CALL TO PRAYER: For persecuted believers
OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) -- In the last few hours I have received information that the persecution of the churches in Egypt is even far worse than many media reports suggest. The potential for a massive bloodbath is great and growing. Virtually nothing is as vital as fervent intercession for persecuted believers and Gospel witness to their persecutors. Our brothers and sisters in Egypt and other lands of persecution are truly on the front line of spreading Christ's Gospel. I also encourage specific prayers for Saeed Abedini (American pastor imprisoned in Iran) and Kenneth Bae (American missionary imprisoned in North Korea).
Consider these Scriptures:
The reminder of Hebrews 13:2: "Remember the prisoners as if chained with them -- those who are mistreated -- since you yourselves are in the body also."
The prayer of Jesus in John 17:20-21: "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word: that they all may be one, as You Father are in Me and I in You that they may also be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me."
The words of the apostle Paul: "And if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it.... But now indeed there are many members yet one body" (1 Corinthians 12:20a, 12:26a).
Little is more urgent than intense intercession for lands of persecution. Conversely, little could be a greater failure than to give only casual thought to our brothers and sisters on the front lines. Let us fast, pray and raise our voices for Christ's church in this critical day! May it not be said of us, "I was in prison and you visited Me not" (Matthew 25:43).
On this coming Sunday, Aug. 18, and for coming weeks I urge all believers to unite in fervent intercession for Christ's church and the Gospel witness in Egypt and other lands of persecution. In addition to praying for oppressed believers, we must pray for the conversion of their persecutors. The following Scripture-based prayers are drawn largely from the book, "Praying God's Heart in Times Like These." Feel free to use them in any way God leads. May He find us faithful co-laborers in prayer in these critical days.
Prayers for Persecuted Believers and Their Persecutors
1. Pray for overwhelming grace and God's manifest presence to surround the persecuted believers of Egypt and similar nations. Pray for special grace and protection for the children and their parents (Psalm 91; 2 Corinthians 12:9).
2. Pray that believers are delivered from the evil one. Pray that they be guarded and protected from the world and darkness (Matthew 6:13; John 17:12-15).
3. Pray that their faith would not fail and their Gospel witness shines bright. Pray that they come through the trials as shining gold and that their eternal reward would be great (Job 23:10; Matthew 5:16; Luke 22:32).
4. Pray that they love their enemies and not succumb to hate and vengeance. Pray that our own hearts would not yield to anger and rage at those who attack and mock Christian beliefs (Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:17-19; 1 Peter 3:9).
5. Pray for God's wisdom and direction in the actions of missionaries and persecuted saints (Psalm 23; Psalm 32:8; James 1:5).
6. Pray for supernatural provision for believers' emotional, spiritual and physical needs. Pray especially for the children (Philippians 4:19).
7. Pray for millions of eyes to be opened, for Christ's Gospel to shine bright and run swiftly through the lands of persecution. Pray that millions will be drawn to Christ (John 6:44; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2).
8. Pray for God's mercy on the persecutors and that their eyes be opened to Christ (Luke 23:24; Acts 7:58-60).
9. Pray for great strength and wisdom for authorities in Egypt who stand for fairness and order. Pray that reasonable people would resolve to protect the oppressed and bring peace (Proverbs 16:7; 1 Timothy 2:2).
10. Pray for American believers to fast and intercede for persecuted believers and missionaries worldwide. Pray that we will support our brethren and the spread of Christ's gospel with our very lives and resources. May God grant us the same resolve to stand boldly for Christ in our own land of growing darkness. Pray that we will be bold in our faith, strong in joy, fervent in mission and yearning for Christ's coming! (2 Corinthians 8:1-8; Matthew 5:11-12; Acts 1:8; Revelation 22:20-21).
Gregory Frizzell leads the prayer and spiritual awakening initiatives of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (www.bgco.org). This column is part of the call to prayer issued by Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, to pray for revival and spiritual awakening in our churches, our nation and our world during 2013. Baptist Press is carrying First-Person articles during the year encouraging Southern Baptists in specific areas and for specific needs to pray to the Father for spiritual awakening.