In several recent messages on Wednesday nights, Pastor Mark Minnick has instructed us to pray six prayer requests for persecuted believers:
1. Deliverance from Persecutors
2Th 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: 2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
—Sometimes believers wonder whether they should pray for deliverance for persecuted brethren. This passage makes clear that it is right to pray for them to be delivered.
2. Unfailing Faith in the Midst of Sufferings
Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
—Satan is the ultimate source of all persecution that believers experience. Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail when he would be tried; we should pray for unfailing faith for persecuted believers.
3. Boldness to Give the Gospel to Persecutors
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
—Although Paul was in prison when he wrote these words, Paul asked that believers would pray for him to have boldness in his bonds so that he would continue to be a faithful witness in spite of his sufferings for the faith. We need to hold up persecuted brethren in prayer that they would be bold to give the gospel to their persecutors in spite of their suffering.
4. Patient Endurance of Suffering for Doing Well
1Pe 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
—Peter teaches us that God desires that believers would patiently endure the sufferings that they experience for doing what is right, even as Jesus did. Through praying that persecuted brethren would be like Christ in suffering (without reviling or threatening), we can help suffering brethren endure persecution in a way that is acceptable to God (see also 2 Thess. 1:4-5).
5. Joy in the Midst of Suffering
Mat 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
—Jesus taught that believers must rejoice and be exceedingly glad when they suffer persecution for His sake. We can help them do so by praying for them to have the joy of the Holy Spirit even in the midst of much affliction (cf. 1 Thess. 1:6).
6. Love for Enemies Who Persecute Us
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
—Jesus proclaimed that we must love our enemies and relate to them in loving ways in keeping with our being true children of our Heavenly Father. We should pray that suffering brethren would have a proper love in the Spirit for those who afflict them.