For more on my Lenten Focus, see my Ash Wednesday post. A quick summary is that I am spending Lent fasting and praying for the Persecuted Church, and I invite you to join me.
Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve highlighted 30 of the 50 countries on Open Doors’ World Watch List. I’ve looked at countries with severe and horrific oppression like North Korea and Sudan. I’ve highlighted the plight of refugees and women. Thursday another massive attack on Christians happened in Kenya–a country that is mostly Christian. Muslim extremist from Somalia crossed the Kenya border and attacked Garissa University. 147 students were killed in the attack which began at an early morning Christian prayer service.
We’re seeing this more and more: violence spilling over borders, attacks and persecution of Christians in countries where they are not a minority population oppressed by their government. Most likely, today will bring more attacks on Christians because the enemies of Christ revel in hitting the Church on her holy days. From war in Yemen to the almost certain coming nuclear arms race in the Middle East, the area of the greatest concentration of Christian persecution is becoming more and more unstable, a situation that leads to even more persecution. Likewise, it seems that there will be more instability in East Asia.
Frankly, I’ve had to battle against the tendency to despair in writing these blog posts. (And then against guilt because I’m just reading and writing about distressing events, I don’t actually have to live it. Suck it up, April!) We are called to “Remember those in chains” and to think on “whatever is lovely, whatever is holy, whatever is of good report.” Sometimes it seems impossible to do both.
But I think my sin of despair in this area points to the wider sin of the church and the reason we do not speak much of the Persecuted Church: we have no faith. We don’t really believe in the prayer is effective. From a human perspective, the situation looks dire for the Church in many places. Article after article announces the all but complete extermination of the Church in places where it has been established for hundreds and hundreds of years. The events we see and hear about are more convincing to us than the promises of the Word of God. Oh, we of little faith. We are told to pray in faith, not in despair. We are to pray in faith believing that what God has said about his Church is true.
The online drivers ed is interactive and cheap women viagra is prepared by technical wizards and trained drivers, using brilliant and creative ideas. There is a number of treatments available for treating erectile free cialis sample dysfunction as well. PDE5, as you probably already know, is an enzyme that destroys see this link levitra 40 mg the cyclic guanosine monophosphate compound and eventually leads to difficulty in erection maintenance. Manufacturing of this drug is completely in accordance free viagra samples donssite.com with their clinical practioner. What have I learned during this Lent as I’ve prayed for the Persecuted Church? I’ve learned that the lives of millions of Christians are difficult and dangerous and becoming more so every day. And I’ve learned that my faith is very small. Although I say “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church” and “God will preserve his Bride,” I think . . . maybe not. Maybe the Church is going extinct in certain areas of the world, and there is nothing that can be done to stop that. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.
Where do I go from here? Well, I think I’m going to try that praying in faith thing. I’m going to continue to pray for the Church, believing that God is faithful to his people and is working though I may not see it. I’m also going to be praying for material ways to help the Persecuted Church, and there are a lot of great ministries out there through which I can do that. Below are the tools I’m going to use from some of the ministries that I have found helpful over the course of this series.
A monthly prayer calendar from Open Doors.
Voice of the Martyrs has a smartphone app with a daily prayer focus.
International Christian Concern sends out a weekly email of prayer points.
If you know of an organization helping the Persecuted Church or a resource to help Christians pray, please post it in the comments. And don’t despair, Easter is coming.