What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Is it putting up the Christmas tree? Gathering with family? A beautiful candlelight Christmas Eve service? It’s hard for me to pick just one, but one of the Christmas hallmarks in our house is wish lists. Toys, clothes, games, and even Bibles fill virtual pages with gift ideas for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and more. I love the excitement as we think about not only what is on our own lists but also what we can gift others. This year my heart has been turned to gifting beyond our home or even those in need in our community. What can I give to my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, especially those who are persecuted for their faith?
Here at Tyndale Bibles, we have had the true honor of partnering with The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) in creating The One Year Pray for the Persecuted Bible. Through this partnership, my eyes have been opened to what it means to suffer for Christ. How humbling to know that one in eight of my Christian brothers and sisters around the world live in a country where they are persecuted for their faith. And even more humbling to know that what tops their lists is prayer.
When VOM’s field leaders meet with persecuted Christians to bless and encourage them, they also inquire about unmet needs. Often, the first request of the persecuted is “Pray for us!” For many of them, the greatest gift they can receive is knowing they are being covered in prayer by their worldwide Christian family. How often do we think of prayer as an afterthought? But for many who are suffering for Christ, it’s their top priority.
We can do this, Church! We can meet this need by committing to pray for these amazing men and women who won’t let their witness be silenced even in the face of death.
So what does that look like? The One Year Pray for the Persecuted Bible can help.
Unique prayer prompts covering a wide range of needs facing persecuted Christians today preface daily readings, each of which has an excerpt from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. Engaging in Scripture and praying for our persecuted Christian family members helps us to embrace their suffering and enter into fellowship with them.
But it’s not just about committing individual time to reading and prayer. What if as a congregation you dedicated a month or one Sunday a month to learning about and praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters? Could you carve out a time in each service to pray for a specific country, maybe even a specific situation? What a beautiful gift we can give our persecuted brothers and sisters—to know we are consistently covering them in prayer. And what a gift to us that we can learn from their perseverance and commitment to sharing God’s Word no matter the cost.
Even though you may never travel to meet your persecuted Christian brothers and sisters in the jungles of Colombia, the Central Highlands of Vietnam, or the desert sands of Algeria, you can fellowship with them through prayer. As you study each daily Scripture reading, remember that the Bible—especially the New Testament—was written by and for persecuted believers. Reading the Bible in this context should spur every believer on to follow Christ more faithfully, both individually and corporately.
When we pray for the persecuted and read their stories of courage, faithfulness, and obedience, we are united with them. As we allow their stories to inspire us to a deeper commitment to Christ and his Great Commission—no matter the cost and wherever God has placed us—the fellowship becomes mutual.
What will your gift to your worldwide Christian family be this year?
Learn more about The One Year Pray for the Persecuted Bible.