In the summer of 2013, God stirred a few friends in Washington D.C. to pray for brothers and sisters who are persecuted for being disciples of Christ. We started meeting once a month, just a handful at first. Together, we’ve prayed for friends we know and friends we’ll meet in heaven one day, including those in Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria, China, North Korea, Nigeria, Sudan, and Ukraine. We’ve prayed for people and situations who are in the headlines and for those who will never be. Most importantly, we’ve prayed with and for each other and have experienced Christ’s promised presence (“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”-Matt. 18:20)
In November 2014, our circle grew when friends from Nigeria, China, Egypt, Turkey, and Syria share their stories at “A Night of Prayer for the Persecuted Church” (https://www.facebook.com/events/934331146596903/). The evening, hosted by local churches, was full of powerful testimonies of faith in the face of persecution and praise in the midst of suffering. The fellowship of the saints that night was truly sweet.
We created this blog to continue strengthening the body and invite you to pray with your friends and family using the Wednesday prayer points or visit a prayer meeting in DC.
1) What does prayer “accomplish”?
Prayer accomplishes God’s work!
Somehow, God works through our prayers (which are an extension of our faith) – James 5:16-18; Phil. 1:19; Acts 10:30-33. He tells us to pray that He fulfill His purposes – Psalm 37:5-6; Rev. 22:20. He gives us the privilege of participating with Him in His plans by prayer – Ezek. 36:36-38 (really neat verses about stirring people up to pray). And when He answers our prayers, He is glorified – Psalm 50:15.
2) How should we pray?
According to Scripture, as the Spirit leads (Eph.6:18), and always, ultimately with “nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” We love the story of Jacob wrestling with God in prayer (Gen. 32); Hosea (Hos. 12) said Jacob “wept and sought God’s favor.” Colossians 4:3,12* [The Greek word signifies praying courageously persistent, holding fast and not letting go] teaches us to pray with thanksgiving and alert to specific needs, for open doors, for the ability to speak the gospel boldly and clearly, and for believers to stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. Eph. 6:18-19 says to pray vigilantly (looking for needs/ how to pray and for answers) and perseveringly for all the saints and for His ministers to make the gospel known boldly. Phil. 1:19 and Acts 12 are examples of praying for God’s people in jail for the gospel. 1 Tim. 2 – pray for those in leadership and all men everywhere.
So when you pray–by yourself, with your spouse and kids, your Bible Study, or friends– please consider adding a prayer for the brothers and sisters in places where public prayer may not even be allowed. Even if we pray for just one person or one situation, we know that the Lord hears all our prayers, so please join us in praying and lifting holy hands to Him. (1 Pet. 2:8)
*All Bible verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV)
James 5:16-18: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”
Phil. 1:19 “or I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,”
Acts 10: 31-33 “And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour,and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”
Proverbs 37: 5-6 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”
Rev. 22:20 20 “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
Ezek. 36:36-38 “Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it. Thus says the Lord God: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock. Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Ps. 50:15 ” and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
Eph. 6:18 “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,”
Gen. 32: 24-28 “And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel,[f] for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Colossians 4:3,12 “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”…”Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.”
Eph. 6:18,19 “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, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.”
Phil. 1:19 “for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,”
Acts 12:6-16 “Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting. When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.”
1 Tim 1:1-2 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
1 Tim. 2:8 “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;”