It has become something of a recurring reminder from the Lord in my life – the need to engage in regular, sustained intercession for persecuted Christians worldwide. Statistical analysis at home and abroad place the numbers of martyred Christians at nearly 100,000 annually! This is a staggering number! We are often isolated from the breadth of circumstances persecuted Christians face… It can run the gambit all way from harassment in the workplace, neighborhood, or educational institution to imprisonment, assault, and martyrdom.
Isolation, discouragement, fear, bitterness, and a sense of abandonment are just some of the human emotions that persecuted Christians must deal with. Many have to deal daily with poverty, lack of nutrition, medical issues, concern for their families, and filthy prisons. They must be able to depend of the fact that we, fellow members of the “body of Christ” – the “family of God” – support them with faith-filled, Spirit empowered, regular, sustained intercession! We must not fail them!
The importance of intercessory prayer support for suffering fellow Christians surfaced again this morning during my Bible reading… Apostle Paul, imprisoned in Rome, and facing the real possibility of death for his faith and witness to Jesus Christ, wrote these words to fellow believers in ancient Philippi…
“I know that THROUGH YOUR PRAYERS and GOD’S PROVISION OF THE SPIRIT OF JESUS CHRIST what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance! I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always CHRIST WILL BE EXALTED IN MY BODY, WHETHER BY LIFE OR BY DEATH. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:19–21 NIV)
So here’s my resolve… I will regularly support fellow Christians at home and abroad who are suffering for their faith and witness for Christ Jesus with regular, sustained, Spirit-led intercession!
Here’s my conviction… I believe the Holy Spirit will provide the strength they need to stand fearlessly and faithfully for Christ in their circumstances… and I believe God has the power to vindicate them and bring supernatural deliverance for them! I pray for that!
And my confidence regarding these believers? I believe they will exhibit the same determination that Paul expressed: That shamelessly, and courageously, that “Christ will be exalted in the lives by life or by death! To live is Christ – to die is gain!”
I’m praying for them daily – they are not forgotten! … Will you join me?