John Calvin called prayer the “principal” or “perpetual exercise of faith.” Philip Yancey’s latest book, Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference?, seeks to show how this irreplaceable spiritual exercise continues to be a necessity in today’s world.
There is perhaps no better cause for which to pray than the cause of those suffering for Christ, and this coming Sunday, November 12, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).
Promoted by a host of groups, including The Voice of the Martyrs, the IDOP describes itself as “a global day of intercession for persecuted Christians worldwide. Its primary focus is the work of intercessory prayer and citizen action on behalf of persecuted communities of the Christian faith. We also encourage prayer for the souls of the oppressors, the nations that promote persecution, and those who ignore it.”
The Latin Father Tertullian said that Christian prayer “does not station the angel of dew in mid-fires, nor muzzle lions, nor transfer to the hungry the rustics’ bread; it has no delegated grace to avert any sense of suffering; but it supplies the suffering, and the feeling, and the grieving, with endurance: it amplifies grace by virtue, that faith may know what she obtains from the Lord, understanding what—for God’s name’s sake—she suffers.”
A prayer (BCP) follows below…
Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come to you, that they may find your mercy present with them in all their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them for the sake of him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us pray for all who have not received the Gospel of Christ;
For those who have never heard the word of salvation,
For those who have lost their faith,
For those hardened by sin or indifference,
For the contemptuous and the scornful,
For those who are enemies of the cross of Christ and persecutors of his disciples,
For those who in the name of Christ have persecuted others,
That God will open their hearts to the truth, and lead them to faith and obedience. Amen.