November 8, 2009
The Persecuted Church
READ: 1 Peter 4:12-19
If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. —1 Peter 4:16
One October morning in 2006, a woman and her six children were forced to witness an attack on their husband and father. His assailants tried to force him to deny Jesus but he refused. He continued to proclaim Christ as Lord and died praying for his family. The family is determined to follow Christ, even in their grief.
Another man was sentenced to 3 years in prison for allegedly insulting another religion. He’s an outspoken Christian with a passion for Christ. He and his wife and children continue to be faithful and refuse to deny Him.
Persecution for the Christian faith is as real in our world as it was for the Jewish believers in the early church to whom Peter wrote. He prayed, “May the God of all grace, . . . after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).
Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. These prayer points from Open Doors USA, a ministry that’s committed to encouraging persecuted Christians, can help guide us as we pray:
• Pray for the safety and faith of the secret believers in countries where it is illegal to share about Christ.
• Pray for the health, perseverance, and encouragement of believers who are imprisoned for the gospel.
• Pray that those whose loved ones have died due to martyrdom will rely on God for their strength.
Together, let’s bring our fellow believers before the Lord in prayer. — Anne Cetas
The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. —Tertullian