With Christian persecution at its worst since the early church, Christians around the world need your prayers more than ever.
Often, we consider prayer a last resort, but, in reality, it should be our first response. Consider taking five minutes today to pray for persecuted Christians around the world.
“May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:2
Below are five prompts to guide your prayer time for the persecuted:
1. Pray that persecuted Christians will find comfort in the Lord despite hatred, discrimination and violence.
This is the 5th consecutive year that Christian persecution has substantially risen. According to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List, 1 in 7 Christians worldwide face persecution for their faith. Many Christians around the globe must navigate injustice and suffering simply because they follow Christ. Pray that they would rely on the Lord and find comfort in Him.
During the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:10-12, Jesus says, “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.”
2. Pray that, as far as God wills it, Christians will be protected from those that wish to harm them.
Throughout Scripture, there are stories of Christians undergoing immense suffering — even to the point of death, like Stephen. There are also stories of Christians being saved from harm or imprisonment, like Peter. Sometimes God intervenes supernaturally and sometimes he does not. Pray that Christians around the world will be delivered from harm while also recognizing that God’s will may involve suffering and trials. Pray also that no matter what happens, they will be reminded that they are never alone.
In 1 Peter 4:12-14, Peter says, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
3. Pray that God will teach persecuted Christians what to say and that they will confidently declare the gospel.
At any time, Christians may be asked to give an account of what they believe. In countries where persecution is present, the outcome of identifying with Christ or Christian principles may land a Christian in prison or worse. Pray that Christians everywhere would receive the words to confidently proclaim the gospel.
In Luke 12: 11-12, Jesus says, “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
Also, in Ephesians 6:19-20, Paul requests: “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.”
4. Pray that persecutors will find Christ.
In Acts 9, despite how brutally Saul had persecuted Christians, Ananias visited and baptized the future apostle after Saul’s encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. In a similar spirit, pray for the hearts of persecutors, that they may also encounter Christ.
In Matthew 5:44-45, Jesus says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
5. Pray that the Church will continue to flourish and grow despite persecution.
In countries such as China, Nigeria or North Korea, persecution and oppression is some of the most intense in the world. However, the Church continues to grow. In China, for example, Christians nearly outnumber registered members of the Chinese Communist Party. Pray for the continued growth of the Church in these countries.
In Matthew 10:18, Jesus says, “On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.”
End your time of prayer for the persecuted with The Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
Thank you for praying alongside us for the Persecuted Church.
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Image: “Christians at a church on Dec. 12,2014 in Erbil, Iraq. Matt Cardy/Getty Images”
Acquired from an article by USA Today titled “Christians are being persecuted around the globe. That’s the real war on Christmas.”