...He alone has ransomed people
from every tribe, language, people, and nation.
Remember those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body (Hebrews13:3).
During October, nine churches in Indonesia were demolished because of religious violence. The following quotation describes the situation there. It is taken from the website of Open Doors, a nondenominational organization that has supported persecuted Christians worldwide for over 60 years.
- “Nine churches in Aceh province were torn down from October 19 to 23, following religious violence on October 13 that left a church burned, a person dead and an estimated 8,000 Christians displaced. All refugees have been deported by the government. Apart from 10 unlicensed churches previously listed for closure, Muslim extremists demanded that two other churches, which were known for their big congregations, be demolished by October 23. ‘Or else, the radicals will deploy around 7,000 people [to attack],’ said Rudy* (not his real name), a local church activist. The government gave in to the demand.”
This story is one more reason why today’s focus is on persecuted Christians around the world. In partnership with churches globally, we humbly obey the explicit command from the Book of Hebrews, quoted above, to “remember” sisters and brothers who are being mistreated for their faith.
Here is a summary of why and how we should pray, taken again from Open Doors:
- “Many persecuted Christians feel isolated and alone, since they are unable to fellowship with other believers. Prayer is vital—not only as a direct line to God, but as a way to encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us that we are one body—when one member suffers, we all suffer. When one member is lifted up, we all rejoice. Persecuted Christians and Christians in the free world are not two separate entities, but rather are one body. The persecuted church needs the free church to support and lift them up in prayer. The church in the free world learns lessons from the persecuted who have stood strong in the face of persecution. Christ is the head of the body and uses the church (both free and persecuted) in unique and powerful ways.”
Brothers and sisters, let us pray for persecuted Christians. Let us pray not just this morning but throughout this week. Let us pray and pray and, when we have prayed, pray again.