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The Persecuted

July 2003

Holy, all-sufficient Lord Jesus, you said, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew. 5:10).

We are reminded therefore of how the first Christians suffered, how they gave up their jobs, their status in society, their families and friends, even their lives, for you.

Show us again the glory of the martyr's way. It may seem a strange thing to pray for the happiness of the persecuted, but for those who have spiritual eyes, the blood-stained way of the martyr for Christ, is an opportunity to show our loyalty to you.

To suffer persecution is to walk the same road as the prophets and the saints and the martyrs have walked. In Matthew 5:12, you said, "For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." To suffer for the right is to be put in THAT group. Nothing can be greater than that.

Today there are so many of us who have never in our lives made anything like a real sacrifice for you. We avoid sacrifice, preferring a religion that does not cost much. Show us, Lord, that such a religion is not worth much.

Give us again the attitude of a martyr. Show us that to suffer for you is not a penalty but a glory. It is our opportunity to prove who we are and to claim the promise of the kingdom of heaven.

To suffer persecution is to make things easier for those who are to follow. Today we enjoy the blessings of liberty because people in the past were willing to buy it for us at the cost of blood, and sweat, and tears. They made it easier for us, and by a steadfast and immovable witness for Christ, we may make it easier for others who are still to come.

Still further, we know, 0 Lord, that when we fight for you we do not suffer alone. We remember the old story from the book of Daniel that tells how Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego were thrown into a red-hot furnace. You were there in that fiery furnace with them, Lord, to deliver them, and you will be with us in all the fiery furnaces that we face in this life.

It is not likely, Lord, that we will face death because of our loyalty to you. But we may face insult if we insist upon living by the Bible. We may face mockery if we insist upon practicing Christian love and forgiveness.

Show us, Lord, that you still need witnesses who are prepared to face any type of persecution or ridicule for your sake. Help us to be that kind of witness.

This we pray in your name, in the name of the only-begotten Son, In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.



If you have questions or comments, email Tony Grant

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