Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Ponderings on the persecuted church

For the last I don't know how long I've been following the case of our sister from Sudan, Meriam Ibrahim. Then she is on death row, then there is possibility she will be free, the day after you hear the government never issued that freedom to her, or they changed their mind or who knows, then she is free and then not and so it goes on...... and yesterday everyone who followed her rejoiced in that she was free!!! Just to be disappointed again today to hear that she and her family was arrested at the airport as they were about the leave the country. How disappointing and discouraging. I feel her pain.

Some days I wonder what I should pray for the brothers and sisters that are being persecuted for their, or rather our faith in our Lord Jesus. He said after all numerous times in the Bible that we will be persecuted, and we should not be surprised if they hate us and persecute us for His name's sake. So then what on earth do we pray for them if it will be quite normal that they will be persecuted.
So this is somewhat the conclusion I've drawn from my pondering on it.
Yes we will be persecuted. In some places it is worse than in other places. here in the west we might be looked upon funny for praying in a public place, or your friends or rather acquaintances would think you are a weirdo for going to church every Sunday and going on a mission trip or whatever. You might hear things like, "don't push that Christianity thing down my throat".  That is nothing compared to other countries where they will torture you, provoke you, kick you out on the streets with no one to care for you, imprison you, or just plain kill you. and their other trick of discouraging you by like they did to our sister Meriam to tell a different story every couple of days.
Another person was a pastor from Iran who was rather ill, and in prison. If you are in an Iranian prison for being a Christian, they won't really bother to treat your illness no matter how serious it is. His family also had no one to care for them as he was the one earning money for the family. Then the prison one day just announced they don't know where he is. I don't know if they think we are stupid or what, of course they know exactly where he is. Organisations following the persecuted church said that the possibility that he was executed was high and the prison just don't want to admit that. His family have no clue what happened to him and now they need to survive as well.

So for one, we can pray that their faith be strengthened and that God will encourage them in some way to carry on. Pray for their health, as most probably if they get sick they might not get the correct treatment, especially when in prison. Pray for their families' faith to be encouraged and strengthened, for provision for their daily needs such as food etc. Pray for their safety. There are probably a million other things to pray for, for the persecuted brothers and sisters, but the point is - do to others what you want to be done for you. If you found yourself in a position of being severely persecuted would you want someone to pray for you, and what specifics would you want them to pray for you, and then pray that for them. and well anything else you can think of to pray for them. They need encouragement and prayers a lot more than what we do, not that we do not need it.

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