For the next ten days, (October 24 - November 2, 2014) we will be praying for the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. (The actual International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church - IDOP - is on November 9, but many begin observing it from November 2-9). Many in the US are being awakened to the persecution of the people of God, due to the sermons of Houston, Texas pastors being demanded in court documents or ordained ministers in Idaho threatened with fines etc. if they do not perform a certain type of wedding. This is mild in comparison to what is taking place around the world, in both atheist countries (like North Korea) and the islamic countries across the Middle East and India.
Before the current persecution of Christians, who have lived outside Baghdad, Iraq and Syria for almost 2000 years, almost 163,000 (according to the British Broadcasting Service and others) are persecuted/martyred each year for being followers of the Son of the One True God - JESUS CHRIST. This is an average of a Christian being persecuted every four minutes or so. As the weeks and months go by, this number is set to increase.
According to OPEN DOORS, which produces the World Wide Watch list annually, North Korea heads up the list of countries with the dubious honor where the Lord is not welcome, in a violent way. Each year, Christians observe the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). This year, it falls on Sunday November 2. So for the next ten days, we offer a series of encouraging prayers, articles and encouraging posts, from different writers, leading up to that day. This day - November 2 - also sees a collection of some of America's top Bible teachers and ministers, led by the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, Pastor Mike Huckabee and others for a nation-wide simulcast at 7 pm EST for a Rally to make a stand for the Gospel and Religious Freedom. We pray for that event as well. Therefore.....
OUR MOST HEAVENLY AND GRACIOUS FATHER, WE COME TO YOU IN THE MIGHTY AND POWERFUL NAME OF OUR GREAT LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST - REVILED AND PERSECUTED BY MEN, YET HE HUMBLED HIMSELF EVEN TO THE CROSS AND PAID THE DEBT FOR ALL MANKIND, FOR ALL TIME, THAT WE MAY BE RECONCILED TO THEE.
FATHER, EVERLASTING FATHER, MOST MERCIFUL GOD IN HEAVEN, WE REMEMBER THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US, AND GIVEN IT ALL FOR THE PRAISE AND GLORY OF THY NAME. FROM STEPHEN TO PETER, PAUL AND THOMAS TO POLYCARP AND THE SAINTS IN THE ROMAN COLOSSEUMS AND THROUGHOUT TWO MILENNIA UNTIL TODAY, WE THANK THEE THAT MANY HAVE COUNTED THE COST OF GIVING ALL FOR THY HOLY NAME, AND HAVE NOW FOUND THE PEACE THAT PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING.
TODAY, OH GOD, WE PRAY MOST URGENTLY FOR THY CHILDREN WHO ARE BRUTALIZED BY THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW YOU IN THE DESERTS OF IRAQ AND SYRIA. LORD WE PRAY FOR THE FAMILIES RIPPED APART. WE PRAY FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN FORCED TO PERFORM HORRIBLE UNSPEAKABLE THINGS. WE PRAY FOR MEN WHO ARE LOSING THEIR LIVES FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL. WE PRAY COMFORT FOR THE CAST-ASIDE; MERCY FOR THE MULTITUDES THERE; PROVISION FOR THE POWERLESS; PROTECTION FOR THE PERSECUTED AND PEACE FOR THE BROKEN-HEARTED.
FATHER, YOU SENT YOUR SON THAT ALL THE WORLD MAY BE SAVED. YOU ALSO SENT HIM TO SET THE CAPTIVES FREE AND BIND UP THE BROKEN-HEARTED. LORD WE PRAY THAT HEALING ON YOUR BODY TODAY AND FOR THE DAYS TO COME. WE PRAY THAT IRAQI AND OTHER CHRISTIANS WILL FIND THE STRENGTH (PHIL 4:13) TO PERSEVERE THROUGH THIS MADNESS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND IF NOT, THAT YOU WILL RECEIVE THEM TRIUMPHANTLY AS YOU RECEIVED STEPHEN IN THE BOOK OF ACTS.
LORD, WE CONTINUE TO LIFT UP OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND THEIR LOVELY CHILDREN, AND WE ALSO PRAY FOR THE CONVERSION TO CHRIST OF THEIR PERSECUTORS, EVEN IN THE MIDST OF THIS OUTRAGE, IN JESUS POWERFUL NAME AND PRESENCE, AMEN.