Devotional by Brother Andrew
This morning I read in Mark 14, where Jesus goes to Gethsemane to pray. I was struck by verse 37. Jesus comes back to His disciples and finds them sleeping. He says, “Could you not watch one hour?” It is Jesus saying to His disciples, “The situation is about to get dangerous. Soon I will be alone. Stay with me. Watch with me. Even if it is just one hour. Pray with me.”
We have to be faithful to the persecuted church and watch with them. Yes, in the morning. Yes, at night. When the persecuted are alone, when the enemy is closing in, when problems seem so overwhelming, that is the hour we need to stay awake with our brothers and sisters.
The church in North Korea is terribly suffering. Did you know that most North Korean Christians repent every day? They feel that God’s wrath has landed on them, because their ancestors bowed for the Japanese idols. And they pray a heartfelt prayer, “How long, oh Lord? The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years for their disobedience. We have been in the desert for over sixty years. Yet, Lord, You are just and we ask Your forgiveness.” But in recent years, encouraged by the many prayers from other countries, their attitude towards prayer and living the Gospel has changed. They now pray that God will make them bold enough to witness in whatever circumstances.
The persecuted church in North Korea (and other countries) needs to be strengthened. That is why I call from the bottom of my heart to watch with our suffering brothers and sisters. When I read this verse, I was overwhelmed by emotions. Can we watch with our Lord for one hour? Or is our prayer just a short post-scriptum of our time of family worship or church service? Can earnest prayer for the worldwide body of Christ, especially the aching part, become a part of our daily lives?
They need us to stand side to side with them, battle for them, intercede for them. True intercession – as Oswald Chambers says – is not identifying with your brother and sister, but identifying with God. How would He look at the person or circumstance? Watch with the North Korean church on April 15th. When all North Korean citizens are forced to take part in celebrations for Kim Il-Sung’s 100th anniversary, our brothers and sisters look unto Jesus. It will be a tremendous encouragement for them to know that you do the same.
Father, we lift up our brothers and sisters in North Korea as the leadership of this godless nation looks toward the celebration of Kim Il-Sung’s 100th anniversary. We intercede for them as all citizens are forced to take part in the celebrations, bowing in worship. Give them wisdom. Protect them. Hide them from the eyes of the authorities. And strengthen us to pour out our hearts in prayer, to watch and wait with them in their hour of trial. In the name of Jesus who is their strength, Amen.