(Sources include: VOM Australia. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)
There is so much going on that it can be easy to forget about our persecuted brothers and sisters.
Below are three reasons why it is important to remember to talk about persecuted Christians with your class or group.
1. Mission is important. It is easy to live in a Christian bubble, where all we think about is ourselves and the people around us. Christianity is so much bigger than this. Our God wants everyone to come to know Him as Lord and Savior, and His church has a responsibility in this (Matthew 28:19).
To do this, we need to pray that the gospel will spread in restricted nations. Check here if you would like to learn about a project that provides Bibles for people in countries where the government tries to stop Christianity from spreading.
2. Jesus’ mission cannot be stopped. Sometimes we may feel like Christianity is not growing. If we feel that way, it is encouraging to learn what is happening in restricted countries. Often in these dark countries, many people are finding hope and security in the love of Jesus. This is found in Scripture. The growth of the early church happened in part because of the persecution after the stoning of Stephen, which drove the early Christians away from Jerusalem (Acts 8:1-2).
3. What should we pray for in difficult times? Why should we pray at all? Prayer is an important part of being a Christian, because we have a God who cares, listens, and answers our prayers. He wants us to pray to Him, but it can be hard to know what to pray for. Learning how to pray is so important, and persecuted Christians show us how to pray in difficult times.
In Ephesians, Paul doesn’t ask for the persecution to stop; instead, he asked for courage. He said, “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. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:19-20). As we are bound with persecuted Christians in prayer, we will gain a bigger view of God’s mission and our part in it.
The more we talk about and pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters, the more we will grow in our relationship with God, and the persecuted church will benefit greatly from our prayers.