Praying For The Persecuted

November 1, 2015
by Lori Ciccanti

John 21:18 – Truly, I tell you emphatically, when you were young, you would fasten your belt and go wherever you liked. But when you get old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten your belt and take you where you don't want to go. (ISV)

John 15:18 – If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. (ESV)

Either today or next Sunday, many Christians around the globe will observe the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. This practice not only comforts those who are suffering, but it unites believers worldwide in taking a stand together for the sake of the gospel. Since the first century, it's been estimated that 43 million Christians have been martyred; thousands more have been intimidated and abused. Now, however, we have reached a critical time in church history as 200 million people face persecution every day simply because of their faith in Jesus Christ; sixty percent of those people are children.

The apostle Paul reminds us of the importance of prayer:

Romans 15:30 – I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. (NIV 2011)

If you are wondering how you can pray more specifically for the needs of those who are victims of injustice, here are some suggested ways that we can pray for the persecuted church, based on the power of God's Word:

  • Pray as if it were you – "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 NIV 2011)
  • Pray that persecuted believers would know the hope that God gives – "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people." (Ephesians 1:18 NIV 2011)
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will strengthen them – "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." (Ephesians 3:16 NIV)
  • Pray that they would know how much God loves them – "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." (Ephesians 3:17b-18 NIV 2011)
  • Pray that they would know how to share the gospel – "Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains." (Ephesians 6:19-20a NIV 2011)
  • Pray for believers who have been rejected by family. Ask the Lord to surround them with a new Christian "family".
  • Pray that God will provide them with jobs and safe places to live.
  • Pray for their persecutors. Remember the apostle Paul's testimony: "Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief." (1 Timothy 1:13 NIV).
  • Pray that God will deliver them from their enemies – "Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel." (Psalm 71:4 NIV 2011)
  • Lastly, ask how you may be an advocate for the persecuted.

Prayer: Almighty God, look with favour on all those who suffer persecution for Your name's sake. Grant them the grace to endure their trials with courage, patience, and the hope of deliverance. Keep their minds focused on You, O Lord, through the peace which surpasses all human understanding. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <dlalsina@mchsi.com>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen to your prayer.


    Great instructions Lori.


    What a wonderful selection of verses.


    This is well written. It WILL certainly help me. Thank you.


    Thanks for a good reminder today Lori. I have printed this one off.


    Amen. Oh Lord deliver those who are being persecuted. Amen and Amen.


    Let’s pray, also, for the many people of other religious traditions who are also persecuted for their faith.
    (AB, CANADA)


    Thank you Lori for focusing on the persecuted in today’s devotional. The level of oppression today is hard to believe and seems to be more widespread than before. I will save these topics and pray them often. Thanks.


    Thanks, Lori,
    We are printing this to help us to pray more specifically for the needs of so many suffering people.
    May the LORD bless you richly.


    Lori, It’s a shame you even have to write a devotional about this.
    Unfortunately, you do. It’s the way of the world today. But I like the way you’ve listed the things to pray for. It does make a lot of sense.
    Hopefully people will heed these signs and respond quickly. God Bless.


    Lori – You have given us some sober statistics; the situation of the persecuted is so dire in many places around the world.
    I pray that we will take the plight of our brothers and sisters seriously; asking the Lord to give them comfort and protection.
    Thank you for giving us several ways we can actively be a part in helping the plight of those who are suffering for Him.


    Thanks Lori – When I think of all the persecution to Christians it confirm all the more the truth of the gospel. And the mystery of the rapture I Corinthians 15:51-52; I Thessalonians 4:15-17. This is a comfort v.18. I believe God is going to speak once again real soon and judgement will begin on this unbelieving world.
    I believe persecution to Christians in Canada is not far off.
    Thanks again Lori.


    Emailing you to thank you for your input of today’s devotional. It is uplifting as well as encouraging. Reminders of scriptural instruction is what we all need daily. My heart is to serve the Lord in whatever He chooses. Father great or small we are all needed to keep one another Lifted up and to be a light to guide others to the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Bless you and may our Father encourage you daily.


    Good morning, Lori. Once again you have, as it is often claimed, hit the ‘nail’ right on the head, with a subject that we who call ourselves Christians must deal with as we associate with dear friends and family every day. Our reference in casual conversation to our local church activities, or how much better our unruly world of today would if the Christian Church evidenced the dominant religion, invitations to join us some time for church all seems to fall on deaf ears. On it goes with discouragement at times.
    As you have listed I can offer no other initiative as we daily support it with strong faith, good works, unstained thoughts and pleasing behaviour. I say, “Thank you, Lori, for continuing to press onward”.


    Thanks Lori. You always show me new ways of looking at things and help me grow. I love your teachings.


    Dear Lori,
    A heart-felt and very practical devotional.
    Thanks.
    I prayerd through your list of prayers for the persecuted.
    And I have marked it so I can go back to use it again and again.
    Dear God, please bless those suffering in the world. Grant them your power and patience and forthright power of evangelism.
    Keep writing, Lori.

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