4 Ways to Pray for the Persecuted Church (and why you should be praying)

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It’s not so unusual to feel like crying a little while waiting at the car repair shop. I had my own reasons that day, like the $900+ bill we paid before picking up the keys to our minivan.


But this was different.

We waited and waited.  I walked my son around the room, pointing to pictures of cars and trucks on the wall and steering him away from the M&M candy dispenser.

The news flashed reports up on the big screen TV on the other side of the room: Christians being captured and killed by the hundreds.

I’ve heard the reports and, honestly, avoided them at times.  Thinking about those babies, those little children, and the moms watching their sons and daughters tortured and killed, well, it’s just too much to bear.

So, I pull in.  I hide my eyes.  I stick my fingers in my ears and hope the evil just goes away or at least doesn’t make me any more uncomfortable than I already am.

But I’m stuck that day waiting for my minivan to be fixed, so the news keeps playing and what is there to do but listen?

They show a map of how ISIS is spreading.  The red territories cross the map from country to country, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria……more and more countries are covered in red.

I’m thankful for my son’s squirming, giving me something to focus on so I don’t break down and bawl right there among the sample tires and coffee bar.

Meanwhile, two other people in the room are watching those same news reports and mocking.

They laugh at the newscaster. They laugh at her guests.

I choose to block out their snide remarks, but it’s clear they think it’s all some big, fat joke.

How funny that people are dying.  How funny to watch news broadcasts about death and persecution and evil while sitting in a heated waiting area with electricity, candy, coffee, television and million other amenities all designed to keep us from feeling one tiny bit uncomfortable.

What is wrong with them?

But my little temper tantrum of righteous indignation fizzles.  Conviction seeps in.

What’s wrong with them?

Maybe the better question is: What’s wrong with me?

When Peter was imprisoned, the New Testament church took to their knees in a desperate prayer vigil for his release and safety.

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him (Acts 12:5 NIV)

Why am I not earnestly praying to God on behalf of the Christians who are sitting in prisons, starving, facing torture and being killed?

Maybe because I’d rather avoid the issue.

Maybe because I don’t know how.

But today….today I recommit to pray.

I pray for their rescue.  I do.

But more than that, more than just, “Lord, please don’t let them be hurt, tortured or killed,” I’ve been learning to pray that in the midst of persecution, God helps them stand and He brings them through stronger.

Will you join me in these prayers?

  1. Lord, rescue them.  Free them from prison.  Defeat their captors and destroy evil’s stronghold.  Deliver them from torture and death.
  2. Lord, strengthen them.  Remind them of Your presence.  Help them know they are not alone.  Let them feel the impact of our prayers.  Plant Your Word deep inside them.
  3. Lord, provide for them.  Please give them copies of the Bible.  Provide jobs for them and food for their families, shelter, education.  Meet their physical needs. Give churches safe places to meet.
  4. Lord, multiply them.   Even in the wake of persecution, we pray for revival.  We pray that the testimony and witness of these courageous Christians stirs hearts, opens minds, changes lives.  We pray for widespread salvation, for churches to grow, and for the lost to know that Jesus Christ is Lord.  Help the world see the truth of what is happening; do not let us remain blind to their plight.

Want to know more about praying for the persecuted church, modern-day martyrs and how to get involved?  Here are some resources for you:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.


10 thoughts on “4 Ways to Pray for the Persecuted Church (and why you should be praying)

  1. Margarita CP says:

    Heather, the Lord used you to open my eyes and heart. I avoid the Isis news like the plague; always changing the channel because it’s too terrifying to witness. Denial doesn’t give me permission not to pray however.

    Holy Spirit thank You for convicting my heart; remind me to pray whenever I avoid the news. Help me use the resources Your beloved daughter has shared to make my prayers for the persecuted church an intentional act rather than praying just when I’m frightened by news reports. In Jesus name and for His glory and kingdom I pray. Amen

    Sorry Heather, the Spirit moved me to pray while I was writing. Bless you for being open and real on this topic. Thanks for making me ask the same of myself: “Maybe the better question is: What’s wrong with me?”

  2. Rachel says:

    I don’t know how many times I have heard people say the news is all bad, or too awful to watch. But we can do nothing if we don’t see and hear and know what is happening. One thing I have learned from reading about Brother Andrew’s work with persecuted Christians is that sometimes simply knowing that others are thinking about and praying for them is a big encouragement to persecuted Christians, as they often feel alone and forgotten. Be brave – open your heart and share another person’s pain. As it says in Galations 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Perhaps one day we will be in need of the same support.

    Open Doors (a ministry that was started by Brother Andrew) does a lot for persecuted Christians and also has a lot of information on how you can pray for them. You can sign up for weekly prayer alerts which will tell you about and highlight an area that needs prayer. It’s a good reminder. (https://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/pray/) They also have a world watch list, showing which countries have the most persecution. (https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/)
    And there is also a great book called “Operation World, The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation”, by Jason Mandryk, which gives a synopsis of each country, answers to prayer, and challenges for prayer. You can find it here: http://www.operationworld.org/ or on Amazon.

  3. Lily says:

    I will join you and many others in these prayers for the persecuted church. God has used you to remind us to pray continually. Thank you and God continue to bless and use you!

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