THE REPORT OF THE PERSECUTED CHURCH:
Libya is ranked # 13 on the Open Door Watch list. "The position of Christians in Libya has been extremely difficult, and has only deteriorated, making Libya the most difficult country to be a Christian in North Africa. Within a context of anarchy and absent rule of law, Christians – both nationals and foreigners – are squeezed between fanatical religious groups and criminal gangs. As in most Muslim countries, converting from Islam brings social pressure. Most Libyan Christians are afraid to meet with other believers, as any kind of religious gathering (other than Islamic) for Libyans is forbidden. The violence against Christians has increased in a country where rule of law is absent" (Open Doors, 2015).
Romans 12:15 AMP
" Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]" .
"Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering"
Many persecuted Christians often feel isolated and alone, since they are unable to fellowship with other believers. However, prayers from Christians half a world away have brought the same amount of encouragement that fellowship would have for these persecuted Christians. Prayer is vital—not only as a direct line to God, but as a way to encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.
1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us that we are one body—when one member suffers, we all suffer. When one member is lifted up, we all rejoice. Persecuted Christians and Christians in the free world are not two separate entities, but rather are one body. The persecuted church needs the free church to support them and most importantly to lift them up in prayer. The church in the free world learns lessons from the persecuted who have stood strong in the face of persecution. Christ is the head of the body and uses the church (both free and persecuted) in unique and powerful ways.
QUESTIONS FOR DEEPER REFLECTION:
1.When you have gone through severe loss, or grief, what helped you the most?
2. How have you been able to help others significantly? If you have special abilities or gifts of the Holy Spirit to serve others what has stopped you from using these more?
Where there have been times you have not supported those who were grieving. Ask God to help you become more aware of ways to be at 'one' with your brothers and sisters in God's will. Ask God to reveal the overwhelming sense of loneliness some of these persecuted brothers and sisters feel, and pray how you would want them to pray for you, -if your roles were reversed.
God help us to heed the instruction in Hebrews 13:3, and continue to remember those in prison as if we were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if we ourselves were suffering. I pray that the church would be challenged, united, courageous, wise, and prepared for persecution. I pray for a stable central government in all the countries both those that are free and suppressed.'
I pray for the Muslim Background Believers and that they will not be targets of their families or their communities and will find favor so they can testify to Christ. I pray for God’s people to encourage those Christians in the crosshairs of Islamic militants and violence. Help our brethren to understand they are not alone. Help our brothers and sisters throughout the world who are suffering to 'feel the prayers' lifted up and be strengthened in their faith (Insert any additional) In Jesus Name, Amen.
Want to know more about what Jesus prays for us, His Disciples? Read John 17:6-26.