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Jesus invites his people to not only pray for those who are being persecuted, but to actually pray for those in positions of power and authority, even those who may initiate or condone persecution.
An important characteristic of prayer is its endurance. God encourages the commitment to keep praying, regardless.
We value visiting those suffering persecution and being with them in person, all with a view to building relationship and friendship as well as being mutually challenged, encouraged and empowered.
If suffering is a wound, suffering alone is an even greater wound. A focused time of seeing, listening, and being with those who suffer validates and dignifies their experience and life and assures them that they are not alone. Furthermore, prioritizing being with these people is a ministry of hospitality whereby, in the name of Jesus, we make room (in our schedule and in our hearts); it is a way of both communicating care and love.
Those who suffer often cannot speak freely about their plight, do not have the resources to do so, or are not readily heard and responded to. As a result, their voice is at risk of being silenced. Part of God’s invitation is to speak, defend, and even plead the cause of those who suffer – in some way, to be their voice and serve them.
Presence and provision often go hand-in-hand. Being in relationship with those who suffer acquaints us with them, the nature and scope of their needs, which then informs what sort of practical response is best. And practicality is very much at the heart of God’s relationship to those who suffer. In fact, it is often the way in which real faith and love is expressed.
Jesus’ prayer was that believers would be one as he and his father are one. The Church – including persecuted Christians – flourishes when we recognize that we are all members of the body of Christ and together learn to rejoice and weep with one another; suffering and celebrating together. Furthermore, there are no dispensable parts in the body of Christ – we actually need one another and are invited to care for those who suffer persecution as if we were caring for ourselves. (John 17:21, Romans 12:15, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).