Last Sunday was the International Prayer for the persecuted church. we should be praying for persecuted Christians daily, There are many websites that promote daily prayer for persecuted Christians, like The Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, and Operation World. I use the OP site for daily prayer for various countries since it covers all countries and not just those where persecution is going on. It gives pertinent prayer requests for all the countries of the world.
This leads me to thoughts about prayer generally, but especially for those who are most in need of prayer.
We are very familiar with the normal reasons to pray: to worship God, to intercede on behalf of others, and to petition God when we desire something from him. For our prayer to be radical it must go beyond the normal reasons and move into a higher or deeper realm. It needs to be seen as a weapon against evil and for good. It becomes intentionally audacious, going into a spiritual battle with powers and forces that we cannot see but we can sense their destructive presence. We thrust forward in the power of the Spirit and we will meet opposition of some form in our spiritual lives and perhaps in our work or ministry.
The primary occasion for our radical prayer is to pray against the status quo. We believe things can change, that God can change them. We are not fatalists who just accept everything that is as God’s perfect will. We are not satisfied with injustice, oppression, and persecution and we pray for God to intercede. We pray for our enemies, for hostile people who resist the gospel, and for restrictive and hostile governments that desire to discourage and destroy the church. We may suffer hostility and persecution but we do not believe that this is necessary for a permanent situation. Evil seems to prevail and spiritual darkness seems to dominate but we believe that God can move the hearts of people, can change the attitudes and spirits of people who resist the gospel, and can bring persecutors to Christ.
We pray for the lost, for those who have never heard the gospel, those who have heard and are deliberating in their hearts, and for those who are actively working against the gospel. Prayer is a powerful weapon. While the world uses propaganda, harassment, coercion, and lobbying, God’s people use what the world considers to be a weak and benign approach. We exhibit (hopefully) humility and prayer. These are our tools and weapons. The world asks: “How can you fight against guns, swords, courts, and hostile people with a few words breathed to God?”
Prayer is more than words. It reaches to the God who is more powerful than all forces and powers, both spiritual and material. The questions to the world might be: “Why would you use guns or swords against God? Why would you fight a war with God that you could not possibly win?”
Radical prayer is based on radical belief. We believe that there a living God who is all-powerful and who, through the life and work of his Son Jesus Christ, has already conquered death and sin. He will ultimately prevail. The travail we go through now will not prevail. There is legitimate hope that God will make justice and righteousness prevail.