Fifty years ago, the Church was informed of persecution when missionaries visited churches or wrote letters to family and supporters. My great-uncle served in Nicaragua and only visited the States every five years. It could take weeks, even months, to receive information, let alone send aid. In the past, the church did not know a lot, but they prayed earnestly still. Today, we have the time and ability to send assistance, but are we remembering to pray?
Before, if you were talking about the persecuted, you were most likely speaking of someone who had died for their faith: a martyr. Today however, we have the ability to advocate for the oppressed in a manner that might save their life. We are able to receive information, verify its validity, contact world leaders, and send assistance—all in a days’ work. There is help available to the oppressed, thanks to technology.
And yet, there was something powerful happening when the only help the Church could offer was prayer. God was still moving in miraculous ways, when all the Church had to offer was faith. Intercessory prayer, meaning to plead the case of another before God, was a vital part of prayer meetings, even when they didn’t know what to pray or who to pray for.
The book of Acts tells us that it was the prayers of the first century church that freed Peter from prison (Acts 12:5-12). “Constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church,” and the Lord sent an angel to release him from prison. “It is really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!”
Although these advances allow us act quickly and efficiently, the truth is, unless partnered with prayer and faith, they are useless. We can have a large networking group, a vast amount of followers on social media, and the attention of Capitol Hill; but if the Church is not praying, asking the Lord to move, and believing in faith that He will, our retweets are a waste of word count.
Our prayer moves God. Let us not forget that we have the attention of the Lord Almighty, and that this is the greatest tool we have in battling persecution.
So the next time you ‘like’ a Facebook post, retweet a link to a news article, or read through our newsletter, take time to say a prayer for the person or persons in question. You might be surprised what a difference it makes.
Click here if you would like more information on how to pray for the persecuted.