Are you becoming more aware of the news? From financial issues, and suffering of those around us, to the world events – horrific news, startling, and possibly very overwhelming.
My husband and i have been a part of the prayer team of our church, and so we find ourselves filtering things through soft and purposeful conversation with God. Painful bodies, fearful moms, unemployment, disobedient children, struggling marriages, and on and on. Our needs as people are very great, and our dependence is growing greater and greater on God himself to provide and meet the needs.
But i must tell you that while i know our needs are important they seem to pale in comparison to our brothers and sisters around the world who are giving their lives for their faith in Jesus.
As I stand to sing worship choruses these past Sundays I realize how privileged we are to gather publicly, to give voice to our hearts cry of worshiping our great God without fear of imprisonment, beatings, death. So as i close my eyes, and lift my heart and my voice to God I find myself lifting those believers around the world to Jesus, and ask for his presence in their lives.
Remembering Al and Eileen – We have friends who are Pakistani nationals, and have lived around the world. They are believers in Jesus. And these last 10 years their government has not permitted them to leave their nation. They are surrounded by 99.5% of their fellow citizens who believe in radical Islam, or tribal factions. They have a life that is constantly one word or one action from death. Al told us the last time he was visiting in the states that we need to pray for the believers in Pakistan like this:
- Lord grant them wisdom to know your word, your heart, your spirit
- Lord grant them favor with their neighbors that those who do not know Jesus might see his love extended through your people in that place.
- Lord give opportunities to love, help and share your word with those who do not know
- Strength, courage, boldness, fearlessness, God’s favor.
As the news continues to churn out photos and video of Christians being executed for believing in Jesus I can;t just stand in church and sing a worship chorus. I am compelled to cry out for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted. And i am compelled to cry out against the acts of injustice, shocking violence, of global bullying on a massive scale.
The rising tide of hatred and hostility of Christians is joined by the growing antisemitism that is playing out in the world. Many are saying these are times much like that of pre-WWII, where people were being fed propaganda, believing ideology that was filled with venemous hatred, doctrines of demons.
America is not the same nation it was 5 years, 10 years, 20 years ago. The news media is whipping up a hostility toward Christianity, our government is embracing poor judgement, and the leadership of our nation is growing sketchy. Being a Christian is becoming a dangerous decision, with frequent news of charges pressed, court cases, etc for simplly living out our faith.
The winds of change are blowing. Are we there in prayer, standing firmly asking our Great God and King to meet us, change our hearts, accept our repentance, and heal our land?
I am growing concerned – not of God, because i know he holds everything in his great care, but i am growing concerned that fellow believers seem to have little sensitivity to the great need to pray, to seek God with everything in our souls, and to ask for the needs of our fellow believers that are hurting.
“Father, forgive us for our self focus. Forgive us for not praying for our rulers, our government, or leaders. And forgive us for letting your word slide from our lives. We repent today, and ask you to fill our hearts and minds with your spirit, your word, your strength. And we bring our brothers and sisters who are being fiercely persecuted to you. Please be their strength, glorify yourself in your people, strengthen and embolden your church to stand in the presence of evil, and know your plan is to bring many to salvation.
We pray for those who are the persecutors… may they come to know they are persecuting your people, and that you know every thought and act. May you show yourself to them in dreams, visions, and manifest fear in their very souls. We ask for their salvation, we cry to you to turn your enemies to repentent believers. In everything may we sense your spirit, your provision, your protection and your love. And may the world sense this too. Amen”