Saturday, November 2, 2013

I Ain't Into Hiding The Truth...

Day 7
Pray Psalm 79:9-13.
Ask God to save and deliver the persecuted for the glory of his name. Pray that the groans of the prisoners will be heard by him and that God's strong arm will preserve them, so that they can praise God forever.

Romans 14:8 NIV

"So, whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord."

Philippians 1:18-21
The Message (MSG)
So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!
And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.

Romans 12:1

Offer your bodies as living sacrifices...

Matthew 5:44 MSG

Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer.

This following story, taken from a book called Jesus Freaks, is perfect to remind us how powerful today's prayer is, reminding us of what those who are imprisoned for their faith go through; but God's grace is greater than any pain that persecutors can cause... just read.

Smiling at Her Torturer
Liuba Ganevskaya, U.S.S.R., 1970s

Luiba, arrested for her faith by the Russian Communists, was kept in a solitary cell, starved, and
beaten. Still, she did not deny Jesus or reveal the names of other believers. She patiently suffered for the
sake of the gospel.
One night, when the guard insulted her with foul words and was just about to start beating her, she
somehow saw him differently.
She noticed for the first time that he was as tired of beating her as she was of being beaten. She was
worn out from lack of sleep, and so was he. He was as desperate over not getting any information from
her as she was about suffering for refusing to betray her friends.
A voice told her, “He is so much like you. You are both caught in the same drama of life. You and
your torturers pass through the same vale of tears.”
Liuba looked up at the guard who had already lifted up his whip to beat her. She smiled.
Stunned, he asked, “Why do you smile?”
She replied, “I don’t see you the way a mirror would show you right now. I see you as you surely once
were, a beautiful, innocent child. I see you, too, as I hope you will be. There was once a persecutor
worse than you named Saul of Tarsus. He became an apostle and a saint. What burden so weighs on you
that it drives you to the madness of beating a person who has done you no harm?”
The torturer put down his whip. He left that day a changed man.
“Jesus does not promise that when we bless our enemies and do good to them they will not despise us
and persecute us. They certainly will. But not even that can hurt us or overcome us, so long as we pray
for them. For if we pray for them, we are taking their distress and poverty, guilt and perdition upon
ourselves, and pleading to God for them. It is only when one sees the anger and wrath of God hanging
like grim realities over the head of one’s enemies that one can know something of what it means to love
them and forgive them.” —


God you save and deliver your children from persecution. Just as Liuba saw her persecutor through your eyes and refused to let darkness pass over hers and be blinded by her pain, she sought your truth instead. Through this she was wrapped in your strong arm and was able to pray for her persecutor. In the strength that abounded from you, she spoke. And as she spoke her persecutor listened and heard your words pour out of her mouth.
May many others who are persecuted find that they do not suffer in vain. That their physical brokenness is seen by you and that you long for a continued relationship through prayer. That you hear their pleas, their songs, their soft spoken words and you call out to them, "Well done good and faithful servant... Well done" as you reach down and fill their prison cells with your Holy Spirit, comforting them and opening up their eyes.
To suffer for you in order to one day kneel by your thrown so they can praise you forever is a feat not many people on this earth will ever know. But those who do let them not crumble before they reach your heavenly gates. May they find strength in knowing that they are pleading with you, blessing their enemies, and calling for grace all because something greater than themselves has changed their hearts. All because they want to be like your son. Allowing their enemies to see their best, not their worst as they offer their bodies as living sacrifices.
I just pray that those you deliver from being persecuted do not back down after being freed. That they continue to trust in your ways.

Watch the video! It's a great song to end this 7 day blogging journey! Thanks to everyone who have read and prayed for our persecuted brothers and sisters!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Keep Their Eyes Above the Waves...

Day 6
Pray that a spirit of fellowship will grow between the persecuted church and the free world. Pray that those who worship in freedom will develop a burden to pray for and serve their persecuted brothers and sisters.

Philippians 3:10
I want to know Christ -- yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.

Tonight I just want to bring worship to this prayer.

"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"

You call me [them] out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I [they] find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My[Their] faith will stand

And I [they] will call upon Your name
And keep my [their] eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My [Their] soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am [they are] Yours and You are mine [theirs]

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my [their] guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me [them]
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will [when they]  call upon Your name
And keep my [their] eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My [their] soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am [they are] Yours and You are mine [theirs]

Spirit lead me [them] where my [their] trust is without borders
Let me [them] walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me [them]
Take me [them] deeper than my [their] feet could ever wander
And my [their] faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my [our] Savior

I will [When they] call upon Your Name
Keep my [their] eyes above the waves
My [Their] soul will rest in Your embrace
I am [They are] Yours and You are mine [theirs]

The words of this song is my prayer tonight, but as I change the words from "I" to "Them" in lifting up my persecuted brothers and sisters, I pray that you hear the words and answer the prayer. For as they have been called by you and follow you that they find freedom in you embrace. In this may they find others that are with them in this time and create a fellowship that lifts them up. For we are not made to be alone in trials, and as you does not want man to be alone, let them know that they are prayed for by thousands of other believers. As we are free to worship may our hearts break and be burdened with their trials so that we will offer our all in this free land and free life to those who have to hide their faith in order to continue sharing it. 
For what a blessing it is to be a light in a dark place. To be called to serve you in that capacity, I can only imagine. 
You have enamored me and taught me that those who are shining your light are filled with your light. Their eyes are healthy and whole making their body full or your love and truth, do not let our eyes or theirs become vain or dark. Allow us to continue to seek the truth and look at you to feed our faith (Matthew 6:22-23). 
I want to be in this with them. With my whole heart and soul. For you are a God of compassion, love, and grace. You want to save your creation from a life of darkness so you send out your disciples among the nations to speak your name. Let these disciples know that they are being loved and cared for through prayer and allow the "free" church to find ways to provide for their physical and tangible needs. 

In your name I pray as I lift these words up with my heart,