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Praying For the Persecuted Church
I was listening to a speaker today and at the end of the message he asked that we remember our brothers and sisters in such places as Egypt, Nigeria and Communist China. These are places where Christians are undergoing severe persecution, often being murdered on a daily basis. I also heard another person remind us to pray for the “Peace of Jerusalem.” Now does there need to be peace in Jerusalem? Well, this miniscule place has in fact, become the cup of trembling for the world. The tiny nation of Israel is surrounded by hundreds of millions of implacable enemies, all clamoring for its destruction. So how do we pray in these situations? Of course, we would like to see the persecution and suffering stop. We would like to see everyone surrounding Israel and Jerusalem stand down and peace to come. But none of these things will happen for individuals and nations until the Prince of Peace comes. It is interesting to me that Paul at the end of the book of Ephesians, when he is telling the Ephesians that they need to keep praying for each other, that he asks them to pray for him. But he doesn’t ask that they pray that his imprisonment stop, that his suffering cease.
Here is what he tells them in Ephesians 6:18-20
18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Paul tells them to pray that he might be enabled to proclaim the gospel boldly. He asks them to pray that whatever happens, that they remain focused on the furtherance of the gospel.
May God use all events that are going on, may He use the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters as testimonies to the gospel and may many come to trust Jesus as their savior.