Like the weird, “doesn’t quite fit in the box evangelical” that I am, I celebrate Lent. And you should, too. I wrote a whole treatise on the whys and wherefores, so if you aren’t convinced by my command, you can read my argument.
This year, the Church is faced with a level persecution that it hasn’t seen for many centuries. No, not us, Americans. We’re only occasionally slightly put out. However, our brothers and sisters throughout the world — but particularly the Muslim world — are persecuted, oppressed, sold into slavery, beaten, raped, and killed.
This year for Lent, I’m going to fast and pray for the Persecuted Church. My plan is to fast lunch and pray. But a fast doesn’t have to be a fast of food. You could fast a television show or other activity, and take the time you’d do that activity to pray. (I think that’s one thing many people who observe Lent miss. Prayer is the other side of the fasting coin, and necessary for the actual purpose of Lent: to grow closer to God and to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Resurrection Sunday.)
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I find it helpful to pray scripture. Voice of the Martyrs Canada has a wonderful list of scriptures to pray. Here’s the printable version that you can stick in your Bible or on your mirror or where ever.
I also find it helpful to pray for specific people. Unfortunately, these days you can find those in need of prayer by reading the daily news. But there are many groups that exist to support the persecuted church and inform the rest of the Church of their needs. Among them, International Christian Concern provides a list of situations and people to pray for, and Voice of the Martyrs has a prayer map.
I don’t normally do the “This is what we should all do!” thing. I share my opinions and what I’m doing, but don’t really want to tell other people how to live life. The thought exhausts me. But Christian, you should do this. I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe if the Church at large prayed daily for the Persecuted Church for (at least!) forty days, we would see that power manifest. And frankly, we’re commanded to remember those who are persecuted.
So, will you pray with me?