I feel so blessed to live in a country where I can freely worship God at a church of my choice, where Bibles are so easy to find, where I received an excellent public education so I can read the Bible, where I can even freely blog about my personal journey through the Bible. Today’s prompt reminded me not to take those things for granted:
Galatians 5:1 speaks to our freedom in Christ. Take your Bible to a place where you can engage the news of the word…Write a prayer for freedom for those in particular places in our world where violence and oppression reign.
It’s not easy to read stories of Christian persecution, just as it is incredibly hard to reflect on the death of Jesus. But the reality of Easter morning gives me hope that one day prisoners will be set free and broken hearts mended. The persecuted church needs our prayers. I read in a Christianity Today article that 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom violations against Christians in recent memory. There are times when it does seem impossible to reconcile God’s sovereign purposes with what I see happening in the world. My most desperate complaints are often met with silence, not a cold silence but a peaceful silence reminding me of God’s presence even in the midst of the unthinkable.
In response to this prompt, I started following OpenDoors USA on Facebook to keep better up to date on news that often does not make the headlines on major news networks, and I offered this prayer in the margins of my Bible:
Heavenly Father, I pray for those where violence and oppression reign. Pave the way for religious freedom and civil liberties. Strengthen Christians living under persecution by your Holy Spirit. Surround them with love. May Christians easily and safely recognize one another and find support. May they know how to share the Gospel and talk about Jesus. May Christians who have lost friends and family over religion be surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ who will support them physically and emotionally. I pray for the safety of young children and their parents. Shelter young women under your wing and be their protection; assure them of your unending love. I pray that every practical need will be met and also for Bibles and the education to read them. Amen
It’s hard for me to even imagine not having a Bible, not being able to turn to the Words of scripture for encouragement and wisdom for daily living.