Today is a day of prayer.
A day of prayer for two very important groups who are at the very heart of God.
Today is IDOP. Or International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
It is also National Orphan Sunday. (But since the entire month is National Adoption Month- I will talk about that in upcoming posts. )
Which means people all over the country and the world are lifting up our suffering brothers and sisters as well as the millions of orphans in the world. Will you?
The Lord has given me such a passion and burden for the ones who suffer for His sake. As I talk to some Christians, it seems that they are completely oblivious to the suffering going on outside of the U.S. - either that or they just don't think they can do anything about it. I mean what can we possibly do right? Does susuffering still exist in our modern times? Does scripture even talk about this?
Well, here is a little taste of what you will find. There are many more...
"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him" Philippians 1:29
But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." 1Peter 2:20-21
"However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. " 1Peter 4:16
"I know your afflictions and your poverty--yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:9-10
And the call to ALL believers:
"Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." Hebrews 13:3
Will you join us in praying and lifting up our sisters and brothers who are being beaten, tortured, imprisoned and even killed for the sake of Christ? And not just today. But everyday.
If this is at all suprising to you, I suggest you do some reading in your free time. Actually I think you should MAKE time to read some of this. It will open your eyes. Most of us do not truly know what it means to follow Christ as those who are persecuted do.
The Heavenly Man
I read this book several years ago and it has changed my life. My eyes were opened to the underground church in China and the persecution of true followers of Christ. It is an amazing, practically unbelievable story of Brother Yun. You'll have to read it for yourself.
EVERY believer should read this book. Well, that is every believer who is not content with a life of complacency. This is also by Brother Yun and it is a powerful devotional that will challenge and convict you to really live out your faith. I love this book and have given away several as gifts and will probably continue to do so for a long time!
Although this is a fiction book, it is so very close to the real thing that it seems the only thing made up are the names and provinces. The story will grip you and once again your eyes will be opened to the persecuted church in China.
Foxe Book of Martyrs and Extreme Devotion
The first gives you a glimpse into the history of Christians who were martyred starting with the apostles and the second book has 365 daily devotional type stories of real martyrs today. You can get both together for a good price from Voice of the Martyrs by clicking on the link above.
Speaking of Voice of the Martyrs, you must read Tortured for Christ: the story of Richard Wurmbrand who was the founder of VOM. I challenge you to read this book and then try to ignore what is going on with the persecuted church. You won't be able to do it. You can get this for FREE on the VOM website as well.
Or read with your kids about Brother Andrew the Bible smuggler who founded Open Doors, Jim Elliot and Nate Saint missionaries who were killed by Auca Indians in Ecuador and you can learn more about by watching End of the Spear. (we have this movie which is a more appropriate for younger viewers.) Or any of the books in this series are wonderful read-alouds.
There are sooo many more, and I will have to mention them some other time but that should give you a good start for now :)
If you want to know how to pray much more specifically and have faces to pray for- go sign up for the VOM monthly newsletter and the Prisoner Alerts by email at Persecution.com
Open Doors is another awesome ministry as well.
You can even send a letter to a prisoner or their family and have your kids draw a picture to send with it. Get them involved in remembering the persecuted church as well.
Ok did I give you enough links yet?!!
Seriously if you are reading this- leave a comment and tell me that you went to altleast ONE of these links in this post...
I found this video that a church had made for IDOP. Kinda sums it all up. What are you doing about it?