“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
These are a very sobering three verses. We have this picture of martyrs around the throne. People who’ve been slain because of their proclamation of the gospel and they’re crying out, “When are you going to bring an end to persecution and suffering among your people, when are you going to show your justice and righteousness?” And God says, “Wait a little bit longer because there are more martyrs still to come.”
Like martyrs who have gone before us, we ask God for grace to persevere in faith.
These Verses Remind Us of the Difficulties of Proclaiming the Gospel
And so these verses remind us that until Jesus comes back, it will never be easy to proclaim the gospel in the world. It will always be costly and these verses beckon us to say in our lives, for every one of us as followers of Christ, I’ll pay whatever price you call me to pay for the spread of the gospel. This is what Revelation 6:9–11 beckons us to do, so this is how we pray.
Thanking God for the Faith of the Martyrs
God, we praise you for our brothers and sisters who’ve gone before us and when it came to that moment when they faced death for following you and proclaiming you that they did not shrink back. We praise you for their faith and we praise you for their testimony. We praise you for their endurance and we praise you for their example to us and we pray then. God, help us to follow in their footsteps. We know you’ve not called us to seek persecution, but you have called us to seek you and proclaim you and live on mission for you in a world where it will never be easy to proclaim the gospel.
Revelation 6:9–11: Prayer for Steadfastness in Our Own Lives
So we pray for this steadfastness we see in them. And we pray for it in us. We pray for the endurance that they have shown for that in us. We pray for boldness, a willingness in us. And we pray for a willingness in us to give our lives proclaiming the gospel even when that means death. God, we pray for that kind of surrender and commitment to you in every one of our lives. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.