I have a confession to make: I’ve stopped watching the news. I stopped watching because it either makes me incredibly sad, or it fills me with fear. I still follow the headlines a bit on twitter and the internet, but I refuse to watch another one-hour news report that is more like an episode of Jerry Springer than an informative documentary.
One thing I think we can all agree on is that these are dark times. The Bible warned us that as The Day of Christ’s return approaches we will face greater persecution.
Matthew 24: 6-13 explains:
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
I want to endure to the end. I want to stay faithful to Jesus in these difficult days. I want to be counted as one of the People of the Cross.
Recently, my pastor reminded me that the People of the Cross have always faced persecution and opposition. Paul was stoned for proclaiming his faith. Why am I surprised when suffering is part of the life of a believer?
In looking at the life of Paul, I see that he was a man who believed in the power of prayer. He often asked the church to intercede on his behalf so that he could proclaim the Gospel with freedom. Following his example, I want to fight on my knees for my brothers and sisters around the world.
5 Power Prayers for the People of the Cross:
Pray for boldness of His children to proclaim the Good News in a dark place.
“… praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:18-20, ESV).
Pray for God’s Word to be alive in their hearts and strengthen their faith.
“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (II Corinthians 1:9-11).
Pray for protection from evil forces that seek to discourage and destroy them.
“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (II Thessalonians 3:1-5).
Pray for joy and peace to fill their hearts in the midst of suffering and affliction.
“What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:18-21).
Pray for expansion of God’s Kingdom work in closed countries.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the Word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison-- that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:2-4, ESV).
In Acts 18 we see that the Lord appeared to a persecuted Paul in a vision by night. He had been rejected at every turn, but the Lord encouraged his spirit with these words: “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”
Sisters, let’s continue sharing the Good News boldly. Let’s persevere in prayer for one another, and be the People of the Cross. God has more people to reach in your city. Never give up. Pick up your cross and follow Him until the end.
Lyli Dunbar loves teaching. For 17 years, she mentored teenagers in the Christian school setting, and now she has serves as Associate Director of Curriculum at Trinity International University Florida. Lyli married her Prince Charming in her 40’s and has a heart for encouraging young couples and singles in God’s waiting room. She enjoys road trips with her husband, connecting with women through Bible study, and reading way too many books. Lyli writes about life lessons and faith on her personal blog. You may also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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