I Prayed have prayed
Father in heaven, may Your people heed the warnings of impending persecution, and may we pursue intimacy with You that builds our faith and gives us courage.
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Analysis. Whether American Christians are ready to face persecution is an increasingly relevant question today. Cole Richards, president of Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry dedicated to the support of persecuted believers around the world, recently talked about this issue in a radio broadcast.

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“As we commit daily to being Christ’s witnesses to a lost world, we must understand that we will be opposed,” Richards said. “In fact, the more faithful we are, the more serious the opposition.” 

The Bible makes it crystal clear that followers of Christ will face persecution. Paul warned Timothy: Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:12–13).

Jesus, too, sought to prepare His disciples for a life of persecution: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation … ” (John 16:33). He said also: “ … and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake … ” (Matthew 10:22).

Our Lord repeatedly taught that following Him would involve taking up a cross (see Matthew 16:24) and counting the cost (see Luke 14:28). He spoke about renouncing all if anyone was to be His disciple, including the right to be protected against injustice, corporal punishment, and brutal executions.

It did not take long for that to happen. Indeed, during this past Holy Week, we recalled the persecution Jesus Himself faced soon after He had warned His disciples. And later this month, we will remember Pentecost and how not long after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on that day, and as the newly proclaimed gospel drew in thousands of new believers, the authorities came after the apostles to shut them down (see Acts 4:1–22). The ensuing persecutions scattered the believers around the provinces of Asia Minor. Persevering amid persecution is mentioned numerous times in the pastoral epistles as further evidence that it is part and parcel of being a Christian (see James 1:2–4, 1 Peter 4:12–19, Hebrews 10:34). On top of that, the Romans martyred several apostles.

Now, nearly 2,000 years later, the preaching of the gospel makes its way around the world, and persecution follows in its wake. According to recent reports, persecution is on the rise, especially in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

According to the World Watch List maintained by Open Doors International, 360 million Christians face high levels of persecution. That is an increase of 48 million from the year before. The main reasons for persecution are religious radicalism and nationalism, because the gospel emphasis on a relationship with God goes against any religious or ideological system designed to control adherents.

For most of us in the U.S., persecution is far from our beds. So it is hard for us to believe that in the hermit country of Eritrea, Christians caught meeting are locked up in metal shipping containers and left in the hot desert for days on end. In North Korea, an estimated 10,000 believers languish in harsh labor camps. In Northern Nigeria, the radical Islamist group Boko Haram routinely raids Christian villages and churches, burns them to the ground, and kills or enslaves their inhabitants. In China, church buildings are razed, and pastors are arrested and imprisoned with alarming regularity. In most Islamic countries, sharing the gospel with Muslims is illegal; converting from Islam to Christianity can cost you your freedom or your life.

However, direct challenges to our faith are knocking on our door with ever greater regularity. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw how constitutional freedoms can be suspended in the face of a national or global crisis. Churches and pastors in several states faced fines and arrests for continuing to meet in person in defiance of government restrictions on public meetings.

When Roe v. Wade was overturned, attacks on churches immediately followed. A couple of weeks ago, a transgender shooter murdered six people in a Nashville Christian school. During the Easter weekend, Pastor Derek Reimer was arrested for a third time, for protesting a drag-queen event in Calgary, Canada. According to a recent report published by the Family Research Council, attacks on churches have tripled in 2023 so far.

We cannot overstate the significance of these warning signs, because they represent the two forms that persecution against Christians worldwide typically takes:

First, there is persecution by governments. In most cases, those governments are totalitarian systems driven by militant religions like Islam or Hinduism, or atheistic ideologies like Marxism. But in our free West, government persecution can initiate when wokeism takes hold. People demand the freedom to do what is right in their own eyes, even when it is morally repulsive and an abomination in the sight of God, and they then seek protection from the law to do so. By contrast, those who proclaim the truths of Scripture and of God’s moral will are called “haters” and made targets for punishment.

Second, there is “popular” persecution. Even when a government protects the rights of Christians to worship and proclaim the Gospel of Christ freely, the overall sentiment of the general population can be adverse, resulting in attacks that range from harassment to murder. Recent studies show that belief in God has reached an all-time low, indicating a slow but steady turn toward a post-Christian society — one in which Christianity is considered a thing of the past and no longer relevant. This opens the door to persecution because Christians are then considered to impede “progressive” thinking and “tolerance”; they are therefore thought to be deserving of persecution. A “woke” society will increasingly elect officials who will enforce policies to restrict or silence the “hate speech” of Christians who proclaim the biblical truths of God’s design for life and human relationships.

Why should we take note? Because the news reports about attacks on Christians in North America underscore the sense that God is warning and wooing us. I wrote about this in August of last year. But it bears repeating, because the warning signs are becoming more frequent, and this increases the urgency for American Christians to prepare for persecution. I believe the time is near in which we can no longer consider ourselves safe within our constitutional rights.

Whenever God warns of impending danger, He also woos. The main message He wants us to hear is, “Come closer.” He wants our intimacy, our listening ear, and our abiding in Him every day so that He can give us what we need to endure persecution and keep proclaiming His Word boldly when the world tries to shut us down.

I have prayed consistently that this message might be loud and clear in every church, denomination, seminary, and home fellowship around this nation. I believe it is an urgent need, because preparing for persecution is a process and a battle.

It is a process, because the Holy Spirit needs to work in us to detach us from our dependence on creature comforts we have never had to live without, so as to strengthen our faith and build our courage.

It is a battle, because Satan is lulling us to sleep with an abundance of resources that make us unaccustomed to relying on God for survival, and with the lie that this will never happen to us: After all, this is America, and our constitutional rights protect us.

I have fought this battle most of my adult life. In my early 20s, I had the privilege of serving at a Bible camp for young adults in Poland, which was then under communist rule. I heard the stories of my peers and the difficulties they faced having to practice their faith underground. But what stood out the most was what the camp organizer said to me when we were saying our good-byes: “We know our enemy. He wears a uniform. We rely on Jesus for everything, from bread and potatoes to protection. But you are returning home, where your grocery shelves are always full, and you are insured from the cradle to the grave. The Enemy is lulling you to sleep with abundance, and when persecution comes — and it will come — you won’t have the faith to withstand it.” I wrote an article in my blog about this several years ago, entitled Waldemar’s Warning.

So, I invite you to persist in prayer with me that God’s people in America will hear Him calling them to come closer — loud and clear. Some specific things to pray for:

  1. that a new and powerful movement of unceasing prayer would become a priority in hearts, homes, and congregations;
  2. a desire to return to learning, memorizing, and meditating on the Bible, where we find all we need to train for godliness and effective ministry;
  3. voice recognition, so that out of the noise coming at us from all directions, we would recognize and follow the voice of the Shepherd for what He wants us to do when persecution strikes;
  4. community — persecution fosters unity because believers must set aside differences and rely on each other. Pray for churches to form networks of home fellowships that help build faith when churches can no longer meet on campuses, and for believers to rediscover that our walk is a community endeavor. Pray that Acts 2:42–45 will become reality in our midst once more;
  5. faith and courage. Pray that as harassment and persecution become more common, our response would be one of faith, courage, love, forgiveness, and joy in sharing in the sufferings of Christ, knowing that trials produce steadfastness and character, and that God uses these to perfect us;
  6. that the Church will rediscover discipleship and prepare to welcome crowds of new believers. Interestingly, the Church grows fastest in countries where persecution is fiercest. It seems that oppression makes Christianity attractive. This is consistent with what a growing number of faith leaders say: that the next revival in the U.S. will come in the wake of hardship and persecution.

Lord Jesus, You are familiar with suffering. Persecution is unjust, but You use it to perfect and strengthen us and, ultimately, to prepare us  for Your return. We pray that Your warnings and wooing might be clear to the Church here in America. Prepare us, Lord. Ignite in our hearts the yearning to draw near to You and to abide in You, so that You can give us what we need; do Your work in us so that we persevere in our walk with You. Amen.

How are you praying against persecution? Share this article to encourage others to pray.

Remco Brommet is a pastor, spiritual-growth teacher, and prayer leader with over 40 years of experience in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the U.S. He was born and raised in the Netherlands and pastored his first church in Amsterdam. He moved to the U.S. in 1986. He and his wife, Jennifer, live north of Atlanta. When not writing books, he blogs at www.deeperlifeblog.com and assists his wife as a content developer and prayer coordinator for True Identity Ministries. Jennifer and Remco are passionate about bringing people into a deeper relationship with Christ. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

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Granny Jo
April 14, 2023

And, persecution of the American church is coming from within.

April 14, 2023

by Eva

Lift up your voices for the suffering,
For those prisoners bound with chains!
Cry aloud and spare not!
Let your tears run down like rain!

Throughout the earth this very hour,
Countless Believers are losing their lives
For the sake of the glorious Gospel,
For the mark of that glorious prize.

Be chained with them, My brethren!
Intercede for them day and night!
Let your own hearts break for love of them
Until the “break of Morning Light!”

Say not to yourselves, “I knew it not!”
Boldly stand for all that is true!
No! Do not shut your eyes or ears
To My Spirit, Who is alive in you!

Intercede for them, My kinsmen!
Cry aloud! Let your voices be heard
For the countless many led to their death
While their brethren sleep undisturbed!

“If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest,
‘Behold we knew it not’; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? And He that keepeth thy soul, doth
not He knoweth? And shall He not render to every man according to his works?” – Proverbs 24:11-12

April 14, 2023

by Eva

Will you drink of My cup, dear child?
You know not what you ask!
Yes, I know that you love Me
And your soul on Me you’ve cast.
Only look deep into My cup,
And I’ll cause your eyes to see
That to drink from My cup, My child,
You’ll suffer greatly for Me.
You’ll be hated for My Name’s sake,
And that without a just cause.
You’ll be “turned in” by your enemies
For spurning their unrighteous laws.
You’ll be ridiculed and scorned
And will suffer even worse.
You’ll be greatly misunderstood,
Forsaken, and even cursed!
You’ll suffer loneliness, sorrow,
Heartache and great despair.
At times, you’ll feel so all alone,
Questioning if I’m really there.
You’ll be killed all the day long;
For My Name, you’ll embrace your cross,
Daily surrendering your own will
And fully counting the cost.
‘Til the day you’ve entered My gates
When your life on earth is done.
‘Til the day you stand before Me
And hear Me say, “Well done!”
Yes, drink deeply of My cup, child
For I know all who are Mine.
Take up your cross and follow Me
And leave the world behind!

Ellen Hoffman
April 13, 2023

I hope Jesus comes soon. But the Bible does say: “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them.
Mark 13:20 NIV
So we know it could be worse than what we’ll end up facing. Which I am incredibly thankful for! I believe that heart motive of each one of us is God’s bottom line. Not of works. That said, our beliefs will prod us to pray for those who are against us and persecute us. They will lead us to take action where we can to fight lies, all kinds of atrocities and wrongs. Our love, coming from the Holy Spirit indwelling us will compel us to love extraordinarily. I am looking forward to seeing God’s love and power unleashed in His people in the United States. The church does very well when we are persecuted. It gets cleansed of fence sitters.

Linda k Rice
April 13, 2023

I am praying first that those who are prepared to stand will know that only grace will cause them to stand. No amount of determination will suffice. I am praying that they will be able to accept that multitudes will not stand, multitudes who they thought would stand. I am praying that they will know that betrayals will occur.

I am also praying for many lukewarm to behold the glory of Yeshua and surrender to His guidance.

Barbara Janicki
April 13, 2023

Great article – so true – God’s church grows under persecution – the opposite of what we would humanly expect. But “What you meant for evil, God will use for good, the saving of many lives.” Evil human governments may try to silence and eradicate Christianity through all types of persecution but we see in countries where that is happening, the church is growing as you said. Ironic, that it is our abundance that can distance us from God – because we depend on ourselves rather than Him. Makes me think of James when he says, “God has chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him.” Looks like we are witnessing that very thing in our present times. Lord, may I be found faithful when persecution comes, like my brothers and sisters around the world who are currently bearing up under persecution of all kinds. http://www.mtothe5th.wordpress.com

Karen Secrest
April 13, 2023

Your message is so important it won’t be well received. However, Truth is difficult and that which bounces us out of our comfort zone Essential.
The Lord has shown me the scorched earth that is Irand trademark and recently King Charles dodging Iranian bullets.
The Father says stay close for when you least expect it there will be an end run around that which you’re seeing that will affect nations.
Never underestimate the power of Mother Nature to effect change for it is the Father’s nature to utilize all for good to accomplish our distinct contribution to remain a Godly Nation.

Michael Guidera
April 13, 2023

Excellent article. So true. Reading the word, and putting the effort into knowing Him will brings closer to Him and give us the desire to suffer for Him.

Sherrie Sperry
April 13, 2023

Lord Jesus, help us to be strong in our character and be able to be your witnesses no matter what comes our way.

April 13, 2023

Thank you Lord for wooing us. For warning us in Your Word to be ready for suffering for Your name….You had us pray for our kids, to prepare their hearts to persevere in loving You, when they were little cause You knew what was coming, what we have been living through in the past decade, we could not imagine….
Oh Poppa God we do praise and thank You for your persistent wooing and warning, for your training us. Forgive us for the complaining, for the sleeping, for the hating and judgement and lack of love for enemies and even You at times, we have our own idols in the church Lord, self righteousness, being comfortable, wash us. Remind us of Whose we are❤️‍🔥
So we who are called by Jesus, Messiah, who are filled with Your Living Holy Spirit love well, much and without hypocrisy, so the world will truly see, know , love and worship Jehovah Jesus. And praise You and thank You for goodness even when they don’t..

Jacob Woo Ho Lee
April 13, 2023

Heavenly Father!
Let’s forget about persecution. God, you gave us an amazing incredible power and unaccountable blessings. Help us to take over world by the Power of the Holy Spirit. Help us love our unbeliever friends. Let them know, let them see us that we are believing living God and let them see our good works. So, they can be a happy believer. Also, they can glorify our God. Thank you, Lord, that we are the winner. and we are not a victim anymore we are victors in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen Hallelujah

David John BELD
April 13, 2023

That was a great article.As followers of CHRIST we must not be surprised that the world hates us.WE MUST be prepared for hard times for Christians as our Nation continues to decline.


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