“And the officials were enraged at Jeremiah, and they beat him and imprisoned him in the house of Jonathan the Secretary, for it had been made a prison.”
This is one of many pictures we see in the book of Jeremiah where he is unjustly attacked, accused, arrested here, put in prison for proclaiming the word of God, for being faithful to God, he was put in prison.
Like Jeremiah, we have brothers and sisters throughout the world who are imprisoned because of their faith. Let’s pray for them to persevere that the gospel may continue to go forth and bear fruit in all the world.
When I read this, I think about how that is a reality for brothers and sisters around the world right now, who are either attacked or unjustly accused or arrested or imprisoned in different countries in the world. Open Doors is an organization that works to support, help, raise awareness of, serve the persecuted church around the world and they do a watch list every year where they rank different countries where Christians are most persecuted and so here’s the top five countries right now: number one is North Korea, number two is Afghanistan, number three is Somalia, number four is Sudan, and number five is Pakistan.
I want us today to pray for brothers and sisters, who like Jeremiah, are imprisoned in North Korea, are attacked and threatened in Afghanistan and Somalia, who are persecuted in all kinds of ways in Sudan and Pakistan, and I want us to intercede for them, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, they are our family, and they are experiencing what God’s people have experienced for centuries, a suffering as a result of proclaiming God’s word and so God we pray, right now. We pray for our brothers and sisters in these countries specifically. Pray for our brothers and sisters in North Korea. We pray for our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, in Somalia, in Sudan, and in Pakistan. God, we pray that you would strengthen them. We praise you for your grace in them. We praise you for their faithfulness to you that has landed them where they are in that prison camp in North Korea, totally isolated among their people in one of these other countries. Experiencing threats against their life right now.
God, please help them to stand firm. Help them to hold fast to you, to your promises, to your presence with them, to your word. God, help them to proclaim your word in a Acts four kind of way. Give them courage, boldness to proclaim your word in the midst of persecution. God, we pray for the spread of the gospel through our persecuted brothers and sisters in North Korea and in Afghanistan, in Somalia and Sudan and Pakistan. God, we pray for the spread of the gospel in these countries, even when it’s hard to follow Christ, even when it’s life-threatening to proclaim the Gospel. God we pray for them and then God we pray for our own lives in light of the freedom that you have given to us. God, help us not to squander this freedom. Help us to proclaim your gospel today. God, help us not to be silent. We’re praying for them to speak boldly when it might cost them their lives. God, help us not to be silent when it won’t cost us our lives to share the Gospel with somebody today. Help us to take advantage of this freedom. They would only long for it.
I think about a sister from Eastern Europe who I was talking with just the other day and she said, “I love being in this country. I can share the Gospel freely in any way I want without any threat of what might happen to me as a result. I might risk my reputation in some way but that doesn’t matter to me.” Oh God, may that be our perspective. Help us to boldly share the Gospel, even as we pray for the spread of the Gospel and the strengthening of your church in these countries where Christianity is hardest. North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, and Pakistan. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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