Do the names Asia Bibi, Saeed Abedini, or Benham Irani ring a bell in your mind at all? For too many Christians, especially here in America, the answer is no. Yet, it is important that we do. While we will not be able to know every brother and sister in Christ by name, we should make it a point to keep them in prayer. This includes our persecuted faith family. The thing Asia, Saeed, and Benham have in common is they have been persecuted for the sake of the gospel and the cause of Christ. Asia Bibi, a mother of five, has been sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan. Saeed Abedini is currently serving an eight year sentence in an Iranian for having started churches and sharing the gospel. He has been threatened and his health has suffered. Benham Irani is also serving time in an Iranian prison in relation to starting churches. The point is these members of the body of Christ are facing persecution because of their faith. Sure, we may be ridiculed and called names in our culture, but we have to remind ourselves we have family all around the world. We have family we need to keep in prayer. This is what we find in Hebrews 13. We are called to continue to live out our faith in love (verse 1). This surely means to be hospitable, even to strangers (verse 2). We also take notice of our identification with those who are persecuted. The writer of Hebrews says, “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated” (verse 3). We cannot neglect this. There is no “me, myself, and I” in Christianity nor is Christianity just “American”. We need to look outside our own little world and realize the struggle and fight our family members are facing. Let us pray for Asia, Saeed, Benham, and others who are facing the cost of their faith and identify with them as committed followers to Jesus Christ.
- Make it a point to pray this week for the persecuted church. Is there some way you can pray for them specifically or even get involved?
If you would like more information on this topic, see www.persecution.com and http://persecutionproject.org/. Today, November 2, is the International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the Persecuted Church.