Today our pastor spoke on Ephesians 3:1-3, but it was the surrounding message of the service that struck me even more than our message. Today we spent time praying for the Persecuted Church around the world. It was sobering to realize that every three minutes a life is ended–often brutally– just because the person believed in Jesus.
To drive that point home when the service began there were thirty lit candles on stage and throughout the worship and message a man silently walked to each candle and snuffed it out–every three minutes, until there were no more lit candles.
In over sixty countries around the world it is illegal to be a Christian. In some countries the punishment is persecution, in others it is death–without question. Voice of the Martyrs categorizes the nations into two categories: Restricted and Hostile, a nation’s category can change from year to year, depending on the laws passed in that country.
It is sobering, even disturbing, that here in America, a country founded on Biblical principles, we think we are being persecuted because someone tells us we shouldn’t display the Ten Commandments. Our brothers and sisters are in prisons, under house arrest, are literally running for their lives- just for professing Christ.
Hebrews 13:3 says, Remember those who are in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourself were suffering... It’s actually the verse that Voice of the Martyrs used as the basis of their ministry.
Brothers and sisters, we need to stand up for those who have no voice and we need to kneel down and pray for them to have the strength to stand up under their persecution.
If you aren’t sure where to start contact Voice of the Martyrs and request a Prayer Map. It will give you a chance to see the countries experiencing persecution and suggest ways to help them and pray for them.
We are not to live this life alone in a bubble waiting for Jesus to return. We are to encourage one another, support one another, and lift up one another in prayer.
(In the time it took me to work on this post over ten of my brothers and sisters stepped into Glory because of their faith.)
Every three minutes.