Mature believers in persecution often say something like, “Don’t pray for our persecution to end. Please pray that we will be obedient through our suffering.”
That is a very different kind of prayer. It is challenging to understand the number one cause of persecution globally is when people accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Therefore, persecution is often a direct by-product of faith.
Let’s think out loud for just a moment. If believers in the West and their churches simply pray to God for persecution to end, the only way for God to answer that type of prayer is to stop people from following Jesus! The Bible commands us to pray for believers in persecution. It does so without giving us names or places to pray for and about.
A biblical and a globally astute prayer for believers in persecution would ask that Jesus would be made known, that believers would remain obedient through their suffering, and that we identify with believers in persecution by sharing our faith in whatever environment we find ourselves.
Believers in persecution could avoid their suffering if they would only leave Jesus alone and leave witness alone. Let’s be clear; the suffering of which we speak is completely avoidable. All one has to do to avoid such persecution is to leave Jesus alone and refuse to witness. This is quite different than always praying prayers of rescue and extraction. Such praying for believers in persecution seek to join them, identifying with their suffering as we also believe in Jesus and refuse to keep His grace to ourselves.
We identify with believers in persecution when we refuse to be silenced! Most organizations that report on believers in persecution are more concerned with rescuing than they are with obedience that is part of paying a huge price for daring to witness and plant new churches in their homes.
As you pray for believers in persecution seek to be part of the body of Christ and support those organizations that have a heart for witness and house church planting more than a practice of rescuing believers in persecution and extracting them to western or Christian countries.
To learn about specific ways to pray, visit Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs.