Saturday, January 21, 2012

Praying for the Persecuted

Today the young adult group at my church organized a prayer vigil for the persecuted church.

I went for a few hours and will return in a little while. I have been learning so much! There have been a lot of facts about the state of religious freedom and the plight of the Christians in various repressive nations. (It's set up so that each hour focuses on a different country. A facilitator gives information on that country during the first few minutes and then we pray.)

One thing I learned was that portions of the persecuted church, especially in parts of the Middle East, feel forgotten by the global church. I know there are individuals and organizations that focus on this, but I think many western Christians remain largely ignorant of this issue. Personally, it has been years since I paid significant attention. Now I want to get back into regular prayer regarding this and perhaps practical ministry.

A topic of discussion today has been our American tendency to take our freedom for granted. It is such a blessing and we are barely aware of it. It forms a backdrop, but we don't acknowledge it -- in fact we are likely to become outraged at minor infringements -- small bits of discrimination. I suppose there is a need for vigilance, but those tiny bits of discrimination, even combined with social difficulties because of real faith are absolutely nothing compared to what our brothers and sisters face in some places.

How do we let these people in opressed and isolated regimes know that we symbolically stand with them and pray for them? One of the things we talked about today was the use of social networking sites. The Voice of the Martyrs has a Facebook page. There may be other pages by other organizations on a variety of networks. I'd love to hear about more.

So what can we do? Where do we go from here?

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