Prayer for the Persecuted Church (16 February 2019)

Morning Encounter:

Read:

God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together.

Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful…

Never give up praying. And when you pray, keep alert and be thankful. Be sure to pray that God will make a way for us to spread his message and explain the mystery about Christ, even though I am in jail for doing this. Please pray that I will make the message as clear as possible.

(Colossians 3: 12-15, 4:2-4)

Reflect: 

Sometimes our prayers can become focussed exclusively on those we know, or whose lives intersect with us directly. But all around the world are people who are part of ‘God’s special people’ (3:12) undergoing incredible suffering for their faith. And they need our prayers.

Paul writes this letter from prison, but he doesn’t ask the Colossians to pray for his release. He asks them to pray that he will be effective in communicating his message about Christ. There are many things our persecuted brothers and sisters need, but let’s pray first and foremost that their faith would remain strong, that their courage would be unshakable and that God would be glorified through their lives.

Respond:

Visit www.opendoorsuk/pray/ for resources to inform and inspire your prayers for the persecuted church. Perhaps consider committing to pray regularly for a specific person.

Midday Meditation:

“The Christian, however, must bear the burden of a brother. He must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated. The burden of men was so heavy for God Himself that He had to endure the Cross. God verily bore the burden of men in the body of Jesus Christ. But He bore them as a mother carries her child, as a shepherd enfolds the lost lamb that has been found. God took men upon Himself and they weighted Him to the ground, but God remained with them and they with God. In bearing with men God maintained fellowship with them. It was the law of Christ that was fulfilled in the Cross. And Christians must share in this law.” 
(Dietrich Bonhoeffer Life Together)

Evening Reflection:

“So when Jesus directs us to pray, “Thy kingdom come,” he does not mean we should pray for it to come into existence. Rather, we pray for it to take over at all points in the personal, social, and political order where it is now excluded: “On earth as it is in heaven.” With this prayer we are invoking it, as in faith we are acting it, into the real world of our daily existence.” 
(Dallas Willard The Divine Conspiracy)

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