(Today’s Prayer Guide Author: Sal LoFaso, Elder)
DAY 5 – THE PERSECUTED CHURCH
10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)
Facts About the Persecuted Church
Fact #1 – The US government lists 70 countries around the world that practice persecution of Christians in one form or another. Today over 200 million Christians are persecuted for belief in Jesus as Savior.
Fact #2 – Communist countries and Islamic regimes are the most flagrant in persecuting Christians for their faith in Jesus Christ.
Fact #3 – More Christians were martyred for their faith in the last century than in all the previous centuries combined since the time of Christ.
Fact #4 – In spite of all the torture, abuse and pain the most common request of persecuted Christians is simply for our prayers.
Ways Christians are persecuted – 18“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:18-19)
Ostracized by family & friends – loss of home & employment – Christian women are brutally raped to break allegiance to Christ – Christian children are separated from their family & sold into slavery – many languish in prison & labor camps – many are physically & mentally tortured and killed for believing in Jesus Christ.
Ways to pray for those persecuted: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44)
- They would be able to receive and possess copies of the Scriptures.
- For food, clothing, shelter, employment
- Support one another and remain unified in their suffering
- Receive God’s grace, comfort; walk by faith and endure suffering without denying Christ
- Be given favor in the eyes of their persecutors
- Witness to and salvation of their persecutors
- They would rejoice, bless and forgive their persecutors
- Be granted religious freedom and the privilege to live openly for Jesus Christ