Since the time Jesus Christ laid down His life to save mankind, over 43 million Christians have been martyred for His Name sake. Even as you are readingat this very moment, many Christians are beaten, locked up in jails or killed. Those who persecute them make no distinction of the Christian denomination to which they belong.
When we hear or read of Christian persecution in India, the first thought which crosses our mind is that “I’m helpless! ‘or ‘What can I do?’ We are so busy and engaged with our own family & personal lives that we avoid or “choose not notice’’ or assume that “it’s someone else's job’. But the Bible states that as the Body of Christ, we have a great responsibility to each other. “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Corinthians 12: 26,27)
I ask you: how many of you pray for persecuted Christians?
Prayer is one of the most powerful ways to support Christians facing persecution.
Jesus and His Twelve Apostles were continually threatened and pressured to deny their Lord during their ministry; especially as they faced torture and martyrdom. However, none of these men who spent time with Jesus chose to save their lives by denying their faith in Him. These men possessed an absolute unshakable personal knowledge about the truth of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that they paid the ultimate price to prove their faith in Jesus.
So, what do we do in this community when people hate us just because we love Jesus?
The Lord says it clearly to his disciples. “Treat all men, but especially those who are our enemies, the way you would like to be treated”. What is at stake is not our rights but their eternal destiny.
There is a much higher calling than merely protecting our property or our rights. It was the love of Christ extended to us when we were His enemies that brought us into the kingdom of God. Now that we are in, we must not forget how we got in! We need to discard the ‘enemy’ image we have of our persecutors. We need to live in such a way among our ‘enemies’ that they see God the Father, his Son and the Holy Spirit extending ‘aggressive agape love’ toward them - and pray that many of them might come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Persecution however, is a reality. Satan’s strategy is to inject fear which can be crippling. Satan does not want the church to preach the gospel, attempts to silence the gospel, distort the gospel, and hurt the testimony of lives that back up the gospel. He will attack from within through false prophets or outside the church through religious fundamentalists, to stop the church from preaching, persevering, believingand living the gospel.
Jesus Himself said “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved”. (Matt 22:10). The Church shouldn’t pray that persecution should stop but that the Lord may grant grace, boldness & power to the men and women of God in India. Jesus has instructed each one of us to stand as a light-house in the midst of this fallen and evil world and to love our enemies. This kind of love can only be demonstrated when we declare our spiritual bankruptcy and trust our Lord to love our enemies through Him.
Prayer is the need of the hour and the only resource we have. May our hearts respond to the Holy Spirit’s call. As the days become increasingly dark, we desperately need ongoing, ardent, consistent, faith-filled prayer for our persecuted Church. God hears the prayers of the godly, overturns the counsel of tyrants, sends angels, breaks the prison doors, releases the chains, puts satan to flight and preserves the Church. Let us set our personal agendas, brands and voices aside and join on our knees, seeking God’s heart and His hand on behalf of our persecuted brethren in India. We are fighting from the victory; we are overcomers in Christ!
What does Persecution Relief do?
Persecution Relief has telephone prayer lines and dedicated prayer groups to pray 24x7 for the persecuted Church. Persecutors of every incident that has been recorded by us are identified and a team of prayer warriors regularly pray for them. We also educate the Church to pray and forgive the persecutors just as Jesus taught us