Thursday, February 21, 2008

How to Pray for the Persecuted Church

The final verses of 2 Thessalonians 1 read as follows:
5This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Thessalonican church was undergoing persecution. This was not an easy time for them. So Paul writes to offer them some consolation.
Why are they undergoing this persecution?
  1. God might consider them worthy of the kingdom of God (v5)
  2. God considers it just to repay the evil being done to them (v6)
  3. God will reward the suffering with rest when Christ comes again (v7-8)
  4. God will have his vengeance on those who don't believe and don't obey him (v8)
  5. So that God can make them worthy of his calling (v11)
  6. So that God can by his power fulfill every resolve and every work of faith (v11)
  7. So that the name of Jesus be glorified in the lives of his people (v12)
This is why we undergo persecution. It is for our greater good and for the advancement of the kingdom. It allows God to act in all kinds of ways in our lives. Gives a bit of a different perspective doesn't it?

But like Paul did for the Thessalonican church, I do must pray for my fellow believers who are undergoing persecution. That they might know God is at work. That they might know that God will have his vengeance on those who are against him. That they might be steadfast in their faith.

Knowing that I should emulate Paul in this regard I thought... I don't know many folks who are being actively persecuted so I thought I'd do some browsing.
These will give me places to go when I wish to pray for the persecuted church. Kinda neat how these resources are provided for us so easily with the web isn't it? :)

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