Pray for the Persecuted (Jeremiah 11:21) - Radical

Pray for the Persecuted (Jeremiah 11:21)

Therefore, thus says the Lord concerning the men of Anathoth who seek your life and say, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, or you will die by our hand.”
– Jeremiah 11:21

Now, in order to understand this verse, we need to understand something about Anathoth. This was Jeremiah’s village and the people of Anathoth had revolted against David, and were excluded from service in the temple. They were disconnected from worship in the temple. They were living disobedient to God’s word. And they weren’t worshiping in ways that brought honor to God.

So it’s no surprise then that they would speak to Jeremiah and threaten him and tell him, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord.” Don’t speak the word of God to us, and if you do, we will kill you. You will die by our hand. So this is one of many places we see in the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible, where there is cost associated with speaking the word of God.

Jeremiah 11:21 Leads Us to Pray for Persecuted Christians

There are so many different ways this could lead us in prayer, but I want to lead us to pray in two particular ways in light of this threat against Jeremiah in chapter 11. First, I want to lead us to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world, for whom this threat is real today. Our brothers and sisters in places where if they proclaim the word of God, it is possible, if not likely that they could be imprisoned, that they could have land or jobs taken away from them, that they could have their lives taken away from them.

We need to be faithful to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. They are our family. The Bible tells us when one part of the family hurts, the whole family hurts. We need to continually pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

God is Faithful

At the same time, in each of our lives, to realize there are all kinds of ways the adversary wants to keep you and me from speaking the word of God, where we work, in our lives, in our neighborhoods. Even if we live in a place where there is freedom to proclaim the gospel, we are still tempted to stay silent with God’s word, because it may prove costly for us in relationships, maybe at work in a variety of different ways, maybe cost to our reputation. I want to lead us to pray that God would help us to faithfully proclaim his word no matter what it costs us.

So God, we praise you for Jeremiah. We praise you for his faithfulness to prophesy in your name, even when threatened by his own people. God, we pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world today who are facing threats against their lives if they proclaim the gospel. We pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in places like North Korea, in Somalia, in Saudi Arabia, in Yemen, in Morocco, across North Africa, in the Middle East, and parts of Central Asia and Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, East Asia.

Jeremiah 11:21 Calls Us to Proclaim the Gospel

God, we pray that you would help them. That you would strengthen them, that you would, in the words of Acts 4. Enable your servants in the midst of threats against them to speak your word with great boldness. We pray for the spread of the gospel in the middle of persecution. We pray that nothing would thwart the spread of the gospel in these places, and the proclamation of your word.

God, even as we pray that for them, we pray that in our own lives. God help us to be faithful to proclaim your word. Lord in our lives today, would you lead us, guide us, and direct us. By your spirit to speak your gospel to others around us. God, that nothing would hold us back. That we would not be afraid or timid with your word.

Praying for Good News of Jesus

God, I pray for every single one of us, regardless of what age we are or stage in life. That you would help us to faithfully speak words of life. The good news of who you are. Jesus, what you have done and how people need you, how people need to repent and believe in you. God, help us to proclaim this gospel that could be costly for our lives. But is totally worth it to proclaim for the sake of others lives. God, help us, just as Jeremiah was, to be faithful in the time. In the place you’ve put us in, regardless of the cost to speak your word. In Jesus’ name we pray, according to Jeremiah 11:21, amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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