In the midst of this most inconsistent of moments with lockdowns lifting and then being lowered again, several things have been consistent for Christians facing persecution for their devotion to Jesus.
Jesus has been a consistent source of hope and comfort. We know that truth biblically but often we wain in our confidence in the heat of the moment. For Christians around the world like Mojtaba from Iran, the absoluteness of that truth is even more true in the crucible of experience. Mojtaba commented that “to lose Jesus would be a greater cost than any other loss.” Jesus is the anchor of hope and is what millions of Christians have remained tethered to throughout this current storm.
Also, consistent has been the pressure of persecution, as under the cloak of coronavirus unmitigated oppression has been laid upon the church. In India, Christians have been denied access to the provision of food, prejudiced against because of their identity as Christians. In South East Asia, Christians have been placed on the frontline of care for coronavirus victims but without the provision of Personal Protective Equipment. In Nigeria, Christians have been attacked with even greater intensity as the authorities have been reluctant to respond to the plight of Christians being attacked by Fulani herdsmen due to fear of exposure to CV19.
How do we pray in such moments? Our brothers and sisters repeatedly adjure us not to pray that persecution would stop, but that they would remain strong in the midst of the storm. Therefore, though CV19 is a whirlwind overlaying the existing storms of persecution, let us pray for the strengthening of the church to stand strong in sharing Jesus, and in being the hands and feet of Jesus in their care for others, including their persecutors.
Let us also pray for the success of provision resourced by the generosity of the global church including many within the UK & Ireland Church, to find its way through to the most needy without delay and obstruction. We heard a story from India of a Pastor and his wife and their children who were praying at the start of the day for miraculous provision as they had no food and no money. At the same time our local church partners on the ground in that region were praying over what direction they should go with the limited resources they had. They felt they should go in the direction which led them to the Pastors village. At sunset as they arrived at this Pastors house, the Pastor and his wife were standing outside their home in prayer and were humbled by this miracle that they experienced of the heart of God through the hand of his people.
Please pray for continued miracle moments and that we, as the church in the UK & Ireland, may be consistent in our prayers and support to strengthen the church to be the church in these most challenging of times and in these most challenging of contexts where persecution is at its most intense.
Source: Open Doors UK