Christians and missionaries that are being persecuted around the world desperately need our prayers. These are all members of the body of Christ and are being persecuted within several countries, such as these listed here but are not limited to these: Afghanistan, Burma, China, Eritrea, India, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Vietnam. These saints took a leap of faith by accepting the call of God in Christ to travel to a foreign nation in order to spread the gospel to the lost as we ALL have been commanded to do by our Lord & Savior Jesus as we read in Mark 16:15-18, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.’ ” Many of these have relocated their entire families to distant lands in order to answer God’s calling for them. It is estimated that over 70 million Christians have been martyred for their faith in Christ and for the gospel’s sake since Jesus walked on the earth 2,000 years ago. Over the last decade, nearly 1 million Christians have been martyred or close to 100,000 have been martyred each year. Jesus told us that these persecuted Christians had the greater love just as He had for us by dying for our sins and commanded us to love one another as revealed in John 15:11-14, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” Jesus also mentioned that the persecuted saints will be blessed with rewards in the kingdom of heaven as stated in Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Paul told us that when one member of the body of Christ suffers, we all suffer as stated in 1 Corinthians 12:26, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” The bible tells us that we are to pray in the Spirit for all the saints with supplication as we read in Ephesians 6:18, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” We are to also pray without ceasing and to give thanks to God for everything since this is God’s will for us as indicated in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, “pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Therefore, we should pray that all the Christians would be spared by God’s protection in order to flee to safety, be rescued, and not experience extreme persecution in order that they may continue their spiritual race in this battle while carrying out the Father’s will for them in Christ Jesus. We pray that the Holy Spirit would strengthen them during their Christian walk and mission for the Lord as revealed in Paul as we read in Ephesians 6:19-20, “and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” The Spirit utters groanings on our behalf that cannot be put into words as stated in Romans 8:26-27, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Jesus also teaches us the importance and power of praying together with two or more saints as explained in Matthew 18:19-20, “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” God delights in the prayers of the righteous as stated in Proverbs 15:8, “…the prayer of the upright is His delight.” The bible tells us in James 5:16, “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Paul and Silas, during their ministry of spreading the gospel, were cast into prison but were saved by praying and singing to God. God had caused a great earthquake to open the prison gates that freed them as we read in Acts 16:25-26, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.” Many times our answered prayers may be delayed by evil forces as with the prophet Daniel, as it took 21 days for an answered prayer as we read in Daniel 10:12-14, “Then he said to me, ‘Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.’ ”
We pray that what the enemy meant for evil, God will use for His good, His purpose, and His glory, and for the members of the body of Christ – Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28. The power of prayer is supernatural as we see where the Church prayed for Peter while he was in prison to be executed by Herod and an angel of the Lord rescued him in the night – Acts 12:5-19. Paul also gave some encouraging words while he had been persecuted for Christ as described in 2 Corinthians 4:7-15, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” This was all done in faith for the expansion of God’s kingdom in Christ – 2 Corinthians 11:23-33.
We must continue to comfort, encourage, and pray for one another especially the brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted – Philippians 2:3-4, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, 1 Timothy 2:1-5, James 5:13-16.