*If you don’t have time to read this blog, skip to the end and watch the video about the true story of Pastor Suta.
This Sunday November 8th is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. More Christians are persecuted and killed for their faith than ever before in the history of the world – shocking, but true. These brothers and sisters of ours are living faithfully amidst very difficult circumstances.
What can we do? How are we to respond?
1. Take time to become aware of how the persecution of Christians has increased
This year our media was deluged with images of the 21 Coptic Christians martyred by ISIS in Libya and the 148 students massacred by terrorists in Garissa, Kenya. Here are the top 10 countries in which there is the most persecution: 1. North Korea, 2. Somalia, 3. Iraq, 4. Syria, 5. Afghanistan, 6. Sudan, 7. Iran, 8. Pakistan, 9. Eritrea, 10. Nigeria. (source: World watch list Open Doors) See more informative on the websites of Open Doors International and the Voice of the Martyrs.
2. REMEMBER that we are one body
We live into the scripture that reveals we are one body and, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Cor 12;26). We believe, celebrate, grieve, and participate in a worldwide body of Christ. Ligament to tendon to joint to bone, we are inextricably connected to our global brothers and sisters.
We thank God for the powerful witness of these courageous brothers and sisters, “of whom the world is not worthy” (Heb 11:26). As we pray, our care and concern grow as we gain God’s heart for our brothers and sisters. We pray that they would each know His presence and care and comfort, and somehow we would grow in our connection with them.
And we pray for the persecutors – that God would work powerfully in their hearts to bring them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. We pray that our brothers and sisters would be so rooted in Jesus’ love that they would be able to express to their oppressors the depth, length, height and breadth of the love of Jesus. And captors are becoming captivated by Christ! (see video).
And lastly, we recommit our own lives to Jesus, surrendering our own comfort that we may be prepared to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him - facing persecution however great or small, in our wholehearted pursuit of Jesus and His kingdom.
For He alone is worthy.
Let’s remember ALL THE SAINTS across the world who are facing persecution and violence because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Take some time this week to pray this prayer:
Precious Jesus, Lord of unfailing love,
Be with our brothers and sisters across the world who are suffering for Your sake. We watch and pray with them today.
Faithful friend and Saviour, You know each one of them by name. You have suffered with them, Jesus, even to death on a cross.
May those who mourn know the joy of trusting You.
May those who are in pain know Your healing and Your rest.
May those who are afraid know Your freedom and Your peace.
And, Lord, we pray that their persecutors will see Your greatness and turn to You.
For Your glory, gracious Lord. Amen.
- courtesy of IDOP
Steve and his family are from California where it barely rains, and they moved to Vancouver 11 years ago where it barely doesn’t rain. Dual citizens now, the Colbys are fluent in both Canadian and American English, enough to be thoroughly confused. (What did I used to call a toque? Surely not beanie…? ) Steve and Susie both serve nationally with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, Steve as the National Director of Missions. His favourite teammates in missions are his family: Susie, and kids --Caleb, Phoebe, and Lily.
You can read more of his missions thoughts and ramblings at www.missionpilgrims.com