As though you were there too

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”  Heb 13:3

I had the opportunity this past weekend along with my wife to attend a one day conference in South Carolina put on by the great organization Voice of the Martyrs.  It was an incredible time to hear stories from people who have suffered for their faith and service to God while sharing the gospel to those who need to hear it.  One lady, Gracia Burnham was captured along with her husband Martin by a militant group of Muslims for around 7 to 8 months suffering through starvation and exhaustion, and ultimately leading to the death of Martin.  Petr Jasek, while visiting some persecuted Christians in Khartoum, Sudan was arrested and convicted of espionage and spent over a year in prison due to his service. These are just two of the stories told of courage and dedication proclaiming the gospel in hostile areas.

There are many Christians around the world who are suffering through intense persecution simply because they are Christians.  There are stories from North Korea, Iran, Syria, Turkey and many other places where Christians are in constant danger of imprisonment, torture and even death simply because they follow Jesus and have given their lives over completely to His service.  They are on the front lines and need our support and encouragement.  So, what can we do?

First, we must not close our eyes and ears to their struggle.  I have heard too many people say they do not want to hear about them because it is unsettling.  One walked away from a discussion regarding the topic because it took away her joy.  We need to know what is going on in this world regarding our brothers and sisters in Christ so we will know how to pray.  We need to understand their struggle in order for us to relate with them, weeping with them during the difficult times, and rejoicing with them in the blessings they receive in their work. I encourage you to go out to the Voice of the Martyrs site at https://www.persecution.com/.  I know it will help you understand the trials many of our brothers and sisters endure for the cause of Christ.

Second, we must spend concerted time in prayer for those who are persecuted for their faith.  They need our support and need to know we are with them through these difficult times.  We are to love our brothers and sisters all over the world as we do our own family, essentially because we are all in one family, the family of God.  We are all a part of the body of Christ and therefore should have compassion for those who are suffering.  If we will allow God to help us relate to their circumstances, we will definitely know what to pray for and maybe help friends and family members of those who are on the front lines in their concern and worries.

Please take the time to learn more about God’s work around the world, and those places which are dangerous for Christians to live and minister.  If you have either an android or apple phone, download the Voice of the Martyrs app.  It has a nation a day to pray for around the world as well as information on that country so you will know what and how to pray.  I know it will be an incredible blessing to you.  And as the writer of Hebrews said, pray for them as though you are with them and going through the same thing.  For in a sense we are, for we are all a member of the body of Christ.

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