The time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.
Reflection: Praying for the Persecuted
By John Tillman
There are troubling signs in the way the media downplays or ignores the persecution of Christians overseas.
Western privilege blinds them. They seem to think if Christians have it pretty good in America, stories of Christians suffering overseas aren’t relevant. But in our efforts to get the stories of modern Christian martyrs heard, we must be careful not to take their mantle of suffering for our own.
We must be careful not to claim persecution, when we experience the slightest discomfort or pushback from culture. We must not be “Snowflake Christians” who get our feelings hurt when governments don’t rubber stamp our religious convictions as law, or when prominent voices call us names, call out hypocrisy, or attack us intellectually. (This doesn’t mean we must abandon our convictions. Too many have done so. This doesn’t mean we don’t attempt to winsomely engage with other philosophies or ideas. We must continue to speak the truth in love and speak truth to power.)
The vast majority of you, our readers, are in “safe” countries for Christians. Our difficulties are not comparable to those suffering true persecution.
Our readers outside the United States are twelve percent of our email subscribers but over twenty-five percent of our web traffic and social media. As we pray today, using Christ’s words to his disciples before his crucifixion and considering our reflection from yesterday, may we keep in mind and hold up before God’s throne in prayer, members of our community and of God’s church in countries where they are threatened by the state, by religious militias, and by other dangerous forces.
Praying for the Persecuted
Lord of the suffering and the outcast, we pray the words of your Son regarding the suffering of our brothers and sisters…
“I have told you so that you will not fall away. The time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.
I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. Your joy will be complete.”
Turn our brothers and sisters’ grief to joy. And turn our mourning into action on their behalf.
Prayer: The Greeting
Your statutes have been like songs to me wherever I have lived as a stranger. — Psalm 119.54
Exodus 37 (Listen – 3:14)
John 16 (Listen – 4:14)
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Read more about Prayer for the Church from Indonesia :: Worldwide Prayer
We confess, our God, that in the comfort of your blessings and abundance
and in the safety of the blessing of peace in our land,
we too easily forget others of our body, your Church,
who pray today for your daily bread to feed their hungry children,
who pray for signs of peace in their land,
who pray for freedom to pursue a life worth the living.
Read more about Jeremiah, the Unpatriotic Prophet
When religion gets mixed up with patriotism, things turn ugly. The most patriotic thing Christians can do is see the problems of our nation and speak the gospel to them.
Let them throw us in a cistern like Jeremiah.
Let them burn our words rather than listen to them.
May we be faithful to Christ and his kingdom alone.