Lord of all, lift our eyes off our selves, our circumstances, our worries and stressors today to see that your family goes beyond what we see. At this time, move us to weep and pray for believers who are being severely persecuted and tested with fire around the world. May we in the Church in the Western hemisphere no longer remain silent but give ourselves in prayer and appropriate action. Move in us and, by your wisdom, help us know what we can do despite feeling powerless to help. We rest in you the Powerful One.
I pray with tears for my beautiful brothers and sisters in:
Egypt. Where the Coptic church has recently endured the worst attacks on the Christian minority since the 14th century. And bad news keeps coming. Lord, pursue them with your unfailing love and mercy.
Peshawar, Pakistan. Where the All Saints Church community, a light in thick darkness since 1883, was recently rocked by Taliban suicide bombers, who managed to kill 85 of our beloved believing friends. Lord, pursue them with your unfailing love and mercy.
Nairobi, Kenya. Where our Christian brothers and sisters were the targets of Islamist fanatics, who managed to kill more than 70 people in a shopping mall. The Associated Press reported that the Somali Islamic militant group al-Shabab “confirmed witness accounts that gunmen separated Muslims from other people and let the Muslims go free.” The captives were asked questions about Islam. If they couldn’t answer, they were shot. Lord, pursue them with your unfailing love and mercy.
Syria. Where Christians fear going extinct under the fierce persecution of Islamist rebels should Assad al-Bashar fall. Towns like Maalula and Damascus, which are historically significant to Christianity, and where many inhabitants speak Aramaic like Jesus did, are being seized by rebels in their take-over strategy. Christ-followers are being told to convert to Islam at gunpoint. A woman was told her fiancé was given a chance to convert before he was literally cut down. There are many stories like this, as you know…O Father. Pursue them with your unfailing love and mercy.
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”
(Revelation 6:9-11 ESV)
“And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus…
…They will make war on the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
(Revelation 17:5-6, 14 ESV)
We cry with the faithful, martyred saints in your presence, O King, to come quickly. How long, O Lord, how long? But as they rest with you, and while we suffer with you as one body, may we never fail to testify that you have conquered, O Lamb who was slain, that you are Lord of lords, King of kings, and, in your mighty mercy have called us, chosen us, and given us faith to be with you always, now and forever. Give Spirit-empowered strength to abide in you, especially to those giving their Christ-exalting lives even this hour.
In the name of THE KING JESUS. You reign. We trust. Amen.