Over the past few years and especially the past few months, many people both inside the Church and out, have pointed to a rising tide of persecution in many places around the world. Just as thousands of early Christians were displaced from their homes, exiled and isolated, robbed, imprisoned, and even killed, so too many of our brothers and sisters in the faith face these kinds of violent persecution today. As you pray this week, we encourage you to consider remembering the persecuted Church. This video song, The Faithful, by Steve Green may help guide your meditation:
Dear Lord Jesus, you have warned that in this world we will have tribulation, but you encourage us with your words of promise, “Take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Lord, we come to you today on behalf of our brothers and sisters in the faith—your dearly beloved brothers and sisters—who face hardship and persecution. You know their pain, their struggles, their grief much more deeply than we do or can.
Lord Jesus, surround each of them with your consoling presence. Let that presence bring with it the peace that surpasses all human understanding. May your peace stand guard over their hearts and minds, admitting no temptations and abolishing all thoughts of vengeance (Philippians 4:7).
Show yourself strong on their behalf, Lord God! Fill their hearts—and ours—with love, even for those who hate you and us. Fill their minds—and ours—with joy and a desire to use every circumstance as an opportunity to serve as mighty witnesses for you. Just as the blood of the martyrs proved to be the seed of the Church in earlier centuries, so use the suffering of your people today to create a mighty harvest of souls from every tribe, language, people, and nation on earth (Revelation 5:9).
Lord, you are faithful, even when we are not (2 Timothy 2:13). Teach all your people to trust your promise that not even the gates of hell itself will prevail against your Church (Matthew 16:18). Forgive our apathy and our other many sins and teach us to love and care as you yourself love and care for us. We pray in your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.