For Persecuted Believers
Read John 17:6–12
In January of 2021, Open Doors released their annual persecuted church watch list. They found that, within a one-year reporting period, more than 340 million Christians were living in countries where they might suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination because of their faith. Open Doors’ research identified that, during the reporting period, 4,761 Christians were killed for their faith, 4,488 churches or Christian buildings were attacked, 4,277 Christians were unjustly arrested, detained, or imprisoned, and 1,710 Christians were abducted for faith-related reasons. On average, every day, 13 Christians are killed for their faith, 12 churches or Christian buildings are attacked, 12 Christians are unjustly arrested, detained, or imprisoned, and five Christians are abducted for faith-related reasons.
In John 17, Christ prays for his believers. Specifically, he prays that they would be kept safe. Christ knows persecution is likely, and he is actually about to be killed. He does not pray that Christians would be great by worldly standards, even with this knowledge. He does not ask for them to have the political influence to topple nations. He prays that they might be kept from sin, strengthened for their duty, and brought safely to heaven. He did not pray that his disciples should be removed out of the world, that they might escape the rage of men. He prayed that the Father would keep them from evil. They are not left here to pursue the same objects as the men around them but to glorify God and serve their generation. (Matthew Henry Commentary)
Today we will Join Christ in praying for believers suffering for their faith.
Father, we lift our brothers and sisters up. You have called us to go into the world, and often the world does not immediately embrace your message. So many of our numbers are suffering because of it. In spite of that suffering. I pray that none of us would lose sight of the hope you give. I pray that you would make us brave and, through your spirit, assure us that what we gain is far greater than anything we could ever lose. I pray that even in the most difficult situations, we would fearlessly tell others about Christ. Father, keep us from evil and help us to never tire of doing good. Be with us every moment and set our hearts on heaven. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.