Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. (Luke 6:22)
Every day on every continent men and women face persecution because of their belief in Jesus Christ. It’s estimated that since Jesus laid down his life, 43 million Christians have become martyrs. Today, 200 million people face persecution for believing in Jesus — 60% of those people are children. Among the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians are North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Our hearts ache and our payers go out to these brave Christians who endure abuse and death while holding strong to their faith. However, we should remember that intolerance and hatred run deep in the world today. It is not limited to Christians. Hate knows no bounds. Buddhists have persecuted Muslims in Sri Lanka; and in Burma, Al-Shabab militants from the Somali border have targeted all non-Muslims in Kenya. In Eritrea, another African nation, citizens that follow the Catholic, Muslim, Orthodox or Evangelical faiths are safe, but often people who have other beliefs are persecuted. More examples are here and here.
The New Testament is filled with examples of how to pray for Christians who are under attack. More than this, the New Testament is a model for prayer for all persecuted people (including nonbelievers and those who follow other teachings) in the world.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:17-18)
Pray that the persecuted will come to know the hope and love that God offers and feel the strength of the Holy Spirit. We are all children of Christ; therefore, pray that even in the midst of crisis those who’s lives seem hopeless will find the Lord and fearlessly tell others about the joy of Jesus.
No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. (Isaiah 54:17)