Why Pray? Why we should pray for the Persecuted Church...
Recently I was in a Christian town which was totally destroyed in one night by a wild Muslim mob, leaving 10,000 - 20,000 Christians homeless, and all their possessions ruined. We had a big gathering of Christians and Muslims right afterward, and we spoke about forgiveness and reconciliation.
Why? Because life goes on even during and after presecutiion. We have to look for those opportunities, not just the needs, not just the crises, but the opportunities and solutions that God gives to those who are dedicated to Him.
On that same day, I received a telephone call from the main Imam (Muslim Leader) of that country. He said, "Brother Andrew, can you please come and pray with me? I am very sick." So I decided to take a local pastor with me who had just been released from prison - a man who had suffered because of Muslims. Together, along with other members of our Open Doors team, we went to see him. There I explained exactly who Jesus was. I gave testimony of my personal faith in Christ.
Then I began to pray and I laid my hands on this Imam. As I was praying I felt a hand on top of my hand. It was the pastor who had juts come from prison. What a perfect illustration of the teachings of Jesus: Pray for those who persecute you.
Christians have an answer in those siutations that the world does not know anything about. As followers of Christ, we must take a bold step: we must shed the 'enemy image' we have of those who persecute us. The moment we have an enemy image of anyone, God's love can no longer work through us to reach them!
We must pray for and even love those who hate us.
So in reality, the way Christians live out their lives before others is the most powerful message we can share. It far transcends the words or methods we may try to employ to impact a needy world in the face of the callenging question, "Who is God?"
Christians must be able to point to our hearts and say, "Here is God! He lives in me. And I am willing to die for Him and I'm also willing to die for you, because that's what He did for us on the cross at Calvary."
Nothing else will work in this age of confrontation unless and until every Christian is not only willing to give their lives, but one day actually does it.
I challenge the Christians of the world to pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters, to act on their behalf and to live out the life of Jesus in this needy world around us.
Only then will we see a radical change in the lives of people. Only then will we see the love of Christ replace the hatred of this world.