photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering (Hebrews 13:3).
In recent months, we told you about a GT church planter in India who was badly beaten by Hindu fundamentalists, a Karakalpak woman who was questioned by the police for owning a New Testament in her language, and a 12-year-old Kazakh girl who was interrogated by the school principle for her faith. Elsewhere in Kazakhstan, In another country, a wife and mother of four who came to follow Jesus endured beatings by her husband. Sadly, in many of the locations where Global Teams field partners work, religious persecution is such a regular occurrence that we don’t always hear about it.
One of our GT leaders in a predominately Muslim country in South Asia received a visit from local police last week. The policemen said that they had uncovered threats against him and they wanted him to stop sharing the Gospel. This was the second or third time our partner received this message from the police. When asked how he felt about this, he replied, “The Lord knows my days.”
Sunday, November 1st is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Prayer is the key to a powerful response to persecution. The Apostle Paul, in 2 Cor 1:11 assures us that our prayers make a difference: “You also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.” He also provides a guideline for praying for persecuted believers in Ephesians 6:19-20: “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.”
This Sunday – and every day — pray for boldness for our field partners and for all Christians in situations where it is dangerous to follow Jesus. Pray for God to sustain persecuted believers and help them to continue to be faithful to Jesus and to their call. Pray that the persecutors, whether they be government officials, family members, or religious extremists, would come to know the Lord and be transformed by the Holy Spirit.