Around the world, many believers are persecuted -- imprisoned, even killed -- for their faith.
Since Jesus laid down His life, 43 million Christians have become martyrs.
Right now 200 million people face persecution for believing in Jesus and 60% of those people are children, according to Christians in Crisis International Ministry, a prayer advocacy ministry for persecuted believers.
Sara (not her real name) knows first hand what it is like to be persecuted. The week before Sara and her husband planned to open a Bible School, 4 men attacked their family with metal hatchets.
Because of the attacks, Sara had 3 skull fractures, a punctured eardrum, internal bleeding and needed stitches badly.
"Before the attacks, I considered myself sensitive to the persecuted church," Sara said. "But then I woke up one night and I was one." The experience strengthened Sara's resolve to support those suffering for their faith.
Because the New Testament was written to persecuted believers, it is filled with examples of how to pray for our brothers and sisters under attack.
Here are 5 examples from Ephesians:
To create additional ways to pray from the Bible, take any book from the New Testament (except the gospels). Search for verses with the word "pray." Then use those verses to create prayer requests, just as in the 5 examples above.
Along with the example prayers in the Bible, there are some practical needs persecuted believers would love your prayers for:
Learn more ways to pray for the persecuted church and read news alerts on current crises by visiting the Web site for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
"These people we call the persecuted church are people just like us," Sara says, remembering when she was attacked. "We need to pray for them. It weighs on them when they know the police are after them, but it also weighs on them when they can't feed their families."
"When we support them, it sends them the message 'I am not forgotten -- not by God and not by my brothers and sisters."
Find a list of other Christian organizations united to help in these ways and more at www.opendoorsusa.org/resources.
Ever wonder why you should gather to pray with others? See what the Bible has to say.
"My prayers were full of my worries, my problems, my needs and desires. I was so obsessed with myself I could barely enjoy God and pray for others. It was convicting to say the least."
Extremely practical how’s and why’s for living out our faith in community.
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