With the horrific stories of how our Christian brothers and sisters are being treated around the world, many of us desperately want to pray for them. But if you're like me, you might get caught up by two questions. A member of CCM's mission support team helps us think them through...
What difference will it make?
William and his family in Uganda received numerous threats after their conversion to Christianity. Twelve years later William’s son Francis was murdered by young militant extremists. In December 2011 the family received a bundle of cards from Christians abroad who had been praying for them.
William said, "I have been deeply comforted in a way I cannot even describe. Even little children wrote to us! Because of your contribution, I have finally forgiven the people who killed my son.” In another report in March 2012 he wrote to thank supporters for their prayers after a number of Muslims had come to Christ in his village.
I don't know what to pray for
The New Testament, written to a persecuted and suffering church, is full of wisdom we can use to pray. These are just a few suggestions from The Barnabas Fund:
- for strength and courage to obey Christ and be a witness to him despite the personal cost that might be involved
- for peace of mind and trust in God in the midst of uncertainty
- that their suffering will draw them closer to Christ and increase their faith in Him
- for the growth of the church despite persecution
- for oppressive governments to govern justly and fairly
- that democratic leaders would use their influence over other countries wisely to reduce persecution
- for Christians tempted to retaliate against their enemies, for trust in God to judge
- for the persecutors, that they might repent and believe the Gospel
- that the church would be able to forgive and welcome former persecutors who have trusted Christ
The best way I’ve found to pray and to keep praying is using ready-made prayer points from an agency such as Open Doors, The Barnabas Fund or Christian Solidarity Worldwide. These are free and easy to get hold of, you simply sign up online to receive a prayer diary in the post or download a fact sheet with prayer points for a particular country.
"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40)