How Do We Pray for the Persecuted Church?
How do we pray for the persecuted church?
Calling yourself a Christian often comes at a cost. People may act differently around you, label you a hypocrite, or even exclude you. But in some parts of the world, people are physically injured, abandoned, or even killed for their Christian faith. This level of harm is called persecution.
The first Sunday in November is the Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, and Christians around the world pray especially for people in these situations. How can we pray specifically for people facing these crises?
At ReFrame Ministries, we have the privilege and challenge of working alongside believers in some of the dangerous places where persecution occurs. We reached out to our ministry partners who interact with persecuted Christians on a daily basis, asking them how we can pray.
1. Pray for safety and spiritual strength for persecuted believers.
Guiding verse: 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3
“Pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”
We’ve heard from seekers and believers who have been physically attacked, locked up in their homes, and abandoned by their families because of their faith. These situations are hard to imagine, and oftentimes we shy away from talking about them. But, as Christians, we should be lifting up these brothers and sisters in prayer.
2. Pray against anti-religious laws.
Guiding Verse: Amos 5:24
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.”
Persecution can also be less overt. It sometimes comes from local officials who make it difficult for churches and individual believers who are involved with evangelistic outreach. Websites have been taken down and Christian magazines and publications have different rules for distribution than publications from a different religious perspective, or without overt religious teachings.
Pray that people can find God’s Word when they need it. Pray that the Bible won’t be seen as a threat, but as a story of salvation for all people.
3. Pray for meaningful Christian community.
Guiding Verse: Galatians 6:2
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Because of persecution, some Christians never talk with anyone about their faith in Jesus. Instead, they pray, worship, and believe in secret. Pray for these isolated believers. Pray that they might be able to find one person—either online or in person—with whom they can find Christian community. Pray that they can have their questions answered about what it means to be a Christian, and pray that they’ll stand strong in their faith.
4. Pray for the workers.
Guiding Verse: Matthew 5:11
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”
Despite the many forms of persecution, Christians around the world risk their lives to share the good news. Pastors form underground churches. Missionaries leave their homes to work in difficult places. Activists work to change anti-religious laws. All of these people risk their lives to share Christ. Pray for continued safety, creative solutions for sharing God’s Word, and encouragement.
A Prayer from Brazil
In closing, you can pray this prayer written by Hernandes Dias Lopes, our Portuguese ministry leader in Brazil.
God, you are all-powerful and all-knowing. We ask you to give strength to those who are imprisoned or tortured in your name. We pray for those who face being harmed—or even killed—for you. Oh, give them the power to die for Christ if they need to. Give them your peace, even in the midst of war. Give them your smile as they face the enemy’s scowl. Give them the grace to be Christ’s witness until the end, so that their death will not be a tragedy but a powerful instrument to break hardened hearts. All this we pray in the name of Jesus, who conquered death and is alive forever and ever. In The Name of Jesus, Amen.