On February 15, 2015, ISIS released a video of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in orange jumpsuits being martyred on a Libyan beach. The video and photos from it went viral, and the hearts of Christians across the world cried out to God, echoing Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 12:26, “If one member suffers, all suffer together. …”
Some cried out in anger against the perpetrators of this act. Some cried out in mourning for the families of the fathers, brothers, and sons who were killed. Some cried out with a feeling of helplessness, wishing there were some way they could help.
In the months since the video’s release, Christians started wearing the color orange as a sign of solidarity with brothers and sisters experiencing persecution in the Middle East and elsewhere. This is a wonderful way to raise awareness, but there are many who still want to do more.
Therefore, American Family Association and EngageMagazine.net are providing you with 11 prayers, listed below, each with a difference emphasis, to pray for the persecuted church. Please join us as we pray through persecution during the week of International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. There are enough prayers for you to pray this week and to carry you into next week. Of course, it is our hope that you will echo these prayers for weeks and months to come.
Prayer is one of the most effective actions we can take to minister to Christians suffering persecution across the world. We may not know their names or specific needs, but we pray to the One who does. Use this prayer guide below to join other believers in crying out to God on behalf of our spiritual family.
Pray for the Awareness of Persecution to Rise
Father God, thank you for the freedoms we have in this country, freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition. Without them, we cannot do everything we strive to do for You and Your kingdom. Even today, in the 21st century, people in other countries do not enjoy many of the freedoms we take for granted. That is why I pray that You help Your sons and daughters bring awareness to the issue of Christian persecution.
Help us to speak up and stand out, not just on radio shows or websites but on social media platforms and in conversations with friends. Many people are dying for the faith. Others are being imprisoned, tortured, and tormented for telling people that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Here in the United States, a growing number of people are being told they cannot do certain things on the job. Others have been told they have to contribute to practices they might object to for religious reasons.
I know Your Word tells us persecution will come. You also tell us “blessed are those who are the persecuted” (Matthew 5:10). Therefore, I pray that You strengthen those who are being persecuted, and I ask that You prepare the rest of us for what is to come.
Meanwhile, I pray that persecutors would come to Christ. It has happened before, it’s still happening, and I pray that more people see the need for Your Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ.
In His name I pray, amen.
Pray for the Kingdom of God
Dear Father, we confess that we have regarded the concerns of our little kingdoms as more important than Your eternal, holy Kingdom. We have lived as if You exist for our glory, rather than us for Your glory.
We humble ourselves before You in shame, pleading for Your grace to open our eyes to the greatness and certainty of your reign. Let your Kingdom come and may You be exalted as King in Heaven, on earth, and in our lives.
Though the world’s kingdoms rage against You and even persecute those You call your own, may no power – even Satan himself – prevail against your anointed One and those for whom He died.
As You look with compassion upon us, may we look with compassion upon others, including our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering at the hands of Your enemies. May the evil one who has blinded Your enemies be cast out; may Your enemies fall at Your feet, as surely they will do in the day in which the angel will blow his trumpet, and loud voices from Heaven will declare, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
Pray for Governments Allowing Persecution
Dear Lord, I pray for the governments, government officials, and other leaders who are suppressing, persecuting, and even killing Christians. I ask they would see the forgiveness of Jesus through those they are persecuting. I pray that where sin increases that the grace of God would increase all the more (Romans 5:20). I pray that government officials and leaders would see the Holy Spirit in those they are allowing to be persecuted and that the Spirit would bring conviction and repentance through the testimonies of the persecuted. I pray that a soft answer from the persecuted would turn away the wrath from the persecutor (Proverbs 15:1).
I pray that the governments across this world that are suppressing, persecuting, and even killing Christians because of their faith would turn to a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. I pray they would stop suppressing, persecuting, and killing Christians so that there would be an unhindered gospel in these areas. I pray in the name of Jesus that governments that are persecuting Christians would adopt a biblical (Exodus 20 and Romans 13) model of government, one that rewards good, punishes bad, and provides a stable structure for society.
I pray all this in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Pray for Hope in Suffering
Dear God, as we look at the terrible sufferings of our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, we bring all the burdens of grief, anger, and confusion – all of our questions – and lay them before You. In their place, we take up hope, confidence, and eagerness for Your glory to be fulfilled. In the midst of trouble, let us remember that You work even through sorrow to accomplish Your purposes and that evil, however great, cannot overcome Your goodness. We have the testimony and evidence of this in the incomparable glory born from the suffering of Christ, which brought us our hope and life (Isaiah 53).
So, as Paul did, we rejoice even in suffering because of the hope we have, recognizing that with Christ we are participating as co-heirs for the fulfillment of a glorious plan that extends far beyond present times and present sorrows (Romans 8:17-25). May the victory of Your glory begin even now, as Your people become witnesses to You even in suffering so that many will catch sight of their hope and be saved (2 Timothy 2:8-10); so that the comfort that You give Your children might spread into sharing the consolation of Your love with others (1 Corinthians 1:3-7); and that Your Church might receive assurance from God’s Word to be preserved with hope for life eternal and confidence in Your promises that are yet unseen (Psalm 119:49-50).
In the midst of all our prayers and petitions, we acknowledge that Your ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9), and we humbly bow and submit to Your will, knowing that Your glory will be accomplished and that we will rejoice in it.
In the name of Christ, amen.
Pray for Ministry Workers and Church Leaders
Dear Lord, I pray today for those who serve in the midst of the danger and crises of persecution, those who daily witness the sufferings of their brothers and sisters they are shepherding and guiding, those who must speak out to offer encouragement, spiritual instruction, and be examples to follow in the midst of daily fear, sorrow, and conflict (1 Peter 5:1-11).
I pray for native church leaders – pastors, bishops, priests, elders, and others in ministry – that You would sustain them in their calling that they might equip the saints for the work of ministry and build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12) so that their local congregations will not be like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).
I pray also for those who minister as aid workers and missionaries in regions of persecution. I pray that You would show them opportunities to serve, supply the resources to meet needs, and grant them compassion and confidence even when they are surrounded by those who are intent on doing evil.
Let each of these ministers be like You, Jesus, and filled with Your strength. Even as You keep watch over them by Your Holy Spirit, may they watch over the flock You have purchased with Your blood (Acts 20:28-29). Secure them and sustain them with the knowledge of their redemption and the assurance of Your promise, that the Lamb on the throne is their own Shepherd who will one day wipe away every tear from their eyes (Revelation 7:17).
Lord God, let Your words and purposes be carried out through all the earth for the sanctification of Your Church, the salvation of all people, and the glory of Your great name.
Pray for the Persecutors
Dear Heavenly Father, I come before You humbly and heartbroken for those persecuting the Church universal. It is so easy to forget that, like Saul, they do not yet know the love of Christ. So I pray that the body of Christ would adopt a mindset of compassion, not of vengeance. And Lord, I echo the words of Christ as He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Father, I pray each individual who is actively persecuting the church would have a divine encounter. Not one of vengeance or wrath, but of mercy and forgiveness. Your Word reminds us that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. If Your love was sufficient for us in the midst of our darkness, I believe it is just as sufficient for the persecutors’.
In the name of Christ, I ask that You break the chains that bind them to their own darkness that they may come into the eternal light of love, by the grace of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ — and that on the other side of eternity, we might meet them as fellow brothers and sisters, never again as enemies.
In His holy and precious name I pray, amen.
Pray for the Persecuted
Dear Lord, in the midst of all these trials I am facing, please help me to consider them as pure joy, trusting that You are using these circumstances to test my faith and to produce perseverance in my life (James 1:2-3, 12).
Teach me how to persevere through these things so that I can stand strong and receive all Your blessings including the crown of life You promise to those who love You!
Your word says that I will be blessed if I am persecuted for righteousness’ sake. So, help me in the midst of my troubles not to give into temptation and walk in unrighteousness. In my anger, help me not to sin. Help me guard my tongue from saying evil things. Help me respond always in truth and in love (Matthew 5:10-12, 44).
You also promise me a blessing when people insult me, persecute me, and falsely say all kinds of evil against me because of my connection to You. Help me in these situations not to feel like I have to rise up and defend myself. You are my defender, Lord. I trust in You!
When all these troubles comes my way, show me how to rejoice and be glad knowing that my reward is in heaven! Help me to remember the prophets and many men and women of God who went before me and were persecuted and yet endured.
Help me to love my enemies, Lord, and to pray for those who persecute me. Help me to see them the way you see them.
Lord, I thank You that nothing can separate me from the love of God – not even persecution or my awful circumstances (Romans 8:35). In the midst of all of my troubles, You are here with me!
Just like you were with Daniel in the lions’ den, and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace … You too will be with me. Fill me with Your spirit and give me power to endure these temporary trials so that I will not loose sight of what is eternal.
In the mighty name of Jesus, amen.
Pray for the Wives and Families of Persecuted Christians
Father, You are a compassionate and gracious God who abounds in love and faithfulness. You are our stronghold in Whom we can securely place our confidence, and You are the God Who saves.
I bring all those who have loved ones held in captivity and are experiencing other forms of persecution because of their unwavering faith and proclamation of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Day and night these brothers and sisters in Christ cry out to You. Please turn Your ear to their cries. Fill them with all hope and faith that You are right there with their loved ones, that You see their suffering and hear their cries. Open their eyes to see Your goodness and Your provision and give them strength to continue hoping in You.
When the evil one comes after them with fearful thoughts, grant them alertness to reject those thoughts and the strength to cling to the truth that as the all-powerful God, You are able to do more than they can ask or even think (Ephesians 3:20).
Father, protect them with Your mighty right arm and guide them with Your counsel. I pray, in Your time, You will reunite them with their loved ones and give them healing and wholeness. Help them, in the strength of the Lord, to wait for You.
In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Pray for the Cessation of Persecution
Lord, thank You so much for the freedoms You give to those in Christ Jesus. Thank You that we are not of this world and that our home is with You. Thank You for never leaving us and our brothers and sisters across the globe who face persecution everyday. Give them Your strength Lord and help them remember that You are by their side with every breath they take.
We pray for the cessation of persecution. Not out of a selfish desire, but out of a desire for the gospel to have more freedom to reach more people with the truth. Let us never take physical freedom to preach the Word for granted. You remind us in Your Word that those who follow You will face persecution. Please let us never forget that to be a Christian is to be a stranger in this world. If we do find comfort, let it drive us to see and pursue You rather than the short-lived and fleeting things Satan would have us perceive as eternal.
Father, help Christians across the world to remember what is true and eternal. That a life in You is the only life worth living. That without You, we are lost. Revive us Lord. Give us the strength, wisdom, and hope that only come from You. And thank You that You never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). We love You, Lord.
In Jesus name, amen.
Pray for the Children of the Persecuted
Father God, we come before You today to pray for the children of Christians being persecuted. The Bible tells us that persecution will come. You also tell us that people who are persecuted are blessed. Still, children have a hard time understanding why persecution is happening to their mommy, daddy, or to themselves.
Many children of the persecuted go to bed wondering why their parents are not home. Other children, such as Meriam Ibrahim’s son and daughter, lived with their mother in prison. Pastor Saeed Abedini’s son has even said, “All I want for Christmas is for my daddy to be home.”
It is because of these things that I ask You to provide wisdom and clarity to the children of the persecuted. Give them strength, Lord. I also pray that their hearts are not hardened toward You, something that may result in bitterness and strife.
Meanwhile, I pray for the financial needs of those whose parents are being persecuted. I also ask that You bless their health needs. More often than not, people under persecution in areas hostile to Christianity do not allow a person to work, and medical attention is still expensive and hard to come by in much of the world.
Thank You for hearing our prayers. Thank You for sending Jesus to die on a cross for all mankind and providing all of us a way to be reunited with You in Heaven.
Persecution is something Jesus knows about, and it is in Jesus’ name that I make these requests. Amen.
Pray for Encouragement in Persecution
Father of all, Giver of life, and Sustainer of creation, You know all things. Your heart is near Your Church. You know her works, tribulation, and poverty (Revelation 2:9). To Your Church it has been granted to suffer for Your Name’s sake (Philippians 1:29), and for this honor we praise and thank You.
Lord, as we consider the trials of the Church, our brothers and sisters who daily face danger and death and are pursued to destruction by evil men, we come to You with trembling hearts. We know something of our weakness and something of Your wisdom, that we only see a fading glimpse of Your purpose.
So with words that fall so short of Your majesty, we pray first of all that Christ would be glorified. Glorify our Elder Brother in the hearts of those who face persecution every day. Glorify Him in the hearts of the lost, depraved, godless souls who lift their hands against Your saints. Glorify Him in the minds of those Christians who look on in confusion and sorrow. Lift up His holy name wherever a human heart beats, as the Church is burning up, as a living sacrifice, to spread His light.
We pray for our brothers and sisters who feel the hatred of the world each morning they wake. Give them each the boldness to enter into Your throne room and see Christ there on their behalf, so that they need not fear man. Bring to each of their minds the sight of Christ on the Cross, bearing in His own body their scars, their trials, and their suffering, so that their faith may be whole and their eyes fixed firmly on His example. We pray that You would visit them with the assurance that this life is not in vain, and that they would set their eyes on the finish, live in eternity, and understand that their suffering is nothing to be compared with their future glory (Romans 8:18).
You are a good God, and You have never given us a reason to think You would do anything but good for us. You have always been a helper to Your Church in times of trouble, and we have no reason to believe You would leave us now.
So in bold confidence in Your love and grace, we present this petition before Your throne in the name of Your Son, Christ Jesus.