t waver in their faith when pressured by their families.
- Pray for protection for believers who are the only followers of Christ in their families.
- Pray that believers’ families will accept their faith.
Believers Who are Isolated
In many of the places where it’s hardest to be a follower of Christ, believers are few and far between. Many are the only Christians in their families or villages. And, many believers live in hiding to protect their families. As a result, they aren’t able to meet together to fellowship and encourage one another.
- Ask God to encourage believers who have little or no contact with other followers of Christ.
- Ask God to use Christian media such as radio broadcasts and websites to encourage and edify isolated believers.
- Pray that isolated believers will have access to God’s Word.
Believers Living as Refugees
More Christians are displaced today than ever before. Many have been targeted because of their faith, and have fled their homes due to violence and threats.
- Ask God to meet the needs of believers who’ve left everything behind.
- Pray for safety as Christian refugees travel and seek temporary shelter.
- Pray that families will be able to stay together as they seek refuge.
- Pray that believers won’t be discriminated against when seeking aid.
Female Followers of Christ
Open Doors reports that women and girls are often at the greatest risk. They can be targets of violence not only because of their faith, but also because of their gender. They’re more vulnerable to domestic abuse, kidnapping and forced marriages.
- Pray for protection for women and girls who are the only believers in their families.
- Ask God to use believing women to bring entire families to Christ.
- Pray for healing for women enduring abuse because they follow Jesus.
- Ask God to provide for the wives of pastors and other Christian leaders who’ve been imprisoned or lost their lives.
Believers Facing Discrimination
Religious discrimination can prevent believers in many countries from obtaining work or housing. This can make it incredibly difficult for them to provide for themselves and their families.
- Ask God to provide for believers who’ve lost their jobs or been denied employment because of their faith.
- Pray for safe places to live.
Opportunities to be Bright Lights in Their Communities
When Paul was imprisoned, he asked believers to pray that he’d be able to boldly share the gospel: “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (Ephesians 6:19-20) In the midst of suffering for their faith, persecuted believers have unique opportunities to share the good news.
- Pray that persecuted believers will have courage in sharing the gospel with friends and family.
- Pray that least-reached people will be drawn to the hope they see in the lives of believers.
Close Walks With the Lord
It’s only by God’s grace that persecuted believers are able to trust Him fully, have joy and love those who cause their suffering.
- Pray that those facing persecution will trust God fully, and ask that their trials will only increase their reliance on the Lord. “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (II Corinthians 1:9b)
- Ask God to give believers joy in the fact that they bear the name of Christ. “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” (I Peter 4:16)
- Ask God to give persecuted believers the grace to follow Jesus’ command to love those who persecute them: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
*Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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