A Prayer for Christians Suffering Persecution

O Father in Heaven, how shall we pray?

We who dwell in safety hear the cries of those who fall beneath the blade; surely, You hear them, too! And here we reside in the land of safety where you have stationed us for this day to bear witness to the suffering of our brothers and sisters and to intercede for those that remain.

Now, as never before, we see our limitations, we know too well that we are not God. We feel helpless in the face of their destruction. We feel angry at the relentless cruelty of those that cut them down. And we see, more than ever, our need for you to strengthen us for this time, to grant us wisdom in our response, to forgive us our own trespasses, and to act on behalf of those who live in the path of the sword. Lord, hear our prayer:

From Psalm 3

“O Lord, how many are our foes! Many are rising against us; many are saying of our souls, there is no salvation for them in God. (Selah) But you, O Lord, are a shield about us, our glory, and the lifter of our heads. We cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered us from his holy hill. (Selah)

We lay down and slept; we woke again, for the Lord sustained us. We will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against us all around. Arise, O Lord! Save us, O our God!

From Psalm 5

“Give ear to our words, O Lord; consider our groaning. Give attention to the sound of our cries, our King and our God, for to you do we pray. O Lord, in the morning you hear our voices;

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.”

From Psalm 10

Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In arrogance, the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.

In the pride of his face, the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them. He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places, he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

From Psalm 12

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord“; I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

And Lord, have mercy on us all. It is not in our name we come boldly before Your throne but in the name of Jesus Christ. May even the enemy be turned from their ways and know the salvation of the Lord through Jesus Christ. May those who love and follow you receive your comfort, your presence in their time of trouble, and escape from their distress.

As for us, who dwell in safety, we thank you, O Lord, for our lives and the lives of our children. Show us how to serve You and to serve those who suffer for your name. Help us not to take our safety for granted. It is a gift from You that we offer You now to serve those who live in bondage for Your names’ sake. Teach us how to live in these times. Teach us how to pray. Teach us to love, to forgive, to intercede, and to stand strong in the name of Jesus when the sword is at our own door.

Have mercy on us all, in the name of Jesus. Arise, O Lord, and awaken your people both in the land of safety and in the path of the sword. Awaken us all in the name and power of Jesus Christ in whose name we pray, Amen.

(a prayer by Lori Stanley Roeleveld; photo by gmarcelo via stock.xchng)

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