Prayer For The Persecuted
By Lois J. Stucky (1928 – 2014)
Ever larger grows the white-robed throng in heaven, who “were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held” (Rev. 6:9). We honor those who are being slain today for the Word of God as heroes of the faith and rightfully so. They courageously choose to obey God rather than to compromise and deny the Lord. “They loved not their lives unto the death” (Rev. 12:11).
Then there are the many who are not yet martyred, but are lying in prisons, suffering almost beyond ability to think, too weakened by severe beatings and hunger to even pray for themselves. And what of those who are yet free to serve Christ, but they have a death threat hanging over their head?
The writer of Hebrews tells us: “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them – those who are mistreated – since you yourselves are in the body also” (13:3 NKJ). While there may be little we can do in a tangible way, we can pray! How do we pray? We might start out by calling from our heart, “Our Father which art in heaven...” (Matt. 6:9). When we pray “Our Father…” we identify with them. Whether we pray for Christians in North Korea or China or Africa or South America or the Middle East, or wherever – we know that our Father in heaven is their Father in heaven.
When we pray “Our Father…” it suggests to us the One we have come to love, who is the giver of life, the sustainer, the loving provider, the leader, the one who teaches and trains and chastens, the one who calms fears, who comforts, who fixes the broken, and – who can name all our dear Father God is to His children? As we commit the persecuted into the hands of “Our Father which art in heaven…” although He allows great suffering at times, we can be sure His eye is upon them and His ear is open to their cry, and to our cry for them. He never leaves nor forsakes. His grace is sufficient for them to endure to the end.
Claim the promise for them: “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). And again, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Pray that like the Apostle Paul, they will learn to glory in their infirmities that the power of God will rest upon them. Pray they will be those overcomers which Jesus spoke of in Revelation, chapters two and three.