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How To Pray For The Persecuted Church

In Ephesians 6:18, the apostle Paul writes to the Ephesian church, telling them to make supplications for all the saints. We pray not just for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ locally but also for the fellow saints in other towns, cities, states, and countries. 1 Timothy 2:1 also tells us that prayers, intercessions, and supplications must be made for all people. Praying and making supplications for all the saints means praying for our fellow believers who are persecuted. These churches may be local or in another nation where Christianity is prohibited. 

It is not surprising that Christians get persecuted because of their faith. Jesus never promised anyone who believes Him an easy life, but rather a life of tribulation and suffering. If Christ suffered, we also ought to suffer because of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The world will hate us because we are in Christ, whom the world also hated. We are in the world, but we are not of this world. Christians who desire to live a righteous life before God do get persecuted. If a Christian is a genuine and faithful Christian whose heart has been changed and who has Christ as his or her greatest treasure, he or she will see suffering for Christ as an honor. The good thing is that in Christ, whatever persecution or tribulation we may face we can take heart because Christ has overcome the world. 

John 16:33

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 15:18-25

18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.

23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

2 Timothy 3:12

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

1 Peter 3:17

For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

1 Peter 4:12-14

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

1 John 3:13

Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

How do you pray for persecuted believers?

Going through persecution is still very hard. Therefore, we must constantly pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are continually persecuted because of their faith. Sometimes when we talk about persecution, what comes into our mind is being teased by other people because we live our lives differently than they do. However, persecution is more extreme in other countries, where Christianity is prohibited, and it may mean death, imprisonment, and other horrible things. The amazing thing is that God’s grace works in the believers who are being persecuted. Despite the intense persecution they are going through, they are zealous for Christ. However, we still have to continuously pray for them and remember them in our prayers.

Ephesians 6:19

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel

1 Thessalonians 5:25

Brethren, pray for us.

Persecution means going through hardships and sufferings in life. Believers may feel anxiety, sadness, and a range of different emotions. Being persecuted is never pleasant. For example, a Christian can be killed or go to prison because of sharing his or her faith, or they may be discriminated against because of it. That is why it is essential to pray for the comfort of fellow believers who are being persecuted.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

Father in heaven, You are the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. I pray for comfort upon our fellow saints going through intense persecution because of their faithfulness toward Your Son, Jesus. Thank You, because You are the One who comforts them in times of affliction. Just as we share in Christ’s sufferings, we too share in comfort. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Another thing that you can pray for the persecuted is for God’s preserving grace to be upon them and that they shall always remain steadfast through the trials they go through. God preserves His elect and gives them the grace never to fall away from the faith no matter hard it is to be a follower of Christ. God’s grace enables believers to run the race and finish it faithfully.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Romans 5:3-5

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Galatians 6:9

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

2 Timothy 2:12

If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

James 1:12

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Hebrews 12:1

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us

Heavenly Father, You are the God Who gives us the grace to persevere. I pray for Your grace upon our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, that they shall persevere no matter what persecutions they go through and that they shall always remain steadfast under any trial. I pray that they continue to endure and run with endurance the race set before us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Even if believers go through suffering, it does not mean that they are hopeless in life. That is what differentiates Christians from those who are not. Those in Christ have joy that can never be taken away from them, no matter what persecution they may go through. They are always content and grateful at heart because Christ is their greatest treasure. In James 1:2-4, James tells us that we are not to be hopeless, sad, or intimidated when we encounter trials of various kinds. Instead, we ought to have joy because the testing of our faith produces steadfastness from which, when we let it have its full effect, we become perfect and lacking in nothing. In other words, trials sanctify us to become more and more like Christ. 

Psalm 16:11

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Romans 12:12

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Romans 15:13

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

James 1:2-4

2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Heavenly Father, You are the God in whom there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. I pray for the persecuted churches that no matter what circumstance they may find themselves in, they shall always be joyful because of the joy that they have in Christ. I pray that they shall always praise and worship You with a grateful heart. Remind them, Father, to count it all joy whenever they encounter various kinds of trials because they produce steadfastness in the faithful that sanctifies them to become more and more like Your Son, Jesus. Amen.

You can also pray for the persecuted saints to always respond in grace and love toward those who persecute them. Pray for them that they shall not retaliate, but instead be Christlike and be the salt and light by loving their enemies and blessing those who persecute them. Doing this is indeed very hard. That is why we all need God’s grace and strength to do this. That is where they also get to reach out to the lost. Some unbelievers will be intrigued as to why Christians don’t act like other people; instead of retaliating and responding in hate, they respond in love and grace. It opens an opportunity for Christ to be preached.

Proverbs 16:7

When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Luke 6:27-28

27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

Matthew 5:43-48

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Romans 12:14

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

Romans 12:20

Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

1 Peter 3:9

Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Heavenly Father, we can love others only because we have known You, Who is love itself. I pray that my persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ shall never repay evil for evil but instead repay evil for good. May they always respond in love and grace toward those who persecute them. And may they pray and bless them instead of retaliating. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Another important thing that you should pray for the persecuted churches is that despite the persecution they are going through, they shall continue to preach the Gospel to the lost and never be ashamed of it, for it is the power of God for salvation to anyone who believes. Also, pray for the persecuted to never deny Christ in exchange for being spared. It is better to die for Christ than reject Him and reject eternal life. That is where God’s grace comes in. Only by God’s grace, which He gives to the elect, do Christians persevere until the end, never denying Christ.

Mark 13:10

And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

Matthew 10:33

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

1 Peter 4:16

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

Father in heaven, You are the God of mercy Who preserves His saints. I pray for our churches that are going through intense persecution, that they will still be bold and courageous and preach Christ to the lost. I pray they are never ashamed of their faith despite the hardships they are going through, for persecution is where people can find eternal life. Preserve them, Father, that they shall continue to hold fast in the faith and never fall away, denying Christ in exchange for anything. I pray that they shall fear You more than men. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

How can we encourage Christians who are persecuted?

You can encourage fellow Christians going through persecution by using Bible verses. For example, you can use the verse from Matthew 5:10-12:

Matthew 5:10-12

You can also use the verse from Romans 8:35 and encourage them that no matter what hardships or persecution they may face, nothing can ever separate them from the love of God.

Romans 8:35

You can also use Psalm 23:4 and encourage them that even if they feel that they are walking in the valley of the shadow of death because of the persecutions that they are going through, they don’t have to fear anything because Christ, Who is their good shepherd, is with them.

Psalm 23:4

If you know of someone who is always at risk of being killed because of his or her faith, encourage him or her with the reward that awaits those who die for the faith and remind them that God will give them the crown of life. To live in Christ and to die is gain.

Revelation 2:10

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Philippians 1:21

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Lastly, remind them of the future hope that we have in Christ; that He will return, judge everyone, and right all the wrongs. We will be with God in the place that Christ has prepared for us, where all the fallen and broken things that are in this world shall be no more. That is the future that we look forward to as we await Christ’s return.

Romans 5:3-5

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Revelation 21:4

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Becoming a Christian does not mean a stormless or suffering-free life. It means that we become stormproof. We can go through all the sufferings in life because we have Christ. We receive the grace to persevere and the strength to do God’s will even in times of hardships. We still live a victorious and dynamic life amidst the persecutions and difficulties that Christians face.