Praying for the Persecuted
“It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” (Acts 12:1-5, NIV)
If we’re honest with ourselves we’ll admit pretty quickly that we can’t relate to this…AT ALL. When we talk about being “persecuted” for our faith it’s in terms of being made fun of at school or being passed over for a job or having intellectuals in the media mock us. That’s a form of persecution, for sure, but not on the scale the first church experienced.
Our theology is related to this lack of understanding as well. You can see it in the popular “Left Behind” pre-trib rapture theology or in the “health and wealth” corners…we’re convinced that we won’t have to suffer because of the goodness of God.
Thank God for his goodness and mercy…and thank God for the freedom we have!
But there are Christians today in China that will be arrested because of their faith. And Christians in Indonesia (like the man last week) beheaded because they name Jesus as Lord. Makes me wonder just how strong our faith is here in this country. May the Lord strengthen that faith!
Today, would you please pray for three missionaries for IAS (one of our missions we support) who have been captured and are being held hostage by Somali pirates. May we, like the first church, be found “earnestly praying to God” for them.
I love being your pastor,