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Praying for the Persecuted Church

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  • Praying for the Persecuted Church

    My heart always goes out to churches under persecution, especially pastors who endure incredible hardship to minister the gospel of Jesus Christ. In a recent radio show, I heard of a group trying to gain public support for the release of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani. Most people are aware of Pastor Yousef because of the (social) media attention. If I understand correctly, there's even a bill in Congress in process to force this pastor's release. Although I think it's grand to have millions of people support the pastor's release, my spirit is oddly against how this public "outcry" is playing out.

    Don't get me wrong. I would really love for Pastor Nadarkhani to be released immediately. At the same time, Jesus said, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Paul even states, "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Most (if not all) of the Epistles were written during times the church was under persecution. Yet, Paul continues to encourage those under persecution time and time again, saying things like "we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring." Jesus even said in Revelation that those who endure persecution even to the point of death, he will give a crown of life. So to me, it seems there is much reward in Heaven for Pastor Nadarkhani for enduring such persecution.

    So, I'm wondering how others are responding to this. Is it wise for millions of people to join a world wide protest? How should we truly handle persecution in the church? What should we do if we were in such a situation? How should we pray for the persecuted church?
    Melanie Siewert, Christ's Servant
    BLOG: http://www.worshipvanguard.blogspot.com

  • #2
    I agree with you on this. If we truly pray, "Your Kingdom come, your will be done," we are literally praying for persecution, because of the reality that true closeness to God and genuine growth of the church is best realized in times of trouble and persecution.

    Do I want to endure persecution? No. Should I welcome persecution? Absolutely. Why? Because I want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus.

    What we should pray for when we hear of people being persecuted for Christ is that God will be glorified in and through the one being persecuted, and that God's Kingdom will increase as a result of His name being glorified.


    • #3
      I do agree with Tom, but I also feel that we are to use current and available tools, such as media, laws, and the like, to call attention to persecution wherever it exists.

      Persecution comes with the territory. In many parts of the world, real persecution is a deadly reality.

      However, we need to keep what Paul wrote in context. When Paul wrote about persecution, the previous 3 generations or so of Jewish people had been exiled, Jerusalem destroyed, allowed to return and rebuild, and under the control of about 3 different empires. The Maccabean Revolt happened, in part, because the Greeks were persecuting Jews heavily by making the Torah illegal, outlawed circumcision (those found doing it were killed), banned their festivals, placing a statue of Zeus in the Temple,and even forced Jews to eat pork. Not long after, Rome decimated Jews and began Diaspora. Keeping that in context, it's important to not over romanticize persecution and martyrdom as a rite of passage and recognize that times have changed since Paul wrote those letters. People will still be persecuted for Jesus, but we have more options. We can and should use whatever peaceful and legal means available to call attention to it and call for an end to it.
      Last edited by Mike on Bass; 05-04-2012, 05:58 PM.
      If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.