“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
— Colossians 3:2 —
Yesterday, Fox News reported the execution of 80 people in North Korea. In full view of the public, men and women in seven cities were killed for “offenses as minor as watching South Korean movies or possessing a Bible.” This story is a sobering reminder that persecution is alive and well in our world.
Yesterday, I also received news—though a few days old—that Pastor Saeed Abedini has been moved from the Evin Prison in Iran to another installation notorious for its violence and the disappearance of prisoners. Pastor Saeed, an American who had been working to plant house churches in Iran, suffers for his simple faith in Christ.
When I hear news like this my heart sinks. I realize that these are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I grieve and I pray. But oh, how weak are my prayers?!
Perhaps like you, I need help to know how to pray in an informed manner for the persecuted church. Sometimes I need to simply be reminded as I am by these news reports. Other times, I need biblical, historical, and practical help to know how to think about and pray for those who are suffering for the sake of Christ. If you are like me, perhaps you will be helped by these resources.
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). November marks a time when Christians around the world are praying for the persecuted church. (IDOP.org)
9 Things You Should Know About Persecution of Christians in 2013. Joe Carter gives information about some of the most intense persecution in the world today. (The Gospel Coalition)
Voice of the Martyrs: Weekly Prayer Guide. Each week Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry begun by Romanian pastor Richard Wurmbrand, updates believers with a list of prayer needs throughout the world. (Voice of the Martyrs)
Is the Blood of the Martyrs Really the Seed of the Church? Glenn Penner turns Tertullian’s ancient axiom (“the martyrs blood is the seed of the church”) around. He suggests that true church growth always prompts persecution, and that the reason why we in the West have been free from persecution has been our compromising stance towards society. It’s worth considering. (Voice of the Martyrs)
Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand. This powerful book is Richard Wurmbrands biographical account of his blood-stained faith in Romania. If you are looking for something to read about persecution, start here. (Voice of the Martyrs)
Take time right now to pray for Christians suffering in North Korea, for Pastor Saeed, and for God to keep the persecuted church on our hearts, so that their suffering would fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions (Col 1:24).
Soli Deo Gloria, dss