In my intro post to this series about the persecuted church, I made the statement that this is the most important thing I have ever written about.
I wanted to elaborate on that statement, and let you know why.
If you have read this blog for any amount of time, you know that my heart aches for the poor, the sick, and the enslaved. But I want to say that I believe praying for the persecuted church is the most important thing I have written about for three reasons:
*Our brothers and sisters in restricted nations are, often times, the poor, the sick, and enslaved. And they are so because of their faith.
*Our persecuted family loves their enemies. The serve and minister to those who beat, imprison, and starve them. They offer kindness in exchange to brutality. And sometimes, as a result, God is revealed through them, and the persecuters are saved. We saw this with Mujahd. Someone risked their life to distribute scripture. From the one scripture that he read, Mujahd was saved and in turn has led many to Christ. A man who could have been used for many evil things is being used for God's glory. Mujahd is just one man, one example, of how God can take a heart determined to bring death, and mold it and make it into a vessel of life.
*The persecuted church is also the hands of feet of Christ for the poor, the sick, and the enslaved. They live in countries and with people that we have little or no access to. They reach people who are in the most hopeless situations in life and are hungry for Christ, because they are among them. They risk their lives to share the gospel with the lost. And even with those who persecute them.
Stories are told that in concentration camps, those who are known to be Christians are being seperated from the group. This is because they carry an undeniable joy, and the other prisoners recognize that. The Christians will sacrifice everthing they have- food, water, blankets- and go completely without for the other prisoners. And Christians will volunteer for the worst jobs, so the other prisoners will be spared. As you can imagine, their witness among the other prisoners (and sometimes even the guards) is great. Not because of their words, but because of their actions. So, in order to hinder their faith from spreading, they are seperated from the group. And, even then, they create ways to love others.
When members of the persecuted church are beaten, starved, thrown into prison, and forced into slavery, they do not ask that the persecution stops. They pray that they may have courage and boldness in Christ. They pray that they may share Jesus with clarity in the midst of their suffering. And they ask that we, as their family, join them in prayer
By doing so we encourage them and empower them to continue on in the strength of Christ. And through our prayers we take part in fighting the battle against the darkness of poverty, enslavement, and sickness. Although they offer in kindness every material gift they posess to those in need, it is usually not enough to end the physical suffering. But what they offer eternally is just that...eternal. Through them we take part in multitudes joining the family of Christ.
So, as I end this series on the persecuted church, I pray that you continue on with them in your hearts and on your mind. Through their stories we have seen the power of prayer, so I ask that you would continue to do so on their behalf.