The Sound Of Silence

November 2, 2014
by Lori Ciccanti

Proverbs 31:8 – Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. (NIV 2011)

Proverbs 24:11-12 – Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done? (NIV 2011)

International Christian Concern is one of several ministries committed to raising awareness of the plight of persecuted Christians worldwide. Every year, they put together a free resource kit designed specifically for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church; it includes a variety of materials such as persecution facts, Scriptures, and answers to frequently asked questions. But despite their best efforts, many still haven't heard about the daily atrocities being carried out against thousands of believers, especially in the Middle East and Africa. Unfortunately, the mainstream news does not give adequate attention to their story.

Meanwhile, Christians are being persecuted in approximately 130 countries. Record numbers of them have already been forced to leave their homes; their properties have been destroyed, as well as their churches. Many are imprisoned or put to death due to unjust charges of blasphemy, illegally spreading the gospel, or simply attending church. Because they are looked upon as second-class citizens, they also experience employment discrimination, limited education, poverty, and harassment from society in general.

Concerning this on-going crisis, I read an interesting devotional entitled, "Speak on behalf of those who suffer." The author, Paul Estabrooks, made this thought-provoking statement: "It is hard to believe that Christians are the largest persecuted group in the world today. But it is even more difficult to believe that this is so seldom mentioned in our gatherings and church services. More Christians know the names of their favorite actors than their fellow believers who are in prison." Then, I came across another article by Fox News contributor, Kirsten Powers, that included a similar message. She wrote these startling words: "The silence in the churches is almost deafening."

So, what can individuals and churches do to help the persecuted? First, be informed so that you can pray for their specific needs. Sign up for monthly newsletters and prayer emails through ICC or other mission groups. You will become familiar with the personal stories of prisoners like Asia Bibi, a young mother sentenced to death in Pakistan, and Saeed Abedini, an American pastor who is imprisoned for sharing the gospel in Iran. Secondly, be a voice for the voiceless; social media can provide a good platform to educate the public. Thirdly, encourage your church to get involved with advocacy, assistance projects, and/or fundraising. Finally, sign petitions or call legislators asking them to take action on this important cause.

Let us think about how we can make a difference in the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. How might God be urging you to answer this call?

Prayer: Lord, we thank You that You Yourself experienced rejection, persecution, and death for our sakes. May the church which shares in Your sufferings continue to flourish and grow despite heavy afflictions. Strengthen all victims of intolerance with the hope and peace that can come only from You. Bring all members of Your body together in serving our brothers and sisters who desperately need our help, and lead their oppressors towards Your mercy and love. 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:

    Well done good and faithful servant!


    Very informative and challenging Lori.


    Good devotional this morning bringing an awareness of the plight of our brothers and sisters in Christ. May God direct our actions.


    So well said Lori and I pray more people will get involved in the churches and prayer groups in this country, where we can still be Christians without persecution.


    Thank you, Lori, for speaking out boldly for our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.
    Blessings.


    Lori, what you have written is exactly what is happening today in our world. Unfortunately, most of it is very true. We have become a materialistic society. I’m hoping that people will do what you have recommended to help combat some of these atrocities mentioned. God Bless.


    Lori, What you have written is very true. Unfortunately, we live in a materialistic society. My hope is that people will heed what you have recommended and apply some of those things into their daily lives. It is never too late. Keep writing. I believe the inspirations will continue to help those in need. God Bless.


    Dear Lori,
    Thank you for speaking up on this issue. We need to lend our voices by encouraging everyone to pray regularly for our brothers and sisters. Prayer should be done regularly in our churches and homes.
    May you be blessed richly for encouraging us to be aware and to act on behalf of the persecuted.


    Hello Lori
    It seems to me that we should not limit our prayers to just concern for our Christian brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith.
    We should be praying for all persons (Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Bhuddists, etc.) who are being persecuted because of their beliefs.


    Lori I woke up this morning and read your message. Real powerful. You are so right. We rarely give this a thought. Our group was discussing how persecution that we suffer in US is non existent compared to the days of Jesus. In our discussion I brought up the plight of the Christians in North Korea who were in prison for having 15 bibles. Thanks for making us aware. We do need to step up and embrace this challenge.


    Thought provoking Lori. Well done.
    Blessings.


    Thank you for your devotional. So often I find my thoughts occupied with myself, my struggles, my petty annoyances. Your devotional helped remind me of the big picture. Yes, we need to pray for the suffering church. We need to identify with her brothers and sisters in Christ and to take some kind of action. Thank you for this reminder.


    A burning subject to live with.
    The suffering church repeated in history.
    Hear our prayers, Lord!
    If possible, and in Your will, remove the evil in this world and among its people and change it to good will and peace among all men! We pray in Jesus name!
    By the grace of God!
    Thank you Lori to pen out the sound of silence.
    God bless you!


    Thank you Lori for this devotional. The “CHURCH” really needs to read your devotional, to be reminded of what they should be doing, praying for one another as instructed in First Corinthians 12:26-27. Although we should pray for all people, there are times we need to take time to pray just for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus as our example in John 17:9-10. We pray for the body of Christ, for Christ is glorified in them, then we can pray for the world (unsaved people) Thank you Lori for your Biblical backed, and informative Devotional!

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