When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.
Abram heard that Lot had been taken captive, and he led a group of trained men to defeat those who were holding Lot. Abram heard, and he acted. When we hear about Christians being held captive and tortured, what do we do? How do we react? Do we take up arms against their captors?
Often I hear my friends and others sigh, “All I can do is pray.”
When I hear this, most of the time, these words are said in a way that makes it seem like praying isn’t good enough. Even my instinct sometimes is, “What can we do?” We can’t take arms against them and go fight. I rack my brain trying to figure out how to help these brothers and sisters who are being held captive.
Why do Christians think that praying isn’t enough? God is the One in control of all things. He knows what is going on at all times and everywhere. He knows what our brothers and sisters in the faith need to sustain them through the captivity and torture. He gives them the Holy Spirit to comfort them and to bring them peace in their pain.
I now find myself studying Paul because when I think of a Christian in chains, I think of him. He wrote most of the New Testament books, and he was in prison when he wrote some of them. I want to know what Paul asked for while he was in chains.
In 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul writes, “Finally brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith” (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2).
Paul asked for prayers. He did not ask them to come and fight against those who kept him captive. He actually asked for believers to pray for his enemies (See Colossians 4:3-4; Ephesians 6:19-20). Paul wanted to declare Christ in all that he did so that those around him would come to a full knowledge of Christ.
I regularly read The Voice of the Martyrs. There are many articles about the persecuted church and about those who are being held in prison because of their faith in Christ.
On The Voice of the Martyrs, check out the section called "Prisoner Alert." You can read about specific people who are in prison now for their faith. There is information about how Christians can write letters to these prisoners to encourage them while they are in prison.The website gives guidance for how to word things so that the prisoner will know that you are a Christian, and they will translate the letter in the brother or sister’s language.
The Gospel for Asia website has a video about the Persecuted Church. Take time to watch this 5 minute video.
- Pray for our brothers and sisters who are in danger because of their belief in Christ.
- Pray for Christians who are in prison because of proclaiming Christ.
- Pray for missionaries who are going into these war fields with the Gospel of Christ.
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you are in the body.
Let us suffer with them.