ESM Blog

Praying for Those Persecuted for the Gospel by Sherry Lush

Things are changing so rapidly in our world that we wonder what could be next? Will we have the freedoms to worship and love our G-d as we have had in the past? We worry about what may be coming. How can we have peace in these chaotic times? Yes, our thoughts can invigorate or drag us down. What if we could change the focus of our thoughts? There is a story in the Bible that may help us shift our perspective from victim to seeing the power of G-d. Where do we find this power? This power is found in our prayers and what our prayers focus on. It starts with Peter in prison. 

Acts 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

Did you notice the action of the church? They went to prayer – earnestly praying. They prayed for Peter who was in prison. There are believers all over the world today whose circumstances are dire that we could be praying for. For instance, the following is a quote from a large Christian organization that helps believers all over the world. It says:

“In some areas of the world, there are radicalized extremist groups who wage war against anyone who doesn’t adhere to their specific interpretation of religion. For instance, in places like the Middle East and Nigeria, Islamic extremist groups terrorize communities and churches, killing those they consider to be “infidels” (often in coordinated bombings), raping and kidnapping women and burning down homes and churches.”

It is certainly good to lift our requests to the Lord, and at the same time, if we really concentrate our prayers to earnestly pray for the believers living in such grim circumstances, would our perspective change, and would our prayers change the circumstances in the lives of these persecuted believers? Wouldn’t that be wonderful! Because of the earnest prayers of the church,,Peter was released from prison. 

In Ephesians 6:18, for example, Paul instructs believers to be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. In the next two verses, Paul requests more specific prayer for himself as he faces persecution. “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”

Are we able to turn our attention from ourselves and earnestly concentrate on those who so desperately need our prayers? Someday we will walk through the gates of heaven. Wouldn’t it be incredible to have those we have prayed for greet us and tell us how our prayers helped them? We have an amazing opportunity to pray earnestly for other believers, and for pastors and missionaries who risk their lives daily to take His Gospel to the darkest and most dangerous of places. As we pray for these persecuted ones, surely our praise will increase for all the blessings the Lord gives us daily.!