The first Sunday of November is International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. This weekend thousands of churches, hundreds of thousands of Christians, will pray for our persecuted sisters and brothers in some of the most difficult places across the world.
Prayer reaches the One who has the power to bring change. When Israel suffered at the hand of a despot, God told Moses,
“I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters and oppressors; for I know their sorrows and sufferings and trials” Exodus 3:7-8
The prayers of afflicted people cut through. God saw, heard, and knew their sorrows, and Moses was sent to bring them liberty.
Prayer is real help for persecuted people. Paul in 2 Cor 1:8-11 reflects on the “deadly peril” he experienced because of fierce, physical opposition. He knew God’s deliverance and how crucial the prayers of the church were:
“[God] delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” 2 Cor 1:8-11
We join in the “prayers of many”. We are asking God to bring change and deliverance. We are standing with our suffering brothers and sisters in support. We are praying their strength of faith will promote the good news of Jesus in their communities. We are praying we might share their conviction, strength and struggle where we are too.