Recently I was asked to write a weekly blog on prayer. My first response was, “Absolutely!” But as I began thinking more about prayer and what I would write each week, I was humbled to see how much my prayer life is lacking.
I’ve worked for Open Doors for over a decade now and stood in front of audiences time and time again telling people the best thing we can do for our brothers and sisters facing persecution is to pray–fully knowing the No. 1 request from persecuted believers is prayer. I’ve said to these same audiences, “Our brothers and sisters know the power of prayer and know our prayers will help more than anything else.”
They Know the Hope Found in Prayer. Do We?
I can’t answer that question for you, but as I reflect on my own prayer life, I realize I have much room to grow in this area. I want to learn how to go before the Lord believing and expecting Him to move. In their powerful prayer booklet, Prayer: The Real Battle, Brother Andrew warns his co-author, Al Janssen, along with the rest of us, “This is the most dangerous prayer: ‘Lord, make me a man of prayer.’”
No one would argue that the world needs prayer! Every day, the headlines are full of reminders the world needs our intercession. The bottom line question, for me (and for all of us) comes down to, “Do I truly believe the Lord can work in these huge, seemingly insurmountable situations?”
Lessons From Egypt
Several years ago, believers in Egypt taught me not to allow our circumstances to silence us. While visiting these faithful brothers and sisters, I had the privilege of listening to their prayers.
I’ll never forget hearing them literally and desperately plead with God to move in the midst of all the chaos going on in their nation. They prayed for God to bring light into the darkness and for more people to know Him.
As they prayed, I thought of the lyrics of a song they sung earlier that evening, “Freedom comes from Jesus/healing, peace and life come from Jesus.” They were pleading on behalf of the nation of Egypt to find freedom in Jesus. I visited Egypt in 2011 during a season of unrest and uncertainty. Earlier that year, a revolution that forced out President Hosni Mubarak from office had given way to military council who had taken over temporary leadership. When I arrived in late November, the people had returned to the streets in protest with a million-man march, calling on the interim government to move forward with reforms.
Although it would have been easy for these believers to give up and simply ask the Lord to keep them safe, these men and women prayed boldly, asking their Savior to move and bring light to the darkness. I think of what I recently read in the book Daring to Hope, in which author Katie Davis Majors writes, “Our hope in Him is not determined by our circumstances but by His character, always faithful to us.” And prayer giant Andrew Murray reminds us that, “Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach, only how to pray … To know how to speak to God is more than knowing how to speak to man.”
Let’s Learn Together
As I begin this journey of prayer, I invite you to join me in kneeling down and sitting at the feet of Jesus as He teaches us how to practice this discipline and privilege, believing that through our communion with Him, He can and will enter into the darkness—in our lives and in the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters.
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:9-13)
Lord, teach us to pray…
Want to begin a journey of prayer for your persecuted brothers and sisters? We’d love to see you our monthly Prayer Force Alert that equips you to pray each day for a specific believer, church or country. Sign up is free and easy. Just click here.