(Voice of the Persecuted) This morning while praying for the persecuted Church, James 5:16 came to mind.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (KJV)
This verse tells us how the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Though a very simple verse, one with profound impact. But does prayer really work? Particularly when we pray for the persecuted?
For the last 5 years I have moderated a national prayer call where we pray for the persecuted church. Our call meets 3 times a week. We have a faithful team of intercessors who are committed to praying for the persecuted. Yet as we have prayed, persecution has increased. So the question arises, does prayer work? Can James 5:16 really accomplish anything?
The answer to the above questions must be yes, a “yes” answered in faith. In a sense, prayer is obedience. As we obey God in faith, the result of our obedience is left in His hands. It is the same with our faithful prayers as we obey God by praying for the persecuted church. The answers to those prayers will be left in His hands. Our task is to pray. His task is to answer. Knowing the bigger picture, He will answer in His will.
In the early days of our prayer call. I came under satanic attack. In the middle of a self-imposed pity party, the enemy had put in my mind to shut the call, Persecution Watch down. But the Holy Spirit spoke to me. He gently said, “Then the devil would win.” I repented of my self pity. And to this day continue to pray for the persecuted.
I do believe our prayers for the persecuted restrain the evil of Satan. We may not see this immediately in the physical, but remember, we are in a spiritual warfare. Persecution is of Satan. Persecution is spiritual warfare on the part of the enemy against the bride of Christ. Rev. 12:17 speaks of the dragon making war against the offspring of the woman. That would be the bride of Christ, believers in Jesus holding onto His testimony and keeping His commandments.
We resist the devil by our faith in Christ. This is accomplished by putting on the Ephesian 6 armor. After Paul lists the parts of the armor and tells us to put it on. He then exhorts us to pray in the Spirit and to pray for all the saints. This most certainly includes those dear saints under persecution, our brethren, fellow members of the Body of Christ.
By faith in the Spirit, we pray for our suffering family, the persecuted church. Only eternity will show us the answers to those prayers. God is asking us to simply pray and leave the answers to Him. Trusting Him in faith for the perfect outcome.
If we cease praying for those persecuted, then the devil surely wins. Some argue the devil is already winning, so why bother to pray?
But I contend, what happens if you do not pray? Imagine how much evil would be unleashed if we were not praying.
The famous statesman Edmund Burke once said, “In order for evil to triumph is for a few good men to do nothing.” And in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words, “silence in the face of evil is evil in itself.”
The persecuted Church ask very little of us. But what they do ask is extremely important to them. They ask, “Please pray for us and please do not forget us.” They ask that we pray that they will be faithful and strong in the midst of their trials.
As your brother in Jesus, I ask,
Will we pray for the persecuted, or will we stand before Christ to answer His penetrating question, Why did you not pray for my persecuted bride?
May Jesus give us Grace to continue and commit to praying for His persecuted saints around the world.
By Blaine Scogin, VOP Prayer Director