If we are to be a holy nation (1 Peter 1:13 – 2:12), separated from all that is worldly and devoted wholly to God, then we must do as the bride is instructed to do: 'Forget your people and your father's house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him' (Psalm 45:10,11 ESV). Yet we cling to the world, and our beauty is marred by the dross of worldliness, idolatry and unfaithfulness. Those who think this is not the case are deceiving themselves (1 John 1:8). We find it so hard to forsake the world, but God does not leave us to struggle in weakness. No, the gracious and faithful master craftsman is working on us all the time, as individuals and as a Church (local and global). Nowhere is this more evident than in the midst of persecution and suffering.
And so we pray: not only for religious liberty and for justice, deliverance and peace for the persecuted Church, but also for insight into what God is doing in the life of his people so that we can 'get on board' and actively participate in, rather than proudly resist, this wonderful sanctification.
God is purging idolatry, forging unity and removing those sources of worldly strength upon which we so adulterously depend. He is increasing our love and our faith. We must never despair over the loss of political power or influence, for the hope of the Church was never to be found there (Zechariah 4:6). An abundance of earthly lights (light pollution) causes the stars in the heavens to appear dim. It usually takes a power blackout or a trip into the wilderness for the glory of the heavens to be revealed. The same is true concerning advocacy for religious liberty and the persecuted church. An abundance of earthly powers may cause us to forget or neglect the greater power and love that is in heaven. A political-power blackout or a trip to the political wilderness may be God's gracious way of drawing our attention to him and reminding us of where the true power lies. Prayer is not a lesser form of advocacy, it is the greatest. So let us pray!
Tomorrow begins the International Day of Pray for the Persecuted Church. If you click on the image above you'll find yourself at the IDOP website for 2008. There are great resources there for you and your kids (younger and older kids) to focus yourselves on praying tomorrow.
Here's an excerpt from the IDOP's theme devotional by Elizabeth Kendal:
Redeeming the time,