Interceding for the Persecuted
This past Sunday Vicar Andrew White helped remind us of the terrible persecution that is happening in many areas of the world. His compassion for oppressed people is contagious and we all need to realize that we are all connected through Christ—as Andrew says, “We’re one family,” and join him in his efforts through prayer and support.
I’m often reminded what Open Doors reported a few months ago:
“In the United States, it’s easy for believers to take for granted the rights they so regularly enjoy. From praying and worshiping in public to attending Sunday worship services, practice of one’s faith is generally accepted in America. But this isn’t the case in many nations such as North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Mali, Syria, etc. in which religion, itself, is banned or where one faith system is permitted and touted, with all others being continually denigrated.”
Horrible things are happening around the world, every day and we need to have spiritual kingdom eyesight to realize that outside of our middle Tennessee, Williamson County, little gospel bubble, a nightmare is breaking loose in the world.
It is time to be like the sons of Issachar and understand the times and know what to do. I love that passage from 1 Chronicles 12. The sons of Issachar understood what was happening in their day spiritually. They didn’t just look at things through the lens of easy living. They understood the spirit behind what was happening in their day. They understood it and then they knew what to do; they knew how to respond; they knew how to prepare themselves; they knew which direction to go. That is radically important for us to know and understand.
The sons of Issachar understood the times. Commentator Adam Clarke wrote about them, “It appears that in their wisdom, experience and skill, their brethren had the fullest confidence; and nothing was done but by their direction and advice.” These men knew how to respond because they knew what was going on. People looked to them for help because they prepared themselves and so should we.
We need to do the same thing as these sons of Issachar —be aware of what is going around us so we can respond out of compassion, and spiritual composure. Then, once we have our feet secure in those two things, we need to pray. We need to intercede for our brothers and sisters who are in peril. We need to cry out to God for the bondage and pain they are experiencing.
We also need to lend our financial support to ministries like Vicar White’s. He is supporting people with food, hospital care and education and he needs our help.
We need to know what is happening around us so we can boldly respond and be prepared when the storm hits.