In the hours leading up to Jesus’ arrest, He went to Gethsemane with His disciples, feeling “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). Jesus, knowing what was about to come upon him, turned to prayer. Prayer was his connection with the Father, and we too can share in this intimacy. The Apostle Paul encouraged the Philippians to bring all requests to God (Philippians 4:6). Corrie ten Boom, who was imprisoned for helping Jews escape the Nazi regime, said, “When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy.” Prayer is a vital part of the Christian walk. Often, the persecuted Christians I meet and hear about have a deep and regular devotion to prayer that is an encouragement and inspiration to me.
The following powerful stories reflect the prayers of persecuted Christians. Let them be an encouragement to your commitment to God and deepen your own prayer life.
Early morning prayer
At 4:30am, Pastor David opens his church in the Philippines for their early morning prayer meeting. For six days a week, around 80 believers come to spend time on their knees in prayer. These prayer warriors are faithful to their commitment to God by interceding for their nation, their families, those who are sick, their evangelical campaigns and their special prayers for those who persecute them. Their church is growing by the grace of God as He hears their faithful petitions every day.
Prayer in the orphanage
The bell rings loudly at 5am at the children’s orphanage in Odisha, India and the young children eagerly go from their beds to join others in praise and worship to the Lord Jesus. Their songs of praise are sung with such conviction in their hearts and their prayers are deep and meaningful for their lives in the community affected by persecution. These young believers have no parents but have a loving Father in heaven that listens to the praise and their prayers every morning.
Jalena, a Filipino Christian in the restricted region of Mindanao, regularly enters a shop run by Muslim workers. This poses a great risk to her because Christians are often attacked by Muslim extremists. Jalena started to get to know Carmelita, one of the Muslim workers, and told her about Jesus, adding that she prayed for her every day. One day Carmelita asked, “Is it true that your God heals?” This led to Jalena praying for Carmelita’s mother, who was healed. Later Carmelita and her family turned to Jesus.
A prayer of forgiveness
Andre was only a child when his parents were brutally murdered by their Muslim neighbour for being Christians. In time, Andre was able to forgive his parents’ killer. He said, “I prayed to Lord for forgiveness and that he would heal my heart wounds. I wanted him to take my anger and revenge out from my heart. Our God has transformed my life.”
A father’s prayer
My dear son,
I love and miss you very much. How are you now? Do you miss me? I remember that when I was arrested and jailed in the re-education camp, you were only five years old. You went to visit me at the camp and after the visiting hours were over, I had to return to my detention room and you followed me. But when I went inside the gate, a gatekeeper didn’t allow you to follow me anymore and you stood there to watch me go to my room.
My dear son, since that time I cannot sleep well because I love and miss you very much, and now you and your sister are grown up. I believe the two of you have changed very much. How about your study? Is it good? I hope that you study hard. In the school, you have to obey your teacher, and at home you need to obey your mother, sister, grandfather, aunt and uncle. You must give a hand to help with housework and love your sister. You should study the Bible, go to the church, and also pray for me. God is always with us and listens to our prayers every day.
My dear son! Let’s trust God and study His Word as much as possible because His Word is the light for you and me forever.