A Lament for the Persecuted Church

This past Sunday, Soma joined churches around the world in an international day of prayer for the persecuted church. Religious persecution of all kinds is a tragedy; and right now, especially in regions of the world controlled by ISIS, Christians are being systematically sought out and executed.

The Church in America is decidedly not being persecuted; but because all Christians around the world are our brothers and sisters in Jesus, we hurt when they hurt and we want to pray for them. Below is the lament we prayed on behalf of our family.

Lord Jesus, who has made one family from people of every nation,
We cry out for the sake of our persecuted brothers and sisters in you.
This morning, some brothers and sisters are worshiping in secret,
Because doing so openly could get them imprisoned.
This morning, some brothers and sisters have to weigh their desire to share the gospel
Against knowing that sharing it could get them killed.
This morning, some brothers and sisters live in fear,
Because simply owning your name could mean their death.
Because they are our family, part of our body, we suffer when they suffer.

Jesus, you told us this could happen:
That friendship with you could earn the hatred of the world,
And that we could expect people to persecute your followers
As they persecuted you.

So we pray for just governments to replace unjust ones,
That people of all faiths could worship in peace.
We pray for protection for our brothers and sisters,
That they would be saved from unjust persecution.

But we also pray that our fellow Christians would be filled with hope
That to die in this world means to live with you.
We pray they would be filled with love, even for those who imprison and kill them,
As you loved us when we hated you.
We pray they would be filled with courage, to share your good news
With people who desperately need it.
We pray that their witness would bring the growth of Christianity in their nations,
And that your kingdom would grow among the people most desperate to stamp it out.
We pray this in the name of Jesus, the King of life and death. Amen.

Image: “The Martyrs in the Catacomb,” by Jules Eugene Lenepveu. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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