The original post I wrote this morning was quite different from the one you are about to read. I let my emotions get the best of me and came down hard on the North American Christian community regarding our indifference as a whole about the suffering of our brothers and sisters who are facing displacement, persecution and execution every day. But, the Holy Spirit brought to my attention that just because some of the large influential churches might not be leading the charge against this persecution it doesn’t mean that millions of individual Christians aren’t concerned and praying for them.
Though the plight of Meriam Ibrahim has been in the news lately she is but one of thousands of people who face this discrimination and hatred every day because of their faith in the living God. American pastor Saeed Abedini rots away in an Iranian prison because he is a Christian. Bishoy Armia Boulous is a Christian reporter in Egypt and has just received a prison term for blasphemy. Also in Egypt is the disturbing arrest and five year sentence of Kerolos Shouky Attallah for simply “liking” a Christian Facebook page.
Prisons in North Korea, Iran, China and close to 50 other countries in the world are full of people who have committed no other crime than simply being Christian. Just last week in northern Nigeria another 60 girls were taken by Boko Haram to join the close to 300 that are already held by this ultra conservative hate group of Islamic terrorists.
In Syria and Iraq Christians are beheaded for their faith and throughout the world one of the great refugee problems of our era is the displacement of Christians who are driven from their homes because of their simple faith in Jesus.
So, what can we do to make a difference in the lives of our fellow believers who face such harsh circumstances because of their faith? We can pray. That is a given and I know many of you do pray on a regular basis for our brothers and sisters. I would like to encourage you, however, to join with us each morning or evening at 9 o’clock to stop whatever you are doing and spend a few minutes in prayer for these people. By setting a particular time aside it is a constant reminder to remember the persecuted church in prayer.
Of course you can keep up on what’s happening by reading this blog in the Nine-o’clock Club/Prayer for Persecuted Christians section, but there are other places to become informed as well. The Christian Post keeps up-to-date postings on individual situations. Open Door Australia, United Kingdom and the U.S. are always good sources of information and their morning up-dates and suggestions of what to pray for that day is a big help. They also publish a top 50 list each year of the countries where it is unsafe to be a Christian.
The Voice of the Martyrs will send you email’s as well to keep you informed about the latest crises. They publish a prisoner list that can be helpful in praying for individual people and holding the individual up before God.
This is not a political blog, but it never hurts to pray that the leaders of our countries would take a bit more responsibility in helping put pressure on some of these nations to become less tyrannical. As long as these rogue nations can persecute and slaughter Christians with immunity they will continue to do so. Until the international community will stand up and demand a stop to it or else there would be financial consequences, nothing will happen.
At present these militias, radical Islamists and rogue nations do not feel the might of the western leaders breathing down their necks. Each time they kill more Christians, burn more villages, rape more women and slaughter more children the official response of the Christian nations is silence. The sad reality is that our lack of response as denominations, churches and countries says volumes about our own spirituality. Have we become so complacent and self-absorbed as Christians that we are indifferent to suffering unless it affects us personally?
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10,11
Pray that when persecution comes our way, and it will, that we might be as strong as our brothers and sisters who suffer for the cross in over 50 countries. Pray that our hearts will be open to the grace, compassion and mercy of God that we will be one in spirit with the world church.
Be courageous, be strong, no regrets, no retreat.
* Go to http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ for updates on persecution of Christians.