There are plenty of challenges for new Christians in our communities, but few face physical assault or death. Yet today there are people incarcerated solely for being true to their faith. Please remember to pray for them as though you are in prison with them. St. Paul wrote that and he spoke with authority in a world where the blazing "new religion" of Christianity was unsettling to human political systems.
Of course, this brings to mind the incarcerated community in this country and throughout the world. Oh, not because I think everybody is a political prisoner or wrongly incarcerated. No, my thoughts are for the lonely, frightened, hopeless folks who must face challenges I can barely conceive when they become baby Christians in such a hostile and temptation-filled place.
I think of my great-grandfather who went forward at every revival that hit town, but would soon allow his doubts of his personal worthiness to drown the hope budding in his heart. I suspect this is a particularly common threat to those who live behind bars and concrete when they are introduced to God. Would I have the necessary courage in such a scary and barren place to persevere in faith?
I suppose there are plenty of folks who think I am kind of a nut about this God stuff, but I don't pay much attention beyond praying for such folks. I have certainly never felt afraid of physical harm or financial abuse or emotional trauma because of my faith. That is a reflection of the country in which I God planted me.
But for many people, sticking by their values, maintaining their commitment to living in truth, worshiping publicly or sharing their personal faith, hope, beliefs or ideas invites great hardship and all kinds of dangers.
Please include in your daily prayers pleas for comfort and encouragement for our brother and sisters, suffering and daily at risk because of this faith we share
Matt 5: 10-11 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.
Abba, Father pour out Your mercy on new Christians everywhere as they begin their journey of faith and service. We ask especially abundant blessings for those of our brothers and sisters who face danger in order to follow You. Stir us to pray persistently and frequently for those struggling with fear, danger, uncertainty and abuse for Your name's sake. In Jesus Holy name we ask this. AMEN