PRAY FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH
As a Fellowship, we have heard the call to a greater commitment to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, and to stand with at least 260 million Christians globally who suffer tremendously for their faith in Jesus. They frequently live in contexts where the dominant culture does not embrace Christianity, so there is constant pressure to assimilate. They regularly face discrimination in employment, unjust detention or arrest without trial, imprisonment, abuse in all its forms, and extreme danger when they choose to gather in spite of legally imposed restrictions. Parents and children face ongoing trauma and often have limited or no access to medical care, food and adequate shelter. They also often lack Bibles and the chance to experience discipleship, mentoring or training that could bring them relief and encouragement.
Recognizing the relative freedom with which we live out and express our own faith here in Canada, we want to take the time to keep our broader global family on our hearts and minds. As the “salt of the earth,” we want to continually search for both spiritual and practical ways to alleviate their suffering, knowing that our identities and experiences are intricately connected in God’s kingdom. “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
It is estimated that more than 70 million Christians have been martyred over the last two millennia, more than half of which died in the 20th century.1 Our prayers and advocacy for them have an impact. In countless instances, the only voice these fellow servants have is ours. Join International Missions over the next two weeks to engage additional ways that we can pray and support our global family in their time of need. Visit their page for resources and a list of countries where Christ-followers are experiencing high to extreme levels of persecution. As we pray, we can take comfort in knowing that God’s Spirit rests on them (1 Peter 4:14).
1. Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. “Christian Martyrdom. Who? Why? How?” Accessed October 29, 2020. https://www.gordonconwell.edu/blog/christian-martyrdom-who-why-how
Remembrance Day is a day when we remember the sacrifices that were made by those who gave, and in giving, ensured the continuance of the many freedoms we currently enjoy in Canada. We remember because it’s decent, honourable and respectful; and in so doing, brings us into communion with the Giver. We stop and remember to pray for God’s support of those currently serving in the military who have chosen a life intended to sustain the best interests of democracy and to protect the freedoms we enjoy. We pray for those men and women in the military who are there to minister to soldiers and their families. We don’t take this time to remember war or glorify battle. We remember to show respect and to honour sacrifice. We respect the immense contribution made by men and women, many uprooted from careers and lives very similar to our own, who were forced out of their comfort and dreams by circumstances beyond their control. They gave and now we give a few moments before God to remember them in sombre thankfulness. (You can view our Remembrance Day video here, or visit https://paoc.org/theloop for other options.)
Father, we have heard the call to a greater commitment to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We recognize that times of trial and persecution are being experienced by many within the global Pentecostal family. Though tested by fire, we are confident that You stand with Your people who make sacrifices daily to honour You. Grant them a Spirit of wisdom and revelation, that they will know You better, and so that the eyes of their hearts will be strengthened in knowing the hope to which You have called them. Help them to fearlessly make known the gospel in the face of threats and intimidation.
As we pray, grant us understanding, discernment and continued open doors to the best ways to stand with our brothers and sisters to meet their practical needs. Help us to be generous, knowing that in Your eyes it is the same as if we were treating You with that kindness.
Raise up more men and women through our Fellowship who will be willing to go to those hostile environments where your message of hope has been suppressed, and where Your people there can be encouraged and built up. Help us to be the salt and light You desire us to be, no matter what circumstances may come. Spur us by Your Spirit to keep our hope in You, and to remember that the work of building Your kingdom must go on in spite of opposition. Thank You for allowing us to be partners with You in building Your church.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Image: Adobe Stock
Ephesians 1-17-18, NIV—“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people…”
Ephesians 6:19-20, NIV—“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.”
Matthew 5:13, NIV—“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
Hebrews 13:3, NIV—“Continue to remember those in prison as you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourself were suffering.”
Proverbs 19:17, NIV —“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.”
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