I want to grow in faithfulness to pray for persecuted saints, both those imprisoned and those who are “free”, but live under oppressive governments.
A few feeble thoughts:
Ask God to use his persecuted saints to spread the gospel
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. (PHP 1.12-13)
Ask God to deliver many from imprisonment as he did Peter and Paul (Acts 4.23; 12.6-11; 16.39)
Ask the Lord to free them to go home to be with family and friends.
Ask Christ to strengthen them
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy (CO 1.11)
Ask God to give them grace to love their enemies
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (MT 5.44).
Ask the Sovereign Lord to change evil governments to become favorable to the gospel
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 TI 2.1-4)
We are to pray for governments to enable believers to lead quiet godly lives for the sake of the spread of the gospel. Though Jesus uses persecution to spread the gospel, this passage indicates that in times of peace and government favor, the gospel can spread more easily. Pray that the Lord will replace evil governments with governments favorable to Christianity and the gospel.
Here is a suggestion: consider taking a portion of your prayer time one day a week to pray specifically for the Christ’s persecuted saints. For more information and ways to pray see Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors.
photo by Peter Stuckings