Praying for Those Experiencing Persecution (Revelation 6:9–11) - Radical

Praying for Those Experiencing Persecution (Revelation 6:9–11)

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had born. They cried out with a loud voice, ‘Oh sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the Earth?’ Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”
– Revelation 6:9–11

Wow, what a scene. Under the altar before God, the souls of men and women who have been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had born. Martyred brothers and sisters, sons, and daughters of God crying out, crying out at his feet, “Sovereign Lord.” What a picture.

This Verse Reminds Us that God is in Control

They know that God is in control. These whose lives were taken from them by people on this Earth who persecuted them, they know that God was in control, sovereign over even that, that God is holy and true and they’re asking how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell in here. They’re asking for justice, for the justice of God to reign on the Earth. And the Bible says they were given a white robe and told to rest a little longer.

Then listen to this phrase, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. In other words, the number of martyrs is not yet complete. There are still more servants of God and brothers and sisters in Christ who are to be killed as these martyrs have been killed.

Revelation 6:9–11 Provides a Sobering Reminder

What a sobering verse that heaven is waiting for more martyrs before Jesus returns and his justice and righteousness reign on the Earth. Doesn’t this just lead us to pray in so many different directions? God, we praise you for those who’ve gone before us and have given their lives for your word and for the witness they have born. We praise you that they were faithful even unto death.

As we read in the Bible stories and throughout church history, stories of our brothers and sisters who’ve gone before us, we praise you for their example to us. We praise you for the cloud of witnesses that they are even from heaven right now. And God, we pray for each of our lives that you would help us to be faithful as they were faithful. God, we pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are experiencing persecution right now, some of whom will die today in a camp in North Korea or sharing the gospel in Somalia or in a variety of other places where they face persecution today for your word and for their witness.

This Verse Helps Us to Be Strengthened

God, we pray that you’d strengthen them and you’d help them to be faithful unto death. And God, as we pray for them, we pray for ourselves particularly those of us who live in places that are free where we don’t face the prospect of persecution, imprisonment, and death for following you.

God, we pray you’d help us to be faithful today. Help us to not hold on to our comforts, to not hold onto our treasures in this world. Help us to give our lives in every way you call us, to give our lives for the spread of your gospel, your word, and our witness in the world. We pray that you would raise up multitudes more laborers to go to hard places with the gospel. We pray that you would help us to willingly give our lives there for the sake of your name. God help us, every one of us to be faithful unto death, proclaiming your word and witnessing to your glory.

Revelation 6:9–11 Helps Us to Share the Gospel

Help us to do that today with people right around us even when that may mean risk and relationship or awkwardness or lack of comfort in a conversation. God help us to be faithful as those who have gone before us have been faithful, even as we long with them for your justice and your righteousness to reign on the Earth. In Jesus’ name, we pray. 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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