“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:2-4).
This morning I watched a video of a Hindu woman being burned alive because she attended a Christian prayer meeting. Then my social media feed showed me an image of a Chinese church being bulldozed to the ground by the government.
Did you know that there are more Christians suffering persecution right now than at any other time in human history? From our comfortable homes in the West, we sometimes see these images but can’t really identify with what our brothers and sisters are going through elsewhere in the world.
The Apostle Paul was no stranger to persecution. The Lord said of Paul, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name” (Acts 9:16). Yet, Paul pressed on to share Christ, counting everything he lost as, “Garbage” (Philippians 3:8) for the sake of knowing Christ.
Though Paul was suffering in prison when he wrote the book of Colossians, he asked his readers to pray for three things: Pray for evangelism (“Open to us a door for the word”), Pray for the persecuted (“On account for which I am in prison”), and Pray for his speech (That I may make it clear”). Paul wanted people to pray about his persecution, but twice he asked them to pray for evangelism, that he would have opportunity to share Christ, even in his suffering.
What do you pray for?
Let’s follow Paul’s model in praying for evangelism and praying for our brothers and sisters that they would bear up under the pressure and have opportunity to exhibit Christ to others, even in their difficulties. And perhaps too, you may pray to join them in suffering for Christ; “Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries” (Philippians 1:27-28).
“Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries” (Philippians 1:27-28).
Make a commitment to pray for the persecuted church. Dedicate yourself to seek opportunities to share Christ, no matter what the difficulty or threat may be.