3 Prayers for Persecuted Believers

Pray for your brothers and sisters around the world who are facing persecution for Christ’s sake

“Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!”

Matthew 5:10 GNT

On Palm Sunday in 2017, suicide bombers attacked two churches in Egypt.

On Easter Sunday in 2019, a series of bombs ripped through three churches in Sri Lanka.

On Pentecost Sunday in 2022, several gunmen opened fire in a church in Nigeria.

Around the world, persecution of Christians is on the rise. In hostile areas, Christian minorities face harsh realities such as discrimination, isolation, imprisonment, violence, and even death. Christian churches—holy sanctuaries intended for worship—are often targeted by those wanting to attack and kill believers in Christ.

According to Open Doors, an international NGO that monitors persecution and advocates for targeted Christians, “more than 360 million Christians live in places where they experience high levels of persecution, just for following Jesus. That’s 1 out of every 7 believers, worldwide.” Their annual World Watch List shows the top 50 countries where following Jesus could cost you your life.

As we hear accounts of the suffering and death our brothers and sisters around the world endure, we are reminded that “if one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26a). Our hearts ache at the suffering of Christians worldwide. But we are not helpless, or without hope.

In the Bible, Jesus warns us that the world will hate us just like it hated him. He also gives us unshakeable confidence by reminding us that he has defeated the world (John 16:33).

We may never know what it feels like to hide our Bible for fear of being thrown in jail or to flee our home because our faith is considered dangerous. But we can support persecuted believers through our prayers. We know that God understands their suffering and promises to grant them comfort and strength to continue witnessing to and praying for their persecutors, just like Jesus did (Matthew 5:44).

Let us join in prayer for the millions of Christians around the world suffering for Christ’s sake.

Here are 3 powerful prayers you can pray today

Lord, draw near to persecuted believers and grant them the courage to endure.

I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ. Because when I am weak, I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10 CEV)

As persecuted believers face unimaginable suffering, pray that God would help them endure these trials faithfully. Pray that God would protect believers and their families according to his will. When God calls believers to experience suffering, pray that they would remain strong in their faith and cling to Christ, though the cost is high. Pray that persecuted believers would experience the power and comfort of the Holy Spirit in their suffering. And finally, pray that believers would persevere through all hardships filled with the joy of our glorious reward: spending eternity with our Savior.

Lord, cause your gospel to spread through the faithful witness of persecuted believers.

The Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power. Then you will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world. (Acts 1:8 CEV)

Pray that God would use the persecution and suffering of Christ followers to spread the truth of the gospel. Pray that believers today would follow in the footsteps of early Christians, whose witness for Christ amid deadly persecution brought the gospel to Judea, Samaria, and beyond. Pray that the Holy Spirit would empower believers to share the gospel in the most dangerous conditions and advance Christ’s church throughout the world. Finally, pray that persecutors would come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior through the testimony of those they are persecuting.

Lord, grant persecuted believers access to your Word so they can be strengthened with your comfort and hope.

Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. The Scriptures train God’s servants to do all kinds of good deeds. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 CEV)

Pray that God’s Word would be made available to believers in closed countries where being caught with a Bible is a serious crime. Pray for new technology and innovation that can help believers read and share Scripture in hostile regions. Pray that organizations and ministries working in dangerous areas would have great success in delivering Scripture resources to persecuted Christians and churches. Pray for American Bible Society as we collaborate with partners around the world to provide Bible-based materials, including audio Scripture and the JESUS film. Pray that, through God’s Word, persecuted Christians would be discipled and persecuted churches will be strengthened and grow.

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Nena Podbury
Nena Podbury

Nena Podbury is a Prayer Mobilization Associate at American Bible Society. Originally from the Bronx, she served in children’s ministry for 12 years doing Sidewalk Sunday School. Nena is married with two children, Noah and Emilia.

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