940) Pray for the Persecutors

From the September 2015 Voice of the Martyrs newsletter ( http://www.persecution.com )

     Suta is a village pastor in India.   Like the majority of people in India, he grew up in a Hindu family.  But now Suta follows Jesus.  He wants others to learn the truth about Jesus, too.

     Suta believed that God was telling him to share the gospel with people in a nearby village.  The people in the village were dedicated Hindus.  As he began sharing his testimony from place to place in the village, some Hindu men threatened him and told him to leave the village.

     Suta left, but he was puzzled.  He asked God, “Why are they telling me not to come into the village when You told me to go?”

     Suta decided he had given up to easily.

     Suta returned to the village.  This time, the villagers beat him up and threw him in a 10-foot deep ditch.

     But Raji, one of the Hindu men, began to feel guilty about hurting Suta.  “I have persecuted an innocent man,” he later told his wife at home.  Raji’s wife was worried that Suta’s God might punish them.  “Go bring that man into our home,” she said.  “We have to take care of him.”

     Raji pulled Suta out of the ditch and carried him to his home.  Raji’s wife took care of Suta, and Suta shared the gospel with her.  When Suta prayed for her sick relative, God healed the relative.

     Everyone in the village heard the news.  All of Raji’s family and Suta’s attackers came to faith in Christ.  “We were wrong,” the attackers said.  “You were preaching the true God.  Please forgive us.”

     A new church started in the village.  “If I had not gone to preach, I would have not got persecuted,” Suta said.   “But I did, and now there is one more church.”

     Sunday (November 1, 2015) was The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.  Watch Voice of the Martyrs’ 5-minute video, Suta, a reenactment of his story, at:

https://youtu.be/6Uw2FCzP22w

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Suta and Raji (Suta’s face is covered to protect his identity)

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Matthew 5:43-44  —  (Jesus said), “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

John 15:20a  —  (Jesus said), “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

Matthew 5:10  —  (Jesus said), “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I Peter 4:16  —  If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

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PRAYER FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH (By Rev. Norman Olsen, Starbuck, MN)

Merciful Father:  Hear the cries of your people who are being persecuted and killed for your Name’s sake; who are threatened with the sword to “deny or die”; who are made to watch as their own children are slain; who are tortured for the sake of a religion; and who must flee their homeland for their lives, if they can.

We join our prayers with their cries for deliverance, O Lord, asking that you embrace them with your nearer presence and provide your promised deliverance in the midst of their suffering.  Breathe in them your peace which passes all understanding, and assure them that there is nothing in all creation can ever separate them from your love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Strengthen them as you did for all the saints and martyrs who went before, with the confidence that death is of no lasting consequence in your eternal Kingdom.

We pray for the conversion of the evil doers, as they hear the compelling witness of the Gospel on the lips, and in the lives, of the persecuted church.  And finally we implore your forgiveness for our sins of indifference and apathy towards the persecuted church.  With shame we confess that so much suffering has met with so little awareness and response.

Imbue us, O Lord, with your Living Word, the Holy Spirit, that we may stand in solidarity with all who willingly suffer for the sake of Christ.  We open our hearts, praying, not only for the suffering church, but that their suffering may teach us faithfulness today, and what it costs to stand for the Gospel in the evil day; confident that while sorrow may linger for the night, joy comes in the morning.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.