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?
- Lord, rescue them. Free them from prison. Defeat their captors and destroy evil’s stronghold. Deliver them from torture and death.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Anne Graham Lotz calls us to pray for the persecurted church. You can read her prayer here.
- Check out Voice of the Martyrs here, as well as their page for updates and specific prayer requests here.
- Read suggestions from Campus Crusade for Christ on praying for the persecuted church here.
- Read Tom Doyle’s book, Killing Christians.
- Find out more about how to participate in the (Secret Church) event happening in April.
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.