Persecution is not a thing of the past that happened only to the early Church.
Christians today are persecuted for their faith to a degree that makes the early Christians’ persecutions pale in comparison.
According to Open Doors, each month:
- 322 Christians are killed for their faith
- 214 Churches and Christian properties are destroyed
- 772 forms of violence (such as beatings, abductions, rapes, arrests and forced marriages) are committed against Christians
Christians living in oppressive countries experience persecution on a daily basis from verbal harassment to hostile attitudes and violent actions. Despite their horrific suffering, these believers stand strong.
Just last week 3 Christian missionaries went missing in the Middle East. Their names are Samuel, 29, James, 30, and Stephan, 32. Religious extremists ambushed them after they were caught preaching to a man they met on their way home from prayer service.
These 3 missionaries were beaten with iron pipes. They would have been killed if not for passersby in a bus who stopped and chased off the aggressors. They were then brought to a nearby hospital with James in critical condition.
While in the hospital, the three missionaries sensed they were being watched “with a cruel intention” and asked the doctors to discharge them.
They contacted their ministry’s director, Pastor Paul Ciniraj and told him they were going to take a taxi home. They told their director that they would be home in about 45 minutes.
But these three men did not reach home. Neither could they be reached on their mobile phones.
A 100-hour prayer fast has been called for these 3 missing missionaries.
Such disappearances are not uncommon in many severe religious restricted regions of the world.
The Bible urges us:
“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3).
Sovereign Lord, we pray for those who suffer in Your name. We remember those who are imprisoned for their faith. Together with them in pain and suffering, we cry out for Your grace, strength and courage to remain strong in faith, trusting that nothing is outside Your will, knowledge and control. We believe as with the Apostle Paul that even though we are being held captives for our faith, our chains of persecution will further the Gospel. We pray that our identity with Christ and our sharing in the fellowship of His suffering we will inspire and embolden others to speak the Your Word of Truth more fearlessly. Lord in Your mercy hear our prayer.
For we hold on to Your Word that says:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you“ (Matthew 5:10-12).