The Bible says the prayers of the righteous availeth much (James 5:16). Recently, I have been reading about North Korea, and other places in the world where Christians are persecuted and oppressed. Open Doors states the following: “In practice, civilians do not have any rights. There is no freedom to build churches or to worship in homes. Possession of a Bible or Christian materials is illegal and punishable by death. The proclamation of the Gospel is strictly forbidden. Christian parents can’t even share their beliefs with their children until they are old enough to understand the dangers. Christians are viewed as ‘a danger to society’ or ‘spies of the traitorous West.'”
“For Christians inside North Korea their fear has increased as the government has mandated all the people to bow down to the gods of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un and participate in the celebration,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller. [Full story]
Many Christians are thrown into prisons with deplorable conditions. However, the church is still growing there. It has been estimated that there are about 200, 000 – 400, 000 underground Christians there (some of which are in prison).
In Nigeria, the pastor, as well as 20 worshippers were killed during an attack . In Egypt, countless of our brothers and sisters there face persecution by their Muslim neighbours.
I am thankful to the Lord that I am not under such trials (maybe not yet), but that doesn’t mean I must sit back and just feel sorry for my brothers and sisters around the world, there is always something we can do and the best I can think of is prayer. Jesus, God Himself, prayed while He was on Earth. Jesus set an example for us that we must live a life of continuous prayer. Let’s pray that God’s will be done in not only our lives, but also the lives of our brothers and sisters who are under such heavy trials. Pray for those doing the persecuting, pray that their hearts will be arrested to receive God’s grace. Pray that the examples of our siblings in Christ will minister to the hearts of those doing the persecuting.
I was reading today some chapters in Psalms and I found that these particular verses reached my heart. I also pray that God will:
Psalms 119: 34 Give me understanding and I shall keep Thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments, for therein do I delight. Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, and not to covetousness; turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, and quicken Thou me in Thy way. Establish Thy word unto Thy servant, who is devoted to the fear of Thee. Turn away my reproach which I fear, for Thy judgments are good.
I am again reminded that God is the One doing the changing, causing us to live for Him. Due to our sinful nature we are not naturally inclined to do so. Let’s ask God to incline our hearts toward His statues and not toward selfish gain. It is important that we pray according to His will. James 4:3 says “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Having read that, we see that we can ask for things out of His will or not according to His purpose.
Abraham Lincoln once said “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.”
Best place we can reside is in His presence, talking to Him as part of our daily lifestyle ensures that we become more like Him. How do I know that, well, think about the terms or phrases you often use in your speech. They probably reflect Bible passages or phrases from close friends. God says for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). When we spend time with God, His Spirit deposits truth into our hearts. So let us not neglect our prayer life which is spending time communicating with God. Pray for our siblings in Jesus, pray for those who commit works of inquity, pray for ourselves. In other words, let’s talk to God about what’s going on around us and with us.
A sister says “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 devils shouts for joy.”
Now that doesn’t sound very good. Let’s not forget to live a prayer filled life. Let’s not talk to God only when we feel like it. Remember, the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. Pray for me also that I myself will heed these words.
May the Spirit of God be with you all.