(Voice of the Persecuted) Recently I received an invitation to go on a conference call and pray for repentance concerning the wildfires in California. One of the prayer points concerning repentance is that America has not stood with Israel. I find this interesting since according to PM Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu and many Israelis, President Trump is the best friend Israel ever had.
In my experience of praying on conference calls, I’ve found that Israel has more intercessors than tortured, imprisoned and endangered believers in Christ. I facilitate Persecution Watch, one of the few, likely the only conference call in North American that specifically prays for the persecuted church. By God’s grace we have labored for over 8 years in his mandate to intercede for those in the shadow of the cross, and that with a faithful, few intercessors.
I continually hear and am told that we must pray for Israel, the apple of God’s eye. At the risk of being construed as Anti-Semitic, I must ask what about the persecuted bride of Christ? Who intercedes for them as He intercedes for us? Given their experience of persecution, even Jewish people wonder why the West doesn’t have more concern for Christians facing extreme abuses, even death.
I do believe that Israel will play a prophetic role in the end times, but I leave that for the experts to work out. I must ask again who stands with persecuted believers, our own family in faith?
The writer of Hebrews tells us, Remember those in prison, as though you were in prison with them, and they mistreated, as though you yourselves were suffering bodily. Hebrews 13:3
We are to remember our persecuted family, at least in our prayers, because we are members of one body. Indeed Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that if one member of the body suffers we all suffer. So how is it that we can easily ignore the wounded part of the Body in Christ?
I find the passages in Matthew 25 regarding the sheep and the goats to be quite sobering. Many of us know these passages found in chapter 25 verses 31-46. Let’s look at how is He’s judging the sheep and the goats. He’s not assessing them on the doctrine they held or their performance of signs and wonders, but if they fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, showed hospitality to the stranger, clothed the naked, took care of the sick, and visited those in prison. He’s judging the sheep and the goats as to whether they practiced the second great commandment, or what is called the royal law. Love your neighbor as yourself. I believe the persecuted bride of Christ is being considered here.
Many cry out for Israel and I respect those who do. Countless churches are active in meaningful outreach programs which I believe demonstrate goodwill and the love expected in our faith. But how often do we hear our pastors leading even a short prayer for the critical numbers suffering for their faith, today? Once a week, once a month, a year, never? To encourage all pastors, we have not met one believer who hasn’t confirmed they would like to hear more about the persecuted in church and to pray with the congregation for them. We thank those of you who are engaging their congregations and lifting up the suffering. We pray more consider to join you.
Will we continue to be silent, or will we speak out and pray for the persecuted? Below is a song written a few years ago at the height of the ISIS persecution of the believers in Iraq. It challenges us to not be silent for our persecuted family.
We stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters who are in the shadow of the cross. I must continue to cry out even though at times I feel as a lone voice in the wilderness.
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